Paranoia Agent

Common Sense Media says

Dark humor + bloody visuals = not for young teens.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

The show exaggerates people's weaknesses, particularly those demonstrating power.


Frequent, severe animated violence. Many are bludgeoned and killed. One episode centered on Internet suicide pacts. Also, characters physically and verbally attack each other.


Depends on the episode. At least one features a woman with dissociative identity disorder who has a prostitute alter ego.


Not much swearing, but definite name-calling -- "scum," "fool," and "monkey-brain" are typical.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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).

Parents say

Kids say

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.

Families can talk 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?

TV details

Cast:Carrie Savage, Jamie Gallardo, Michelle Ruff
Network:Cartoon Network
Genre:Science Fiction
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD

This review of Paranoia Agent was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 17 years old Written byYdoUask April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
Adult Written byJohann7 September 1, 2011

Bizarre, moderately disturbing, worth watching for genre fans

A thoroughly surreal postmodern anime series that explores reality as a function of consciousness, and the implications that this holds for a contemporary society that is in some ways deeply dysfunctional (e.g. the pressures of the capital marketplace, the results of antisocial or violent ways in which some people treat others). The story line is intensely cerebral and may be anywhere from mildly to seriously disturbing, depending on the viewer and episode. There is a considerable amount of violence, though most is implied and not shown on-screen. A couple of episodes deal with sexual assault and exploitation, and violent assault, self-harm, and externalized guilt are recurring themes. I recommend it for fans of anime, postmodern fiction, and Nihilism.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Teen, 16 years old Written bySamurai 2.0 May 6, 2011

A great anime acid trip.

This show's crazy. You'll need to really focus to understand half of it. Tweens and up, some violence, swearing (though the harder swears are muted).


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