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Paranoia Agent: V.1 Enter Lil' Slugger (ep.1-4)

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Today Only: "Mad Max Anthology (4 Film Collection) [Blu-ray] (Bilingual)" for $25.99
For one day only: Mad Max Anthology (4 Film Collection) [Blu-ray] (Bilingual) is at a one day special price. Offer valid on July 27, 2016, applies only to purchases of products sold by, and does not apply to products sold by third-party merchants and other sellers through the site. Learn more.

Product Details

  • Directors: Satoshi Kon
  • Format: Dolby, Color, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC, Anamorphic
  • Language: English, Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Geneon
  • Release Date: Oct. 26 2004
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • ASIN: B0002IQHCU
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #110,044 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

Paranoia Agent - Enter Lil Slugger (Vol. 1)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Satoshi Kon certainly understands the anime medium. In this series, he brings us a disturbing story that questions the motives of fascinating characters who all appear to be avoiding responsibility for their actions. It is a powerful critical look at japanese society, that is also extremely relevant to our western approach of always trying to blame someone else for our personal failures. The intense story telling and some of the subject matter are very disquieting (a later episode in this series deals with group suicide). There are also violent scenes definitely not appropriate for children. This is a short series (4 DVD volumes) and we do get satisfying but disturbing closure at the end that pretty much wraps everything up. It's particularly fascinating if you've spent any time in Japan or if you know a bit about the country's 20th century history.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9ed6824c) out of 5 stars 20 reviews
34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e9fd0e4) out of 5 stars Utterly strange and absolutely brilliant May 9 2005
By Robert Moore - Published on
Format: DVD
By any standards, this is one of the most remarkable animated shows that has ever been produced. PARANOIA AGENT deals with a number of characters who are linked both in an odd chain of acquaintances and by being the victims of an attack by a juvenile on roller blades who unexpectedly strikes people with a bent metal baseball bat, called by the press Shouen Bat. The first disc introduces the viewer to five victims of Shouen Bat in four episodes entitled "Enter Li'l' Slugger," "The Golden Shoes," "Double Lips" and "A Man's Path." The opening credits of each episode, with an especially frenetic theme song (with the usual odd lyrics typical of anime) and dynamic animation, announces what a unique show this is.

The first episode deals with the first victim of Shouen Bat, a famous designer who has designed a pink dog that has brought her great fame and success. The trouble is that she is at a loss to repeat her success, and her boss is putting pressure on her to come up with a design that will be equally successful. Her story of a boy on roller blades who attacked her is greeted with some skepticism, until a seedy journalist who is harassing her for an interview is also attacked.

The second episode deals with a young boy who is an acquaintance with the designer. He fancies himself the coolest kid in school and the most popular, but one day he discovers that his popularity has plummeted because his roller blades and his skill in baseball have made many imagine that he is Shouen Bat. To make things worse, the overweight, brainy transfer student who is running against him for president of the student council (and who he imagines is behind the rumors) looks like he might win the election. Everyone except the young woman who works at the university and who serves as his tutor suspects him of being Shouen Bat. That is, they do until first his school nemesis and then he himself are both attacked.

The third episode is the best of the first four, an absolutely brilliant episode whose story would be worthy of Philip K. Dick. The tutor of the boy who is the fourth victim works during the day at the university, where a researcher has asked her to marry him, an offer she accepts. But at night her alter ego, Maria, emerges, and plies her trade as a prostitute. In Philip K. Dick's A SCANNER DARKLY, a police officer investigates a drug dealer who distributes an extraordinarily powerful drug whose primary side effect is to induce a profoundly split personality. Only gradually do we learn that the detective and the drug dealer are the same person. (A SCANNER DARKLY is currently being made into an animated film by Richard Linklater, who previously made the fascinating animated film WAKING LIFE, along with many live action films.) In the same way, the tutor and Maria are utterly disconnected from one another, though each is aware of the other's existence. In a succession of fascinating moments, the two leave messages for each other, throw away each other's clothes, and manage to undermine the other in various ways. She becomes the fifth victim of Shouen Bat.

The fourth episode follows the life of one of Maria's regular tricks, a crooked cop with a penchant for prostitutes, gambling, and drinking. A gangster in turns begins shaking him down, demanding more and more exorbitant amounts of cash from him, until the evening when he is attacked by Shouen Bat, but nonetheless manages to subdue and arrest him.

The creative force behind the show is Satoshi Kon, who was previously best known for PERFECT BLUE and MILLENIUM PRINCESS, but who in the future will probably be better known for PARANOIA AGENT. Those previous films were rightly considered significant innovations in anime, though I felt that both had some difficulties with narrative. The story here is much tighter and more coherently told than in either of those films, and represents a significant maturation of Kon as an artist. It is almost impossible to over praise the animation in this film. His characters possess little of the woodenness and derivativeness that afflicts so many anime characters, and he pays attention to foregrounds and backgrounds to an extreme fashion. For instance, you might have a shot over a cop's shoulder of a bar top, with an ashtray that is a perfect representation of just about any ashtray every seen. What is amazing, however, is that Kon does not allow the camera to linger over it. It is a perfect detail, marvelously drawn, but it exists to give the imagery depth. There are a host of marvelous touches in nearly every scene, many of them of shade and lighting, but many consisting merely in marvelously drawn images. He also achieves some superb framing of his shots. The tutor, for instance, might react with horror to see that the alter ego she has suppressed has reemerged. As she recoiled, the camera will jump from one angle to one shot from inside a recess looking out at her, with various make up and grooming items forming the foreground. In one superb shot, the crooked cop stands outside his station house, the camera moving at a turtle's pace behind his right shoulder. All in all, this is some of the best animation that one is ever likely to see.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xb6763084) out of 5 stars A genre-establishing masterwork June 13 2005
By Robert Parker - Published on
Format: DVD
If I had to describe this series in one sentence, it would be: think Twin Peaks as directed by Orson Welles. If I was asked to add a second sentence, it would be: I ordered the entire series before I had finished watching the first DVD.

Satoshi Kon's previous works Perfect Blue and Millenium Actress blur the distinctions between the real, the super-real, and the imaginary, often calling into question the meaning of the concept of what is truly "here" and truly "now." Paranoia Agent has a clearer narrative than his earlier cinematic works, but the question of what, if anything, is "real," remains unclear until the end of the series.

As cinema--and this series is of such caliber that it should be judged as, and discussed as, cinematic art--it is impeccable at every level. The "acting," if one can describe what the painted people do as "acting," is superb, and the life, hopes, fears, and private hells of each character are brought forth with an exquisite (and often heart-rending) truth. The layer upon layer of mise-en-scene'd nuance is mind-bogglingly complex upon analysis, but it is utterly invisible in the service of telling the story. It is expertly paced, with "comic relief" episodes appearing from time to time (which nonetheless still serve in the furtherance of the larger story arc), and the conclusion--nearly always the weakest moment in any anime series--may not be "satisfying" to all its viewers, but it is superbly crafted and expertly executed.

There are clear homages to Twin Peaks--an old man is alternately the Log Lady, the giant, and the dancing dwarf, and there are Badalamente-esque moments in the sound track--but it is far better thought through than Twin Peaks, and in many ways, more powerful.

I cannot recommend this series highly enough. The opening credits alone tell you that you're in for a very unusual ride. I would add the caution that this is for emotionally mature viewers only: not so much because of the alchohol and tobacco use (referenced in the Amazon review) and the occasional "adult situation," but because some of the central plot twists can be horrifyingly heartbreaking.

I predict that Paranoia Agent will be regarded as a genre-establishing masterwork. Just as "cyberpunk" is attached to works like Ghost in the Shell...I wonder what term will be attached to this new genre, which is at the same time fantastic yet immediate; surreal, yet utterly and poignantly human; unnerving, yet able to truly touch the heart?
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9eb08420) out of 5 stars There is anime and then there is Paranoia Agent Oct. 29 2004
By M. Hencke - Published on
Format: DVD
Satoshi Kon's (Perfect Blue, Millenium Actress, Tokyo Godfathers) anime television series Paranoia Agent starts out sooooo well there ought to be a law to be this amazing. And really the biggest problem I had with it is that they didn't put enough episodes on the disc. Which brings me to another issue...WHY THE HECK NOT? I mean there is no reason whatsoever that a brilliant show like this (truly brilliant) should be stretched out till January for us to get the next installment. I mean come on Madhouse, Geneon, whoever it is putting this thing out...This is one of the most addictive films I have ever seen and I have to wait months to see more of it? But back to the praise - The first four episodes are a masterpiece of style and substance. The animation will thrill you and the story will astound and provoke thought. Why can't more anime be like this? I don't want to give too much away but basically there is this kid named Lil' Slugger running around with a "golden" baseball bat that is having a more than interesting effect on the people around him that he has either attacked or...Well, that's all you're going to get out of me. The rest is up to you. This is a must own item that will impress, disturb and delight. BUT you will be angry there aren't more episodes on the disc so proceed withn caution.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f2fc4c8) out of 5 stars Shounen Bat vs. Lil' Slugger??? July 26 2004
By Mike Gordon - Published on
Format: DVD
When I saw this show for the first time, my intial thoughts were 'My God, can Satoshi Kon release anything that ISN'T gold???' A wonderful mixture of crazy, weird, and above all else, SMART storytelling propels this series along. (not to mention a big heaping dose of 'reality vs fiction' that is Kon's trademark) I'll leave other reviewers to toil with a synopsis.

My question is: Why on earth did Geneon feel they needed to change the name of the series' #1 badguy batboy, Shounen Bat, to the trite and ridiculous title of 'Lil' Slugger?' If they had just done it in the English voice dub, that would have been fine, but even the subtitles have been changed, so while you're hearing 'Shounen BAT' you're seeing 'Lil' Slugger.' I have to wonder if they will even properly interpret the animal symbology in the names of the characters...

If you can live with this change, check it out. This series will amaze you, astound you, and make you think. (and jump at the sound of approaching rollerblades!)
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f2fc624) out of 5 stars Best anime I've seen since Eva Sept. 12 2005
By Melkor - Published on
Format: DVD
This is the best anime I've seen since Evangellion. Like Eva, it is difficult to talk about this anime without giving away spoilers. Sorry if my review is a little cryptic, but I don't want to spoil the show for anyone.

For anime fans out there, if you like Eva and Serial Experiments: Lain, then you should like Paranoia Agent. It reminds me a lot of Lain, except with a better thought out plot and conclusion. It reminds me of Eva because there is so much symbolism that this is a show that you'll be able to watch many times and still not catch everything.

On the surface, the show is about an inline skater who hits helpless people on the head with his crooked golden baseball bat. Soon Tokyo, and then Japan, become fearful and fascinated with the assailer. Beneath the surface, the show is about paranoia. It's about the pressure of modern life, and the mythologies we build for ourselves. It's about distinguishing between victimizing and being victimized. It's about the excuses we make for our actions. It's about being trapped when our fantasy and reality come into conflict with each other. That's about as much as I can say without spoiling the show for you.

Paranoia Agent is not a show for everyone. The themes and storylines are very adult. This is a heavy show. It can almost be excruciating at time, with the stress and paranoia it tries to instill in the viewer. Some episodes deal with issues like prostitution and suicide (in other words, this isn't a show for kids). At the same time, P.A. has its lighthearted and dark comedic moments. Still, Maromi, the big headed pink dog, is just plane creepy.

If you enjoy intelligent and challenging entertainment, then please watch this show. I only listened to the Japanese language track with subtitles, so I can't tell you if the English dub is any good. The animation is gorgeous.