Cracking Classics: A Newbie’s Guide to Paranoia Agent, Episode Four – “A Man’s Path”
Pink Puppy Platitudes on Manhood
With the last episode being about a particular women and how her identity was rendered asunder by society, let’s check out the perspective of a more Y chromosome variety, and how our little social phenomenon is about to impact his life. Masami Hirukawa’s is an aged cop who hasn’t seen a new beat in a while, but none the less is trying to provide a respectable living for his family (he’s building a new house, which he stares at constantly). While talking to Keiichi about the Lil’ Slugger case, they segue into a conversation about a mysterious sneezing bout due to some kind of allergy, which is perhaps indicative of a subconscious strain that is literally “making him sick” – and funnily enough, is seriously an indicator of a compromised immune system due to external stress.
So, perhaps it’s not terribly surprising then, when he’s revealed to live a double life, scurrying among the underground hand in hand with seedy mobsters and underground prostitution rings. But why, you may ask, does he resort to such tactics? He cares for his family, so why put them in such danger? Well, cuz he’s a man. Only, he can’t properly provide for his family honestly (read: wants to validate himself through showing influence through money/ other “positive” traits)-his life as a cop has supposedly stagnated. So, while he’s dealing with his own fiscal devils he puts himself into a self-affirming dissociative state (represented by classic machismo fighting manga to where he pictures himself as a righteous man fighting his demons for the sake of his family).
This state of delusional affirmation is seen in almost every facet of his life (right down to wanting to be called “daddy” during sex). His mental state is only pushed deeper into the viper pit when those monsters start steadily leeching him for more and more money, leading him to eventually steal and maraud under a pink mask to pay off dis debts… hmm… one and a half guesses as to who’s on that mask.
In a quasi-nightmare of his, we see him slowly creeping down an ally to Harumi, and in a moment of odd clarity he turns her around to see her mucked up face/identity. Hmm… perhaps hitting a bit close to home, Hirukawa?
The mob continue their lecherous (btw, “hiru” literally translates to leach) tactics, but this time encourage him to garner some more cash though even more scummy tactics, utilizing drugs to give him an edge. In one particular robbery, his own cognitive process (represented by the comics) is clipped together with the real world goings-on in this particular scene. Not only is the editing snappy, but it shows a lot of subtle complexity to the guy’s dissonance. Of course, he’s projecting himself as a hero (read: opposite) who is protecting the innocent from a robber, and afterwards is gently asked by the heroine to self-identify, which leads to him asking his victims:
While keeping himself above around with all the success of mud on top of a cattle grate, alone in a park, he’s spotted by Keiichi, and promptly goes to get several types of smashed at a bar with him. There, they talk more about the case and the “new generation”. Nothing terribly important for now, but tells something prophetic none the less.
Wandering the streets in a drunken stupor, Hirukawa, like many others in this show, screams to the heavens for someone to deliver him from the precarious position he’s put himself in. But don’t worry! Little Slugger’s here to save the day! And even better, our troubled macho man manages to catch him! This not only puts him in a notable position in his own profession, but lets the mafia hounds get off his heels for a while due to unwanted press presence surrounding all of the craziness.
Handy dandy things to look for:
*What are your predictions on what that whole bar conversation was about?
*What’s your prediction, thus far, on what really connects the lil’ slugger cases?
Rachael’s a student at a Florida university that frolics regularly in Disney parks and has an entirely too extensive collection of stuffed animals. If you wanna follow her other random musings on cartoons (or just stop by to say hi) there’s her blog https://lotsofframes.wordpress.com/.
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