Anime Club: Paranoia Agent

Hello everybody! For this week’s anime club we have the fantastically weird Paranoia Agent.

PARANOIA AGENT

Paranoia_Agent

CREATED BY: Satoshi Kon

NO. OF EPISODES: 13

GENRE: Psychological Thriller, Psychological Horror, Mystery, Satire

YEAR: 2004

COUNTRY: Japan

Tsukiko Sagi, a shy character designer who created the immensely popular pink dog Maromi, finds herself under pressure to repeat her success. As she walks home that night, she is attacked by an elementary school boy on inline skates. Two police detectives, Keiichi Ikari and Mitsuhiro Maniwa, are assigned to the case. They suspect that Tsukiko is lying about the attack, until they receive word of a second victim.

968full-paranoia-agent-screenshotSoon the attacker, dubbed Lil’ Slugger is blamed for a series of street assaults in Tokyo. None of the victims can recall the boy’s face and only three distinct details are left in their memories: golden inline skates, a baseball cap, and the weapon: a bent golden baseball bat. Ikari and Maniwa set out to track down the perpetrator and put an end to his crimes. Their hunt is unsuccessful, however, and the investigation eventually leads to both men losing their positions as police detectives.

I was absolutely thrilled to discover that Satoshi Kon actually developed a series rather than just a film. I was actually not sure what to think going into Paranoia Agent, as I actually had heard mixed reception. I want to say though, I was definitely not disappointed. For an older anime, which I consider anything over 10 years old, the anime style is done so well that I couldn’t be disappointed. The story is interesting enough to keep me attentive, but I didn’t think I wouldn’t be interested otherwise.24

Even though I am a huge fan of Satoshi Kon, Paranoia Agent is definitely not without fault. The pacing was incredibly slow starting out, and it took me a couple of episodes to get into the series. There were also a handful of episodes that I thought could easily have been cut. There were only a few filler episodes those.

PROS:

  • Satoshi Kon.
  • Animation style.
  • Interesting story.

CONS:

  • Pacing.
  • Filler episodes.

SCORE: 8.0 / 10

If you have any suggestions for films/TV/Games/Music/Anime for me to review, drop me a comment!

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Anime Club: Death Parade

Hello everybody! For this week’s anime club we have the life and death judgement of Death Parade.

DEATH PARADE

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CREATED BY: Yuzuru Tachikawa

NO. OF EPISODES: 12, 1 short film

GENRE: Drama, Mystery, Psychological Thriller

YEAR: 2013, 2015

COUNTRY: Japan

Whenever two people on Earth die at the same time, they are sent to one of many mysterious bars run by bartenders serving as arbiters. There, they must participate in Death Games with their lives on the line, the results of which reveal what secrets led them to their situation and what their fate will be afterwards, with the arbiters judging if their souls will either be sent for reincarnation or banished into the void. The series follows Decim, the lone bartender of the Quindecim bar, whose role in judging these souls changes when he meets a curious black-haired woman.

death-paradeI have to say, it has been a very long time since I have been enthralled with a new, I would say post 2011. anime series. I came across Death Parade while doing some research for a Watchmojo anime list, and the premise enthralled me. Death Parade has some relatively unique characters, much like the main bartender Decim, who are essentially mannequins that have been given life to judge others. In order to judge properly, Decim is given human emotions and it allows an analysis of the grey area of morality. Many of the Death Games that are played are fun to watch, as they are based on casual bar games and range from gruesome darts to casual Old Maid.death-parade-2

Unfortunately, there is obviously no way that Death Parade is perfect. The pacing varies from time to time, and the built up anticipation during the Death Games is immediately erased afterward. Death Parade is a very character driven show, but it would be nice to have a more interesting larger plot. I mean, it is interesting enough for twelve episodes, but we need more Death Parade.

PROS:

  •  Interesting premise.
  • Unique characters.
  • Analysis of morality.
  • Death Games.

CONS:

  • Pacing.
  • Needs a more interesting larger plot.

SCORE: 9.0 / 10

If you have any suggestions for films/TV/Games/Music/Anime for me to review, drop me a comment!

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Hemlock Grove

Hello Everybody! On Today’s new movie/tv show, we have Netflix’s Hemlock Grove.

HEMLOCK GROVE

Hemlock-Grove_keyart

DIRECTOR: Brian McGreevy

STARRING: Famke Janssen, Bill Skarsgård, Landon Liboiron, Penelope Mitchell, Freya Tingley, Dougray Scott, Tiio Horn, Joel de la Fuente

GENRE: Horror, Thriller, Drama, Supernatural drama, Mystery

NO. OF EPISODES: 23 Episodes, 2 Seasons

YEAR: 2013-

COUNTRY: United States

The series is set in the town of Hemlock Grove, Pennsylvania. The town is a mixture of extreme wealth and poverty, as the closing of the town’s steel mill many years earlier caused many to lose their jobs. The town’s main sources of employment are now the Godfrey Institute for Biomedical Technologies and Hemlock Acres Hospital. Heading the Institute – which is rumored to conduct sinister experiments on a daily basis – is the imposing Olivia Godfrey (Famke Janssen), while Hemlock Acres’ lead psychiatrist is Olivia’s dead husband’s brother, Dr. Norman Godfrey (Dougray Scott).

As season one opens, the town’s rumor mill turns even more twisted, as two teenage girls are brutally killed and their bodies left for unsuspecting people to find the next day. Peter Rumancek (Landon Liboiron) a 17-year-old roma boy, is suspected of the crimes by some of the townsfolk; he is also rumored to be a werewolf. While secretly he is a werewolf, he is not the killer, and, along with the heir to the Godfrey estate, the troubled Roman Godfrey (Bill Skarsgård), he sets out to solve the mystery.hemlock-grove_0

Rounding out the main cast of characters of the first season are Norman’s daughter and Roman’s cousin, the beautiful, pregnant, Letha Godfrey (Penelope Mitchell) who claims the father of her unborn child is an angel from Heaven, and Christina Wendall (Freya Tingley), a lonely girl who becomes interested in Peter.

For season two, two former supporting characters were promoted to the main cast of characters: Peter’s con-artist older cousin Destiny (Tiio Horn), who makes her living as a psychic medium, and Dr. Johann Pryce (Joel de la Fuente), the lead scientist of the Godfrey Institute, a brilliant but ruthless man of science, gifted with super-strength. A cult has arisen that is bent on destroying the supernatural creatures in Hemlock Grove by any means necessary. To make matters worse, both Peter and Roman struggle with their nature, as Peter risks becoming the same killer from the first season and Roman, after his full immersion with his true nature in the first season, has developed an insatiable hunger to kill. As they fight their enemies and deal with their situations, they must also deal with the monsters they are becoming, or have already become.

The new episodes are mediocre in terms of plot and character development, but they’re also consistently paced, and no longer bogged down by exposition: They smooth out the rough edges, avoid anything too strange, and minimize the slow, pondering moments of faux-profundity. This sort of stylistic reboot is a blessing and a curse, as it makes the series easier to watch on an episode-to-episode basis, but it also fails to compel you to continue.

hemlock-grove

Hemlock Grove, unfortunately, is absolutely dreadful. The Roth-directed drama is an almost unwatchable muddle of horror tropes and painfully creaky dialogue. The show is set in an eerie Pennsylvania town that is equal parts Twin Peaks;Twilight’s Forks, Washington; and Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Sunnydale. The brutal murder of a high school student puts the entire town on edge, particularly since it appears that she was ripped apart by a wild animal while en route to a lesbian encounter with her teacher.

PROS:

  •  Rip off of Twin Peaks done right.
  • Some decent attempts at acting.

CONS:

  •  Sluggish.
  • Not interesting.
  • True Bloods wannabe.
  • Horrible direction.

SCORE: 4.0 / 10

If you have any suggestions for films/TV/Games/Music/Anime for me to review, drop me a comment!

Remember: Like Media In Review @ https://www.facebook.com/MediaInReview?ref=hl Follow Media in Review @ https://twitter.com/Media_In_Review.

All check out my lengthier video game reviews over at Nerd Bacon Games.