A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the main character in this dark anime series is a serial killer who appears as a young, school-aged boy on inline skates; his weapon is a bent baseball bat. He strikes and kills, leaving victims dead in puddles of blood. But perhaps even more chilling, the show is a psychological study of inner human drama, observing how people suffer from despair and fear -- some real, some not. With its dark humor and plotlines and its mix of realty and fantasy, this anime is better suited for adults (and even those well-versed in this genre might have some trouble getting it).
What's the story?
Each episode of PARANOIA AGENT features colorful characters who are facing both internal and external challenges. A common thread throughout the many tales is a serial killer named Lil' Slugger (known as \"Shonen Bat\" in Japanese and voiced by Jamie Gallardo in the English dub); episodes frequently end with the murder of the main character featured in that particular story. Overall, the series is a very dark look at how humans suffer physically, emotionally, and psychologically from the reactions of others, as well as from their own thoughts.
Is it any good?
Series creator Satoshi Kon has a huge following among adult anime fans, many of whom put Paranoia Agent high on their list of favorites. His adept use of visuals, dialogue, and plot to convey social commentary about people's everyday reactions to things like jobs, relationships, and internal battles often hits a nerve with grown-up viewers. But if your kid, tween, or young teen is an anime fan, this violent psychological drama isn't for them (it runs as part of Cartoon Network's late-night Adult Swim lineup for a reason). And since the storylines frequently move in and out of reality, even adult viewers may have a hard time distinguishing what's real and what's a dream, leaving the uninitiated with lots of unanswered questions.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the history of anime. How does it differ visually from traditional Western animation? What else distinguishes it as a genre? Also, what social commentary is the series making about people's reactions to everyday stress? Though it's very exaggerated on the show, how does this commentary relate to our everyday lives?