When a young, successful toy designer, suffering from creative
stress, claims she has been attacked by a baseball bat wielding
youth on rollerblades, her colleagues and the police suspect
it may just be a desperate plea for attention. However, subsequent
attacks on several more victims prove otherwise and soon Tokyo
is gripped by a form of collective hysteria. As the mystery
deepens, the police are forced to ask themselves if the so
called Lil' Slugger is real or just an imagined figment brought
on by the victims' paranoia...
the genius mind of Satoshi Kon, the visionary and award-winning
director responsible for the anime features Perfect Blue,
Tokyo Godfathers and Millennium
Actress, comes Paranoia Agent, a 13-episode
series which was previously released on four single DVDs.
MVW has packaged all four DVDs in a box and knocked them out
at the bargain price of £40.
a bizarre collection of tales set in Tokyo. Each episode centres
on a different character and as the series progresses we see
how their very different lives are intertwined.
four episodes on disc one revolve around a toy designer who
is suffering from a creative block; a young and popular schoolboy
who suddenly sees his popularity take a dive over night; a
woman with a dual personality (she works in the local school
by day and is a high class prostitute by night); and a bent
police officer who becomes a masked mugger in order to pay
off his blackmailer.
include a brief interview with the show's director Satoshi
Kon, a multi-angle storyboard-to-screen comparison and some
trailers for other releases.
features episodes five to seven (The Holy Warrior;
Fear Of A Direct Hit; and MHZ) and introduces
several more characters and deepening the intrigue as Detectives
Keiichi Ikari and Mitsuhiro Manwa continue their investigations
into the Lil' Slugger attacks. New
characters include a Japanese school girl, who hides a chilling
secret from the world, as well as a strange old lady who seems
to know more than she's letting on. There
are some fantastically funny moments on disc two, and I loved
the way that the main Lil' Slugger suspect is convinced that
he's on a holy quest to rid the world of monsters.
are very thin on the ground and only include the opening and
closing credits without the actual credits scrolling up the
screen, and some trailers.
the third disc:
Happy Family Planning, three people who have been conversing
in an Internet chatroom plan to meet up and commit suicide.
They don't know each other's real names, only their chatroom
names. So when Fuyubachi, an old man and Zebra, a young man
are awaiting the arrival of Kamome, they are a little unnerved
to find that the third person in this suicide pact is a cute
11-year-old girl. After a big adventure going from Tokyo to
the countryside, they encounter Lil' Slugger at a hot spring.
episode is one of the best in the series. The three characters
we are introduced to seem to have the worst luck in the world.
Every time they attempt to kill themselves, something or someone
intervenes to stop them. Or do they? This is one of those
episodes that you need to watch more than once in order to
pick up the subtle references as to what is really going on.
There are clues early on as to what is happening... Why is
it that Zebra sees the suicide victim who dives in front of
the train, after he is supposedly already mangled under the
was that an audio homage I heard to the Peanut's Snoopy
show? I'm sure that in the scene where the three main characters
are travelling through the countryside by train, that someone
gave a nod to the work of Vince Guaraldi. A
very deep and intelligently constructed episode, as well as
one of the more humorous.
After hearing of the incident in Happy Family Planning,
several women share rumours related to Lil' Slugger, most
of which are farfetched. However, one of the women, a newcomer
to the area, is having a hard time impressing the other women
with her stories...
tale is rather silly - especially when compared to the previous
episode. It's really nothing more than a collection of urban
myths, with Lil' Slugger at the centre of each tale. There
is a twist though, but this is a little predictable.
Mellow Maromi, Maromi (the
cute little dog creation that is sweeping Japan by storm)
is getting her very own anime. Unfortunately the staff start
to fall behind as the deadline approaches. The delays are
made worse as each member of the production team ends up the
victim of various accidents that put them in the hospital
or the morgue...
episode is by far the weirdest to date - and certainly the
hardest to follow. Why is Lil' Slugger behind each attack?
And what is his problem with Maromi? Yes, in case you hadn't
been paying attention over the previous episodes, Mellow
Maromi shoves the fact down your throat: That Maromi is
tied in to every victim (for example in Happy Family Planning
it was the fact that the three suicide pact members had all
agreed to wear Maromi backpacks so that they would recognise
one another. So, what does Maromi have to do with everything
that is going on? All will be revealed (hopefully) in the
next three episodes on the fourth, and final, disc.
extras are pretty thin on the ground. All we get are Japanese
cover art; character art, trailers and DVD credits.
four opens with Entry Forbidden. Keiichi Ikari has
started work as a guard at a construction site. He recognises
one of his new colleagues as a man he put in prison years
before. Later Ikari starts to reminisce about how great the
world was when he was younger, and before he knows it he has
entered a strange two-dimensional world where everything is
perfect. Meanwhile Keiichi's wife, Misae, returns home to
find Lil' Slugger waiting for her. As he is about to attack
her she starts to unburden her past troubles, as well as her
incurable illness. It soon becomes apparent that Lil' Slugger
can only attack those that are weak and have given up all
hope. Any signs of a strong personality and he starts to get
weak - he feeds off people's weaknesses and their paranoia.
Misae realises that Lil' Slugger's doesn't really exist and
that he is merely an illusion. Furious that he has been rumbled,
Lil' Slugger vanishes.
Man: After an encounter with Lil' Slugger, Mitsuhiro Maniwa
asks the strange old man for advice. The old man dies after
mentioning something about a rabbit. Maniwa turns up at the
Ikari house to find that Lil' Slugger and Maromi are one and
the same. Digging around, he discovers that an incident that
is very similar to the recent spate of Lil' Slugger attacks
occurred ten years previously. What's stranger is that the
victim was Tsukiko Sagi, the creator of Maromi. Maniwa tracks
down Sagi's father and discovers the truth behind the attack.
Final Episode, Keiichi is still living in the strange
two-dimensional world. He realises that this world is a product
of his imagination and starts to destroy it. Meanwhile a huge
formless cloud starts to engulf Tokyo. The cloud is the new
manifestation of Lil' Slugger. Maniwa is all that stands in
the way of Lil' Slugger's plans - as he believes he has a
weapon that should destroy Lil' Slugger once and for all.
Episode doesn't clear that much up, and it doesn't make
that much sense either - almost as thought the writer ran
out of ideas and thought: "I know. I'll end it without
explaining everything and then I'll look like a genius."
You may come to this conclusion, or you may feel cheated.
are a little healthier than the previous discs in this collection.
This time we get audio commentaries with Satoshi Kon (creator
and director), Seishi Minakami (script writer), and
Satoki Toyoda (producer) on all episodes, as well as trailers
for other releases.
audio commentaries are interesting. They reveal that the opening
credits are not supposed to mean anything at all - despite
the fact that there are Internet chatrooms filled with theories
on what all the segments mean. It was also interesting to
discover that this show was originally broadcast late at night
and the reason why the opening title music is so manic and
the closing sequence music is so mellow is down to the fact
that they wanted the opening sequence to wake the audience
up and the closing titles to prepare them for going to sleep.
the end of the day this is going to divide those that have
sat through the entire series. Some will believe it to be
a stroke of genius to leave everything so unresolved, while
others will feel cheated. Personally I did feel slightly short
changed, but then I also thought that the reveal of how Lil'
Slugger was originally created was a little unoriginal. I
also couldn't help thinking of Akira
in the scenes in Final Episode where Lil' Slugger is
on balance, this is an enjoyable collection of stories. Well
worth £40 of anyone's money.
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