Thursday, January 12, 2012

Animazing #1

I'm a big fan of anime, and I've seen a lot of it in my time. Some of it good, some of it bad... Some of it so bad that I have to instantly forget whatever it was I just saw because it was too awful...

But usually, I tend to watch the good stuff.

With this new series I'm making, "Animazing", I hope to highlight not only a specific series, but also moments from that series that too it to the next level. Moments that made me say "wow!" or welt up with pride or joy, or just plain made me tear up in sadness. True moments that set it apart from other series out there that are doing good, but never reached that level of openness or exuberance.

Today's series is Satoshi Kon's genre-defying, psychological masterpiece...

When one thinks of a movie that scares them, it's usually not the scare itself that drives us to turn away in fear. The suspense of the situation is usually just as frightening as the scare itself. With Paranoia Agent the suspense is not only the purpose, it's also the reason. It's in the title, after all.

While a first glance at this series might make you assume that it's about a person going around whacking people with a bat, the show acts as a rabbit hole that invites you in and throws all notions of what is real out the door. Satoshi Kon had always been at one with the genre of suspense and paranoia with almost all of his works, and Paranoia Agent acts as a sort of homage to nearly every single one of his theatrical works. Elements of 'Perfect Blue', 'Paprika' and 'Millennium Actress' show their face's at various points throughout the series.

But I'm not here to spoil the series. I'm here to tell you about my favorite moment in the series. The moment that made me wonder "who wrote this and why are they not writing much, much more?!?"

Paranoia Agent - Episode Eight - "Happy Family Planning"

The exploits of three people who just wanna kill themselves

I don't want to spoil to much of this episode, but I will give you a basic rundown. Three people form a suicide pact and meet in public. The two men meet up and are waiting for the last person. When she shows up, the are shocked to find that it's a little girl. At first they try to ditch the girl, but she always stays one step behind them.

The episode goes through various techniques of suicide that they heard about online from another suicidal member of their chat-room.While they attempt a great many (pills, jumping in front of a train, etc.) they fail at each one, leading them to go out of the city and into the countryside. They try to commit suicide again in the woods, all the while trying to lose or save the girl from committing suicide herself.

This episode alone is one of the more powerful in the series, and yet it has nothing to do with any member of the main cast (well, except for a cameo from one person). It tells an interesting, taboo story about three people and the hardships they face trying to kill themselves in a light, entertaining and amazingly simple way. It tells you more about each characters in a few minutes than a novel would tell you in a full chapter, all while only using visuals and the few lines spoken throughout the episode.

Paranoia Agent is a fantastic, amazing, psychological nightmare of a TV show that is worth the time of nearly anyone. While I only touched on one moment I thought to be truly remarkable, there are several alone from this series that immediately spring to mind that I would love to comment on.

But maybe I'll save those for another time.

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