"When the darkness overcomes the heart, Little Slugger appears..." After the first victim's story, the police felt the overly stressed woman was having a breakdown and lied to cover-up for some crime. However, after the third and fourth attacks upon unrelated victims led to the same description of a young attacker with a golden baseball bat and in-line skates, the police had to wonder- is the "Lil' Slugger" real or a sinister phantom?
Dark, unsettling, and intriguing, Paranoia Agent
confirms Satoshi Kon's position as one of the most interesting directors currently working in Japan. A baseball bat-wielding adolescent randomly attacks five people in Tokyo, each of whom is grappling with a serious problem. Toy designer Tsukiko endures tremendous pressure to repeat her previous success; bottom-feeding journalist Kawazu desperately needs money. Popular sixth grader Yuuichi feels threatened by the new kid in his class, the dumpy nerd Usshi. Yuuichi's tutor Harumi is a compassionate scholar by day; at night, she becomes Maria, a sleazy hooker. The seemingly purposeless violence of Lil' Slugger (originally Shounen Bat
, literally "Bat Boy"), also disrupts the lives of police detectives Maniwa and Karino, and their corrupt boss Hirukawa. As he did in Perfect Blue
, Kon deliberately blurs the boundaries between reality and fantasy: Does Tsukikio's stuffed toy really talk to her? Which is Harumi's true personality? A noteworthy series from an important artist. (Rated 16 and older: violence, sexual situations, brief nudity, alcohol and tobacco use) --Charles Solomon