This article offers an analysis of Kon Satoshi’s use of monsters in his 2004 animated television series Paranoia Agent (Mōsō Dairinin). Focussing on the bat-wielding figure of Shōnen Batto and a cuddly pink doll called Maromi, it is shown how Kon Satoshi uses these figures to critique a range of fatalistic discourses on Japan’s decline that have emerged since the bursting of Japan’s economic bubble in the early 1990s. It is argued that Kon repackages the ‘vague sense of anxiety’ prevalent in post-bubble Japan as monster in order to access the psychic realities of Japan, and as a tool for developing a critique of Japan’s fear of and fascination with social monsters. Through analysis of key scenes, the article shows how Kon develops a rich dialectical understanding of Japan’s on-going search for monsters, while also forwarding his own humanist view of social responsibility as method of navigating the everchanging social environment of late-modern Japan.
- Kon Satoshi
- lost decades