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MVM: Paranoia Agent Blu-ray Not Confirmed Uncut

posted on by Andrew Osmond
MVM says it hopes Blu-ray will be uncut, but has not yet discussed title with BBFC.

MVM has posted a Tweet regarding its forthcoming Blu-ray release of Satoshi Kon's TV series Paranoia Agent.

Previous UK editions of the series were censored in Britain after a compulsory ruling by the BBFC. In its Tweet, MVM says of the forthcoming Blu-ray, "For the record we're hoping it to be uncut. We've yet to discuss it with the BBFC."

An earlier Tweet from MVM on December 23 had read, "Paranoia Agent uncut? We'll be using the Funimation masters, so all content will be exactly the same as the US release [including trailers]. Exactly."

This had caused some outlets to report that the release was confirmed uncut. Unlike the British release, the US release of the series was never censored.

(Discussion of suicide follows.) The BBFC requested the compulsory cut to the eighth part of Paranoia Agent, called "Happy Family Planning." This is a mostly self-contained story, a macabre black comedy. The story involves three people who meet online, intending to kill themselves together. Two of the trio are adult men, but they're shocked to realise the third person is a preteen girl, who seems to regard suicide as a game.

In one scene, the three characters try to hang themselves in the mountain. In the unedited episode, the girl is shown bouncing happily up and down with the rope around her neck, chanting "Swing! Swing!" (finally, she breaks the tree branch, sending them all tumbling). However, this scene, lasting 80 seconds, was cut entirely from the UK DVD of the episode, following the ruling by the BBFC.

Responding to inquiries about the cut in the past, the BBFC has made its reasoning clear. Although the relevant DVD was rated 18, the BBFC still judged that the scene of a child "enjoying" being hanged was irresponsible and harmful, and that underage children could be influenced by the scene.

In August 2020, the Ghibliotheque podcast ran an episode on Paranoia Agent. In it, presenter Michael Leader said that he had asked the BBFC for a new comment on the issue, and received a reply. However, the reply does not say whether the series would be censored if it was resubmitted for classification today. Referring to the decision in 2006, the reply said:

"We believe that adults should be free to choose their own entertainment and where possible, we will always attempt to deal with a classification issue through the appropriate use of our classification categories. However, in occasional circumstances, a work may raise an issue that requires intervention and compulsory cuts may be required before we are able to award a classification.

"In the case of Paranoia Agent, a compulsory cut was issued in 2006 in response to material relating to the issues of suicide in episode 8. Our classification guidelines state that portrayals of potentially dangerous behaviour, especially relating to suicide, self-harm and asphyxiation, which children and young people may potentially copy, will be cut if a higher classification is not appropriate, and so consequently in 2006, the BBFC considered the portrayal and treatment of the issue of suicide in Paranoia Agent to be potentially harmful, and issued a compulsory cut in accordance with out classification guidelines."

The series first had a DVD release from MVM from 2005, in four volumes. Subsequent collected DVD editions from MVM are still available. All editions to date have had the cut to part 8.

The 13-episode television anime series premiered in Japan in February 2004. Genon Entertainment describes the anime:

When the darkness overcomes the heart, Lil' Slugger appears..."
After the first victim's story, the police felt the overly stressed woman was having a breakdown and lied to cover-up for some crime. However, after the third and fourth attacks upon unrelated victims led to the same description of a young attacker with a golden baseball bat and in-line skates, the police had to wonder - is the "Lil' Slugger" real or some kind of sinister phantom?

Satoshi Kon directed the series at Madhouse, and Kon is also credited with the original work. Seishi Minakami and Tomomi Yoshino wrote the scripts, and frequent Kon collaborator Susumu Hirasawa composed the music.

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