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Paranoia Agent

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Paranoia Agent
Poster of the series
(Mōsō Dairinin)
Created bySatoshi Kon
Anime television series
Directed bySatoshi Kon
Produced by
  • Rika Tsuruzaki
  • Mitsuru Uda
  • Hideki Gotō
  • Yasuteru Iwase
  • Tokuji Hasegawa
Written bySeishi Minakami
Music bySusumu Hirasawa
Licensed by
Original networkWowow
English network
Original run February 3, 2004 May 18, 2004
Episodes13 (List of episodes)
Written by
  • Satoshi Kon
  • Yuichi Umezu
Published byKadokawa Shoten
ImprintHorror Bunko
PublishedMay 2004
icon Anime and manga portal

Paranoia Agent (Japanese: 妄想代理人, Hepburn: Mōsō Dairinin) is a Japanese anime television series created by director Satoshi Kon and produced by Madhouse about a social phenomenon in Musashino, Tokyo caused by a juvenile serial assailant named Lil' Slugger (the English equivalent to Shōnen Bat, which translates to "Bat Boy"). The plot relays between a large cast of people affected in some way by the phenomenon; usually Lil' Slugger's victims or the detectives assigned to apprehend him. As each character becomes the focus of the story, details are revealed about their secret lives and the truth about Lil' Slugger.



Tsukiko Sagi, a shy character designer who created the immensely popular pink dog Maromi, finds herself under pressure to repeat her success. As she walks home one night, she is attacked by an elementary school boy on inline skates. Two police detectives, Keiichi Ikari and Mitsuhiro Maniwa, are assigned to the case. They suspect that Tsukiko is lying about the attack, until they receive word of a second victim.

Soon the attacker, dubbed Lil' Slugger (Shōnen Batto in Japanese, meaning "Bat Boy"), is blamed for a series of street assaults in Tokyo. None of the victims can recall the boy's face and only three distinct details are left in their memories: golden inline skates, a baseball cap, and the weapon: a bent golden baseball bat. Ikari and Maniwa set out to track down the perpetrator and put an end to his crimes.



Many of the characters in Paranoia Agent are often referred to with animal names, especially in each "Prophetic Vision" (a segment at the end of each episode that previews the next) and the episode "The Holy Warrior," in which some characters are depicted as animal-like creatures. In many cases, their Japanese names translate directly to the type of animal which they are referred to as: "sagi" means heron, "kawazu" is an archaic term for frog, "ushi" means cow, "tai" means sea bream or red snapper, "chō" means butterfly (chō-cho can also mean butterfly, possibly alluding to her split personality), and "hiru" means leech. "Kamome" means seagull.[3]



During the makings of his previous three films (Perfect Blue, Millennium Actress, and Tokyo Godfathers), Paranoia Agent creator Satoshi Kon was left with an abundance of unused ideas for stories and arrangements that he felt were good but did not fit into any of his projects. Not wanting to waste the material, he decided to recycle it into a dynamic TV series in which his experimental ideas could be used.

In the case of a film to be shown at theatres, I'm working for two years and a half, always in the same mood and with the same method. I wanted to do something that allows me to be more flexible, to realize instantly what flashes across my mind. I was also aiming at a sort of entertaining variation, so I decided to go for a TV series.[4]





The series aired on Japan's Wowow from February 3 to May 18, 2004.[5] Geneon Entertainment licensed the anime in North America and released the series on four DVDs from October 26, 2004, and May 10, 2005. A UMD version of Volume 1 was made available on October 10, 2005. Madman Entertainment released the series in Australia.[6] An English dub began airing in the U.S. on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim on May 29, 2005, followed by an encore airing that began on June 6, 2006.[7] In Canada, it began a run on digital channel G4TechTV's Anime Current programming block on July 27, 2007.[8] The anime is distributed by MVM Films in the UK.[9] On February 3, 2020, Funimation announced that it had licensed the series for its streaming platform.[10][11] On April 15, 2020, Adult Swim announced that the English dub would be rebroadcast for the first time in over a decade on its Toonami programming block.[12] The Blu-ray collection of the series was released in the U.S. on October 13, 2020, in SteelBook packaging as a Best Buy exclusive, and received a general Blu-ray release on December 15, 2020.[13][14]



The music in Paranoia Agent was composed by Japanese electronica pioneer Susumu Hirasawa. The opening theme "Dream Island Obsessional Park" (夢の島思念公園, Yume no Shima Shinen Kōen) and the ending theme "White Hill – Maromi's Theme" (白ヶ丘~マロミのテーマ, Shirogaoka ~ Maromi no tēma) are performed by Hirasawa.

Proposed film


In December 2009, Japanese cult-film director Takashi Shimizu announced plans for a film adaption of the anime. However, plans eventually fell through and ultimately no film was ever made.[15]



Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes gives the series the rare approval rating of 100% based on 13 critic reviews, with an average rating of 7.7/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Anime auteur Satoshi Kon brings his feverish vision to the serialized form in Paranoia Agent, a disturbing meditation on individual and societal anxiety."[16] Paranoia Agent was one of the Jury Recommended Works in the Animation Division at the 8th Japan Media Arts Festival in 2004.[17]

Charles Solomon from NPR says, "Paranoia Agent may frustrate viewers who expect a straightforward narrative, but it's a disturbing, highly original work from a talented filmmaker."[18][19] John Powers, also from NPR, remarks, "It's one of the best and strangest programs I have ever seen... Kon does something daring. He reveals the fierce sadness and pain hidden by the modern embrace of things that are cute."[20][19] A review in Empire awarded Paranoia Agent 3 out of 5 stars, saying, "for those who like their animation 'out there', Satoshi Kon's Paranoia Agent delivers by the oddball bucketload".[21] Jean-Luc Bouchard from BuzzFeed praised Paranoia Agent as a depiction of depression, writing, "The entire series totals a mere 13 episodes, but it drew me in immediately, and introduced me to a dark cast of characters whose troubled minds changed not just their own perceptions, but each other's realities as well."[22]

James Beckett of Anime News Network gave the anime an A, and describes the series as "What is the most important thing to remember about Paranoia Agent is that it is a mystery story where the answers to the mysteries are not as important as the questions they raise. A haunting and deeply felt fable of human experiences told with Satoshi Kon's signature flair, eerie and funny in equal measure, visuals that will stick with you for years to come".[23] A review for IGN gave the first three episodes of Paranoia Agent a score of 7/10, comparing it to the works of David Lynch, but criticizing the animation as "downright primitive in places".[24] John Maher from Paste listed Paranoia Agent as the 14th best anime series of all time, comparing it to Kon's other works Paprika and Perfect Blue, adding, "it's every bit the sublime exercise in psychological thriller as either".[25]


  1. ^ a b "Satoshi Kon's Paranoia Agent to Stream Exclusively on Funimation, Blu-ray Coming this Year". Funimation. February 3, 2020. Archived from the original on February 3, 2020. Retrieved November 14, 2021.
  2. ^ Laeno, Dominic. "Paranoia Agent". THEM Anime Reviews. Retrieved July 22, 2018.
  3. ^ The following Japanese words are from Jim Breen's JMDict. Alternative references are listed here.
    • Heron (, sagi)
    • Frog (, kawazu / kaeru) RUT.org
    • Cow (, ushi) RUT.org
    • Sea bream / (red) snapper (, tai)
    • Butterfly (, chō) Rut.org
    • Butterfly (蝶々, chōchō) RUT.org
    • Seagull (, kamome)RUT.org
    • Leech (, hiru) RUT.org
  4. ^ "Satoshi Kon - Winner's Interview". Japan Media Arts Festival Awardees' Profile. Japan Media Arts Plaza. 2004. Archived from the original on December 11, 2005. Retrieved June 26, 2006.
  5. ^ 妄想代理人. Media Arts Database (in Japanese). Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved July 30, 2021.
  6. ^ "Paranoia Agent Official Website". Madman Entertainment. Archived from the original on July 19, 2010. Retrieved April 5, 2021.
  7. ^ Mcdonald, Christopher (March 25, 2005). "Upcoming Adult Swim Anime". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on February 12, 2007. Retrieved June 1, 2020.
  8. ^ "G4techTV Canada continues exclusive anime programming with six new concurrent series - More anime content offered than ever before!". G4TechTV. Toronto, Ontario. June 25, 2007. Archived from the original on September 11, 2007. Retrieved June 1, 2020.
  9. ^ "Paranoia Agent". MVM Films. Retrieved June 1, 2020.
  10. ^ "Satoshi Kon's Paranoia Agent to Stream Exclusively on Funimation, Blu-ray Coming this Year". Funimation. Funimation Global Group, LLC. February 3, 2020. Archived from the original on June 2, 2020. Retrieved February 3, 2020.
  11. ^ Sherman, Jennifer (February 3, 2020). "Funimation Exclusively Streams Satoshi Kon's Paranoia Agent Anime". Anime News Network. Retrieved February 6, 2020.
  12. ^ Pineda, Rafael Antonio (April 15, 2020). "Adult Swim's Toonami Brings Back Satoshi Kon's Paranoia Agent Anime on April 25". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on April 16, 2020. Retrieved April 16, 2020.
  13. ^ Cirone, David (August 6, 2020). "Paranoia Agent Steelbook Blu-ray announced for October 2020". J-Generation. Archived from the original on August 21, 2020. Retrieved August 13, 2020.
  14. ^ Mateo, Alex (August 16, 2020). "Funimation to Release Akira Film's Remaster on 4K Blu-ray Disc on December 22". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on September 16, 2020. Retrieved December 17, 2020.
  15. ^ Miska, Brad (December 16, 2009). "Takashi Shimizu Produces 'Paranoia Agent'". Bloody Disgusting!. Archived from the original on October 22, 2012. Retrieved December 17, 2020.
  16. ^ "Paranoia Agent: Season 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 17, 2020.
  17. ^ "PARANOIA AGENT | Jury Selections | Animation Division | 2004 [8th] Japan Media Arts Festival Archive". Japan Media Arts Festival. Retrieved August 23, 2022.
  18. ^ Solomon, Charles (February 9, 2005). "New Anime Series Come to DVD". NPR (Podcast). Retrieved December 17, 2020.
  19. ^ a b "Paranoia Agent: Season 1 - TV Reviews". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 17, 2020.
  20. ^ Powers, John (May 5, 2005). "Intrigue from Japan: 'Paranoia Agent'". NPR (Podcast). Retrieved December 17, 2020.
  21. ^ "Paranoia Agent Review". Empire. July 4, 2005. Archived from the original on August 6, 2020.
  22. ^ Bouchard, Jean-Luc (April 23, 2015). "How An Anime Series Helped Me Recognize My Depression". BuzzFeed. Archived from the original on April 23, 2015. Retrieved December 17, 2020.
  23. ^ Beckett, James (May 29, 2020). "REVIEW: Paranoia Agent". Anime News Network. Retrieved August 23, 2022.
  24. ^ Patrizio, Andy (May 20, 2012). "Paranoia Agent Volume 1: Enter Lil' Slugger". IGN. Archived from the original on August 6, 2020. Retrieved December 17, 2020.
  25. ^ Jones, Austin; Maher, John; Vilas-Boas, Eric; Egan, Toussaint; Sedghi, Sarra; Johnson II, Jarrod (June 30, 2020). "The 50 Best Anime Series of All Time". Paste. Archived from the original on April 18, 2020. Retrieved April 13, 2020.