Saturday, June 18, 2005


Subject: Noir
"Paranoia Agent" -- I've made a few posts in the past months that described my inital impressions of this show. By the last disc, it finally hooked me, in a big way. Just now, I watched them all in a row.

And I sure missed a lot my first time through!

It may have had something to do with the fact that it was easily 2 months between discs for me, or just that there are so many wonderful layers to this show that it's impossible to catch them on the first go-'round, but suffice to say, it was well worth taking the second trip through this series in marathon form.

I mean really, this series is *tight*. Some may accuse all of disc 3 of being "filler", but honestly, every moment of that so-called "filler" (and hilarious at that, especially the animation studio episode) plays in to the entire mythology being created, and gives clues and insights into the psychology being explored.

Not to say that I've been, even in the slightest, able to verbalize what the heck was going on -- but the experience washes over you and drags you back with it in its insidous undertow to the point that you really don't need words to describe it anymore.

And there's plenty there to symbolize or otherwise allow you to project parts of yourself on to it. As long as you're not prone to taking things strictly literally -- there's a lot of perverted and f*'ed up undertones going on, especially early on. And there's plenty more to try and chew on in subsequent viewings. Like I said before: "no easy answers".

I loaned this set out to my "test-market" friends, and they were hooked right away, and were compelled to watch many episodes in a row in order to find out what happened next, as opposed to their usual "one-at-a-time" pace through the other shows I've exposed them to. Their main feedback: it was substantially "different" from any other anime they've seen, and they like that a lot. It's a grown-ups' show. The characters have real noses, of all things!

In summary, Satoshi Kon has done a superb job of bringing his style and storytelling to the TV-series format (I can't say "to the 'small screen' because, well...). There's a lot of Japanese culture references that I have yet to fully comprehend, but I'm at least able to spot what they are and get the gist of them pretty quickly, as were my friends. So as twisted as this series gets, it still makes a good "crossover" for the quality-seekers over here in the States, and is a shining example of what the anime niche could bring to those who are otherwise disenchanted with the "fan-oriented" insanity that makes up 99% of that sort of programming.

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