Paranoia Agent

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Paranoia Agent
Director/Artist Satoshi Kon
Format Anime (TV)
Made By Madhouse Studios
Episode Length 25 Minutes
# of Episodes 13


Drama, Psychological, Mystery

Sum it up in a Sentence

Main Description

In Musashino, Tokyo, an enigmatic juvenile "serial attacker" is at large. Known as "Shounen Bat," he wields a bent, golden bat and rides a pair of golden rollerblades. While his legend begins to grow among the people of the town, two detectives are assigned to track down Shounen Bat. As they begin to investigate the connections between the victims it becomes clear that there is much more to Shounen Bat than anyone had thought.


Paranoia Agent features an enormous cast of characters, most of whom only feature prominantly in a single episode. The following four characters are the most central, and show up in many of the episodes.

Sagi Tsukiko


Sagi Tsukiko is a meek young woman who works as a character designer. Famous for her creation of the character Maromi, she's under extreme stress to produce another hit. She is the first victim of Shounen Bat, and for some reason the unfolding events seem to somehow revolve around her...

Ikari Keiichi and Maniwa Mitsuhiro


The two detectives assigned to investigate Shounen Bat soon find their lives inexplicably warped by the case. Ikari Keiichi is an old-fashioned kind of detective who feels out of place in the complex modern world. Maniwa Mitsuhiro is something of an idealist, and is one of the first to believe that there might be something paranormal happening around Shounen Bat.

Shounen Bat


At the center of the mystery in Paranoia Agent is Shounen Bat. Appearing as a grinning juvenile, his crimes defy rational explanation and as they continue, he comes to be viewed as something of a mystical figure by the people living in Musashino.

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Other works by Satoshi Kon

Personal Opinions


I found this series really enjoyable, on the whole. It starts off as an interesting mystery and then turns into a much more interesting mystery. It's weird, but without being incomprehensible or obnoxious. Also, the interactions between all the different characters and the bizzarre atmosphere made the whole series feel cohesive, even though some of the episodes have very little to do with the central plot.


Similar to Satoshi Kon's movie works, in half-season form. Better than Paprika, worse than Millenium Actress, IMO.


The first half of this show is incredibly dark, layered, and brilliant- and things go down the rabbit hole from there. You're left for long stretches wondering what's going on, to the point that sometimes you might even check to make sure you're still playing the right show. However, everything pays off in spades, and everything really does go together to form a whole. To me, the show just closes in such a surreal fashion. I'd caution people not to get too attached to the realism of the opening because that's not where this is headed. Still in my favorite all-time list overall, though I feel it would be a couple ticks higher if the end didn't go a little too far out there.


As TannhauserGate said, do not get attached to the realism. If the show had continued with what it had seemed to be trying to do in the first half of the show and continued to layer on the mystery with the same brilliant directing and writing that it had I would have probably called it one of the best shows of all time. However, it turns out that the show didn't know what it wanted to be and devolved into fantastical nonsense. The pieces all fit together eventually and the story does wrap up very nicely, but it turns out to be something so vastly different that all that's left of the first half are its themes.

At the end of the day, this is not a bad show, and in fact it is a great show. The first few episodes are some of the best work I've ever seen. But at the end of the day I believe this show is a mind boggling blunder. I was very, VERY disappointed.

Lord Lambeth

I think it might be a toss up whether Perfect Blue or Paranoia Agent has a darker plot. I think I favor Paranoia Agent, mostly because it's animation as a whole is way better. The social criticism also runs pretty rampant, which some people might find preachy but I loved it.