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Can you explain the ending of Paranoia Agent?


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v1cious



Joined: 31 Dec 2002
Posts: 6058
Location: Houston, TX
PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2005 7:28 pm Reply with quote
Anime_Fever wrote:
You know when they said it was two years later, what was up with them only showing like 4 of the characters? Were they more "special" than the others in a way or something? Or did they just decide not to show all the characters?



spoiler[didn't you see the others get washed away by the darkness?]
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DKL



Joined: 08 May 2005
Posts: 1874
Location: California, USA
PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2005 10:19 pm Reply with quote
Actually, I was assuming for the most part everyone else was okay, we just don't see them...

hmmm...

not sure though
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Samurai-with-glasses



Joined: 17 Aug 2005
Posts: 628
PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2005 1:03 am Reply with quote
Did that cloud of darkness actually kill all people that it consumes or just some or none directly at all?

And why did spoiler[Tsukiko wear a student uniform 2 years] after the incident?
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DKL



Joined: 08 May 2005
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2005 1:33 am Reply with quote
Actually, the blob thing consumed like, everyone, but they didn't all really die...

it depends, maybe some did and some didn't...

ALSO, I'm pretty sure TSUKIKO isn't really wearing a school uniform... it just looks that way *and it's cute*

ANYWAY, I was actually wondering if anyone noticed that FUMEOW thing...

I think it's TSUKIKO's new creation and that means she was able to move on with her life
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Samurai-with-glasses



Joined: 17 Aug 2005
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2005 1:46 am Reply with quote
Ah I see, so those who were lifted too high or crashed into stuff (because that black wind seems very strong) got killed, but the black cloud isn't..say..toxic in itself.

I've seen the cat, it's on the big TV screen when Tsukiko walked across the street. I thought it was somebody else's creation, though, and that it's symbolising a repeating process all over again. Then again, I may be wrong, since the only ending I saw is from Adult Swim and they cut the last part off a bit. Sad
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DDRAniMangaFreak



Joined: 04 Sep 2005
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Location: Rochester, NY
PostPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2005 8:09 am Reply with quote
I've come to two possible interpretations of Lil' Slugger's "physical" attacks: 1.) It's not really MEANT to be explained or make sense and is rather just meant to compliment surreally the main theme of the series (that is, to face your problems instead of running away from them) or 2.) The people attacked themselves (as Tsukiko did) and blamed it on Lil' Slugger, effectively allowing them to avoid their problems instead of facing them.

I've seen the "circle" thing brought up EVERYWHERE.. but I have to say that this sort of goes against the resolution of the anime's theme, and there's a few things that seem overlooked or perhaps misinterpreted by some. First of all, the people talking on cell phones at the end of the last episode is not meant to mirror what happened at the beginning of the first episode; in fact, it's meant to be the exact opposite. Rather than making excuses like they did in the first episode, they're now saying that they'll do what has to be done; this is the main theme of the series, and the way that this works out shows that the Lil' Slugger attacks over.

People also say that Maniwa, as the old man, gets surprised by some solution, some even saying that the answer could be "0" or "1", which means, in binary, that the events could be over or that they could continue; this makes little sense since, earlier, solutions obtained by the old man were "606", Tsukiko's room number, and "1", referring to YuICHI, and the people they referred to were attacked later in the episodes; I haven't a clue where binary comes in. What I interpreted was that he didn't even GET a solution, which would mean that the attacks are over, since previous solutions pointed towards the next victim.

Now, what about the new cute character that some say is taking after Maromi and thus implies that another occurrence similar to the Lil' Slugger attacks will happen again? Well, I'm thinking that, while Maromi was more deceptive, this new character could be quite different, being a character that is actually cute and isn't hiding behind a deceivingly cute front.

The only thing that makes it hard to say that a scenario similar to the Lil' Slugger attacks won't happen again is the "next episode preview" at the end of the last episode. That definitely implies a recurrence of sorts, but a recurrence doesn't make sense with people not making excuses on their cell phones, which implies that everything is over. It could perhaps be a message that says "society will eventually be stupid again", but, overall, this part's mainly open to each individual's interpretation.
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DKL



Joined: 08 May 2005
Posts: 1874
Location: California, USA
PostPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2005 5:41 pm Reply with quote
The preview: Actually, I thought that MANIWA was just telling us to go back and watch

As for the old guy: He's just an old fool Laughing

All that random stuff was really nothing if you ask me, just pure coincidence to get you putting this and that together when you don't really need to

I agree with you on the "people stopped making excuses" thing
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Goldman234



Joined: 26 Aug 2012
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2012 1:09 pm Reply with quote
I do have one idea concerning the old man. I'd like to reference back to--what seemed to me--and odd line they had put in. When Ikari exited the subway after the black ooze had dispersed, he said something along the lines of it being like the war. I don't think I have seen any anime that has ever said anything like that. Even in something like Akira (the movie) it eludes very much to the war but never to a degree as to comparing it to the actual war.

Now this could be looked at in a few ways. 1) He could've meant the mass destruction of the city. It was as if a nuke did hit Tokyo. 2) If you want to look deeper, he may have meant it as like when back in the war was coming to a close, Japan was probably severely scared after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I mean, your enemy had weapons that could take out an entire town! Wouldn't you be anxious that where you lived might be next? So he may have meant it as fear had spread throughout the country once again; a state of paranoia. (Yes, the country. in the anime the news anchor had said the black ooze was spreading across the country.)

Anyway, back to the old man. I have a feeling he may have been a veteran of World War II. He is old and fit about the age of when WWII would have occurred. And he seemed schizophrenic and OCD; which would fit what a person who had been through a traumatic experience would do.

How do the equations come into play? What signifigance do they have with the story? Honestly I think bupkis. I think he was just some crazed guy who worked out problems all day. Whether there is weight to his maniacal scribbles or not could be argued all day and have no solution. I personally think he was there to show the after-affects of something like a war. Which leads into how Maniwa became the new old man; he had already became delusional before the whole black ooze incident. So he may have become schizophrenic and such as after-affects to the incident.

I'd also like to add there were a lot of other WWII related stuff. One of them was the (what I keep wanting to call the crayon world even though it was definitely not made of crayon) "paper world". It was set in a 30's/40's era. In the opening they show a mushroom cloud in the foreground. And the only other one that might correlate would be when Ikari was talking with the use-to-be-burglar they were talking about the new generation this and the new generation that. These may have just been two old geysers complaining about how the old days were much better, still, it gives rise to the idea of the new generation having to take on new and old problems. Maybe even... a war? A war that just so happened to be a war on mentality?

In closing, a short summary:

The old man and crazy Maniwa are a metaphor for ill gotten gains from traumatic experiences. And the equations have no relevance as an ominous prophecy to the events soon to occur. It was all coincidence with some allegory sprinkled throughout.

Anyway, those are my ideas about the old man and such.
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Masakaki



Joined: 23 Mar 2012
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2012 1:51 pm Reply with quote
[edit]

Last edited by Masakaki on Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:38 am; edited 1 time in total
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Keonyn
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Joined: 25 May 2005
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2012 1:56 pm Reply with quote
Actually, this thread is listed in and linked from the series discussion index at the top of the page, so it isn't hard to track down at all. Plus, threads in there are effectively exempt from necroposting rules so long as the individual posting is actually adding to the content and promoting discussion rather than just posting something like "I like it too".
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Masakaki



Joined: 23 Mar 2012
Posts: 166
PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2012 2:07 pm Reply with quote
[edit]
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peps1cola



Joined: 26 Apr 2015
Posts: 1
PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2015 1:25 pm Reply with quote
totalgeek wrote:
I'll give you $5.00 US! Very Happy

Seriously, though, I understood that the whole thing stemmed from spoiler[Tsukiko Sagi's grief over letting her puppy die], but how did that become spoiler[the physical manifestation that eventually destroyed Tokyo?]

And what is up with Maniwa? Am I to assume that he spoiler[took the place of the old man and will now "guide" another warrior to defeat the next grief manifestation that attacks the city?] And how long does the apparent cycle last?

The ending definitely raised more questions than answers for me!


Alright, I'm brand new to this site and I don't know how to do spoiler tags, so I'll just assume that anyone who has read this far has watched it or at least has read the previous spoilers. I just finished watching the entire series and I feel so strongly about the show, and fact that there is no solid explanation for it, that I registered to provide my interpretation of the show. This is going to be a long post, and there are still some parts I'm working out so I welcome any comments. However, I feel like I have an accurate take on this anime so help me get this out there!!

It's an obvious fact that Maromi and 'Lil Slugger were both physical manifestations of Tsukiko's wild imagination. However, what EVERY SINGLE post and review I have read on this show seems to be overlooking is the fact that Tsukiko, and all the other characters, are really....

DEAD. -eerie music plays-

Remember episode 8, entitled "Happy Family Planning?" At first I thought this was pointless filler (like episode 10), but in reality this was the most important episode of all. The three main characters in this episode kept trying to kill themselves.. To no avail. The one person who OBVIOUSLY managed to kill himself in the episode, the guy who jumped in front of the train, walked back onto the platform all manner of torn up - even after the girl comments that he was smushed all over the tracks. This leads me to believe that the three main characters in this episode had killed themselves and so they saw the train-tracks guy as a ghost; This is speculation, but I think the two men killed themselves with pills after abandoning the little girl - who must've also killed herself because she suddenly appeared in the room (as a ghost?!) right after the guys took the pills. [another possibility is that some people can see ghosts and the guys simply joined her after they died.] The rest of the episode, their suicide attempts fail for one reason or another, and NOBODY CAN SEE THEM. Everyone walks right past them - even when the little girl starts screaming and crying. This evidence leads me to believe that a lot of characters are, in reality, dead throughout the show AND stuck doing the same thing they were doing when they died.

Ultimately, I feel like this entire show is just a convoluted regret that stands as a barrier between Tsukiko and her happiness in the afterlife. You may have a couple questions now: why is Tsukiko dead, what afterlife, and what regret? Let me begin by assuring you that Tsukiko is indeed DEAD throughout the show.

In order to understand this, you have to consider my personal theory of what happens when we die - it kind of involves the multiverse theory. So, the multiverse theory says that there are unfathomable numbers of different parallel universes that exist beyond the scope of our perception. To me, this is one very logical explanation of the afterlife: when we die, we become part of our own "world" or reality. So there would be an unfathomable amount of worlds that coexist, often completely unaware of each other's existence. If one perceives their personal afterlife to be a good thing, it's heaven. If we perceive it to be a negative thing, it's hell. This duality is seen throughout the series; note that the series begins with EVERYONE in Tsukiko's world talking negatively on the phone. It ends on a very positive note, everyone saying happy things. This somewhat supports the fact that the world, Tsukiko's "reality," is affected by her perception and is most likely her afterlife/a parallel universe.

The real evidence that Tsukiko is dead (in episode 12 I think) is when she briefly leaves her world to visit her dad's, who for some apparently random reason is also the Chief who interrogated her in the beginning. Remember the crazy 2-D people that gave him free beer and smokes? Yeah, that was HIS afterlife, which was empty without his daughter in it (So if the people are closely connected, afterlives can overlap). When he took up the bat and shattered everything, he became part of Tsukiko's afterlife... an interesting point which I won't discuss further. Just know that this is enough to prove that there are a variety of different afterlifes described throughout the show - the one that seems most realistic is Tsukiko's (because she is the main character).

I really don't think its a stretch to see that Tsukiko is dead, so it surprised me that nobody had considered it. If this is news to you, what will REALLY blow your mind is to consider which characters are really dead, when they died, and how they died....

For now, lets focus on Tsukiko because, as the main character, she's the easiest to piece together. This is just pure speculation, but I believe Tsukiko's life went something like this:

Tsukiko gets the puppy and it dies when she is distracted by a shooting pain in her stomach (perhaps her period? not trying to be gross or funny, it just fits with a theme in the show). She blames the death of her puppy on a mysterious assailant wearing in-line skates and wielding a metal bat so her father isn't mad at her. Her father vows to avenge her loss of innocence and always carries a bat in case he gets the opportunity to avenge her. -something that was said also leads me to believe he kept a GOLD bat because he deep down knew she had lied- From here there are many possibilities.

(For example, one possibility could be that her dad killed the boy who met the description she gave. Yet another could be that the boy goes to jail after being accused of killing the puppy. His life ruined, he kills himself. There are many possibilities, and it is highly likely that all of these variations are implied to have occurred in some version of reality. There simply isn't enough solid evidence to tell EXACTLY what the truth is. What can definitively take out of it this that her lie caused a schoolboy to die somehow.)

That being said, the evidence provided leads me to assume the most likely explanation to her life is as follows:

Her dad never finds the boy. Tsukiko grows up and becomes successful by making a toy that resembles her puppy, which shows that she is deeply and utterly traumatized by the incident from when she was a kid. Since her success is pinned on the lie her whole life revolves around, she isn't able to create a new toy design and further aid in the success of her company. So, she deals with her troubles, once again, by blaming it on 'Lil Slugger - she bashes her own leg apart and continues the lie from her childhood. The resulting chain of events causes a school boy, Makoto Kozuka, to be accused and he kills himself in prison having had his whole life and his innocence taken from him. Her employees catch on (this is why there was that line about the Lil Slugger never having grown up) and one of them gets so frustrated with her that he "accidentally" kills her. This is seen in one of the episodes when her coworker suddenly and violently grabs her by the neck and begins screaming at her.

Go back and watch this part again; just as suddenly as he grabs her, he lets her go... after screaming at her for a good while. Tsukiko leaves the car and just stands there. Her coworker apologizes and sounds almost traumatized. He says "I didn't mean.." and just trails off. Note that he isn't even looking at her during this part, rather he is looking at the seat where... Tsukiko's body is. This means that she is just a ghost at this point; she watches him drive into a telephone pole. Not sure if this is an accident because he is so shaken by having killed her, or if it was purposely done to cover his murder. Could be both. What is certain is this is how Tsukiko died.

Now, here comes the really convoluted part; there is a scene that leads me to believe Tsukiko never really was alive to begin with. This would mean that the timeline I just described would be one version of a life she lived in her afterlife (multiverse theory once again). In episode 11 or 12, The Chief is shown to be Tsukiko's dad, and her mom is seen having a miscarriage. So, this leads me to believe that Tsukiko never really was alive. Thus, in part, this show is about her becoming reunited with the family she never had (this is the deeply moving part if you think of it: the father was in an empty afterlife without her and he was reunited with his wife and connected with the woman his daughter would have been - part of the reason why Tsukiko is able to have a happy life at the end.)

In reality, the writer wanted to represent the multiverse theory to its fullest: there are so many different realities that have happened for Tsukiko. In one reality she was never born. In another she was born and her dad was a huge part of her life. In yet another, Tsukiko got a boy convicted for killing her puppy. Which one is really real? Well, that's up for you to decide. Personally, I think Tsukiko was never really born, which is why her dad is depicted as a complete stranger in the beginning and at the end. I'm sure that's confusing as hell, but you'll see what I mean if you rewatch the show with the multiverse theory in mind. It explains why certain characters literally appear and disappear from time to time, and it explains why all of a sudden the police chief was her dad. However, for simplicity's sake, lets assume that Tsukiko did live a life with her dad and the show takes place after she has died in the timeline I laid out.

So who is really alive in this show? In the final few episodes, I don't think there are any characters left alive. However, it is VERY POSSIBLE that Detective Maniwa is still alive. Yet again, for simplicity's sake, let's assume this isn't true due to the jump in logic in the final episodes.

The end seems totally random, but notice the subtle changes in character dynamics. Note that there is a timeline between some of the characters; Chief meets Tsukiko as his daughter only after Maniwa is shown as the Holy Warrior. So, Maniwa dies and then reaches out to the Chief, who was already dead - asking for his help and prompting Tsukiko to face the truth. The truth is that the Little Slugger is a manifestation of Tsukiko's guilt; Remember how I said that when people die in the show they hold on to the last thing they were doing? Tsukiko dies remembering her guilt and her lie... that guilt becomes a tangible entity, which transforms into a destructive force throughout the various forms of her afterlife. The slugger covers up the truth because Tsukiko doesn't know how to handle the raw negativity of it. Maniwa dies seeking the truth and trying to stop the slugger, so he comes into the afterlife as a Holy Warrior.

Maniwa really is taking the place of Lil Slugger as the Holy Warrior, who is honestly GOOD at the beginning of the show. Including his initial assault on Tsukiko, he only appears when people ask for his help and the result is always positive. Tsukiko can't handle the stress from work, so she falls back to needing his help and he reappears. She gets famous from the resulting media exposure and she doesn't have to make a new doll (which is why her puppy is ironically seen more and more throughout the show and taking life of its own). Slugger pummels the reporter who is after Tsukiko, and the reporter ends up with the story he needs to pay off his debt. Because of the story that is written, Yuichi is blamed and bullied because of his semblance to the slugger. Yuichi blames the chubby kid, who is attacked by the slugger. Then he wishes to be attacked himself to show everyone he isn't to blame. So he is. ETC. ETC. ETC.

This shows you that the slugger only appears when he is needed and asked for (in the beginning). The result is generally a good thing. However, it always has a further consequence. This chain of events (butterfly effect) ultimately leads to the slugger being bested by the crooked cop, Masami. This leads to the slugger being thrown in jail and broken down by cops who are convinced he is evil. (The interesting part about this is its really Tsukiko's dad, the chief, who breaks down the boy - representing the fact that he took up arms against the person who had supposedly killed the dog) Ultimately, these worldly evils cause the slugger to break down and admit to the crimes even though he was honestly doing good. With his will broken, his evil counterpart is able to kill him in jail and begin his evil killing spree. This symbolizes a bunch of things.

First off, the slugger was a lie that Tsukiko came up with both as a kid and as an adult. So the concept here is that a lie will grow and continue to have consequences the longer you let it grow. This is also why they say Maromi is the same as the slugger; her growing fame is a symbol of her growing lies. I feel like this is a representation of Tsukiko's life; after she once again blames the slugger for a crime, someone is actually arrested and he kills himself in jail. This is where Makoto comes in.

In reality, Makoto was accused of being the Slugger, broken of his childhood innocence, and had killed himself in jail. He is then brought into the afterlife as a Holy Warrior because he dies wondering who he took the fall for (this is why he is on a holy quest to find the source of evil, which is truly Tsukiko). But, Makota is also the 'Lil Slugger in her afterlife because he died thinking he was due to the aggressive cops. This explains the confusion. He's both the Lil Slugger AND a Holy Warrior. This is why he is good at first. But, just like his real life played out, Makota is forced to take the blame for all the "crimes" (which were really helping people, except the crooked cop who was too far gone). He once again loses all hope and literally kills himself in her afterlife. Then the slugger is reborn; it takes its true, pure evil form (representing just how cruel the lie had become at that point) and basically becomes the grim reaper. He kills people who want to die, who are about to die, and people who deserve to die (mainly people associated with causing Makota to kill himself).

[Thus, we have the true overarching theme for the show: the loss of childhood innocence that leads to a cycle of hate and revenge. We see this several times, but the main manifestation of this is that Tsukiko's innocent childhood fantasy became something evil when she brought it back as an adult. The idea is that it was passable for her to lie about something as a kid, but as an adult her lie got someone arrested and killed. Up until the point where Makoto kills himself, her lie was innocent and harmless (even though a poor puppy was killed in the process - but that's not as serious of a crime as assault or murder). So, the initial manifestation of her lie (Lil Slugger) was good. After that loss of innocence occurs, Lil Slugger actually starts killing people - he's all bad and he continues to grow (symbolizing that a lie can grow over time).]

My point here, though, is that after the first Holy Warrior dies, someone has to take his place.

That someone is Maniwa. I believe he is represented as a Holy Warrior because he died seeking to uncover the truth to what actually happened. He loses his job pursuing the slugger and comes back at the end of the show to finish him off. This means Maniwa dies trying to uncover the truth. This is why he shows up in her afterlife as the Holy Warrior, where he solves the mystery, shows Tsukiko what really happened, and then reunites her with the family she never had in order to give her a reason to let go of the guilt and shame she felt. Thereby, the evil Lil Slugger is beaten and the world is saved!! Tsukiko then enters a new reality that is entirely positive, and she lives happily ever after in her heaven.

Multiverse theory makes this really convoluted and complicated, and there are tons of themes that I assuredly have missed. However, I guarantee this is the most accurate general interpretation of this show to date. I haven't read a single review or post that realizes the fact that people are dead in the show and that multiple realities are being represented. This is honestly why its so hard to understand and explain. Ultimately, this was the writer's intent; its supposed to be overly complex so everyone interprets it in their own way. (This parallel's the ending where Tsukiko's perspective molds her reality.) Point being, you're supposed to figure it out yourself! This means that you have to go back, watch it over, and do research if you really want to understand the story. This is also why Paranoia Agent is now my most favorite anime EVER; you can watch it again and again, always learning something new. It's graphics are great, it's chock full of wonderful messages, shows you that there is good in the world if only you perceive it, and has amazing replayability. 10/10 best anime ever. Sorry for the novel , but I hope you learned something new, and I hope I answered your questions in the process. Embarassed Very Happy
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Kruszer



Joined: 19 Nov 2004
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Location: Minnesota, USA
PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2015 6:45 pm Reply with quote
I doubt you'll get your money since this thread you necroed is nearly 10 years old....
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nobahn
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2015 7:36 pm Reply with quote
^
Actually, this is an official Series Discussion Thread, so it doesn't time out.

Peps1cola: Here's how to use spoiler tags.
Code:
[spoiler]spoiler text[/spoiler]
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