Paranoia Agent, Season 1 Episode 2
The Golden Shoes
Of course Icchi did it.
If Lil’ Slugger is real, Icchi fits the bill. He’s got the skates, he’s got the hat, he’s got the egomania, and the secret life- in this case his lust for an older, private tutor. Poor affable Shougo is the only one who doesn’t see it, sticking up for Icchi even when he’s the main target of his wrath. Shougo just seems to make things worse.
Past the mid-episode interstice, as the police arrive at the school, and as it becomes clearer that Icchi can’t be Lil’ Slugger, Icchi’s spiral into madness becomes much more pronounced. Shougo clearly seems to hope that having a shared experience being an outsider will make him friends with Icchi, but no matter how much Icchi is bullied, he still identifies more with the bullies than the bullied. He still desperately needs public recognition, at any cost.
In a moment of unmitigated malice, Icchi fantasizes about Lil’ Slugger attacking Shougo and then getting to be the hero who takes him down. And then, suddenly, Lil’ Slugger is there.
In Icchi’s psychotic break after Shougo is attacked by Lil’ Slugger Icchi imagines the entire community turning on him, realizing that there’s nothing he can possibly do to exculpate himself. Lil’ Slugger actually showing up, even if it’s just to attack Icchi, suddenly becomes less of a nightmare and more of a fondest possible hope.
And then, in the middle of Icchi’s delirium, Lil’ Slugger is there.