In a nutshell: Don't
waste time reading the review...just buy it.
The third volume of Paranoia Agent takes a 90º turn from
the other volumes in the series. The narrative moves away from who
Li'l Slugger is, and focuses on how he has affected society. Sounds
dull doesn't it? Well it's not. This is the best volume so
far, and confirms that this is one of the most creative and truly bizarre,
not to mention the best shows, anime or otherwise, to make onto DVD.
When you think of suicide, the first thing that pops into your mind
is lots of laughs, right? If it's not, the first show on this
volume might change your mind. Three people on the internet have
formed a suicide club, and made a pact to kill themselves together.
The only problem is that they can't seem to accomplish the act. Like
Harold Lloyd in Haunted Spooks, every time they come up with a plan,
something goes comically awry. This is a wonderfully bizarre episode.
I found myself laughing out loud as a man jumps in front of a train, and
as people were trying to hang themselves. The best episode of the
series so far, with an inspired ending.
We find out Li'l Slugger has entered popular culture in the next show,
as four housewives stand around gossiping about the mysterious attacker.
Their tales get more and more outrageous as the show goes on, but are any
of them true?
Then the show takes a look at the high pressure world of anime production.
A studio has licensed Maromi and is creating a show based on the character,
but when the director quits, and production delays increase, tensions start
to flare and people get backed into corners. And that is just the
type of person that Li'l Slugger targets. Or does he?
Just when you think you know what is happening with the series, it throws
you for a loop. The theme for this volume is "what is real, and what
is imagined?" and it keeps you guessing throughout the volume. This
is an excellent series, and this volume in particular will be one to watch
again and again to pick up those little clues that are scattered throughout
giving you a hint as to what is really going on.
Like the show itself, this DVD has excellent production values.
The stereo tracks in Japanese and English both sounded full and clean without
any hiss or dropouts. I viewed half of the disc with each track,
and they were both excellent. From the lightest background effect
to the loudest outburst, this track reproduces the sounds faithfully.
The English dub is very good too. There are some studios that really
take care to produce a quality dub track, and one was used for this disc.
The voices sounded realistic, not high pitched or with phone accents.
They took a lot of pains to make sure that the audio matched the lip movements
on screen too. If you haven't heard a dub in the last few years,
you will probably be surprised at how good this one sounds.
The anamorphically enhanced widescreen video was also top quality.
The picture was very sharp, with the fine details easy to see. I
was really impressed with the amount of work that went into creating the
images for this show. From the reflection of someone looking through
a window to the ghost image on a TV screen this show had a level of detail
that is rarely seen in animation. This DVD reproduced it all without
a flaw. The contrast was also excellent, making night scenes dark
but not murky. The show used a wide color palate, with bright colored
clothes and dark dingy alleyways both seeming real. Digital defects
were practically nonexistent. A truly great looking DVD.
This disc comes with some nice bonus material, and an amusing animated
sequence before the extras menu. There are two art galleries, one
with character design sketches (40 in all) and another one with the cover
art for the Japanese release of the show (both retail and rental covers.)
I really wish they had included files so that you could print out the Japanese
covers, some of them were very cool.
There are also previews to three other Geneon DVDs.
With only one volume of this show left, it's anyone's guess how this
will turn out. Like Chris Tribbey mentioned in his review of volume
two, I too avoid reading reviews of this series before I've seen the
episodes. I'm afraid that someone will include spoilers, and I want
to enjoy trying to unravel this series by myself. This volume in
particular is like putting together a puzzle when you don't know what the
picture is supposed to be; you are surprised whenever you fit in a piece.
I'm still not sure what this particular series will be like when it's finished,
but the ride sure is a blast. DVDTalk Collector Series.