Paranoia memories: Kon/Ōtomo simulwatch II

WMD

Death Scythe
Double posting but oh well, onto today's episode

Paranoia Agent 12

Finally some kernels of truth amid the rumours and misinformation. Its interesting that is is achieved by Maniwa falling deeper into a fantasy that was actually kick started in him during his interrogation of the "real" Lil'Slugger.

The reveal that both the meme of Maromi and Lil'Slugger not only have the same creator but both stem from a real incident in her past is very well brought about and I enjoyed the scene of Maniwa talking with all the anime girl figures.

I'm also glad that after ignoring them for a couple of episodes our 2 cops are back in the limelight. They've been the common factor for the audience throughout the show and it's good that they get to step up in its closing stages as darkness threatens to consume everything.

As a random note the deformed vampiric face of Lil'Slugger in this episode reminded me of the monsters in Blood the Last Vampire.
 

Neil.T

Chuunibyou
Paranoia Agent episode 12
  • The way that this episode conjures its title display from that flickering neon sign is pure genius. I'm risking wearing the word out when talking about Kon, but... well, there's a good reason for it, I think.
  • The person we once knew as Detective Maniwa is now the self-styled crusader... "Radar Man".
  • Shounen Bat's appearance here very much reminds me of the chiropterans from Production I.G's Blood: The Last Vampire.
  • The old man turns up as a lift attendant late in the episode, in a similar fashion to an equally delusion scene in Paprika.
EDIT: This was typed before I read @WMD's post, and I only just saw his Blood comparison.
 

WMD

Death Scythe
This was typed before I read @WMD's post, and I only just saw his Blood comparison.
I wonder if it's a deliberate homage given its something we both saw in it. At the start of the show Lil'Slugger seems to be human, helpful even to its victims, but now hes nothing but a monster feeding of societies fears to feed itself so a direct comparison can be made.
 

Birdie Num Num

Dandy Guy, in Space
Paranoia Agent - Episode 12
  • When the title of 'Radar Man' is introduced, the music sounds like something from Batman the Animated Series. Later on Maniwa jumps on truck with the name 'Bat Express'. Might be a reference to Batman or/and to his journey towards Shounen Bat.
  • Maniwa upgrades his Umbrella Sword to a Bat Sword.
  • Follow the bunny, definite reference to Alice in Wonderland.
  • It seems everyone's problems are back once Shounen Bat/Maromi disappeared.
 

WMD

Death Scythe
Paranoia Agent 13

A cracking finale. The Chiefs story in particular was great. His wife showing him that running away would not solve his problems or give him peace. Reaffirming the shows message that facing reality is the only true way overcome trauma and move past it. The way he smashes his way out of his dream world was great to see.

And so the complete truth about Tsukiko is revealed and how everything stems back to a lie, that became a delusion, that became paranoia, that became mass hysteria. It really goes to show Kon's story craft that a show with a new protagonist every episode can come full circle and tie up into a neat and highly satisfying ending.

Though I have to feel for Maniwa. He fought the good fight but has clearly been left very scarred by it. And is see taking up the role of old crazy man/prophet. Never believed but always seeing the truth.

Coming back to the show tying everything up it was very neat how the ending is essentially a paraphrasing of the opening from episode one. People living their lives and dealing with issues. Life doesnt go away because it gets tough!
 

Neil.T

Chuunibyou
Briefly back episode 12:
I wonder if it's a deliberate homage given its something we both saw in it. At the start of the show Lil'Slugger seems to be human
It could very possibly be now that you mention it, seeing as how the chiropterans in Blood also appear human at first sight.

###

Paranoia Agent episode 13

Following on from @WMD's comment about the show's ending, my post offers but one observation.
- As Maniwa, having taken on the mantle of the old man, reaches the end of his grand equation, he seems to reach the same realisation as his predecessor did in episode 1 of what should follow the "equals" sign. It's an epiphany of what it all means and an earth-shattering realisation of the true nature of the fabric of reality itself. The clue was perhaps in the symbol that precedes the last. It's not a number, nor a mathematical constant, but a character of katakana — the katakana ア for "A". That sends the dominoes toppling, for the following symbol turns out not to be an "equals" sign at all: it's the katakana ニ, "Ni". Has Maniwa just realised that what should follow it is メ "Me", spelling "ANIME"?

Is Satoshi Kon's final story payoff that the man who saw deeper into the murky waters of the truth than anyone else just discovered the ultimate truth? That he and all the rest were animated characters in a work of fiction? Just the end result of someone else's delusion?

NOTE: The show's Japanese title is Mousou Dairinin, which could have just as easily been translated as "Delusion Proxy".
 

WMD

Death Scythe
It's not a number, nor a mathematical constant, but a character of katakana — the katakana ア for "A". That sends the dominoes toppling, for the following symbol turns out not to be an "equals" sign at all: it's the katakana ニ, "Ni". Has Maniwa just realised that what should follow it is メ "Me", spelling "ANIME"?

Is Satoshi Kon's final story payoff that the man who saw deeper into the murky waters of the truth than anyone else just discovered the ultimate truth? That he and all the rest were animated characters in a work of fiction? Just the end result of someone else's delusion?
Oooh I'm a big fan this explanation. It also ties into the recurring theme of Kon works being stories about stories within stories. Maniwa has realised he's a player in someone else's story and then turns up at the end to give the "next episode" segment. Which in this last epsiode was a fairly meta explanation about the cyclical nature of stories. Everyone is of course inspired by the works that others did before them. Kon being such a student of cinema would be keenly aware of that.
 

Birdie Num Num

Dandy Guy, in Space
Paranoia Agent - Episode 13
  • Everyone is being swallowed by consumerism, news, media AKA the black ooze.
  • When young Tsukiko gets a stomach cramp, I was thinking that could be her getting her period and entering into adulthood. One of the next shots is blood. The young version wears a white skirt (innocence), while the adult version wears red (adult? lol).
  • Before turning off the DVD, I had a quick listen to Paranoia Radio, the audio commentary by director, the writer and the producer. On the last episode, it's mostly about how important the sound design was for each episode, and they agree it's a great ending that just loops back to the beginning. Also when Kon said there would be a preview at the end of the last episode, everyone was surprised and confused. It all started as a joke that became real.
  • Also from Paranoia Radio, when the shadow of Shounen Bat says Goodbye, it doesn't mean forever, he'll be back again.
 

WMD

Death Scythe
When young Tsukiko gets a stomach cramp, I was thinking that could be her getting her period and entering into adulthood.
I wondered that as well actually. Maybe something to do with entering the cynicism of adulthood?

Also when Kon said there would be a preview at the end of the last episode, everyone was surprised and confused. It all started as a joke that became real.
Well I'm glad it did because it's a great way to end this show!


Also thanks @Neil.T for organising both the Lain and Agent simulwatches. They've both been a lot of fun and good shows/films for this sort of discussion. It's always fun to hear peoples more in depth thought on animes.
 

Neil.T

Chuunibyou
Maniwa has realised he's a player in someone else's story and then turns up at the end to give the "next episode" segment.
Exactly. And that's why the old man, after having the same realisation in episode 1, was in a position to deliver the episode the episode previews to us.

That's my read on it, anyway.

It also ties into the recurring theme of Kon works being stories about stories within stories.
That's a great point, and I hadn't even looked at it like that until you put it that way. That really does tie in.

Everyone is being swallowed by consumerism, news, media AKA the black ooze.
I've pondered before the true nature of the "black ooze", and I really like this explanation.

When young Tsukiko gets a stomach cramp, I was thinking that could be her getting her period and entering into adulthood.
That's another angle I hadn't considered before, but you could be on the money there.

I had a quick listen to Paranoia Radio
Paranoia Radio is something I'd like to come back to for a second listen when time permits. I seem to remember that Kon ended up drawing a lot of the key parts of the show despite also being busy as director.
 

Professor Irony

CYBER FUNKER
Moderator
Memories: Cannon Fodder

Been a bit distracted with other things, but I'm glad I came back to finish this - I liked Cannon Fodder more than I thought I might. It's a real change of style and pace from the other two films though; it looks and feels a lot more like something made in the former USSR than a typical anime production of the time.

Visually, it's nothing if not impressive though. The convoluted, seemingly endless cityscape rather conjures up Fritz Lang's Metropolis, but there's a strange organic quality to it too; it's almost like a living thing with all its veins and arteries laid out in front of you. Thematically, it's also quite an interesting bit of satire (war as a ritualistic, meaningless distraction definitely doesn't feel far fetched in the today's climate), but it lacks the dramatic snap of Magnetic Rose or Stink Bomb, which I think makes it a strange note to end the anthology on.
 

WMD

Death Scythe
Can't remember if this was shared previously but just watched it and was a fun way to revisit the themes again and get another perspective on Paranoia Agent

 
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