12/03/18: Paranoia Agent, 1x01
Fantastic so far, but what else would I expect from the late Satoshi Kon? Having already seen Paprika and Perfect Blue, I can say I’ve become familiar with not only his art style and animation techniques but his recurring themes and storytelling devices as well - a testament, really, to the brillancy of his mind, craft and legacy, that a casual student of film theory can learn to tune into the details and patterns from the sheer force of impact his works leave behind.
Keeping in mind the idea of reality and fiction blurring into psychogenic chaos, I’ll also juxtapose my viewing experience with that of the series I watched just before taking a go at Paranoia Agent: Devilman Crybaby. Quite clearly there are stark differences between them, and yet, 14 years apart, they dip into the frenzied subject of social contagion with the same critical eye and reproach of digital connectivity; but where Devilman weaves it through the threads of a coming-of-age story set to the backdrop of social media and Armageddon, Paranoia seems to be taking more time and effort swimming towards the deep end of its characters’ deteriorating psyches.
Devilman might have been created for the binge-obsessed consumer of today (yikes @ the pacing of the later half of the series), but Paranoia is a slow-burn psychological thriller whose mass hysteria isn’t underscored by vivid, vibrant and graphic colours and shots - and that’s fine! These two approaches are from two different times and places, but there’s as much a study to it as there is to its common motifs. I’ll be watching Paranoia once a week as suggested by a comment pointing out that it was how it was meant to be consumed, and I’m sure that’s enough to build up suspense while I stew over the implications of the individual episodes. I can also do some more readings about the themes I’ve caught onto so far, which are already a handful because of how Kon condenses information the only way visual poets know how to.