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"Happy Family Planning" is the eighth episode of Paranoia Agent.

SynopsisEdit

An old man named Fuyubachi, a young man named Zebra, and a girl named Kamome all plan on committing suicide until they are attacked by Lil' Slugger.[1]

PlotEdit

An old man holding Chitose Candy named Fuyubachi and a young man nicknamed 'Zebra' - both wearing Maromi backpacks - meet as cutaways to an internet chat indicate they discussed this meeting online. They wait for a third individual named Kamome-kun, which they soon discover is a little girl when they identify her by her own Maromi backpack. More cutaways elaborate that this meeting was arranged for an internet suicide pact. Kamome-kun is glad to see them and playful, but Fuyubachi and Zebra believe it is wrong to include Kamome-kun. They playfully run with her, soon speeding ahead and away to escape her. They eventually stop and Fuyubachi uses the last pill he has for an unspecified condition. Kamome-kun calls them, but they ignore the call, which Kamome-kun shown to be watching them from afar in the background.

Fuyubachi and Zebra enter a condemned building to attempt killing themselves via Carbon Monoxide poisoning. They are interrupted when Kamome-kun calls them and reveals to be inside the building with them. As she chastises them for leaving her, demolition begins on the building and they end up laying outside the building as the building is taken down.

Their next idea is to jump in front of a train. Fuyubachi sets out a plan where he will jump first, followed by Zebra pushing Kamome-kun away from the train and jumping next. However, as the train arrives, another man jumps first. After witnessing this, they are disillusioned by this method of suicide and begin to leave. Zebra stops as he sees the man who jumped limping away, complaining of underestimating the pain he would endure.

They sit out a bench brainstorming other ideas for relatively peaceful deaths, although Kamome-kun isn't keen to any of them. She mentions she wants to ride on a train, which inspires Fuyubachi to suggest traveling to the mountains by train. On the train, Fuyubachi becomes unresponsive for a short time before being revealed to be sleeping.

The group heads up the mountain as far as they can in the hopes they won't be discovered prematurely. They set up nooses along a tree branch so they can hang themselves, with Zebra damaging Kamome-kun's noose so it will break and prevent her from dying. They stand on piles of unsteady rocks and puts their heads through the nooses, but can't decide who should signal the go ahead. Zebra stumbles and falls into his noose, holding himself up by it and asking again for the signal to go. Kamome-kun says Zebra's hanging looks fun and grabs her noose rope, bouncing the tree branch and causing it to snap. Her noose breaks off, and Fuyubachi and Zebra run as they are dragged down a slope by the falling branch, going over a cliff.

Kamome-kun calls out to them and Fuyubachi stops Zebra from calling back, wanting to spare her from their pact. At this moment, Fuyubachi notices Zebra's locket on the ground is open, showing photos of him with a homosexual lover. Fuyubachi's hands slip off Zebra's mouth in this moment, whereas Zebra points out Kamome-kun could get hurt in the mountains and die regardless if they don't go back for her, so they head back. They see Kamome-kun climbing down a short cliff and she yells that she doesn't want to be alone.

They begin back down the mountain, Zebra holding their bags and Fuyubachi carrying Kamome-kun. Kamome-kun states she is hungry and Fuyubachi gives her his Chitose Candy. Zebra calls out as they near a bathhouse, which they decide to stay at for the night. After bathing, they sit and eat. Fuyubachi discusses Lil' Slugger, suggesting that Makoto Kozuka - the imposter Lil' Slugger - was actually another member of their internet chat named FOX, attempting to get revenge on the world before his own planned suicide.

As they are about to sleep in the bathhouse, they begin hearing noises. Zebra asks what the sounds are, while Fuyubachi dismisses them and Kamome-kun shudders at Fuyubachi's suggested causes. A shadow is cast on the door of their room, followed by the end of a metal bat smashing through it. Fuyubachi inspects it and upon realizing it is a bat, opens the door and see Lil' Slugger leaving a man he had just attacked. They call out Lil' Sluggers name and he is about to gladly attack them when Zebra and Kamome-kun gleefully run toward him, prompting Lil' Slugger to flee. Zebra and Kamome-kun follow Lil' Slugger with Fuyubachi close behind as he escapes out if the building and down the road.

The next morning, the group is sitting in front of a convenience store, fully dressed with their belongings, disappointed they lost Lil' Slugger. While Zebra and Kamome-kun talk, Fuyubachi cringes for a moment and takes out his pill container. He notes it is his last pill and then stops in shock. He looks around and notices neither Kamome-kun, Zebra, or himself have shadows, while a crossing man does, as well as ravens that had been following them. He stumbles and as Zebra and Kamome-kun tend to him, he states delusion and touches Zebra's hand, noting it is warm. After Zebra throws him down from embarrassment of this action, Fuyubachi suggests traveling by bullet train far away.

The group walks down the sidewalk, singing merrily while ravens continue to follow them. They stop behind a group of women taking a photo with a digital camera and make silly faces while calling out loudly, then sneaking away. The women check the photo and are horrified by what they see while the group continues off. They pass a pharmacy and the shot focuses on a dispenser for "Happy Family Planning" brand condoms.

Characters IntroducedEdit

  • Fuyubachi: An old man. Carried Chitose Candy with him. He is reliant on medication for an unspecified condition.
  • 'Zebra': A young man. Later revealed to be or have been in a homosexual relationship.
  • Kamome-kun: A little girl. Enjoys spending time with with Fuyubachi and Zebra.

Episode NotesEdit

Translations and Dub IssuesEdit

  • The UK release of this episode has a 1 minute 20 second mandatory cuts made by the BBFC. The removed scene shows the three protagonists (including a young girl) attempting to hang themselves. This cut was made in accordance with the Video Recordings Act 1984.[2]

TriviaEdit

  • It is suggested that the group had been dead for some time. Indications of this include the fact they do not cast shadows for a majority of the episode, ravens often followed them, and the reaction of the women whose photograph they sneaked into at the end of the episode.
    • This would also suggest that when Zebra saw the man who was hit by the train limping away, he was actually watching the man's ghost. No other individuals reacted to the man except Zebra, despite audibly and visibly being in distress as he passed by them.
  • Chitose Candy is typically given to children reaching the ages of 3 or 5, as a celebration of their survival. The fact Fuyubachi carries Chitrose Candy with him everywhere suggests he may have known a child who did not reach one of these milestones and thus couldn't give them the candy. If this is the case, it could explain why he has lost the will to live.
  • When this episode re-aired on Adult Swim in 2020 as a part of their Toonami block, it was aired with two content warnings. The first one that preceded the episode stated "The following episode contains strong conversations and depictions of suicide that may be disturbing to viewers." The second one that was used after the episode concluded stated "If you or someone you know is struggling with feelings of depression or suicide, please seek help by contacting the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741."

ReferencesEdit

  1. https://www.adultswim.com/videos/paranoia-agent/happy-family-planningWeb Archive June 16th, 2020
  2. http://www.bbfc.co.uk/website/Classified.nsf/0/F545F349E551DB8F802571450031ED83?OpenDocument

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