"What a damn fine world we live in."

Paranoia Agent is a Madhouse production TV series from 2004, and an important part of the artistic legacy of Satoshi Kon, who passed away at the age of 46, in 2010. Paranoia Agent is a 13 episode series that might be classified in the Police Procedural genre, as, on the surface, it concerns itself with a series of murders, the police investigating the crimes, the lives of the victims, and the effect of the crime spree on the population at large. As with several of Kon’s works, Paranoia Agent really is an exploration of the grey area that exists somewhere between reality and fiction. One can say that the real subject of the series are Lies, those we tell to others, and those we tell to ourselves.

This review is intended to be spoiler free, but for those wanting the bottom line: Paranoia Agent is well worth watching.

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Mashiro would rather die than give up on his dream.

Shounen powers ACTIVATE! Episode 6 of Bakuman’s second season brings us perhaps the most shounen episode of this franchise yet. Mashiro has collapsed from the strain, and for some reason the quack doctor thinks removing part of his liver will help. Mashiro refuses to stop drawing, however. Even if it kills him, even if he loses the love of his life, he will continue to draw manga. In particular he is working on a color spread, which gives us another chance to check out his art tools — this time some nice color markers.

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Claude struggles with a design for his next commission.

I really like this show. Despite the very little that apparently happens in each episode, it always seems to stimulate so many topics to talk about. Episode 3 of Ikoku Meiro no Croisée is no different. Rather than following all of the fascinating little back alleys this episode reveals, I’ll try to stick to one particular thread: in this episode we get to see some previously hidden parts of Claude’s work process, and, notably how he gets help from Yune.

Before I continue to my main point, however, I thought I would note that i have seen the title of this show translated two different ways. The first, Crossroads in the Foreign Labyrinth, and the second, Crossings in the Foreign Labyrinth. “Crossroads”, at least in the Western tradition, are generally associated with choices, whereas “crossings” seems to imply encounters. Of course, crossroads are the point of convergence of two or more paths, so they are certainly a type of meeting as well. I believe (based upon the content of these first three episodes) that this notion of “meeting” is the intended meaning, not “choices”. The show is very much about how people (at least those who are open to it) can be changed by the people they meet. In this episode it is Claude who is changed by his “crossing” (encounter) with Yune.

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Bakuman 5 – effort

October 31, 2010

Liquid inspiration.

In episode 5 of Bakuman, our budding mangaka dedicate their Summer vacation to creating their first manuscript. After several weeks of hard work, little sleep, and fast food they are ready to call the editorial office to show someone the results.

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