Kon Satoshi and Japan’s Monsters in the City





Kon Satoshi, anime, monsters, spectacle, media, Japan, lost decades


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. I argue 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 ever-changing social environment of late-modern Japan.

Author Biography

Chris Perkins, University of Edinburgh

is Senior Lecturer in Japanese Studies at the University of Edinburgh. He has published on topics including Japanese media, radicalism in modern Japan, and border politics.

Acknowledgements: I would like to thank the editors of Nordlit and the two reviewers for their help and guidance with this article.


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Perkins’ contribution is part of MaMo—Section 2.




How to Cite

Perkins, Chris. 2019. “Kon Satoshi and Japan’s Monsters in the City”. Nordlit, no. 42 (November):141–152. https://doi.org/10.7557/13.5009.