“Holy Warrior” Paranoia Agent S1E5

Paranoia Agent, Season 1 Episode 5
The Holy Warrior
Grade: A-

The show’s rotating narrative focus finally turns its attention to the source of all the attacks linking the main characters to day, and it’s nothing like what the viewer would expect.

Makoto (Lil’ Slugger) interacts with the world through the lens of a fantasy role playing game, playing the hero and freeing people from the pain (in this case a demon that possesses them). As detectives Ikari and Maniwa interrogate Makoto, they play along with his distorted version of the attacks in order to verify that Makoto’s twisted narrative matches with what the victims recounted.

Makoto’s fantasy world give the series’ creative and varied animation styles a chance to shine, as well as providing some much needed comic relief after the dark themes of the previous two episodes. Detective Ikari’s indignation at the interrogation being reduced to communicating with the suspect through juvenile metaphors mirrors the indignation of the Ikari ‘character’ that the viewer sees interacting directly with the imaginary fantasy elements as Ikari is constantly left behind or attacked by monsters or accidentally taking the long way up a flight of stairs.

Detective Maniwa, however, sees something in Makoto’s narrative and decides to end the interrogation early in favor of trying to find a potential witness to the first attack- the mysterious old woman.