Posts Tagged ‘detective’

I used to think I had seen all the series in the world that had sucky endings. Then I saw Paranoia Agent. Let me cut to the chase: this series is not worth watching, because the ending is not an ending. It purposefully leaves many things unsolved, and then tries to make this deep symbolic statement about it, which really does nothing except make excuses for a poorly-plotted series. The mechanics of the writing suck. You don’t make people wait through thirteen episodes and then tell them that you’re not going to wrap things up!

So, why did I watch this at all? Why did I persevere in the face of profanities, blasphemies, paper-thin characterization, and authorial self-indulgence? Basically because Paranoia Agent was written by the same person that wrote Boogiepop Phantom, which I thought, at some level was captivating. Here’s a warning: if you also enjoyed that show, you won’t enjoy this. It features the same basic themes, and the same infatuation with detectives, but it’s done half as well.

Take the title. There really is no paranoia agent ever shown in the entire story; it can’t be Shonen Bat, because Shonen Bat is born as an excuse by a young girl whose dog was accidentally run over. Yes, you read that right. And even the series admits the whole silliness/stupidity of its central character by admitting that it’s a crazy world where the guilt over a dead dog murders about a hundred people before going on a citywide genocidal rampage. Uh, yeah. The dramatic tension becomes an emotional black hole at that point.

And don’t get me started on how tenuously the characters are tied together, because there’s nothing that unites them at all. The police can’t figure it out, really, other than stating very casual, surface-level links — but that’s all you get. Wow, how meaningful!

The rest of the series features strong profanity (most of which is a mistranslation), porno, filler episodes (8 and 9). Paranoia Agent adds up to nothing meaningful. It is a waste of time; it is a waste of mental effort; don’t respect a series by watching it, if the series does not respect you.

Welcome to the graveyard, Paranoia Agent!

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Otome Yokai Zakuro is a late 1800’s-to-turn of the century series that explores the synergy of the then-modern army and the Japanese spirit world in the creation of the Department of Spirit Affairs. A handful of soldiers are assigned to work with a group of half-spirits under the tuttelage of two full spirits. The half-spirits are female, the soldiers, male, and with the social ostrechization that the half-spirits face, you’ve got all the elements of this series on your plate.

Early on the plots are better, and the series peters out towards the end. Still, the character interplay and the romance keeps things watchable, especially since the romance isn’t easy for any of the characters. There are no great themes here, unfortunately, but trash is virtually nonexistent. A few episodes are interesting and show the direction the series could have taken towards greatness, but it somehow, never really caught fire. Too bad. Anyhow, Otome Yokai Zakuro is alright; it might be worth watching, but it’ll never be translated. Here’s the OO short guide.

1 – Good, although kinda stereotypical. Still, it’s pure-hearted, innocent fun with a dash of the bizarre and disturbing.
2 – Just ok. Nothing objectionable, but the plot is just weak and the whole spiritism is overmuch.
* 3 – Very good. There’s a bit of sickness towards the middle-end that’s a bit much, but there’s no gore. Character development.
* 4 – Another good one. Touching. Character development.
5 – Ok
6- Just ok. A slower-paced one. Some things don’t make sense.
7 – Ok. Mostly standalone.
8 – Half and half. It starts out low-key and gets better as it goes; the ending is eerie and interesting.
9 – Ok
* 10 – Good, the ending is a cliffhanger. Gets weird and a little freaky.
11 – Mostly a connecting episode. The actual plot is classic but lame. Things are getting sewn up.
12 – Cheesy! What happened, folks? The plot threads come together, but at maximum cheese factor.
13 – It ends ok; everything is tied up, but it’s just too cheesy in places. The final two minutes are well-done, though.

A few FS groups did this series, but ReinWeiss did the best job (towards the end, I think Underwater did a few episodes). It’s too bad that ReinWeiss doesn’t have a blog, as ordinarily I’d link them. Anyhow, grab the series while you can from the torrent hole of your choice.

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