Paranoia Agent, Season 1 Episode 12
‘Paranoia nurtures him.’
Ex-detective Maniwa, using terminology and iconography from Makoto’s fantasy world, fights a desperate loosing battle against a demon Lil’ Slugger, and retreats to seek guidance from the mysterious old man, Makoto’s ‘great master’ who was injured in an accident by the paparazzi Akio. His dying words are ‘dance with the rabbit.’
Maniwa approached Misae only to see that she’s sucessfully fought off a Lil’ Slugger attack. He asked how, and she says that she simply equated Lil’ Slugger with the doll Maromi. A series of news clips show an escalating viral frenzy associated with demand for Maromi merchandise is sweeping the city.
An impossibly tiny woman, dressed like a burlesque bunny, appears in the window reflection of a store to Maniwa, and he follows her, as per the mysterious old man’s last words, to find the a client of Harumi’s from Episode 3, Double Lips, who is seen making figures out of Lil’ Slugger’s victims. A number of the dolls speak to Maniwa about how they’ve been following the whole story and offer to help him solve the mystery of Maromi/Lil’ Slugger.
Maniwa discovers that Tsukiko’s pet dog, which Maromi was modeled after, was attacked by a figure resembling Lil’ Slugger ten years ago. Meanwhile, Tsukiko’s coworker threatens her over her failure to design a new character, only to drive off and immediately have has car and head bludgeoned in by a monstrously large and demonic Lil’ Slugger. Maniwa tracks down Tsukiko’s father, who explains that Tsukiko was lying about the attack that killed her dog, and that that was the ‘only time’ he ever let her get away with something.
Maniwa finds, in a shed, the bat that her father said that he used to pretend to search for Lil’ Slugger ten years ago, and sees in it the idea weapon with which to fight the creature. He telephones Tsukiko, telling her that he knows the truth, before Maromi, insisting that Tsukiko isn’t to blame for anything, cuts the cord. But Tsukiko has already summoned Lil’ Slugger, who is met by Maniwa and his new sword that cuts clean through Lil’ Slugger’s bat and body.
Only, Lil’ Slugger can regenerate itself. Maromi directs Tsukiko to run and as they find themselves in the cartoon world that ex-detective Ikari is stuck in, Lil’ Slugger disappears, his quarry having vanished. Over the skies of Tokyo, Maromi balloons vanish as well. In their new home, Harumi shows her husband her Maria personality. Back in school, Icchi find his locker stuffed with the fake palm tree from when he wished Shougo would be attacked. The man with the dolls finishes his own doll, only to be attacked by a wave of darkness. Misae has a heart attack, and is visited by the mysterious old man, who promises to take her to where here husband is.
With only one episode to go, there’s a lot riding on Paranoia Agent sticking the landing.