Paranoia Agent Series Review


Tsukiko Sagi, a timid character designer, is the victim of a street assault. The perpetrator takes on urban legend status known as Shounen Bat. As the story spreads and more victims are found, paranoia sets in and the bonds between people begin to break.


This is one of those anime that you just should watch if you want a straight forward story. The first time I watched this series I spent the majority of it wondering just what was happening and even when it became clear, the ending kind of makes no sense unless you suspend most of your logical thought processes (okay, that might be going a bit far because thematically it ends very well, it just doesn’t end in a way that could be considered realistic).


With that said, it is basically impossible to review the plot of this anime without giving away things that need to be kept in the dark in order for the story to work the way it is supposed to, so I’m just going to leave it with the overview. Timid girl goes to hospital after an assault. Detectives try to figure out what happened. Meanwhile the rumour mill goes crazy. Soon everybody else is going a bit crazy. Everything else, you will just have to watch it to find out. The plot isn’t ridiculously complicated, but they do deliberately keep the audience in  the dark and you can’t really trust a lot of what the characters are saying at times. You will probably figure out what’s going on about mid-way along but even then you won’t be sure until the end.

I also can’t really review the characters without telling you things that you really need to find out at the time when they are revealed. The characters are mostly horrible human beings, but they are intriguing. There’s quite a bit of enjoyment to be found in getting to know the characters here, even if you hate them. And the intricate ways that all the characters are connected through the events in the story are quite interesting


Visually, I really didn’t like the character designs in this show. I also found the backgrounds a bit… lacking. I particularly found the pink mascot character off-putting. I kind of get that it’s supposed to be a little bit off-putting but it is quite the distractor. The male characters are particularly ugly at times (and I get that not every character in a story needs to be a pretty boy and that some of these characters are repulsive because you are supposed to be repulsed, but there was really no-one who even looked just kind of like a boring, average Joe).


The opening is fantastic. It’s full of energy and it is visually really interesting. It doesn’t really tell you anything about the show (or at least nothing that will make sense until you’ve already watched it) but it was definitely my favourite part of most episodes. Even on a second or third viewing of this series I still watch the opening.

I really do recommend Paranoia Agent to people who have watched a lot of anime and don’t mind things that aren’t so straight forward. To new comers, this one is probably going to throw you so maybe leave it for now.

What are your thoughts on Paranoia Agent?


13 thoughts on “Paranoia Agent Series Review

  1. I recommend it too. I’ve seen it a few years ago and I have fond memories of it. Should you like something more serious, I’d recommend Box of Goblins

  2. I’ve yet to watch this one, even if it does top my to watch list, but it seems to me that the breakdown of realism and logical narrative could itself be to parallel the often illogical nature of paranoia and anxiety. I’m even more excited about watching it now ^^

  3. Paranoia Agent has been at the top of my PTW list for a good while now and is probably within the next 2 or 3 shows I watch so I’m looking forward to it. It sounds like a difficult show to review given all the stuff you have to keep in the dark so respect to you on that front haha. I’m going in expecting Satoshi Kon and from what you’ve written I’m likely to get what I came for. Thanks for the review!

  4. I love Satoshi Kon’s work, and this one was no exception. The surreal world, not being able to tell where reality ends and delusions begin, and characters slowly descending to madness were all great to watch! I think the show touches on some social commentary as well, like how rumor is more powerful than truth and how work can push the workers over the edge and so on. A lot of the characters are quite… disturbed, hell, one made on to my Top 10 worst Dads list. I think the most memorable character for me was the nice teacher who had a double life. All in all, I liked a lot! Great review!

  5. This show and Paprika are the only ones I remember sending me on a ‘trippy’ experience. Maybe I should rewatch them to get a better feel of the ‘logic’ behind it all. I definitely enjoyed them when I first watched them though.

    1. It’s had really to remember what Paranoia agent is about after watching it. You remember more how the experience felt than the details.

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