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Paranoia Agent

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3.733 out of 5 from 10,567 votes
Rank #1,191


In the streets of Tokyo, a new menace has surfaced: Shounen Bat, a young boy who wears golden roller skates and a baseball cap, and likes to whack people on the head with a golden baseball bat. These seemingly unconnected and random attacks soon become a police investigation... but after all is said and done, is there a pattern to this chaos?

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Name Role
Masashi ANDO Character Design
Satoshi KON Director
Susumu HIRASAWA Music
Satoshi KON Original Anime Creator

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Official Editorial Reviews

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Paranoia Agent sothis 9.5/10 Aug 6, 2005

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Paranoia Agent theSentinel 3/10 Jan 6, 2014
Paranoia Agent WeirdPerson 8/10 Dec 17, 2013
Paranoia Agent FullmetalCowboy24 9.5/10 Dec 1, 2013
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Boogiepop Phantom

Boogiepop Phantom

Strange things have been happening at a local high school... mysterious disappearances, strange powers and brutal murders all emerge amongst kids who, up till now, have been perfectly normal. Even the Shinigami (Angel of Death) herself has been sighted. What's happening? The answers lie in the mysterious creature known as Boogiepop...

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Like shows that make you think? Boogiepop Phantom and Paranoia Agent are sure to please. While Paranoia Agent is admittedly a tad bit brighter in tone, both will have you confused and wanting to know more with each episode. In addition, both have a strategy of only explaining a little in each episode, which builds up the suspense. Fantastic shows, if you like one you'd like the other.


Although the color palettes for Boogiepop Phantom and Paranoia Agent are about as different as you can get, the rest of the shows are very similar. Both revolve around deeply disturbed characters who descend completely into madness thanks to a mysterious catalytic force (Boogiepop for BP, Shounen Bat for PA). While PA sports a rather dark sense of humor that BP lacks, both are in the end endearingly trippy animes that will be enjoyed by anyone looking for a dense, creative, and mindwarping plot.

Into very strange dark and deep shows? Then either one of these will quench your thirst for the unimaginable. Both of them seem to be going in all kinds of different directions all at once but they come together very well in the end, leaving you with some strange thoughts and feelings....
"Paranoia Agent" and "Boogiepop Phantom" have a remarkably similar feel to them. This maybe shouldn't come as a surprise, since the scripts were written by the same person. If you like mysterios and unpredictable plots that have a slight out-of-this-world feel to them then both these series will be of interest to you. BP is the darker of the two, whereas PA even sports some humour - even if it's mostly morbid humour.
Urban legends are the background subject of both Paranoia Agent and Boogiepop, the moving force behind the characters. Both shows have a quite similar way of storytelling, changing focus from one character to other and other again in sucessive episodes, and a dark aura of mistery and despair. Yes, Paranoia Agent tones are brighter, it has more humour and a somewhat less confused (and a bit dumber) story, when compared to Boogiepop, still both are a certain match for each other.

Both Boogiepop and Paranoia Agent have a dark and mysterious feeling. Designed to make the viewer think, you can never know what to expect.


These series are about people on the edge and how everyone can be driven to psychological collapse if enough pressure is added. Boogiepop Phantom is extremely confusing for the most part and demands constant attention from the viewer, while PA is as odd and requires some analysis to be fully comprehended. A dark atmosphere pervades both efforts; in Paranoia Agent it is edgy and at times quirky, while in BP it remains somber and moody through and through. Both deal with the effects of self delusion taken to the extreme of alienation and conflict.


Paranoia Agent and Boogiepop Phantom are dark, mysterious, and deal with several characters that all have real life problems amplified by a paranormal activity. Both series will make you think and keep you guessing on what will happen next until the very end.


Both Paranoia Agent and Boogiepop Phantom are dark - bordering on spooky - and have very complex storylines that require the utmost attention; you've got to pay attention to the details. If that's your thing, then you will love these.


Paranoia Agen's psycho drama may come across as slightly contrived, and its story not quite perfectly paced for a full TV series, containing several fillers that mean little in the grand scheme. Still, it is the closest thing to Boogiepop I have found. The plots of both, be it the subplot of an episode or the larger plotline of the whole series, seem to get the right amount of attention, making them easy to watch and not quite as character dependent as other psycho dramas. While insightful might be stretching it, Boogiepop and Paranoia Agent do manage to provide quite a bit of food for thought about the needs and desires of the human heart while retaining that psychological flare that has developed into such a great niche.


Though the two shows look very different, they use many of the same dramatic techniques; carefully releasing information to keep you guessing, overlapping stories that are deeply connected without appearing to do so, and just plain messing with the viewers head to deliberately mislead and confuse. Both are also highly critical of modern society, but strangely hopeful in its closing moments.


Both series feature gritty little urban tales with interesting (to say the very least) characters. Both have a very black sense of humour, although Boogiepop is so dark in tone that the humour may be hard to see...The series are also metaphorical in very similar ways.

Both shows are also great if you are looking for somewhat unconventional ways of storytelling. Boogiepop is very confusing because of its multiple time frames (and plain character designs), and the plot is revealed through the eyes of minor characters. Paranoia Agent is notably easier to understand, but again the focus constantly leaps between different characters and places. If you loved one of these, you'll probably love the other.


Both series are very hard to describe fully and hard to really compare to any other series. However, they both are easily the closest thing to the other there is. Both are mystery, suspense, supernatural, and quite possibly some of the most unique and ahead of it's time, anime's ever made. While one tells the tale of a boy on roller skates, attacking random people with a golden bat, the other tells the tale of high school students who are involved in murders told from several different perspectives. The starting stories and scenes in the anime however are only a set up for some of the most intense, smart, and memorable stories ever told!


Boogiepop Phantom and Paranoia Agent share a greate number of things. It would be difficult to list all of them, so I'll limit myself to two. First, a big number of similar themes appear in both anime. The other thing is that those are both mindf**k series (but PA is less confusing and does make some sense). If you liked one of those showes, then you may try watching the other (just keep in mind that Boogiepop Phantom isn't as good as Paranoia Agent).


If you are into crazy mind numbing cyberpunk type shows this is a great show to watch as well!


Both these series deal with a mysterious entity which haunts people. Both the stories are about investigations about this dark presence and the effects that it has on people's minds.

While Boogiepop Phantom is more horror and serious, Paranoia Agent has also comedy elements, but they share the same atmosphere.


Paranoia Agent and Boogiepop Phantom are both very abstract and will make you think. They share a very dark and heavy atmoshpere that is full of tension and paranoia. Aside from the overarching plots both show take time to delve into the human psyche and explore the dark side of human nature.


While Boogiepop Phantom has a darker color scheme than the much lighter Paranoia Agent both series are the same in that each have a good amount of suspense in each and only offer up a little bit of an explaination in each episode.  Though Paranoia Agent has a more of a dark humor to it they both have plots that look it the human mind and why we do what we do.  With both having a story that will keep the viewer confused and wanting to know more if you liked one then you'll like the other.


Both skrew with your mind and have a dark side to them. even at the end you will be wondering what the heck happened. it took me a few watches with both  to be able to understand what was going on.


Both have a constant mysterious air going all through out them. If you like seeing shows that will mess with your preception then both of these shows are for you! I think Paranoia Agent is the better one but the argument could be made for Boogiepop being superior.

Perfect Blue

Perfect Blue
  • Movie (1 ep x 78 min)
  • 1997

When popular pop idol Mima decided to retire from her group, Cham, and become an actress, she had no idea that one person's obsession would soon spiral out of control. With death threats, letter bombs and a forged website which details her every move, Mima finds herself slowly becoming trapped in a nightmare she can't seem to escape. With murders piling up and her mental state slowly degrading, can she discover who the culprit is, before she becomes the next victim?

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The "mindfuck"-factor in both these series are fairly apparent. Though while Paranoia Agent has quite some more humor, Perfect Blue has some more gore (and even some brief nudity). Both series include hit-and-run assilants.
Investigative and deep dementive plot is a fact. They both need the viewer to think beyond the normal frames and even then surpises you that what you thought is not. If you like stories that makes you think about the human nature and strays from the path of "normal" then you are likely to like the other. Though Perfect Blue has a more thriller feeling than Paranoia's demntia.

Perfect Blue and Paranoia Agent are masters of confusing suspense, and will keep you guessing till the end. Plot wise, they are somewhat similar as well, but I won't say more. ;) Just trust me on this one.. if you liked one, you'd surely like the other!


Paranoia Agent and Perfect Blue are very alike because the characters have trouble distinguishing fantasy from reality. Both of these anime are in the mystery genre.


Firstly, both Perfect Blue and Paranoia Agent were created by the same creator Satoshi Kon; so already you know there are going to be similar themes of questioning identity, the blur between reality and the mind, modern culture (in particular Japanese culture) and general mind warping and screwing around with - in the best possible way of course.

Both anime take the form of a detective story The viewer, using the clues the film/series provide, must find out the truth, and with numerous viewings, can pick more things up, as well as make the connections quicker.


Paranoia agent and Perfect blue both have a deep psychological aspect to them as a central part of the plot. Is what's happening real or is it a fantasm? Is it made up by the victims or is someone really having a grudge against them? Through a dream-like script progressing the same way as insane thoughts, these two animes have what it takes to make the viewer really doubt what they saw and think, bringing in new theories with each event, and only coming to a clear conclusion at the very end.


These are both very enthralling psychological thrillers from Satoshi Kon. The interesting note however is that though they both focus on some similar issues (paranoia, what is real and what is not) they take it from very different angles.


Psychological thrillers by Satoshi Kon. No matter what he creates, it'll be a huge success. Paranoia Agent and Perfect Blue are one of his greatest works and they are quite similar: exciting thrillers with mindfuck! While Perfect Blue is a 80min movie, the story doesn't seemed to be cramped nor does the 13 episodes long Paranoia Agent bore you. If you like one, you love the other! Go and watch :D


If you enjoyed the confusing twist and turns of Paranoia Agent then Perfect Blue is one of those Anime won't disappoint. The fact that both show have the same "scratching your head" story line, and have the same helpless types characters is one of the best reason why you should watch Perfect Blue.

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This is pretty obvious reccomandation, since both anime were created by Satoshi Kon so they share many similaritis in style, graphic and general mood. Not to mention that the plot of both Perfect Blue and Paranoia Agent mixes fictional world, created in minds of its characters, with reality.


Paranoia Agent and Perfect Blue are two incredibly messed up psychological thrillers who ask nothing less then 100% attention to keep track of what's going on. Wherever you'll go into these determined to figure out what's happening, or just want to sit back and let the massive wall of confusion hit you head first, both of these mindf*ck shows made by Satoshi Kon shouldn't be missed by fans, they're among the best in the genre.


Fusing mindf*ck with the thrilelr genre is what these titles do, and they both do it very well. If you like one you'll probably like the other.


The most important thing these two animes have in common is Satoshi Kon, a director/writer famous for his well-animated psychological films.  Paranoia Agent is his first series.

Paranoia is a common theme which sets the plot into motion for both PB and PA.  Characters are motivated by fear.  There seems to be no escape for them.  Identity issues appear in both, as well.


A plot with a lot suspense and a story that will keep the viewer guessing till the end both describe probably the strongest point of both series.  With several moments in which the line between reality and the mind both series create and interesting story that requires the viewer to pay complete attention just to keep track of what's going on.


These two psychological thrillers keep you guessing until the credits roll. Both ending up far from what you would have expected at the beginning- they are a great recommendation for each other. If you found one of these tales gripping then give the other a try and see if you can guess what comes next!


Both Perfect Blue and Paranoia Agent are thought provoking Psychological works of Satoshi Kon. They have a great link with the mysteries and ambiguity of the human psyche. While there may be dihherences in the way they show the underlying messages they are still relativley the same. This can be said about all Satoshi Kon's works however. If you like one I truly don't see how you could not like the other. Perfect Blue really masks what it does through the whole movie it shows you all characters and thoughts through the delusive minds of those characters in the movie.


These animes involve an attacker on the loose, and layers of psychological drama covering up the identity of the attacker. Both of these animes try to uncover the meaning of paranoia and helplessness. The two are a bit jumpy, often confusing, and definitely cerebral. If you like one, you'll definitely like the other. 


Both are Kon anime that many times blur reality and fiction, digging deep into the minds of the characters.


Both are anime from Satoshi Kon, and feel very similar in that they examine aspects of Japanese culture and society with a critical eye by using the psychological thriller genre. They both feature character designs that are both more realistic than typical anime and at the same time caracatures of real people. Perfect Blue was one of Kon's first films and I think by the time he worked on Paranoia Agent he really perfected his work.



Naota Nanbada is a boring young boy who leads a boring life in a boring town. His older brother has left for America, and the closest he comes to any excitement is when his deadbeat dad has too much sake. But things change one day when a bizarre girl zooms up to him on a scooter and smacks him in the face with her guitar. What's more, once Naoto returns home he discovers that this strange woman has arrived ahead of him and moved in! Not only does she constantly engage in perverted activities with Naota's father and flirt with the young man himself, but she also claims to be an alien who is searching for the ‘Pirate King.' Now, Naota must learn to live with this new intruder, deal with an odd government agent who sports exceptionally large eyebrows and the mysterious Medical Mechanica, and come to terms with the fact that there are a variety of robots and weapons emerging out of his head - amongst other things. Perhaps boring wasn't so bad after all...

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Both series are clearly focussed on weirdness. THere is really a similar atmosphere in the series, though while Paranoia Agent has a clear plot, FLCL is rather vague all throughout the series. You'll find more humor in FLCL than Paranoia Agent though.
It's always hard to recommend either of these series to anything: they both are too original. Still, in both of these series you can find something rare and always as delightful: sunny, nice and at the same time very intelligent anime. FLCL and Paranoia Agent both have their share of humor and they both have limitless layers one can interpret the way one wants to. In that aspect Paranoia Agent is a bit easier to follow though, it explains a lot more than FLCL.

FLCL is most definitely the incoherent one of the two. Yet both stories are incredibly complex to understand due to a lot of weird stuff happening... and I mean WEIRD.


Paranoia Agent and FLCL have one thing in common: randomness with structure. Both are very random as far as what goes on from episode to episode, but they also have a plot line that they follow liberally.


Both FLCL and Paranoia Agent bring something new to the table. Both have interesting background stories but also very confusing episodes, leaving the watcher stunned at times.


While Paranoia Agent is an action/suspense/crime thiller-esque type of anime, what most intrigued me about it was the *almost* confusing plot line. Don't misunderstand me - that's not a bad thing. It forces you to think and pay attention, which is a nice addiction to the action genre. FLCL, while a comedy, also forces you to think and pay attention, and with great rewards, no less.

Aimed at older audiences, both of these anime are suitable for anyone who likes fast-paced anime that keeps you on your toes.


Both Paranoia Agent and FLCL have a complex and crasy story, that lead slowly to understanding the impossible : why does the bat kid stun people, or why do robots come out of Naota's head? as a matter of fact, although hardly anything is understood from the first episode, these stories are so weird that you just have to watch on, because they give the feeling that they have much more to tell then what can be seen at a first shot.


Though they are completely different in terms of storyline, animation, and basically everything else, they must be compared for being complete mind-f**ks. They remove your brain, stick it into a blender, liquify it, then pour it back into your head. Thay are that insane. Though personally I rate FLCL higher for it's pure entertaining wackiness, Paranoia Agent has its good sides in that it is pure, indistilled INSANITY, bottled and ready-to-drink.

If you liked either one, chances are that you'll probably like the other.


Like short, cracked-out series with insane characters that take place in modern-day japan? Colorful stories and vivid animation meet irreverent takes on pop-culture and its effects (FLCL- comedic, Paranoia- not so much) on people exposed to/obsessed with various aspects of it in these striking shows.


Both series are all about abstract, surreal and paranoia(just like calculus), although unlike FLCL, PA eventually landed. So, If you liked PA you may also like FLCL, or calculus.


Paranoia Agent and FLCL are both about strange people who come to a place and wreak havoc. Lil' Slugger hits people with his golden bat to help save lives while Haruko hits Noata with her bass guitar to save the world. Both of these anime have a whimsical style of animation and in depth charachter designs. If this interests you, be sure to catch these anime!


Though I thoroughly enjoyed every single aspect of Paranoia Agent, I found FLCL's frenetic pacing a bit tiresome for my taste. My real enjoyment of FLCL actually started after I had finished watching it, and this is where both these shows coincide. If you like a show that can also serve as a riddle, food for thought and a subject of endless discussions, analysis and over-analysis, if you never get tired of spotting hints and symbols that take you deeper into layers and layers of meaning, be sure to check both these shows out. It is certain they will stay with you for much longer than it takes to watch them.


If you cut the whacky humor from FLCL, but leave the unique animation, you'd probably get something like Paranoia Agent (there is a bit of black humor). Those two shows are similar but mostly on the artistic level. If you enjoyed the animation in one of those shows, then you have to watch the other as well.


Paranoia Agent and FLCL are both have complex multilayered plots, but what really makes them great is the way they can shift their animation styles to match the tone of the story.


A complex story resolving around wierd and random moments.  While Paranoia Agent has a somewhat darker story than FLCL both have incredible stories that by the end will leave somethings unexplained that the viewer wants answered.  Add in some humor and so amazing animation and you'll get two series that both leave the viewer stunned and interested.


Both of these animes are very original, very bizarre, and have a storyline that is beyond crazy. Just when you think you've figured everything out, the story twists into another layer. Both of these animes are also fairly short, and excellent little trips from reality. 

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  • Movie (1 ep x 91 min)
  • 2006

In Japan, a team of scientists have created a medical breakthrough: a device that allows the wearer to enter the dreams of a patient, for the purpose of healing. The talented Paprika is a master at her profession, but complications have now appeared in the form of a “dream terrorist” – an unknown foe who inserts nightmares into the minds of those who use the device. The victims are swept up in a ghoulish parade of dolls, kitchen appliances, and musical animals, and are reduced to a vegetable state – or worse. Now, Paprika and the team of scientists must delve into the minds of those affected to figure out the source of the tampering before more people, including themselves, are damaged beyond repair.

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If you liked Paranoia Agent for the creepy atmosphere, gorgeous visuals and off-the-wall soundtrack, then I think you'd like Paprika as well. The fact that Satoshi Kon created both aside, they have a very similar mood and feel. That being said, I didn't care much for Paprika, but still think fans of Paranoia Agent may appreciate it.


Besides the rather obvious correlation that these anime are the work of genius Satoshi Kon, there is a more fundamental similarity, in that they both deal with an obscure enemy and an unreliable reality. In Paprika, the world of dreams intrudes itself forcibly on the world of the waking; whereas, in Paranoia Agent, there is a fundamental warping of the meaning of "real". This overarching theme of Kon's is also present in other works of his, such as Millennium Actress.


The characters of both Paranoia Agent and Paprika are often faced with delusions between reality, dreams, and imagination. Or in some cases, they simply go insane.


Up for a little insanity on the edge of dreams and reality? Here comes! Paprika and Paranoia Agent serve a similar dish, disclosing what our seemingly-so-innocent day and nightmares and fears can do with our lives - should they become just a bit more real.

In very similar style, with a bit of ironic attitude, both anime follow a story of blending between the real and the imaginary, and not only in the story, but on the screen. The insight into our thoughts and that immersive, but not intimidating feeling of growing uncertainty put these two works as close together as it gets.


Both Paranoia Agent and Paprika probe the power of man made illusions and how these affect reality to the point of merging with it. Paranoia Agent contradicts linear modes of story telling as the series progresses while Paprika is deliberately oneiric from the start. The artwork is similar and Satoshi Kon's trademarks are very visible in the way PA and Paprika push the limits of animation in general. Image surpasses the role of medium and becomes an experimental endeavour of psychological valence: PA and Paprika offer this autonomy of imagery without compromising a highly complex exploration of what it is that shapes and defines reality.


Both Paprika and Paranoia Agent are similar in many ways. For one, both feature murder mystery-type story lines. Also, the animation style and feel seems similar to me, despite the fact that Paranoia Agent, at times, can be a lot darker or lighter than Paprika.


These two are very psychologically based. They make you think more than anything else, amongs also being entertaining for various violent and effects based reasons. Definitely for the heavy thinking person.


These anime are out of this world abstract with excellent music. I was totally baffeled by their endings, and couldn't help but say 'WOW!' Both of them had points that are very deep, and make you think your life is like a dozen roses. I'm absolutely positive that if you liked one you are sure to like the other.


Awesome animation combined with fairytale like story elements and some crazy characters? Hell yeah!

I'm sure you'll love both series!


Both Paprika and Paranoia Agent are deliciously confusion masterpieces by Satoshi Kon that trigger the viewer to think about what´s going on. These are shows everyone can draw their own conclusions from, since not everything gets explained clearly, leaving enough room for your own interpretation. Out of the two, Paprika is a bit easier to understand, and has more visual spectacle, but they are definitely two of the same. Last but not least, both shows have a fantastic soundtrack that sets the mood perfectly for the spectacle up ahead. If you enjoyed one of these anime, do not miss out on the other!


Both being a series created by Satoshi Kon each series offers up amazing visuals, great soundtracks, interesting characters, and a creepy atmosphere are all things that both series us to keep the viewer both interested and thinking about what exactly happened even after finishing it.


Both series are under the production company MADHOUSE which has produced nothing but splendid series in the past few years. Additionally, both series are the brain child's of Satoshi Kon, a legend in psychological thrillers and anime. While Paprika has a more sci-fi edge to it that makes the psychology within it more obvious, Paranoia Agent's psychological themes don't become evident until the later episodes. All in all if you liked one series, the other is sure to be well received by you.


Both Papirka and Paranoia Agent are thought provoking Psychological works of Satoshi Kon. They have a great link with the mysteries and ambiguity of the human psyche. While there may be dihherences in the way they show the underlying messages they are still relativley the same. This can be said about all Satoshi Kon's works however. If you like one I truly don't see how you could not like the other. Paprika is quite upfront about its message on human psyche. The whole movie is based in peoples minds.


First off, these are both the brain-children of Satoshi Kon, which means they are full of psychological drama. Secondly, they both deal with having inner thoughts brought to life in some rather crazy ways. Both anime also deal with collective consciousness in some way, and require a little more brain power than usual to understand. If you like one, try the other out. 


Both are Kon aime that blur reality and fiction and emphasize the significant influence of the media.

Serial Experiments Lain

Serial Experiments Lain

"I have only abandoned my body, I still live here" - are the words emailed to friends of Chisa, several days after her death by suicide. As Lain delves deeper into the world of the "Wired" (also known as the internet), the line between it and reality becomes more and more unclear. Close the world, open the nExt.

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Both series have the same weirdness in it, though while Lain is obviously the one harder to understand and alot complexer, Paranoia Agent is more humorous. Even though the series differ alot, there is a same atmosphere in both series and are a tad noir.
In their sense of dissociation from reality, and in their alternative approach to storytelling within the anime medium, "Serial Experiments Lain" and "Paranoia Agent" are similar. You may not find you like them both, but the interaction between the two will prove enlightening.
Lain and Paranoia Agent both have themes that run much deeper than is expected of in most anime, that while not the same I feel are in ways convergent, both in how they convey them and in their message.

Perception and reality: the divergence between what one perceives and what might exist is at the heart of both series. Paranoia Agent follows a more psychological approach to unravel the relation between these vectors while Serial Experiments Lain has a more philosophical take. It is likely that those who enjoy abstract deconstructions of identity will appreciate these exercises in surreal existentialism that are Lain and Paranoia Agent.


Both have a heavy atmosphere. Lain is a bit darker while Paranoia Agent is at times simply creepy. Yet both are quite mysterious and try to keep us up with the story throughout all of their mind-boggling events.


Both Paranoia Agent and Lain are mindbusters that will really make you think about life and the world around you. They are intriguing in that at first you have no idea what is going on but over time all the pieces of the "puzzle" come together to reveal the bigger picture. Both anime may also require more then one viewing to fully understand the message.


Two looks into escapism wrapped around a story. In Lain, the characters are attempting escape everyday life by creating a second "cyber life". Where's in Paranoia Agent, characters are looking towards an anime or even injury for their escape. Come for the story, stay for the messages rapped in the story and complex symbolism.


Parnoia Agent and Serial Experiment's Lain both bring up deep philosophical questions through crazy impossible situations. Both stories use symbolism that is very Japanese. If that's your thing, check out this anime.


Here are two series that will exhaust the psyche of its viewer! Both are great at confusing those who watch them, asking many questions that there are no obvious answers to and are quite surreal in animation - it's not always clear if what you're seeing is what is really happening or a creation of the mind of its characters. If you like a more psychological approach to your anime then they are definite must views.


Both series have the same disturbing, disquieting, creepy kind of feeling that endures a while after watching it. In the case of PA, the freak out starts from the very strange intro to the disturbing ending sequence, with Lain the feeling goes along the episode with the creepy sound of the power lines (or was it the wired???). If for some twisted and sick reason you enjoyed Paranoia agent you'll also enjoy Lain.


Both shows follow the same basic idea.

BACKGROUND STAGE:The first episode shows an average situation and quickly present the conflict or chaos that the story is formed around.CONFUSION STAGE: From then on, all the other stories explain and reinforce the conflict in as many ways as possible carefully avoiding ANY INFORMATION that would lead to you giving reason to what is going on.ANSWER STAGE: Hovever, with the last quarter of the episodes left, they begin to give you bones of information to calm your suspense. And they both end by giving you the answer to your first question and nothing else... and I assure you... you will have more questions.

There are two things to take into consideration:

  • Serial Experiment Lain was made in 1998 and therefore the creators felt less obliged to give any support to the viewer during the confusion stage, which leads to a longer confusing period where you seem to  know even less the more you watch. However its answer stage is longer and muchmore rewarding.
  • Paranoia agent was made in 2004, a time where viewers require more constant stimulation, for this reason the confusion stage is full of more details and sub-stories that compel you to watch the show further. Sadly, the answer stage is less interesting than Lain and annoyingly insufficient.

IN SHORT: Serial Experiment Lain is a more hardcore suspense show than Paranoia Agent.


Paranoia Agent and Serial Experiments Lain fall under the "MindF***" genre, and have very deep, meaningful things to say while using abstract and non-linear methods to say it.  While touching on different subjects, they have a similar, highly metaphorical delivery and rely heavily on the viewer to interpret and connect pieces of the story.  They also take fantastical creative license with the plot, placing characters in strange and sometimes disturbing situations. If you enjoyed the mental journey in one of them, you will, at the least, appreciate the other.


These series have nearly idential themes and messages, questioning the nature of reality while emphasizing the power of perception. They both have unique forms of storytelling and art styles. The main difference is that Lain requires lots of outside knowledge to fully comprehend the computer science aspect of it, while Paranoia Agent is much more universal in its story.


These are two anime notorious for leaving you with more questions than answers. If you enjoyed the thought provoking stories of one of these shows and are more focused on the journey rather than the conclusion you will find the other show to be just as intriguing.


Both series break the doors of perception. Either by turning imagination into reality or by manipulating the lines that shape it.

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