The truth is... this show is overrated. Overrated does not mean bad, it simply means overrated. "Oh you're just not intelligent enough to grasp all the deep concepts hidden within the philosophical plot!" No. It's just not as deep as you might want to believe it is. The series definitely doesn't stay true to the "meant-to-be" dark-premise of the manga, especially towards the end.
The story starts off with what everyone believed was going to be a philosophical story between the meaning of life and death, and humanity vs reality with the introduction of a species higher up in the food pyramid
than humans, called Parasytes. Sure everyone wants to believe that what they're watching is deep, but truth be told it's really not. The story can't seem to decide what direction they want to go. Parasytes basically infect human beings, usually take over their brains and control them. And as you can guess, Parasytes eat humans making them the one species above human beings in the food chain. Shinichi, the protagonist only gets infected in his right hand, therefore he still has conscious control over his body (except for his right hand obviously). Where does it go from there? A psychological show? An action show? A horror? A romance? All of the above, while almost failing to reach it's potential in every aspect. The plot doesn't go in linear way, it cuts corners and adds in random interferences whilst not being able to intertwine and contain them all. One moment there's a fight then there's awkward school life-romance, then there's running away and talking pretentiously, then there's another fight randomly. A lot of things were taken too slowly, then rushed in the latter creating an unbalanced flow in the plot. It's almost like although the show wanted to be philosophical, it was just about one boy running away from a herd of parasytes trying to kill him for no rational reason other than him being the main character. Furthermore, in order to promote themes, the show portrayed a lot of things incorrectly, especially human beings (The police). Human beings are evil and corrupt. Okay... Now you have to contrast that in order to create a theme or idea, but the show doesn't succeed in showing two sides of a concept, although they try. The writers did everything in their power to somehow elevate Shinichi to a god-level in one moment then degrade him to a useless hippo the next moment in order to fit whatever they were farting out of their butts. The beginning was potential-filled, middle didn't live up to it's expectations although was decent, and the ending just made no sense what-so-ever. If you're going to be philosophical, you need to back it up with your story. Kiseijuu failed to do just that and instead just had a lot of childish bloodshed. Yes, the fighting was childish because honestly, it wasn't justified. Now with all that negative things said, the story really was pretty enjoyable to watch-listen to so don't think that the show sucks. On the positive side of the show, there were moments that though they may be pretentious, some comments reached deep into my heart and my mind. Tamura Reiko's "For what purpose was I born in this world?". People think about that all the time. Why are we actually born? Do we have a certain purpose to fulfill that's destined by fate? Then there was the mayor's entire speech on human evolution. I found those to be really intriguing topics to think about and half the fun in watching an anime is for it to make you think and grasp upon a new conception/philosophy. But overall, yeah story was disappointing.
The character develop was really underwhelming in the show as well. I'll start with popular main characters, Migi and Shinichi. What the story started off doing was uniting two characters into one to intertwine the nature of humanity and other creatures. The show tries to connect the audience to the humanity side and the "monster" side and show the differing perspectives. Shinichi seemed to turning more into a monster while Migi was becoming more human. But the starting potential was all there was to that development. There are too many unresolved questions and everything that Migi does for Shinichi is beyond unrealistic. I mean I understand Parasytes existing is unrealistic in itself, but they're supposed to be a opposing metaphor for the concept of humanity, but there are some bullcrap moments that the writers seem to fart out of their butts to save Shinichi. Towards the last two episodes, Shinichi is beyond useless without Migi and he keeps saying more pretentious crap about his emotions, when there's nothing more to say but "The writers wrote me so that I'm a human being that's marching straight towards the strongest parasyte in the midst of night because I feel like something good will happen". And... of course something good does happen. Oh man how genius and clever of the writers right?! The other characters had their appearances, then two episodes later their exits. Development of any sort? I don't think so. Shinichi really could have developed more. His losses in life changes him to embrace his half-parasyte side, while his love for human life clings to his humanity. Okay, that's a great base start but where does it all go from there? Shinichi sure had a lot of emotions tied into his characters to the point where it was like, who is this person? Shinichi is this person one moment, then another the next. The only character that developed at all is Tamura Reiko and yes she is like the only character I actually liked. Her development into trying to understand human emotions, laboring her human child, trying to unite both humanity and parasytes together. The writers succeeded in creating her character as a symbol of hope and despair. The hope that humans and other creatures will one day understand each other. The despair that there will be bloodshed and corruption within the social hierarchy of species. Her one quote of "arigato" was probably the most powerful one word in the anime that pierced through my heavens. A bright light in in the anime for sure. As for the two girls, Murano and Kana... they happen to be in love with Shinichi but there's abolutely no chemistry between the characters. All Murano does for 90% of the story is "Are you really Shinichi?" and Kana just constantly throws herself at Shinichi whilst being aware of the dangers around her just because... the writers made her. I mean even in a fictional story there should be some human-emotion-realism right? Kana could have been a character like Tamura Reiko, a way of hope and despair in connection of the two species, but no. She became a nobody without really ever being a somebody. Also so many small characters that seemingly were going to play a role in the story just had one event then disappeared from the show entirely: Uda, Makiko, and his father? Like, what even happened to them by the end?
The very ending of Parasyte makes no sense, there is almost no connection to the rest of the story. It's almost as if the series just cut off everything that the story built up to, to just end the show. Yet because Migi has a pretentious exchange with Shinichi, people who don't even grasp what they're even saying believe it to be a genius ending. All Migi basically says is Shinichi should wake up from his dreams (which is his reality) and forget everything that's happened to him and live a normal human life. Then Shinichi realizes that humanity is corrupt and that in human nature there is natural evil. But despite all the negative sides of human nature, human beings are beautiful creatures and they include the love of Earth into the whole pretentious mix. Migi then just disappears without anything being explained. I mean Migi just randomly leaves within his dreams which then translates to Migi disappearing from the show entirely. What the hell? Did he leave himself to Shinichi (for him to have an arm) and then kill his life-force so that he doesn't actually exist? in the end when Shinichi saves Murano, it's implied that Migi saves her. So, what the hell actually happened to Migi? Makes no sense to me, maybe someone else can make sense of the whole ending for me. This last episode sort of reminded me of Evangelion's ending where it doesn't connect all that well to the rest of the plot and doesn't explain a lot of things while including randomness to sound smart.
As for the art in Parasyte, I'd say it was decent? I mean, the portrayal of the Parasytes was mediocre to me in comparison to the kagune of Ghouls in Tokyo Ghoul. The characters all looked like they had unusually long faces (though I don't bash them for that, just something I noticed). The actions scenes were mediocre as well, as all they portrayed were a bunch of arms moving around at a speed so fast the audience just sees lines dashing across the screen. I suppose the portrayal of weather (such as the snow when Tamura Reiko ...) was beautifully done. the music in Parasyte was good but there wasn't all that much variety in music. It was basically, opening-one other random Ost-Next to you-Ending every episode. "Next to you" is a really good piece though, I loved listening to it every time it played. Solid in the music category overall. Okay actually, listening to it's full soundtrack, Parasyte had some really nice music.
At the very end of the show the only thing left is my head is: What was the point of the show? Was it to show that humanity is corrupt and that we're the reason other species can't move forward? That humanity should embrace other species and try harder to understand? Or that reality is a cruel place? What do other people see in this show that makes them think it's so genius? And of course, if you enjoyed the show then I respect that as well because despite my criticism I too enjoyed the show ... to an extent.
With all that said, Parasyte is a show that's worth watching if you like psychological shows.
I'm the type of anime watcher that likes to wait for the anime to be completed before watching it; so I can either marathon it in one day or finish it in a few days - am I the only one who does this? Parasyte or Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu was one of those anime I've completed in a day. With the cliffhangers that leave you at the edge of your seat at the end of the episodes, to the humans that can morph into blades and mold their faces/ bodies for creating massacres; it's the perfect formula for binge watching. I would have been
dying to wait for each episode each week if I watched this when it aired.
When speaking with others online about Parasyte, the most common piece of criticism I hear that strays away those who don't want to watch is that it's "not my genre," it's "overrated" or "it makes my stomach turn while watching some scenes." Although I agree with most of these statements, it's because of these points that people should try watching - simply because it's a genre/ story that's not seen often in this generation.
Putting that aside, the anime begins with a mini snake-like organism emerging from it's shell that fails to attempt to target a high schooler by the name of Izumi Shinichi, unable to attack Shinichi's brain to completely take over his body. However the organism develops it's own intellect in Shinichi's right arm and is named Migi (which is Japanese for right). The story is about magnitudes of these snake-like organisms taking over humans in Japan. If the brain has been successfully taken over, a parasyte is then born which then has the ability to morph body parts into blades and lengthen the human anatomy. To survive, these parastyes thrive on devouring the anterior portion of humans, killing with no second judgement. The main character Shinichi learns about this through his counter-part Migi and goes on a mission to kill any parasyte that poses a threat to society.
After watching this and reflecting on it, it's clear that the anime was trying to illustrate the question of: "can someone who does not display human-like qualities, be humanized?" The answer to this question is, yes and it's heavily drawn out through the characters. We see that as the story progresses it's clear that parasytes are depicted as blood thirty creatures. However some of the parasytes like Tamiya Ryouko, who seemingly is out to kill, becomes more human as her storyline progresses. We also see this with Migi, Migi starts off as having no empathy for humans, Shinichi included, but gradually gains affection towards them as the episodes unfold. However when looking at Shinichi, the reverse occurs to him as he loses his some emotions and becomes less humanized.
The art and animation is quite solid, and the sound stands out as one of my favourites. Although this anime is an adaptation from a manga in the 90s, I enjoyed that the art is drawn in a way that's up-to-date with the anime that's out now but yet still has that air from the art during the 90s as well. The animation is fluid but not that fluid in some regards as I hoped. For example, when we see the one-to-one combat between parastyes; the lightning speed combat with using lengthened limbs and blades are not that fluid. The OST is a stand out, one of the better ones out there against the others during the time this aired; which actually made me download the entire album. I presume everyone's favourite is probably "next to you." If you haven't heard it, youtube it, download it, listen, and enjoy.
Overall Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu was a great anime to watch. If you're looking for something that's out of your comfort zone or just looking for something new to watch, I would recommend this. I promise you that after the first episode, the cliffhangers will reel you in and possibly cause you to watch episode after episode until your done. If you made it this far reading my review.. thanks ! Feel free to shoot me a message if you have any comments about my review or want to discuss anything anime.
You’ve probably heard of them in classic sci-fi stories before; the very idea of alien creatures who can snatch bodies to impersonate a human and walk among our society. Build on the foundation of a science fiction and body horror, Kiseijuu (also known as Parasyte) takes a full swing with its premise. It’s simple actually. We have a case of alien invasion by mysterious beings who can infect us through parasitic means. By inserting themselves into a human’s brain, the parasites can take full control and transform you into a monster. Not only does this kill the victim but now it can even add more
its body count by consuming more humans. Sounds terrifying right? That would have been a fate for a young man named Shinchi until one parasite goofs up and fails his mission. Now they share a single body but with separate personality. Let the adventure begin.
With such an engaging premise, Kiseijuu really sets the par high not just by its first episodes but also by some other technical aspects from behind the scenes. First we have the powerhouse studio Madhouse who are well renowned for their reputation. Then, there’s the source material. This adaptation is based on the manga that came out over two decades ago but has earned praise. With just the forefront of these elements, the series has high expectations. Thankfully, it lives up to its hype.
The show doesn’t take a break even from the start by showing the grim reality of the show’s horror. If you don’t believe me, then the first few seconds may convince you. Needless to say, a series like this is not easy to the stomach. But given that fact, it makes itself look real by showing us the brutality of the parasites. The first few episodes establishes the fact that most parasites are heartless monsters who care only about themselves and their prey. The parasite that failed to take over Shinichi’s body display similar traits by threatening to kill him and others if their secret is revealed. Migi (the name that Shinichi gives to it) often thinks strategically to survive while discarding all morality. For instance, he tries to kill any witnesses who see the symbiotic relationship between him and Shinchi. Then, there’s the actual combat where Migi fights indiscriminately at times in order to survive. Outside of combat, the show becomes a bit of personal drama. This is because Shinchi has to constantly deal with keeping this secret and not revealing it to others for the fear that they may be killed. It’s more than just responsibility but also creates the sensation of fear. For the both of them, it’s about survival in a world run by atrocity.
What makes this series’ story stand out quite a bit is the ability to convey human nature and focus on more than just outlandish battles for survival. It shows the best and worst of what humans can do while also balancing out how parasites can behave. Sometimes, there’s almost a similarity while others stands in sharp contrast. For Shinchi, he undergoes big changes as the story progresses with certain events that create tragic scars in his life. These changes are reflected both physically and mentally. Even his classmates like Murano notices this and is constantly worrying about his well-being. In the beginning, we can see him as a normal guy who just wants to be normal. Until he accepts the reality later on, Shinchi is just someone who wants friends, get an education, and perhaps even fall in love. The certain events of the parasites changes all of that as he can never go back to his normal life. His relationships with Murano often has shifting drifts because of the dangers he realizes she may be in if she gets too close to him. Then, there’s the relationship between him and his parents. In particular, his mother represents as someone who sets by example of what a good parent should be. And case taken, the series doesn’t neglect to show other relationships even among the parasites. Motherhood plays a role as well as one particular parasite becomes a guardian for her child. And although she shows little feelings towards it, there’s a drastic change to her behavior later on as she begins to develop human traits. On the other hand, we can also see the worst of human nature. For instance, there’s a serial criminal in the series whose behavior isn’t far different from the parasites themselves.
In contrast, there’s also Shinchi who develops quite a bit throughout this show. Remember, a big part of this series relies is crafted by the way things change and how they work. Shinchi’s experience of fighting alongside Migi turns him into a warrior beyond someone who just wishes to protect others. This is in particular true because of the tragic events in his life. His change is reflected physically and also at an interpersonal level as Shinchi becomes less and less human himself. From an ordinary kid with a timid personality in the beginning, Shinchi becomes a changed man who is serious, humorless, and pessimistic. It’s also shown in the case where Shinchi begins to develop fighting skills of his own when he can’t always rely on Migi. And furthermore, the show takes advantage of the choices he makes to further develop his character. It doesn’t take a genius to see how much the show can focus on its premise and understanding it. The show takes its turns with each episode to present thrillerish scenarios and events that connects with the characters. Its narrative also remains a strong aspect of the show by focusing on Shinchi’s role and what his decisions are no matter how risky they may seem to be.
Also, be aware that the show has tragedy. More than just death, Shinchi’s losses in life expands beyond just losing important people around him. It shows that he can’t save everyone and when that happens, Shinchi feels regret because of his own lack of confidence. It’s interesting at the same time to see how much Migi changes. From the irrational display of inhumanity he shows in the beginning, we can see some of his softer sides. It seems as the story goes on, there’s attachment he feels about the human race and their behavior. While most of this is obstructed in the beginning, the development of his character reaches a point where Migi behaves like a human. On a lighter side, the show also adds some elements of comedy involving Migi and Shinchi’s relationship. Migi’s particular curiosity leads him to “research” on human sexuality which creates hilariously memorable moments. Kana’s repetitive “White Knight wet dreams” are also something of a very peculiar comedy that adds more into the show. Similarly, we can also see different sides of other parasites ranging Reiko’s care for her child to the political ways that some parasites tries to initiate into society. By presenting such events, it also shows that not all parasites are simply absent-minded for their lust to consume and kill. We even have a character that Shinchi can relate because of their own personal life circumstances. But for all its worth, the show can become a bit predictable at times. The death flags are inevitable not to mention the spoilerish opening song. While the transition of each episodes remain mainly strong, there are some minor changes between the manga and this adaptation. Furthermore, both the manga and anime has plot holes that are seemingly never answered. None of them really destroys the content of the story but some of it seems a bit odd such as the technology and Shinchi’s original appearance prior to become Mr. Badass.
As a fan of the manga, I have to say that my initial impressions of the artwork wasn’t very great. The artwork has a more generic style rather than the mature atmosphere the manga delivered. After taking more careful glances though, there’s also a feel of attachment anyone can make from the art. Starting with gruesome, the designs of the parasites are both horrific and fascinating. All of them show monstrous traits with their murderous-like intent. The eyes, blades, and disfigured faces are what makes them fearful. Certain parasites also develops more powerful traits that really makes them stand out above others physically by their body structure. In this case, the designs got the job done. Migi in particular has a very fascinating appearance with his unique case of being stuck in Shinchi’s hand. For the human characters though, most of them are categorized by character design to fit with their personalities. From Shinchi’s normal parents to the various delinquents, each of them gives off an impression of humanity. But the most fascinating part about the show is Shinchi’s physical change. His tragic experiences transforms him into a more daring man and this is even reflected by his image. The sharp-edge hair, removal of his glasses, and firm body structure are just a few examples of this. And finally, the show is infamous for its graphic violence. Expect pouring blood, severed limbs, and gore that really entitles this show as horror. The action scenes are also, fast, crisp, and decorated with high production values thanks to Madhouse. Oh and that absence of censorship is a great please to the fans like myself.
Soundtrack and music plays a rather interesting role. In particular, the dubstep becomes a controversial addition added to the series. Sometimes, the usage feels right while other times really feel out of place. The first episode wastes no time with the usage of dubstep so viewers will have to get used to it. It took me a couple of episodes to adapt with the OST and in retrospect, it does work out once you feel attached to it. In other respects, the characters’ voices show a good deal of focus especially with Shinichi and his change. This is reflected in his more calm and confident voice later on in the story in contrast to his quiet and timid personality in the beginning. Kana Hanazawa also plays the role of Shinchi’s love interest with a sense of innocence in her voice. But most interestingly, we have the voices of the parasites. All of them has a disturbing and distorted voice compared to their former human hosts when transformed. I give credit for this sci-fi style of portrayal to bring out the realism of their presence. But when in human form, there’s some a lack of empathy in the voice mannerisms of the parasites. Other times, there are parasitic characters who shows more of a human tone such as with Reiko and Uda. Then, there’s also the character Migi. Voice actress Aya Hirano effectively brings this character into life with her voice. Finally, there’s also the OP and ED songs. Unlike most 2 cour series, there are no changes the whole time with the hardcore OP song or the gentler atmosphere of the ED.
If you’re a fan of sci-fi horror, then this series should no doubt be something of a must-see. This remarkable work is reflected not just in the story but by the characterization of its cast – both human and parasitic. The show’s focus on its various themes crafts great amounts of moments that are memorable for its nature. Shinchi’s development over the course of the series along with Migi are like experimental journeys that really makes their point. And with all this going on, we can also see how far the show can make for itself when it can make you feel attached to its premise. There will be some predictable plot elements in regards to the romance sub-plots or tragedy. However, this shouldn’t be a set-back especially when its main story is thought provoking. Hell, even the action scenes tells a story each episode. Kiseijuu is a wonder that is sometimes fun, sometimes horrific, sometimes mysterious but always entertaining.
Based off of the award winning manga series written by Iwaaki Hitoshi, coming from the highly praised Madhouse studio, with all excitement and intense story, Kiseijuu constantly finished this season with its fineness.
The story set-up in a realistic world where an unknown organism invaded earth and take over human bodies, accidentally one of that organism is trying to enter into someone's body, a body of a sleeping boy named Shinichi Izumi, but the organism can only take over Shinichi hand only. The incident created a bizarre creature that lives eventually in Shinichi's right hand. Meanwhile, other organisms that successfully take over a human / animal
bodies is starting to attack the Civilians secretly and eat them. With that fact, Shinichi decided to fight other ruthless parasites with Migi's help.
In the story section, Kiseijuu have some notable succession. A bizarre yet successful settings brings Kiseijuu a glimpse of uniqueness to its story. The story actually not so complex, the concept is understandable and easy to remember. The individual elements of the story runs pretty well too, it was thrilling, and so exciting. The anime have a fairly balanced pacing while throwing some excitement & surprises at the same time. Kiseijuu added many other genres and mixed up into one big unity. One of them is romance, There is some scenes that included romance Although sometimes the romance felt awkward because the lack of process.
The other good thing is Kiseijuu successfully illustrated the true nature of a living creature, especially us humans. Kiseijuu left some moral lessons for the audience: "Life is a valuable thing, we have to respect of human and creature life"
The animation actually quite standard, not bad but not the best. The character design is decent, while, in the other hand, I fully appreciate the parasites design, it is well-illustrated & quite memorable, it success in bringing a grim & scary feeling to the screen.
For the sound settings, I personally adore the Opening song “Let Me Hear” sung by Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas, it is really a great upbeat song with a real mixture of Electric & Rock. As for the background music, Kiseijuu did an excellent job in bringing such music, the music fluidly mixed up with the story in a great way, it is really fit & fresh in brain. There is nothing to say for the voice actors, it just awesome.
In the character section, we have our main characters, the duo consist of Izumi Shinichi & the alien that live in his right arm named Migi. The character development centered in Izumi Shinichi, from the start of to the end, Shinichi’s have various changes including his attitude & appearance. Just like other great characters , he developed from zero to hero. From a sniffing & coward boy, he grows into a more mature & reliable man. The development describe very well. While Migi, the parasite that live in Shinichi’s hand have a meaningful role, a sense of friendship is also described between them as the story progress. While various villain with a different motive also did well in their roles. The other supporting characters do their roles pretty well. It is really good indeed.
In the end, it’s just another great series. It is fully recommended if you a fan of the individual elements that included in the story, and if you seek an anime with full of excitement, proper character development, & intense storyline then Parasite is your menu.
If Tokyo Ghoul is fast food then Parasyte is fine dining.
Stories that adhere to the "invasion of humanity" narrative is nothing groundbreaking by any means. It's been done many times over on the silver screen, from large-scale takeovers like 1978's Invasion of the Body Snatchers to more up close and personal ones like 2003's Dreamcatcher. The fear of an unknown sentient being that can challenge us intellectually is something that has always piqued the interest of moviegoers for decades. They're stories that could service a multitude of directions, and while not always intentional, they tend to bring up themes centered around the human condition and
Darwinism. And for those that tackled these ideas on purpose, it has the benefit of becoming a decent popcorn flick or even better, an engrossing social commentary, depending on the pedigree of writing and how it's presented. Being thought-provoking, while at the same time entertaining for a broader viewing audience is no small feat to pull off. There's a balance that needs to be struck that may require compromise to avoid being too heady, but at the same time, having the know-all to make it intellectually stimulating.
Thankfully, Parasyte does just that. It draws you in with its uncanny imagery and copious amount of violence, all the while adhering to the underpinnings of subtextual content that peels back the layer to reveal something much more meaningful. Of course, like any show that grapples with these ideas, it had its fair share of issues as well, but as a whole, Parasyte was a title that manages to escape with only a few blemishes where others made in a similar fashion couldn't stick the landing. Today, we'll discuss its highlights and missteps, both great and small.
To avoid regurgitating info you could simply read in the synopsis, we'll dive right into discussing the focal points.
While the implications of the story presented are universal, the manner that it chooses to take it on with is more of a personal one. Following the life of our protagonist, Shinichi, we see the conflict unfold through his eyes and the effects it had on his personal life. With this more intimate approach, we get to better understand the individual impact a shift in society's status quo could have on a micro-scale. All of a sudden, something other than humans had authoritarian control over Earth. It's a power struggle that's fully realized when accounting for the fact that not only could these invaders match our intellect but they are also physically stronger as well. Parasyte shows that the only thing separating us from being on the rear end of the hierarchical food chain is simply our ability to think beyond standard means of self-preservation. It's this innate understanding that gives stakes to this conflict, as we see our protagonist and most other people that encounter the invading parasitic entity, fail to properly combat against them on a one-on-one basis. While we do get a macro overview of the effects and how it manages to disrupt society, the story always kept its main focus on Shinichi's dilemma.
The brisk pacing really helped to sell the situation as well. Key events that would go on to shape our protagonist's ever-morphing psyche was given enough time to sink in but the show never forcefully came to a full stop just to let it be digested, which allowed the gravity of the circumstance to remain poignant while keeping the show in motion. Traumatic events were given their time and so we as an audience were allowed time to invest in the turmoil that came as a direct result. But what ultimately made these traumatic events work is that they occurred during moments where our protagonist wasn't given ample time to process it all.
This, fellow readers, is how you build proper suspense and anticipation. Something many titles have a hard time getting the formula right for.
Of course, there were some issues, most of which were a result of retrofitting this 80s manga adaptation to fit a contemporary modern-day setting, while not accounting for the overexposure of current technology. The intention the creators had to modernize the material was understandable, however, the foresight to see the downside to doing that was a bit short of the mark. For example, there would be specific incidents that would go on unnoticed to society, despite the chances of them being recorded via cell phone or surveillance camera becoming a high probability, as the events themselves occurred in public settings. This also accounts for just how prolonged the time was that the parasites were able to stay in hiding in a digital age that spreads information like wildfire. The story isn't as plausible as it could have been had they kept it set in the time period it was written for. This isn't to discredit the show, as most viewers wouldn't even be bothered by it, but it's something that needs to be brought to light for those that do key in on the issue.
The constant comparisons between Tokyo Ghoul and Parayste are one that's warranted since they both made their anime debut around the same time period and approached similar constructed themes and setups. However, unlike Tokyo Ghoul, Parayste actually explores the societal implications of dealing with a foreign body in-depth. The parasites were used as allegorical proxies to many of the show's concepts and not just a reason to have excessive angst and shounen cock fights. Like I pointed out in my opening line, this is what separates the two and makes a clear divide between entertainment with substance and one that barely scraped by thematically. One provided proper social commentary, while the other simply had it as an idea for flavoring.
By finding a way to obtain equilibrium between thematic relevance and fun theatrics, Parasyte became one of those rare titles that could appeal to the majority, while also appeasing the interest of critics as well. This isn't to say that Parasyte dives as deeply as it could have with the topics it addresses but that it demonstrated foresight for the concepts that would usually manifest by default when dealing with these kinds of premises, to begin with. It's not a "2deep4u" title nor is it brain-dead one, it's a thoughtful action/thriller that knows just when to hit the right notes and when to let the content on screen do all the talking in its place.
The art and animation weren't anything to jump out of your seat for but there was definitely a sense of quality control there. The character designs were fairly simple and help to give an idea of the character's traits before we even hear them talk. The biggest standout in the show was, of course, the fight scenes and the detailed anthropomorphic body imagery that both served to creep you out and draw on that obtuse fascination we all get for things unfamiliar to us. The color palette was eye-catching enough on a regular basis, occasionally switching to a more acid washed texture or murky-based one for whenever it tried to heighten the mood of key events (school hallway scene anyone?). While nothing that'll win any awards anytime soon, the art and animation did enough to stand on its own and that's all most viewers are concerned with anyways.
Now where there will be a divide in viewers would be the music section.
Parasyte's music selection is a hit or miss depending on your personal preference. It's like if one of the producers snuck into their teenage kid's room and emulated the songs straight off of their playlist. "This is what the kids are listening to these days" seem to be the thought process they went with. If anything, it really helped to distinguish Parasyte from the rest of the crowd.
The soundtrack is very topical, largely composed of EDM (electronic dance music) tracks. The EDM tracks come in a few selection of different sub-genres that can range from techno, dubstep, drum 'n' bass, hardstyle, house, trap, downtempo, trance and every variant in between. Of course, that's not all it has, as there are a few new-school orchestric tracks and soft electronic piano ballads that are thrown in for good measure. But EDM is the dominating song choice, most noticeably dubstep for those unfamiliar with the sub-genres. Needless to say, if EDM is your cup of tea then you'll be in for a treat, but music is subjective and enjoyment will vary for each individual.
The opening is a heavy hitting post-hardcore synth track reminiscent of bands like Pierce The Veil, The Fall of Troy and Sleeping with Sirens, if those bands were to ever go "T-Pain" on us, that is. It's a "teen angst x 100" kind of song that won't register with everyone, and like the EDM OST, it's a preferential thing.
The sound effects also deserve special mention, more specifically when parasites morph or move around. It adds to the overall creep factor the show is going for, sounding almost like a pliable substance; like playing with silly potty or deflating a balloon. It's hard to pinpoint the exact sound but it was certainly unique.
All in all, the show was unapologetic about its sound selection and made a bold move in an industry where j-pop and j-rock are enough to get you by. It may not be up to snuff with people that don't care for the genre but it shouldn't be discredited because of that. It added variety to the monotonous sound expected from OSTs in the anime industry.
The cast of characters was a mixed bag. On one hand, a few characters were wonderfully handled, showing layered characterization to their personality with flaws that made them relatable and easy to sympathize with, but on the other, we had characters that teeter on the border of 2-dimensional to becoming caricatures. You know it's bad when Migi, an apathetic parasitic hand, showed better characterization than that of some of the side characters. But that isn't to say it bombed in this department, as the few focused characters help to carry the show. Watching Shinichi slow metamorphosis and development as a person was well-handled from beginning to end. When a traumatizing event occurred, they aren't simply used for quick blips of shock factor but go on to further influence and add dimension to his personality. May that be a loss that triggers a lack of empathy or one that helps him rekindle it. Where some of the characters lapsed in proper portrayal, they more than made up with their interactions with each other, most notably, that of Shinichi and Migi, as well as the relationship he had with the show's main love interest, Satomi Murano.
Shinichi and Migi's relationship can be seen as the bridge between both species. They stand in the crossfire and both adapt and grow accustomed to each other, and because they were the focal point of the story, seeing their interaction and partnership flourish was a nice treat. But perhaps more surprising than that was just how well Shinichi and Satomi were handled together. The relationship between them was very organic, none of this "omg a boob touched my shoulder, time to blush" bullshit, but teenagers acting in mannerisms that anyone growing up can relate to. The back and forth spats between them can become tedious at times but to be fair, given the circumstances they're involved in, it was always understandable. The show's primary focus was never a romance but when it addressed it, it ended up outclassing some romance titles that only get to 1st base by its finale, which is something worth applauding the show for.
Another noteworthy character was Ryouko Tamiya but I'll keep details about her involvement to a minimum. She was a parasite that helped to further explore some of the show's themes and provided better insight into the turmoil at hand. Her involvement brought up very interesting questions and plays a huge role in providing another perspective to the story.
While some characters fell short and others could have been cut out entirely, the cast as a whole was fine and served their purpose.
We can sit here crediting the thoughtful decisions the show made or criticizing the misguided ones all day but when it call boils down to the essentials, as a piece of entertainment, Parasyte was a show that constantly delivered. And after all, isn't that what we all came for?
Parasyte was one of those titles that kept me hooked from beginning to end. It was action packed, had nice tension, great character dynamics and always left me wanting more. It made for great binge-watching material and certainly delivered in the entertainment department. While I didn't care much for the soundtrack and could do without the inclusion of certain plot details and characters, when it was all said and done, I enjoyed the 24-episode journey.
While many titles have tried this type of setup before, Parasyte stepped in to help set the benchmark for how to do it right. It balanced its themes well while still being entertaining, showing that it's possible to do both. It's a show that had a few missteps but never to the point of failure. It may not be for everyone but those generally fascinated with these kinds of "man vs nature" parables would probably enjoy what the show has to offer.
I remember hearing a lot of hype for Parasyte when it was first announced for an anime adaptation. Apparently, it was a really popular manga in the 90s about some kid who got his hand infected by an alien parasite – hence the name I suppose, although I’m not sure why the “i” was changed into a “y” – and must now learn to live with it whilst warding off other similar infected people who had the misfortune of being killed by these beings before having their entire existence taken over. Seemed like good body horror stuff as is, but then came the influx of
people I knew who read the manga that declared it to be the second coming of Christ and my hype for it was decent whilst not being astounding because it was being done by a Madhouse team whose only credits were to their Marvel stuff and isn’t that just another clue that they’re not the powerhouse they used to be? Well it turns out that I was right to be cautious, because not only does Parasyte not live up to the hype, but it’s knee-deep in pretty much everything I despise about Marvel stuff to boot.
You know your show with dick hands and uncensored decapitations has problems when I can think of five shows from Fall 2014 I’d rather watch over it and one of them is from KyoAni. But before I get into thrashing this show, I’ll admit that I’m glad Parasyte was made, if only because its popularity will hopefully lead to more classic manga getting adapted, thus lessening the huge surplus of LN adaptations we’ve been getting as of late. In an age where self-awareness is replacing actual humor, we really do need more manga adaptations that take themselves seriously, and this along with Attack on Titan are prime candidates for ushering in that age. So thank you Parasyte for representing a spark the animation industry desperately needs now that Kickstarter has shat the bed, but that’s not going to stop me from beating you to death with a croquet bat that has spikes nailed into it.
Parasyte, or Parasyte-the maxim if you want to be an asshole about it, is an adaptation of a 90s manga about a kid named Shinichi whose normal life is shattered when aliens land on his world and one of them infects his right hand in the process of trying to kill him, causing him to have a “mature relationship” with it, if you get what I mean. The story basically follows him and his desire to live a normal life whilst dealing with the changes going on in his life caused by his new situation like dating girls, helping his family, and fighting off others like him who had the misfortune of getting killed and controlled by their own infected diseases. I might as well be calling him Asian Peter due to how much he resembles Peter Parker from Spiderman in terms of situation and personality.
In fact, many things about Parasyte are pretty much copied wholesale from Spiderman, like the alien infections, uninteresting supervillains, incompetent police force, large sections of the plot, and even the fact that the symbiotes…er, I mean parasytes are weak to fire. The only thing it didn’t rip off was everything that made Spiderman fun like the web swinging. How cool would it have been for Asian Peter to use his right hand to swing across buildings whilst wise-cracking like a…um, actually if it means less snarky remarks, I think I’ll accept that sacrifice whilst still snarling at the twenty other things you could have included. Because as emo as Peter got at times, at least he traded in the angst for some f*cking awesome dance moves.
Asian Peter on the other hand can’t even do awesome fight moves. For something that’s supposed to be one of the major draws of the show, why does every single fight scene look like it was choreographed by Yuen-Woo Ping on the set of Cradle 2 the Grave? Whenever an action scene occurred, it would always consist of boring blade spam or five minutes of Asian Peter conversing with his hand followed by five seconds of actual action at best and two seconds of embarrassment that would make Kill la Kill laugh out loud at worst, which isn’t exciting in the least. It also doesn’t help that the music in this show is so f*cking mismatched to what’s going on that the supposed horror vibe this show coasts on is about as existent as an American-made Silent Hill game with a heavy metal soundtrack. For all that work put into having the violence uncensored and having good animation, you sure didn’t do a good job of putting some actual flair on-screen, did you Marvel director? Although considering your credits and the state of the action we get in those films, it’s kind of apropos.
However, the biggest flaw that Parasyte - along with said Marvel films – has is that it doesn’t seem to have a story at all, always heading in one direction before bailing halfway through to focus on another in a round robin that would make Spiderman 3 confused. We start off with Asian Peter basically imitating what makes Spiderman great by getting going through puberty whilst dealing with the consequences of his new-found powers, so I figured that Parasyte was going to be a coming-of-age story. But after he gets turned into a superhuman, that story is put to the side to have him turn into a monster and deal with a love triangle between Asian Mary Jane and Asian Gwen Stacy that ends with the latter’s tragic death to showcase his change. So Parasyte is a story about how having powers turns you into a jerk that will hurt your loved ones?
Nope. After said tragedy, Asian Peter suddenly stops acting like a monster and instead angsts about how he can’t protect anyone whilst other humans start getting involved, culminating in a sort-of-sympathetic character getting killed off in order to teach us about discrimination and how there are good people amongst the parasites just as there are bad people amongst the humans and thus they’re no different from each other when you get down to it. So your story is about how overcoming discrimination is hard, especially when you factor in the different natures of humans and non-humans, but it’s not impossible? Wrong! The real story is that “humanity is a flawed species who will always fight for themselves at the end of the day”. And even that’s mishandled badly, as leaving aside that they showcase this fact by having a bunch of stupid soldiers shoot up a building, culminating in Asian Peter killing off a super-strong experimental parasyte that’s basically the love child of Doc Ock and Venom in order to prevent more deaths, it tries to compromise by delivering the same environmental stuff that made Princess Mononoke so good. Y’know, how humans and animals are just fighting for themselves and the only reason they protect the environment at the end of the day is because they’ll die if they don’t?
But it completely falls flat because it can’t seem to make up its mind regarding whether parasytes should be compared more to humans or lions, and it fails at providing a strong case for either side. The show makes a big point about how parasytes were sent to Earth in order to cleanse humanity for its crimes, so if they are comparable to humans, it’d be one of those PETA nuts channeling Jeffrey Dahmer. And if they’re supposed to be compared to lions, that fails too because last I checked, lions can’t blend in with humans much less eat at Burger King without having eyes and shotguns pointed in its direction. Not to mention, if lions really are living amongst us, killing people in secret like the parasytes have done, I say we make those motherf*ckers extinct.
Parasyte’s core message regarding humanity and its relationship with the world is a good idea on paper, but the way it comments on it really leaves a lot to be desired. If the show had focused on centering Asian Peter and his right hand as an ironic victim akin to the protagonist in District 9 or as the failed mediator between two species akin to Caesar in the Planet of the Apes reboot, this might have worked. But instead, it meanders with repetitive philosophy that anyone out of middle school would know, can’t make up its mind regarding whether Asian Peter is growing and how he’s growing, indulges in really shitty shonen action cliches, and it doesn’t help that the ending doesn’t make any goddamn sense. I’ve heard a lot of people talk up how perfect it is, but all it did was have Asian Symbiote-less Carnage kidnapping Asian Mary Jane in order to confirm what we already knew, which is about as mundane an ending as you can possibly get in a philosophical narrative.
Am I being too hard on an anime whose source material dates back to before the environmental trend was really a thing? Maybe, but that didn’t stop the original Persona game from getting thrashed when it got re-released, so why shouldn’t I criticize Parasyte for basically arriving way too late to have any impact on me? Plus, if it was really as good as people said, time would be kinder to it than this. But that’s irrelevant, because I’m judging the anime on its own. And on its own, Parasyte is just not a good show. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s a bad one, but I can’t really say I’ll be watching it again anytime soon.
As someone who is very intrigued by human-monster stories, parasyte caught my attention immediately as soon as I heard of its existence. With the 1989 manga being a highly praised classic, it’s no wonder the community was excited to see how this adaptation will unfold. Landing in the hands of the illustrious studio madhouse and receiving two cours worth of content, parasyte looked in very good hands. There is no other studio that can capture a gritty sensation full of tension as well as madhouse as they have proved they can create works of that calibre with Monster and Kaiji being the two best examples.
And for the most part it certainly delivered on the promised hype. Instead of opting to focus on one or two specific elements parasyte wanted to be a jack of all trades with high stakes action, intellectually stimulating themes, a dash of psychological elements and even some romance. Its balance between so many tones provided the show with something for everyone to enjoy and is one of the core reasons why it exploded with popularity when it aired back in 2014. Though it is without a doubt unquestionable that the anime did have some very obvious defects along the way that detracted from it reaching greater heights despite doing a moderately good job juggling so many balls.
The first ball is the action and I would say is the dominant one. Before it’s a romance, or a psychological show, parasyte is a high-intensity action thriller. Most of its plot is driven primarily through its action sequences. The action scenes on their own are breathtaking. Throughout its entire run parasyte’s animation was fairly consistent and that kept the action from falling into mediocrity in the latter half, something that happens to a lot of shows in their 2nd half. Along with the animation, parasyte was heightened by its thrilling EDM OST. It’s quite rare to see an anime in this era with an OST of this nature, and I am not personally a fan of the music but parasyte nailed its use completely. Before action sequences were about to begin, the show opted to use more mysterious and slower paced soundtracks to build up the tension and heighten the level of danger. Once the action scenes themselves initiated, the soundtrack switched to a more fast-paced beat to capture the feeling of intensity that comes with parasyte’s action. Packaged in a great exterior by the animation and OST, the action scenes were further enhanced by the high stakes that came with them. There was no room for error, no room for breathing. With every mistake Shinichi made, he got punished for it, and even making one mistake in a deadlock battle with his enemies could have been the end for him. With every grating strike; the stakes only increased, and this is what ultimately makes parasyte’s action scenes great to sit through. When shit hit the fan; the adrenaline and tension were unreal.
The second ball is the character relationships. This wasn’t handled rather too well, with the cast being hit or miss as a whole. What was the highlight of this section is the dynamic relationship between Shinichi and Migi. Having completely different morals and ways of living that were consistently clashing is what made them such a joy to watch. Their character interactions were meaningful to the story, engaging and throughout the show they both grew as characters by understanding each other’s viewpoints. Furthermore, as individual characters their character progression was interesting, instead of progressing in a cookie-cutter manner, Shinichi and Migi slowly started to develop traits that were present in the opposites personality, with Shinichi becoming more like a parasite and Migi showing more human traits as the story moved along. Migi’s growth came as a result of furthering his understanding of human society and the social norms that comes with them. Shinichi’s case is unfortunately not as natural but nevertheless it was still engaging to watch his character progression as the plot unfolded. Both of the Main characters beliefs were challenged as the series progresses, but their ideals are never truly changed. This action plays positively into parasyte’s hands as it highlights one of the shows biggest messages; to never try and understand the mindset of a different species from your own, as it’s impossible to judge them using your own species standards.
The third ball is the romantic relationship between the two female leads. This is by far the weakest section of the show. Kanna and Murano were both very weak as characters and i would go as far as to call them useless. Their contribution to the story can be summed up in two lines. “ARE YOU REALLY SHINICHI-KUN?” and, “SHINICHI YOU ARE THE ONE”. Yes. That’s it. Murano is a classic anime plot device that only exists to forcefully let the audience know that Shinichi is not the person he once was like a propaganda tower preaching some third-rate ideology. Additionally, she was always a damsel in distress. She found herself on more occasions that one in sticky situations so Shinichi can have a girl to save. Other than that, she was only there to comfort Shinichi. Realistically speaking their romantic relationship makes sense as they knew each other for a long time, but the role that Murano plays in the story is stupid and trite. On the other hand, Kanna was completely retarded. Having being introduced quite early on in the story Kanna fell in love with Shinichi only a few episodes after they met and it was for the most stupid reason you could imagine; because she could sense his presence using some stupid unexplained sensing technique where she can feel a parasyte’s aura if one was nearby. First of all, why does that sensing technique exist? Second of all, why was she attracted to him for such a petty reason? And last but not least, which human being is stupid enough to risk their life to meet someone even after being warned? Serving zero purpose to the overall plot and proving to be more retarded than a 5-year old, Kanna only existed in the show to once again ham-fist us the point that Shinichi is not the same he once was.
The fourth and final ball parasyte tried to juggle was tackling a wide range of themes including identity, ecology, human nature and more all mixed into its story and characters. I will refrain from talking about its themes too much as it will get into spoiler territory, but the hot topic that was present from the very start and is the essence of parasyte is a study of ecology. Primarily about how different species interact with one another, both physically and mentally. Throughout its entire run, parasyte raises questions about whether different species should attempt to understand each other, the purpose of a species existence, the fundamental reasons on why a species behaves the way in which they do. Parasyte is filled with interesting ideas and concepts not present in many anime from this decade. Some of the themes explored are disconnected from each other, but that doesn’t stop parasyte from being an intellectually energizing work that will certainly leave an impression.
The character who drove the ecological developments of the show forward was Tamura Reiko. Her role in the story proved to be one of the most important as she was the main focal point for Parasyte’s themes. Her character progression was joyful to watch as she questioned the reason for her species existence as well as trying to empathize with human behaviour, particularly the significance of the maternal bond in later episodes. Identity was also explored through Tamura’s significance to the story. But not an identity crisis in the same sense as Shinichi, but rather the identity of an entire species as she searched for a reason that validated her breed's existence.
Another notable character is the main antagonist of the show; Goto. While not as interesting as Tamura Reiko Goto still has a role to play, and that is being a representation of the untainted beauty of nature. He in himself is an illustration of a wild animal simply on the hunt and following his instincts. Not influenced by outside sources or societal constructs. In a way, Goto is also an answer to one of Parasyte’s biggest questions; what are the parasites? Goto shows that no matter how strong a creature may appear on the exterior, internally they are just another life-form frightened by the mere fact of losing their life.
The anime preferred to only touch upon these themes rather than viewing them as a whole under the magnifying glass and can at times be a little forced due to the over dramatic nature of its cast, but what was impressive is that parasyte wasn’t sugar-coating its ideas or being idealistic in its thematic approach. It presented its themes through an unbiased lens, showing the darker sides to humanity when it could have easily played them out to be the heroes, and giving the audience an understanding of the parasite’s actions while it could have easily played them out to be the villains. It’s an accurate representation of the law of nature and the ecosystem that governs all the species that live on planet Earth, all while mixing in fast-paced action sequences. It is plagued by obvious drawbacks but it achieves a good balance between popcorn entertainment and insightful commentary on the nature of humanity and ecology as a whole. It could have very easily crumbled under the pressure of mixing so many elements at once or being too overly-ambitious in its thematic approach and as a result coming off as convoluted or over-bloated with unnecessary dialogue. But the show kept its composure and is all around a nice piece of work.
As far as the technical side of things goes, Parasyte was solid for the most part.The show could have benefitted from a grittier art style to match the sense of unease that the show was going for, but nonetheless the artwork and art style were nothing to write home about but worked well enough for its contemporary setting with both the character designs and backgrounds satisfactory. The animation during the action sequences was also quite fluid with only a few noticeable derps. However the show is bogged down visually with some immersion-breaking CGI on background characters multiple times.
There are also a few problems present in the plot that do make it a little difficult to take Parasyte a little seriously. Most of these problems do arise because the director is tasked with trying to adapt material that is set in a different time period. Keep in mind that this manga began serialization in 1989. As a result of the director’s poor translation of the material into a modern setting, the writing did come off as stupid at some points in the show. Another setback were some contrivances in the final two episodes which influenced the outcomes of the Shinichi vs Goto fight and the ending of the series which made it feel rather cheesy, a bit of a blunder for a show that was asking its audience to take the ride seriously.
But ultimately those drawbacks didn’t matter too much to what the show conveyed and achieved. Whether you are a diehard anime fan, a casual, a pleb, a critic, an elitist, a cat or a dog. It’s an anime i encourage everyone to try as it’s one of the only recent anime that is capable of providing something for everyone to enjoy. Romance, action, commentary, social criticisms and a grim reminder of what it feels like to not be on top of the food chain.
What's the first image that comes to mind when you hear the word "animal?" Is it a lion roaming the plains of Africa? Perhaps it's a shark swimming menacingly throughout the deep, dark ocean? Or maybe it's even a cardinal resting on a tree branch, contrasting starkly with a snow-laden field? Whatever the answer may be, something people often forget is that they, too, are an animal. And not just in the definition of the word; our actions can sometimes be rather animalistic in nature. Which leads to an even better question: are we really so different from
the species around us? This is the philosophical inquiry Parasyte -- The Maxim brings forth. But sadly, it falters quite tremendously.
Parasyte (what it will be called from here on out) focuses on Shinichi Izumi, a normal high-school boy. One day, a parasite of unknown origin enters his body, creating quite the unorthodox, symbiotic relationship.
Starting off with what Parasyte does right, the first third or so of the anime focuses on Shinichi and him getting accustomed with Migi -- the name of the parasite that now hosts his right hand -- and building the world's components. This includes a multitude of things: introducing important cast members (for future events and developments), demonstrating Shinichi's mentality (his complete refusal of the parasites), and showcasing the aliens' habits (how they eat, blend in with the environment, etc.). There's nothing really wrong with this section of the show; it sets itself up nicely for tackling whatever events it will inevitably generate. And it all culminates in Shinichi's near death at the hands of his "parent."
But that is where it begins to crumble.
Like Shinichi's mommy, the show dies, with its figurative head being separated from the rest of its body. It's at this point that the anime begins to become this weird amalgamation of plot contrivances, aggressive violence, and weak writing that prevent the show from keeping everything connected. Beginning at the top of the list, many of the happenings within the anime are quite nonsensical and are borderline unfair within such a "realistic" world. Some easy examples include: Yuuko's awkward encounter with the student parasite, Reiko allowing the private investigator to walk away, how Gotou was created, allowing Uragami the known serial killer be without handcuffs, watching Goutou literally leaving after his first showing of power, Shinichi miraculously being fast enough to get even remotely close enough to stab Gotou, Migi breaking the genetic barrier, and the Darwinian evolution of the parasites over the course of a year. There are many "convenient" situations that hold no justification for what ultimately occurs, deterring from the overall experience.
Say someone were to ignore a good chunk of these; that's a plausibility, and may even be warranted for the show to get to the "meat" of what it is attempting to convey. However, moving down the list, the show continues to trip up. Blood and gore is a staple of this show, without a doubt. People are regularly cut up, severed, or otherwise stabbed, with no part of the body being left unscathed. But while the first third used such atrocities as more of a plot point -- such as with "A" or with Shinichi's "heart attack" -- the rest of the show tends to use them more for entertainment as opposed to using them for a singular purpose. The fights become more grotesque and involved the further along the series progresses, wanting to impress the audience rather than having them be the least bit meaningful.
This is because the actual writing within the anime gravitates towards vagueness. Once again, barring any mention of the quite egregious and amazingly annoying "Are you really Shinichi?" spouted by Murano (even right up until the very end), the show tries extremely hard to be intelligent. It throws around many ideas about life and the way people live it, but never truly expounds upon them. Such topics include: over-population, the application of altruism, and the necessity for various species to coexist. Very biological, and quite the interesting themes at play. Yet Parasyte never delves into any of them seriously. There might be a smart-sounding lecture or a few sentences of insight here and there, but it refuses to take what it says beyond a precursory glance. That is, it constantly flits back and forth between each of the subjects it raises in an attempt to be more resounding. Instead, the whole package comes off as too ostentatious.
The art style for Parasyte tends to stick to its aforementioned, "realistic" roots. The show mostly contains houses, cities, and forests for the backdrops, relying more on keeping things simple as opposed to making them snazzy. They serve their purpose of providing the characters with a setting to play in but are largely unimpressive to look at.
The character designs, likewise, maintain the already-established sense of realism that permeates the show. Shinichi undergoes a nice range of appearances and outfits and Reiko treads the fine line between human and parasite perfectly. The rest of the parasites, be it Goutou or some random, expendable character, are also given a good amount of detail while in their "monster" forms, giving them a good sense of not only looking alien, but feeling alien, too. And in Goutou's case, very intimidating.
The actual animation for the show is usually above average in whatever it sets out to do. Some examples include detailed facial expressions or Migi's "normal" actions. And from parasite fights to Shinichi running and jumping in a literal, inhuman way, the anime consistently demonstrates its capability to keep up movement at all times.
There are really only four characters of importance to focus on: Murano, Migi, Reiko, and Shinichi.
Starting with possibly one of the worst characters to have graced this medium, is Murano. As the love interest and purportedly the person who understands Shinichi the most, she somehow cannot. While watching the show, her grating behavior around him became increasingly agitating, to the point that the show seemed to pretty much ignore her in order to prevent her from negatively impacting it further. But when she did manage to sneak back in, she received one of two treatments: the exact same confusion or some of the most inane interactions. Sometimes, it even combined both tactics to form a behemoth of stupidity. The park scene first comes to mind, where she stumbles oddly into the scenario without contributing anything (not before being visited by the naked ghost of Kana); she discusses Shinichi's involvement with the police chief in this weirdly passionate plea; the sex scene she has with Shinichi holds no value since her relationship with him has been grossly neglected; and her final speech about how "human" some people can be is merely a vain attempt to make her seem thematically relevant. The level of attention she receives and her overall involvement is too much to be tossed aside. She is a laughably terrible character, with her inclusion in the anime being nothing more than a detriment.
Anything's better than Murano within Parasyte. So what better than to jump to an intellectual, rational, and foreign life form? Migi is Shinichi's literal right-hand man...or at least, right-hand friend. While he is viewed mostly as Shinichi's guardian angel (having descended "from the heavens"), he serves a greater role within the anime. And that is both contrasting and synchronizing with his host in a fluctuating manner. In the beginning, Shinichi's stance on Migi's kind causes Migi to appear cold where he is being logical. Halfway through, he starts to become more "friendly" due to their similar structure. And by the end, he sits somewhere in between, wanting both to better himself and give his best buddy the kind of life -- the human life -- that he deserves. Migi doesn't particularly grow as a character, despite his ever changing forms, until the near-conclusion; in which another plot contrivance gives him the potential for it. As such, while he acts as Shinichi's barometer, he fails to do anything more than hold his best friend's hand from start to finish.
Speaking of the hero, Shinichi shows the first signs of life among the cast. It's almost impossible to describe him, because he sees such large swings in his personality and demeanor throughout the entire anime. He begins quite timid and fearful of the monsters that now surround him, wanting nothing more than to eradicate their evil existence. But upon gaining a mixed mindset, he becomes almost indifferent, remaining unnervingly calm during nearly every situation he tackles. This cannot be overstated enough: he makes a complete about-face from his previous, impulsive-based self. And this side of him is no better either, for where he alienated the parasites before, he now begins alienating the humans he's always defended. Thus, the remainder of his character's focus is in striking a balance, in finding that sweet spot between humans and parasites. For the most part, he does reach it; through Reiko's compassion, Goutou's anger, and Migi's understanding -- each of whom are purposefully the most important of the invaders -- Shinichi learns to accept those around him, from the smallest ant to the largest elephant, while simultaneously knowing that humans are not the most infallible creatures on the planet.
The most intriguing character from Parasyte, and coincidentally the strongest, is Reiko. She's the most interesting not so much by how she is able to survive so naturally within the world of the humans, but why she is able to do so. And that's because, despite her instinctual habits, she tries to comprehend the world around her. She takes the time to investigate DNA transfer, social cues, and relevant information. She isn't afraid to be a mother in every sense of the word. And most of all, she respects both sides of the ecosystem, placing neither the humans nor the parasites above one another, seeing the value in a purely platonic relationship.
This brings about what the characters were attempting to portray. Despite how poor many of them are, they are connected by a "string of fate:" the different "aspects" to being human. Murano is afraid of the unknown; Migi is merely tolerant of those around him; Shinichi is trying to cope with his place on Earth; and Reiko loves life for what it is. And this can be applied to many of the other characters still -- Goutou demonstrates anger, Uragami symbolizes depravity, etc. -- to give the nicely executed message: humanity isn't just some simple creature. We're a complex system of feelings, emotions, and ideas that is almost impossible to capture in a solitary way. We do mess up but we also perform feats of extraordinary proportion. And while we may be intricate, funny, weird, amazing, or downright deplorable at times, there is no mistaking that humans, people, are an ever-growing, never-boring species of unbelievable value.
The OP's not only wicked, but fun to listen to. It's a catchy piece, with the auto-tuned singer working well with the tapping drags, throat singing, and rocking guitar. The track is metal, mixed with "higher" singing at times, but ends as hardcore as it can get. It captures the feeling of the show nicely, and is a good song overall.
Whether the ED is better than its OP counterpart is a tough call. It contrasts with the opening as heavily as it can, especially when listened to one after the other. The slow singing and beautiful piano work in harmony, calming the senses and bringing about a good sense of hope. By the halfway point, the background chorus joins in and the piece heads towards the end with rather catchy lyrics. It concludes on a happy-yet-sad note, the same kind of feeling one has after listening to it.
The soundtrack is a mixed bag of good and experimental tracks. It can fit the mood when utilizing the somewhat singsong, ambient instruments, but can be wholly distracting when some out-of-place dubstep kicks in. The tracks are more suited to being listened to solely within the anime and not outside of it, unlike the OP and ED that surrounds it.
Finally, voice-acting sees above-average work for most of the cast. Special shout-outs to Nobunaga Shimizaki as Shinichi with his various range of emotions and Aya Mirano as the voice of Migi, alongside Rinka as the beat-boxing sound effects for him, with their combined efforts providing a unique set sounds that only an alien could make.
While watching this one, I never really liked any of the fighting or the drama that was taking place. It could be cool at times, but it was never much of a contest -- for either the humans or parasites -- unless Shinichi was involved in the ordeal. And my emotions never left anywhere past leveled: I wasn't laughing, distressed, or moved by anything that this show was serving.
I would have enjoyed it more had it not devolved into mindless violence and instead stuck with what the first third or so built so nicely. The only section of the show I particularly found more "enthralling" was Kana's arc, if only because it was rather hysterical in the absurdity and silliness of it all. Otherwise, I wasn't looking forward to what the anime had to offer on a weekly basis and was along just to see how it'd all turn out.
And on that note, Parasyte -- The Maxim ends in a rather unfortunate way. With a strong start but a lackluster majority, the nice music tracks are not enough to save the weak narrative and hodgepodge cast. And while the anime implores us to have a loving relationship with the world around us, the same can't be said for this one.
Story: Bad, good first third, but the rest is mired in contrivances, coarse violence, and unfocused themes
Animation: Good, okay art style, good character designs, above-average actual animation
Characters: Fine, Murano is awful, Migi is okay, Shinichi and Reiko are good, with everyone connected by humanity
Sound: Good, good OP, good ED, okay soundtrack, above-average VA work
Enjoyment: Fine, okay fight scenes here and there, not very emotional, sometimes silly
Parasyte is an anime unlike any other. It manages to not only meet its hype, but exceed it to boot. It handles itself masterfully at all times and for that reason I have awarded it such a high rating.
While this is most definitely a horror story of sorts, it's almost not in the way you would expect. There's no Invasion of the Bodysnatchers cliches here, no zombie-esque hordes overwhelming the world, no spacemen raining down lazers from above. While the ever-present, eponymous Parasytes do lace a sense of dread over the setting, they take a backseat most of the time. No, the true horror
of Parasyte lies in its exploration of morality and the meaning of being human. What measure is a human life? What measure is your own compared to those of others? When those lives are in danger, how far will you go to protect them, if at all? The detailed examination of Shinichi and Migi's morality through the series, and the changes they make during this time, plot a dark, twisted course through the human psyche as a whole. It's sad, confusing, and above all challenging to consider. As the show goes on, the broader scope it takes on provides a brutal reflection on the way society can act as a whole.
The actual narrative is paced excellently. The tension between the various factions of humanity and the Parasytes as they clash with each other in a battle for the right to exist is palpable. It's engrossing to watch how each side reacts to moves the others make, and even more engrossing to see how individual actors play their parts in the grander scheme of things. It will leave you on the edge of your seat, and every roll of the credits will only intensify your desire to continue onward.
Studio Madhouse was an excellent choice to produce this anime, as their adaptation of the original material looks fantastic to behold. While sometimes the show can feel a bit flat, it fits in very well with the dark, serious tone the series shoulders. The character designs are all updated, and it shows: each one is unique and reflects the character's personality very well. In addition, characters are expressive when they need to be, stoic when not. This is key in an anime where there are creatures with no capacity for emotion, and the animators truly came through here.
Of note are the gore/fight sequences, where no detail was spared without subjecting the audience to unwanted anatomy lessons. Most action scenes are extremely fast-paced, and the animation manages to expertly portray the movement as fluid and life-like.
Arguably one of this anime's strongest suits is the soundtrack. While some tracks seem to feel overused, it's really only because they're so unique and enjoyable that it's impossible not to notice when they start playing. Ken Arai blends Orchestral seamlessly with electronica, dubstep, drum & bass, and sometimes just places it on its own. Regardless of how the track is composed, each brings a touch of emotion to every scene, be it fear, dread, grief, amusement, or just a pure adrenaline rush. Many are strong enough to stand on their own as songs you can pull up on your MP3 player when you're bored. I strongly recommend picking up a copy of the soundtrack if you have the opportunity.
The OP is hit-or-miss for many, which is understandable, as FaLiLV isn't exactly a band for the common man. However, their electronica infused metalcore definitely sets a dark, frantic tone for the show that mirrors the internal, and sometimes external turmoil it explores. The ED, on the other hand, takes a light, almost hopeful tone, which at first seems to clash with some elements of the show. As the series progresses however, it becomes haunting, almost mournful, as many of Shinichi's most heartbreaking moments are driven home by the soft piano and harmonized vocals. In the end, it returns to its more hopeful tone, turning its original weakness into a newfound strength.
The cast, of course, must be mentioned. Many A-List seiyuus have made their mark on this anime, and it's hard to pick out any one performance above any of the others. However, Shinichi (Nobunaga Shimazaki) gets special mention because of the excellent portrayal of the wide ride of emotions, or lack thereof, that humankind can experience. Additionally, each of the Parasytes, especially Migi, were as cold and emotionless as one would expect. As a whole, the cast did an amazing job giving life to these characters.
On that note, the characters themselves are all well-developed and a treat to explore. The main cast, Shinichi and his major companions, all undergo significant character development through the series, (provided they got enough screentime). Shinichi and Migi especially make up a majority of this development, and their interactions with each other, the story, and even themselves provides a vivid picture of who they are and how they think as the story progresses. At the end, it is very clear where they have come from and where they are going as individuals. In a story that so extensively explores the psychology of man, anything less would have been an injustice.
I could not get enough of anything about this anime. It's challenging, exciting, suspenseful, and many times even reduced me to tears without my truly understanding why. Everything about its presentation is powerful, expressive, and absolutely captivating. This was one of the few shows I would watch the moment it aired, and I will probably be purchasing the Blu-Rays so I can watch it again.
Parasyte is a masterpiece. There is no other word for it. It pulls together a complex psychological narrative and a cast of fabulous characters, then brings them to life with stunning animation, gripping voice acting, and expressive musical accompaniment. The result is glorious, and if you are still on the fence about this anime, if you are /still/ not convinced it's for you, just remember: there's a scene where Migi turns into a dick.
With a show like this, it's easy to see how much time and care has gone into making it succeed. Kiseijuu has so many genres and elements to it, however rather than it becoming a huge mess, it executes every single one perfectly.
Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu is about Parasytes that have invaded earth, whose main priority is to take over human bodies and use them as hosts, controlling their body and minds. Parasytes are fierce creatures who kill and feed on humans. The MC is a teenage boy name Shinichi whom one night is invading by a parasyte, but this attack somewhat fails as
the parasyte named Migi, takes over his right hand rather than his consciousness. Thus allowing Shinichi to keep his humanity. They must work together to protect Shinichi's loved ones, and ultimately survive themselves against other parasytes.
The animation factor of Kiseijuu was done well throughout the 24 episodes. It did however vary between scenes, which by no means is due to lazy animators or time related issues, but rather is done to enhance the mood. For example, battle scenes as apposed to ordinary scenes simply had differences between them. Backgrounds and scenery had quite an amount of detail, and character designs hit the mark throughout the show.
The characters in this show are extremely well developed.
The companionship shown between Shinichi and Migi is fascinating in a way. They are both dependent on each other to survive. In the beginning it shows how they simply want to be free of each other, but their bond is so natural that it is difficult to pinpoint when the label of an annoyance is replaced by friendship. The background and emotional attachment each character has was done exceptionally well.
The soundtrack of Kiseijuu is quite possibly one of my favorites. There is a lot of diversity in this department, ranging everywhere from dub-step to instrumental. The OP and ED's suited the show perfectly. I usually have a habit of skipping the Openings with 99% of shows that i watch, however every episode i found myself pleasantly enjoying it. I couldn't find anything in this department of the show to fault. I was surprised with how honest the voice acting was. Not only the main characters, but the supporting were so convincing. It truly seems as though the creators designed the characters to suit the voice actors, not vise versa.
Prior to starting Kiseijuu, I had a preconceived idea of what it would entitle. A somewhat childish concept became a true work of art. It has been a pleasure finishing this anime for the past 24 weeks. It has the ability to appeal to such a wide audience. Whatever genre you prefer, i would advice you give this show a try as it has all the elements of a masterpiece.
What makes a human? What makes a monster? Each of us have a bit of both in us, and it's up to you which one you want to be.
Parasyte The Maxim runs along many similar themes of many species-war animes, but it stands out from other man-eating titles because of its excellent discourse and exploration on the role, purpose and meaning of humanity, in light of our world and environment. Parasyte boasts a dramatic, thrilling and gripping plot, revolving around a solid male lead and the people around him, but in the end suffers from an entire host of underdeveloped supporting characters.
Overall: 8/10 (rounded up from 7.5)
+ Great main male lead character
+ Gripping and interesting plot
+ Meaningful plot twists along the way
+ Lengthy and deep thematic discourse
+ Great action and fighting scenes
+ Great drama, tension and emotion
- Many underdeveloped supporting characters
- Not very outstanding OP or ED
- Shallow characterization of main antagonist
- Some plot holes that the anime itself acknowledges
The anime is very well divided into 8 different story arcs, most of them revolving around certain characters in the anime. They are, in order: Introductory Migi Arc, Mother Arc, Hideo Arc, Kana Arc, Tamura Reiko Arc, Extermination Arc and the Gotou Arc, followed by a 1-episode epilogue. I will go through each of the arcs in order.
The story starts off by laying down its foundations, first introducing our main character Izumi, who immediately gets attacked by a parasite which burrows into his right arm, which he later names Migi. For the entirety of the first arc, Migi takes on more of the role of a narrator and does a lot of explanation for the audience as to how parasites function, kill, communicate, survive and also their general abilities. Parasites are characterized as completely rational organisms with no sense of emotion whatsoever, seeking only self-preservation. (+1 for general believable assumptions)
Izumi constantly finds himself in increasing danger of getting killed by other parasites, while Migi continues to protect him each time, saying that his host must survive to ensure his own survival. They encounter other parasites of increasing power throughout the anime, but things start to get interesting when they encounter Tamiya Ryoko, a parasite whose aim is to blend into human society and study them. (+1 for plot depth)
Everything seems fine until we hit the Mother Arc, where Izumi's mother has been taken over by a wandering parasite in need of a female host. Izumi's father barely survives and makes it to a nearby hospital. Back at the house, Izumi goes into denial mode as he encounters his mother who has obviously turned into a parasite. Unable to attack his own mother, Izumi gets stabbed in the heart, after which Migi must perform a heart reconstructive surgery on the spot to revive his beating heart.
A newly revived and powered-up Izumi now reawakens and vows to protect his father from his parasite-infested mother. Along the way, he encounters Uda, who is the only other character mentioned in the entire anime who is also half-parasite half-human. They end up working together to defeat his parasite mother, now with the new superhuman speed, senses and strength that Izumi has acquired from having Migi's parasite cells mixed into him.
Then, we get to the Hideo Arc, where Hideo, a parasite, was initially sent to Izumi's school to keep tabs on him. This eventually spirals into chaos when a student, Yuko, finds out Hideo's identity and forces him to kill her. Yuko manages to get away by splashing harmful chemicals on Hideo and causing him to go on a killing rampage around the school. Izumi is then forced to first rescue his girlfriend Murano, who is at this point terrified, and also defeat Hideo. (+1 for gripping plot)
We are then introduced to Kana, who is a female student with the innate ability to sense the wavelengths emitted by parasites. In the Kana Arc, she obsesses over Izumi, thinking that this ability to sense him means that they are fated to be together. However, Izumi quickly realizes that her ability only sense parasites, and that she could be in danger if she keeps getting into close proximity with parasites. Kana eventually dies by her own fault and Izumi in his rage, kills the parasite that killed her.
Then, we move onto the Tamura Reiko arc, which is probably the most interesting arc of the lot. Tamiya Ryoko has since changed her name to Tamura Reiko after leaving Izumi's school, and this time she hires a private investigator, Kuramori, to keep tabs on Izumi. Izumi realizes this and confronts Kuramori who is told the truth behind Reiko's identity. Kuramori, crazed over the mystery, then kidnaps Reiko's human baby and faces off with her at a park.
Reiko, faced with the possible death of her own human baby, stabs Kuramori and retrieves her own baby, showing some form of human emotion that she herself didn't think was possible. (+1 for interest) Later on, Reiko gives her life up to protect the baby and doesn't even retaliate against the police who were shooting at her. Izumi, touched by this act of human kindness, then sheds tears for the first time in a long while.
Following this incident, a task force is set up to eliminate a group of parasites led by Hirokawa found to be operating within a particular building, and we are thrown into a rather bloody Extermination Arc. Here, we are introduced to essentially the polar opposite of Tamura Reiko, Uragami, who is basically a serial killer who has killed so many people that he can differentiate humans from parasites easily, just by looking at them. While Reiko was the monster being human, Uragami is the human being a monster. (+1 for complexity in plot development)
The task force makes all the humans go through a scanning system to tell apart the parasites from the humans, then using shotgun rounds to blow apart the confirmed parasites. Things go rather well until the parasites try to counter attack, leading to some collateral damage in terms of civilian life whilst the remaining two fugitives Hirokawa and Gotou hide in the upper floors of the building. The anime at this point starts to question whether it is right to sacrifice lives in order to save others, amidst claims by the task force that such damage was "necessary" to weed out the parasites.
Later on, in the upper floors, Gotou manages to single-handedly take down an entire squad and escapes, whilst Hirokawa is surrounded by a SWAT team. Hirokawa attempts to save his life by talking about saving the environment by reducing human numbers, but is immediately shot dead. Then, there is a big reveal that Hirokawa was in fact a human working amongst parasites whom he knew were parasites, but believed in their cause in order to maintain "balance in the ecosystem" by reducing the human population, seen as a "poison" on the earth. (+1 for plot twist)
Finally we move onto the last and final arc, the Gotou Arc, where it's basically Izumi and Migi facing off against Gotou, the enemy whom Reiko earlier said was invincible because he was basically 5 parasites merged into one, giving him immense power and strength. Over the course of the extended battle though, we see Izumi basically resorting to every high-risk maneuver possible to try and defeat Gotou, all of which somehow manage to work. Eventually, they defeat Gotou but are left questioning themselves whether they should finish him off.
Migi, whom at this point has acquired some "human emotions", decides that he doesn't want to kill his own kind, whilst Izumi also would rather let fate decide whether Gotou lives, despite the numbers of people that Gotou has killed. (+1 for plot depth) In the end, self-preservation and conservation of human life prevails and they finish off Gotou. (+1 for logical sense)
In the epilogue that follows, we fast forward many months after all that has happened and Murano and Izumi are back together again. Uragami, the serial killer who has escaped in the earlier extermination arc, comes back to kidnap Murano and then questions Izumi one last time about who exactly is the human and who is the monster in the world they are living in. Izumi ultimately manages to defeat him and save Murano at the same time, thanks to Migi's help.
As for plot holes, there were a total of 9 that I found, some of them being quite major, so I can't give any bonus points for that.
In episode 7, Uda's story of becoming half-parasite is pretty amusing, save for one small problem that if Uda really fell down the cliff into the water, his body wouldn't sink as quickly as it showed in the anime. In fact, his body should in fact immediately float up within 2 seconds of hitting the water surface, and Uda should not be in any immediate danger of drowning. You could basically see that in the area where Uda was going to jump, the water was deep enough so he wouldn't die from impact on the rocks either. Also, this proves that Uda actually chose a really stupid place to commit suicide that would never have succeeded as well.
In episode 9, Yuko decides to "talk to Shimada first" after having 2 first-hand encounters of his face-changing. Even if Yuko was lovestruck before, after these 2 encounters she should definitely be afraid of Shimada Hideo and would consider him a danger especially after hearing from her brother. It makes absolutely no sense for Yuko to talk to Shimada Hideo first "just in case" he's not dangerous. This is clearly a case of a character acting unnaturally in order to create drama in the plot.
Later on, two of the rugby students, who had just seen Yuko fall from the top floor of a building, did not even mention this happening to a teacher passing by, and they only chose to tell him about "something" in the Fine Arts room. In fact, if they've just seen a girl fall from so many storeys, the should be panicking and at least hurrying to the Fine Arts room to find out what happened, but instead they are pictured calmly walking through the halls. Also, the rugby students say nothing about the severity of the situation.
The teacher also is too accepting of the vague report that "something" is in the Fine Arts room, and he fails to ask further about what this "something" is, or looks like. Perhaps, it's so common in Japan to have students climbing and falling out of the windows of school buildings that people are already desensitized? Give me a break.
In episode 20, Hirokawa says, "How dare you point your guns at civilians?" But the soldiers around him are clearly holding their guns at high port arms, hence none of the guns are pointing at anybody.
Later on, two soldiers see a bunch of obviously-too-calm humans walking away amidst the chaos, and decide to let them go? Aren't they on like strict orders to shoot anyone who might seem suspicious on sight, or at least stop them? If this was supposed to be an extermination, these soldiers really aren't doing their jobs at all.
Halfway through the extermination, the corridors suddenly goes dark in the building they are in. Did all the lights suddenly get turned off in this building for no good reason, or was there a blackout that the audience is supposed to have presumed happened? If anything, during an extermination these lights should all be manually turned out for better targeted acquisition and shooting accuracy. The lights being turned off hence makes no sense and is just a convenient way to make the gory scenes of dead bodies more tense. Even if it's possible that the parasites turned off the lights on the upper floors, this was never actually mentioned so it's still a plot hole.
Towards the end, when Gotou tells the soldiers who encountered him to follow him, those stupid soldiers actually do so? Uragami, the man who was in charge of identifying the parasites, just ran away with fear at the first sight of Gotou. Wasn't it obvious enough that Gotou was like even more dangerous than all those they encountered before? Even if Uragami wasn't there, when every other normal human is downstairs scared to death for their lives, and suddenly you see a random guy unnaturally calmly loitering around one of the upper floors in total darkness, that's just suspicious on so many levels! Any soldier acting naturally would have immediately gunned Gotou down relentlessly with shotgun rounds without hesitation.
Finally, the anime says absolutely nothing about the origin of parasites, and even admits this. This is a major plot hole regardless of how much it is meant to symbolize how our human origins are, too, "unknown".
Overall, the plot was pretty solid and well done, save for a couple of unnatural character reactions to situations and the plot holes as listed above. Still, compared to many animes out there that I've watched, this anime has really stood out in its plot and thematic development.
OP Sequence 1: 2/2 - Pretty good
ED Sequence 2: 1/2 - Simple and artistic
Aesthetic: 2/3 - Perhaps it's meant to be a bit disturbing but I didn't like the way that the parasites were drawn. Migi was cute, but many bad ones were all kind of just the same monstrosity, it would have been better if they'd put more variants of the parasites.
Animation: 2/3 - The action scenes were definitely really nice, although definitely there was an obvious lack of special effects put into all the slashing and stuff.
OP Theme 1: 1/2 - Everything is pretty good except that the voice has this really annoying "autotune"-like sound
ED Theme 1: 1/2 - A beautiful piece of music, but I thought it could have been better chosen, seeing as how they like to end every episode in a cliff-hanger.
Background Music: 3/4 - I generally enjoyed it, save for certain suspenseful parts where I thought the music was rather toned down and kind of drew away from the mood
Additional Themes: 0/2 - There were none, so no points here.
This is probably where the anime suffers a bit, even though the main character is pretty solid, so we'll start with him.
Izumi is the most complex main character in the anime, and with good reason, because he has a parasite in him that's completely affecting his thought processes and even emotions. We even get a glimpse of a backstory of his family, where his mother got the burn mark, but it's fair to say that he develops his backstory as the story progresses, through the loss of his mother to a parasite (+1 for a backstory). Izumi starts off weak and fearful but he is gradually strengthened by Migi's cells inside of him, making him not only stronger physically but also in mental conditioning (+1 for character growth). Also, Izumi is constantly at odds between his "parasite" and "human" parts of him. Torn between the two, Izumi eventually manages to find some middle ground towards the end of the anime, being able to be rational and still experience emotion at the same time. (+1 for character development). Definitely my favourite character as his combat skills are also pretty impressive after the second arc.
The other very interesting character is of course Migi, Izumi's companion who starts off completely rational and straightforward with things. He initially cannot understand human thinking and constantly mocks human emotion, but eventually, after mixing with Izumi's heart, begins to comprehend how human emotions work, and at the end, even decides to spare Gotou's life on grounds of not killing one's own kind (+1 for character growth). Though his ability to develop as a character is limited, since he is a parasite and is non-human, the fact that he shows this growth is interesting.
In the same way, Tamura Reiko also experiences this human emotional change. Going from just a parasite who is interested in learning about humans, to becoming the epitome of human love - giving up her own life for her child, is no mean feat at all (+1 for character growth). Throughout the anime, she is also very peculiar, even by parasite standards, as her obsession with her baby and her long-term insight into the survival of the parasite species seems to be very rare (+1 for character development).
Unfortunately, we have to mention the useless Murano here, who is Izumi's girlfriend in the show. Murano's only role in this anime was honestly to try and help Izumi realize that he was become less and less "human", and Murano constantly struggles as she comes to terms with how Izumi "has changed". Throughout the anime, she incessantly bickers and whines about how Izumi is not the same as before and is completely fickle-minded when she decides to stay or not to stay with Izumi. She has no backstory and it's sad that her entire existence of a character is meaningless without Izumi. Plus the fact that she basically bears no relevance to the overall plot makes her sub-par as a main character. Though she eventually grows to accept Izumi as a human for who he is, this is hardly expanded upon.
Kana is the other Izumi-obsessed girl who basically fails to achieve anything from the start and all the way up to the end. She only causes trouble for Izumi, either by getting into a trouble with parasites, or by getting in the way of Izumi and Murano's relationship. She's honestly a pest and it was almost a relief to see her brutally killed by a parasite, no kidding. She has no backstory, and even less development than Murano. The only thing keeping me from hating her is that she is probably the prettiest girl in the anime.
The rest of the characters are even less memorable. Gotou, the main antagonist, is strong, but other than that, he has zero character, and hardly any motives worth mentioning anyway. Other key, interesting figures like Hirokawa, Uragami, Kuramori and Hirama all fail completely in terms of character development, and are basically just there so the plot can keep moving.
As such, only a few characters actually stood out, and most of the characters were easily forgotten and many who died didn't mean much at all to the plot or to the audience.
The action scenes really hit it where it mattered, and it was a real treat to see parasites battling out, and even better when we see Izumi kicking ass with his superhuman-like strength. All the blood and gore also helped a bit to make the scenes more dark and serious.
Quite a lot of emotion was put into the anime, notably the relationship between Murano and Izumi, which was really back and forth throughout the whole anime, and it seemed like an endless struggle of push-and-pull (Izumi trying to pull and Murano pushing him away). Also, the Tamura Reiko arc was simply brimming with emotion, putting me close to tears at the end of it.
Although not known for its humour, the anime also pulls several slapstick stunts off using Uda, as well as Migi when he makes blunt remarks and morphs into very funny things.
The story does very well in creating suspense by making many of their episodes end in cliff-hangers so that you essentially never stop watching the show. Also, it had a satisfactory resolution which wrapped up most of the loose ends it introduced, leading to a happy ending. It was also gripping and exciting straight from the beginning, as well as at the start of every episode where they also show random people getting killed by parasites to add tension and drama.
This anime gets 1 bonus point for having no filler episodes! (+1) It's honestly been awhile since I've given a 10 for enjoyment, and I'm glad this anime managed to deliver.
Overall: 7.5 / 10 (rounded up to 8)
I chose to round this anime up to an 8 by sheer merit of the delivery of its themes and plot. It was an exciting, thrill ride, as well as a lengthy discourse on humanity and the human condition. It grips you, challenges you to think and asks questions that pierce to the very heart of the human soul, and it may not be for everyone, given the maturity of such themes.
Parasyte the Maxim is a story that handles questions about what makes us human, taking us on an unforgettable horror-adventure in the process.
Right from the start the show has clear and compelling conflicts, with our main character Shinichi facing both external and internal battles, be it the violent parasites he fights or his gradual and scary decent into becoming less human. With good pacing and a story that kept leading in directions that made sense, usually, Parasyte keeps you immersed in its story.
Where the show shines the most is its main character, one of the most fleshed out and developed examples I’ve seen in some
time. From beginning to end we keep seeing new sides to him that make you both cheer and worry for him, all while entertaining you with the interesting dynamic he has with his parasitic hand.
What does bring the show down somewhat is that the rest of the cast-members aren’t written as interestingly, particularly the female characters. We have girls putting themselves at risk despite being warned and knowing better, as well as a romantic interest that keeps ignoring obvious clues around her. But the women are not the only ones, humans in general seem to be intentionally written dumber, making the main character and the parasites seem more logical and threatening in comparison.
Something I appreciate about the series more than anything is that it didn’t fall into one of my pet-peeves, which would be to have a message that raises a lot of questions without giving any answers to them. Without spoiling too much the series has an environmental message toward the end, a less than subtle one. I cannot stress how many times I’ve felt like stories with this message tend to just paint humanity as the villains, never offering any particular ideas on how we can improve. The way Parasyte includes more positive notes to balance things out ellavates it to a more thought out story, managing to avoid coming off as pretentious when it very easily could have.
Overall, with the occasional bump on the road, Parasyte is among the best character-pieces in recent memory. It is hard not to recommend for anyone that enjoys some thoughtful horror and adventure.
There are a few categories of anime that tend to gain mass appeal simply because of what they are. Examples include run-of-the-mill Shounens, Key adaptations, “Oh no I’m trapped in a video game!!” series, and action-horror anime that are filled with gore for good measure. Due to the recent disaster known as Tokyo Ghoul, I initially brushed Parasyte to the side dismissing it as another horror clone. For the first 12 episodes or so, I held my pinky in the air and avoided Parasyte like the plague. However, I finally caved to the hype. After marathoning the first half
of the series, I realized oh how wrong I was.
The story of Parasyte is fairly simple. One night, a bunch of parasites float down from the sky and attempt to enter a multitude of human bodies by taking over human brains. They do this in order to control a host because without a host the parasites themselves cannot survive. Enter our main protagonist Shinichi Izumi, a young high school boy who lives a hilariously average life. Do you remember the nerdy guy from the movie The Breakfast Club? Well that’s pretty much Shinichi in a nutshell. This all changes when a parasite attempts to enter his body one night; however, Shinichi holds off the parasite and contains it to only his right hand. Enter Migi, the parasite who now lives in Shinichi’s right hand and allows Shinichi’s hand to morph into a whole slew of weapons *insert obligatory masturbation joke here*. Now that parasites have begun to invade the human race they have to feed by eating other humans. Shinichi, being the Good Samaritan that he is, takes it upon himself to protect the human race from becoming human happy meals while still hiding the fact that he himself is a partial parasite.
In my honest opinion, the story itself wasn’t really all that intriguing. However, what are intriguing are all the different themes that the story sheds light on. Instead of focusing completely on villain after villain and attempting to create a premise without any depth, Parasyte poses some very interesting questions. What does it really mean to be human? Are the parasites really wrong for acting on instincts? Who are the true parasites of Earth?
Parasyte really only has two “main” characters; however, they have a few supporting characters that, in my personal opinion, really shine and add depth to an otherwise standard cast. Obviously we have Shinichi, our main hero who wants to save world! He has really generic motivations but he’s still a well-written character. He develops throughout and goes through experiences that alter his view of the situation at hand. Is he really that interesting? Not to me personally, but I didn’t hate him so that’s a win. Then we have Migi, a character who shows a lot more development and growth than Shinichi ever does. I wouldn’t want to spoil how our tale with Migi concludes, but I did feel he was the more interesting of our two leads.
The supporting roles of Parasyte were very hit or miss. Satomi is about as bland of a love interest that ever existed. Her sole purpose is to constantly nag Shinichi over how he has “changed.” She adds absolutely nothing to the story and only serves to act as a damsel in distress for Shinichi to save and then nag and cry to him later about how Shinichi has just changed so much recently. Satomi is clearly one of Parasyte’s misses; however, for every miss they have a couple successes. The two other characters I want to briefly mention are Ryouko, the parasite soccer mom, and Kuramori, the residential detective. Ryouko is interesting because of how well she develops and grows. She poses many of the overlying questions in the story and really forces both Shinichi and Migi to question what the meaning of humanity is. Kuramori seems like a bland and boring character that is in far over his head. It almost seems ridiculous that someone would actually try to be involved in such a horrific case until we see his motivations. The scene where it flashes his bedroom filled with detective books gives a true sense of character motivations without saying a single word. At that moment everything comes rushing to you. All of his dreams as a child, where he would read the stories of these great heroes and long to achieve what they did, come forward. Its characterization that adds meaning and it was extraordinarily well displayed.
As for animation there really isn’t much to say. The animation is spectacular with well animated action sequences and a dark color pallet to fit the dark tone of the anime. This well-done animation is something I’ve really come to expect from Madhouse studios.
Sound is highly dependent on taste. The opening theme is different. I can’t say I’m fond of the full version, but the cut version used for the opening was two thumbs up. The ending theme was the polar opposite in terms of presentation. The opening theme is very loud, electronic, and scream-y, while the ending theme is very relaxing and tranquil. Both the opening and ending are songs I would download so that’s always a good sign. The background music didn’t really do much for me. Nothing I would go out of my way to download but nothing that distracted from the show.
Parasyte sure seems to do a lot right; however, I do think that it’s important to note that after my 12 episode binge I never quite got the same feel from Parasyte while watching it week to week. Whether this is because I missed some of Parasyte’s shortcomings in the beginning or because the show took an overall dip halfway through is up in the air, but I definitely preferred Parasyte’s earlier episodes to its later ones. Another important note about the latter half of Parasyte is that the themes of the show will begin to feel like they’re being shoved down your throat and up your ass simultaneously. Usually, I don’t have a problem with a writer being obvious with the themes because I’m not a huge fan of vagueness as vagueness usually leads to pretentiousness. But damn, this writer really and I mean REALLY wanted you to know what he was going for. Eventually, it did get a tad annoying and by the end it definitely felt like the horse had long been beaten.
Overall, Parasyte is a show that I feel most everyone would enjoy. It has all the qualities of a binge-able show: stellar action, cliffhangers, and intriguing questions. It also has many qualities for critics to enjoy: strong themes, some interesting characterization, and unique twists. Some people might argue that the show begins to be a bit preachy and takes itself too seriously by the end, but I felt this didn’t detract from the story that strongly. The ending itself could have been stronger, but it certainly wasn’t awful.
Parasyte was certainly a fun watch and deserves a full recommendation to check it out!
Wednesdays won't be the same anymore without Parasyte.
Parasyte has a pretty cool story— its action packed, gory, and has morals. It follows through and there aren't many faults in the storyline. It also touches on political and philosophical issues like comparing humans to animals, our ecosystem, global warming, and such.
Madhouse did a great job with the art. They made the characters more modern looking compared to the manga. The fight scenes are great. They're intense, fluid, and they don't censor anything.
The sound is alright. Nothing special, but fitting. I can't believe the opening is mostly in english, still.
The characters were pretty likable,
and they felt like real people. RIP Kana. why did u have to die... T_T
The character development was natural, and fit with the events in the story. Particularly, Migi and Shinichi. Comparing them from the beginning of the story to the end, they definitely changed over time.
All in all, Parasyte is one of the better animes out there.
- Solid storytelling
- Fluid artwork
- Realistic characters
- Great development
Parasyte, a really hyped about anime when it started airing. Is the hype worth it? or is it just another exaggerated anime? I can't say. But as far as my biased opinion about this anime is concerned, I think this is a pretty good anime as far as story, setting and a new idea is concerned. Horror, there isn't much of it, just some people getting sliced up.
When I saw it's promotional video, I thought it would be really cool and indeed it was, for the first half of the series but after that it mellowed down to something that's mostly drama with a bit
of action and gore thrown in.
Anyway, let's get with the review:
A parasyte takes control over a human by controlling the brain. For Izumi, fortunately, the parasyte gets stuck in his arm and so instead of his whole body, Izumi's right hand (migi in Japanese) is taken over by the Parasyte (named Migi). There are quite many other parasytes about and the dynamic duo works together to beat them because of the circumstances they are put in. At first, Izumi is a cry baby but as the series progresses, he also develops into a calm, composed and a bit inhuman being.
Most of the events taking place are Izumi encountering other Parasytes, some who play a major role in the series, some who are just to run away from and some who become friends.
It progresses slowly and steadily, which might get boring after a while.
Dead people, dead parasytes, few action scenes and drama go along in almost every episode. So that's the whole deal of the story, Izumi's life with Migi. No trying to stop other parasytes, no finding secrets of how they came and no fighting bad guys. He just battles the parasytes that come after him and stuff like that.
The art is good for this anime since this anime is not an action, horror anime but a drama, psychological horror anime. Though the artwork of the parasytes leaves a lot to be desired because when I started this anime I though the parasytes would be freakin' cool but in the end, only one of them came up to the mark.
The opening "Let Me Hear" is pretty good. It reminded me of "Unravel" on Tokyo Ghoul since both anime have a similar atmosphere. As for the ending, I listened to it once, and never gave it much attention. "It's the Right Time" is just ok. Nothing good enough that you'd want to download a full version.
Our main character, Izumi is your average high school student who is scared from scary stuff. But after meeting Migi and due to certain circumstances, he toughens up and gets a massive change of character.
Migi is a "numerical" sort of character. He cannot comprehend emotion like other Parasytes. So, an intelligent being with no emotions and who judges the situation quantitatively and brings his own and Izumi's safety above all else. No moral values, no respect for others. You kinda understand what he's like now. But despite his personality, he also develops across the series and the human emotions start rubbing off on him.
As for the other characters, there is Murano who is just like any other girlfriend but doesn't know about Izumi's parasyte.
In the parasyte department, there are a few important and some side characters. Some play an important role in the series and the rest of the parasytes are just there to create a situation.
I did enjoy it. But it's my own fault for getting ahead and expecting a lot of action from this anime. This is, as the genre states, a drama, horror, psychological, action, seinen anime. And that's what it always will be.
No one is right and no one is wrong, everything has his/her/its own perspective of this world. If the parasytes shouldn't kill humans, then why do humans kill cows, fish etc. That's the kind of things you can expect of this anime. It does a pretty good job at it too.
Overall, I would recommend this anime to anyone looking for some serious stuff. Not action based. But mostly story and ideas. Action, horror are thrown in just so stuff doesn't get dull.
It's a slow paced anime and you'll probably tire after watching 2-3 episodes. At some places, it goes well but later on, it's just slow. It doesn't have that potential to keep you glued to the screen and end it in one go.
Sometimes you'll like the drama and sometimes you won't but this anime is definitely a good one to watch.
And those who are looking for horror with a lot of action and fighting, they might be disappointed a bit from this anime. But nonetheless, it's best to get on the bandwagon and watch the series along with everyone else.
Parasyte: The Maxim or Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu is about the invasion of an alien species that survive through burrowing themselves inside humans and taking over the brain. It follows a high school student named Izumi Shinichi after he becomes a host of one of these creatures that actually fails to seize his brain and is able to avoid complete domination. The two soon learn to coexist and the story is about them not only trying to survive but to also eliminate the other parasites.
The plot itself is seemingly unique and an interesting concept. It has a couple of good arcs that bring great
character development and is one of the most consistently paced anime I’ve seen. The story is well planned and provides good explanations for most queries inside the show. Overall, there isn’t much to complain about the actual plot of Parasyte as it is intriguing and will keep you hooked from episode to episode.
The art of this anime is actually somewhat typical and does not stand out too much. Some of the fight scenes were poorly made and it was pretty obvious that the producers became quite lazy after a couple times of doing the same thing. It was especially noticeable when Migi was fighting A in the school building and for almost five whole seconds straight, it was just a flurry and repetition of the same movements. The colours used were also very dull and dark. This being said, the anime does not stand out in its art but it also does not lack anything major in this aspect, it was just average.
The opening and ending songs of Parasyte aren’t that great. The auto tune in the opening is annoying but the actual rhythm and melody are alright. Background music wasn’t very distinct and didn’t add much to the atmosphere. The sound of this anime is nothing close to being outstanding.
The characters in the beginning of the anime were all very bland and ordinary. Specifically the parasites, all of them were almost the exact same, not only physically but also mentally. They are all extremely one-track minded and only care for their own existence, which is kind of forgivable because they are aliens. However, character development is what Parasyte truly excels at. At the start, Izumi Shinichi is a useless, almost pathetic teenager that is bullied easily. But as the story progresses, so does Shinichi as he learns how to fight and survive with Migi, he no longer stays helpless but turns into a much stronger and reliable character. This was done especially well because it was developed gradually and consistently throughout the show. Another major positive change in character was in two parasites, Tamiya Ryouko (previously known as Tamura Reiko) and Migi. I will not go in detail for these two as it may spoil parts of the story for readers who have yet to watch the anime.
Without a doubt, Parasyte is an excellent watch. However, there are also some minor flaws such as its simplistic art style and music. If you’re into action, psychological or sci-fi anime, you should definitely check this one out.
Parasyte: the maxim is an intriguing anime. It questions the viewer on what it means to be human, what makes humans different than other species, and slaps the truth of human cruelty onto the face of viewers.
While writing this review, I will be using references from the lyrics of the OP “Let Me Hear”, performed by Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
Do you know the food chain theory? We, humans stand high and firm at the top of it, we are the absolute predators, with no enemies which can pose a threat to us. Our main means of dying are either from old
age, a disease, an accident, or being murdered. All in all, it is quite a rare case (of course this doesn’t mean there isn’t) that our life will be ended by another species. Yet, it is much easier for humans to end the life of another living being, various examples include domestication, hunting, and urbanization etc. That’s right, you are probably the most comfortable species on Earth, where you can be sitting so comfortably in front of your laptop while the other species live in fear of being killed any time.
In Parasyte, alien beings emerge and pose a threat to humanity, people fear of being killed, people keep calling the parasites “monsters”, as their emergence had shaken the firm foundations humans had built on top of the food chain. You see, being long time winners of the Earth and suddenly have that taken from you really scares the shit out of everyone, myself included.
I know, Parasyte is merely a science fiction anime, but time and time again Parasyte reminded of the true nature of our world we live in, and we must not ignore nor run away from the truth: humans are the true devils. The ones with the power to destroy nature, to subdue other species, to create rules for the world, all for the benefit and selfishness of ourselves.
Am I being cynical here? Perhaps. But this was what Parasyte had left in me after finishing it: a powerful, probably long lasting effect which would change my viewpoint in the world we live in.
Adapted from the manga of the same name which ended 20 years ago, Parasyte: the maxim has its story fully laid out and the producers have all the privilege to dictate the pacing of the show, which is pretty well done in my opinion.
Art and animation wise, it was handled by studio Madhouse, famous for their top-notch quality, as such, there aren't any big issues at this department, the sceneries are well drawn and fitted well; the animations are fluid; and the expressions of the “normal” human beings are quite brilliantly presented here. One thing that I admire from this section is how Madhouse did some redesigns on the characters, making them more distinguishable than their manga counterparts, and raised the charm of these characters to new heights. Censoring is present, but is done a lot better than some of the animes I’ve seen (Tokyo Ghoul S1 and Pupa, just to name some).
For the sound, Ken Arai did most of the BGM, and most of them fit well in the scenes they were inserted in. Both the OP and ED are great songs, where the OP, an electro-metal song, had lyrics written specifically for the show; ED is a slow and soothing ballad which provides comfort to the overall gruesome and emotional experience the show provides. As for our seiyuus, many of them are well experienced in the industry, and it was truly a delight to have them running the show.
Now for the characters, with the story written by a Japanese and the setting set in Japan, being an Asian myself, I can understand the way the characters act. I’ve seen complaints about how annoying this particular character is, his/her actions are unfathomable etc etc, this is because of the differences in culture, and the different environments we all are raised in. In other words, do factor in the various backgrounds of a person before you judge one’s actions.
Throughout the show, we can observe the nature of parasytes, and how they gradually evolve, which is very interesting and fascinating. Some of the parasytes have more intellect and even went further than just being a predator of humans, some wanted to learn more about themselves, learn more about humans, and also learn more about the world. Their developments serve as the main talking points about the true nature of humans.
The ride of watching Parasyte was indeed a thrilling one, I laughed, I cried, and I screamed to various events happening in the show. It truly got me hooked. I had this finished within 3 days, which is a good indicator to see how much I enjoy this myself.
Regrettably, there are questions left unanswered as the show ends, and the viewers will have to connect the missing dots together. Also, the show utilized way too many coincidences in order to drive the story or to provide some character development.
In conclusion, Parasyte is a great anime which will provide you tons of food for thought about our world in a very broad sense. Of course, powerless as we are as an individual, in the end, most likely nothing will ever change, and our lives will just go on as normal. But hey, with some questions for you to think while in the shower, that’s not so bad sometimes, eh? Prove that you are different from monkeys! (laugh)
++ Intriguing story.
+ Smooth pacing.
+ Great animation quality.
+ Nice cast of characters
- Too many coincidences.
- Many questions left unanswered.
When this anime was airing, I had over 10 different animes that I was watching, and during that time this anime was my most favorite one. Even for a harem genre lover such as myself, I would be lying if I said I didn't enjoy it as I watched despite the lack of nosebleeds.
I rarely ever give a story a 10, but there were several factors that gave this anime the god score. First, the originality in the overall plot was a thumbs up as most stories nowdays unfortunately have similars to some other type of story, whether intentional or not, but this anime
had a plot that (at least for me) I haven't seen before. Second, the pacing was good, and while some of you may not like the 24 episodes, it helped keep the pace good and steady as this would have not been as enjoyable if it was crammed into a 12 episode format. Third, no offplot events, or in other words, no random episodes thrown in to be fillers. Pay attention as there is plot development in all the episodes.
I give it a 9 because (besides a personal opinion of there is no such thing as perfection) of the overall good fight scenes, however the detailed art may make you queasy, especially if you plan to get a uncensored version when the dvds come out. If your used to the gore, then pay no heed as the art is going to be to your liking.
I personally can't say that I'm an expert at judging music, but as far as I notice all the music and sounds fitted right into the places where they belonged, as well as the opening and closing tracks were pleasing to the ears. The background sound overall was excellent and well placed by the makers.
I give the characters a 9 for that many of the characters are fresh, besides the girl the protaganist likes. The majority of the characters are just overall not well seen around anime as the plot, as stated as before, is pretty original allowing for new kind of characters to be seen. (Forwarning, if you are a kind of person who wants everyone to live and nobody to have died, you might want to toss that aside as there are 1 or 2 deaths that will cause at least a tear)
Despite the fact that I'm a harem, ecchi type lover as shown through my anime list, this anime will forever be on the top animes that I would recommend to anyone of a serious, slightly humorous, gore anime. With the action, drama, and the various aspects of this anime, I'm sure you will love it as much as I have.
There could not have been a more fitting end. Shinichi and Migi's dream in the final episode, along with the internal monologue life preaching that followed immediately after (consisting of HALF the sodding episode!), aptly summarised everything wrong with an anime that may as well have been titled 'Parasyte: Maximum Chatter Within'. It was telling that, with the chance to have AN ACTUAL CONVERSATION outside of Shinichi's head, instead the last exchange between the two characters played out internally. Migi said it was because he (genderless, but forever a bro) wanted Shinichi to forget. And I most certainly agreed with Migi's sentiment.
One of the
greatest challenges in adapting manga is transferring static thoughts to a medium with motion. Madhouse's solution? To simply transfer EVERYTHING not involving internet modernisation 'Google snake + hand' awkwardness, instead of attempting to rework it into conversations... or maybe just having faith that the target audience do not need to be spoon-fed the obvious. Throughout the entire series, even the most basic of thoughts, such as "Oh no, I am going to die!" was shoved down my throat. Towards the end, it got to the point where - as if in response to the series spamming me with simplistic obviousness - I was internally screaming 'SHOW; DON'T TELL... WHY!?'
In a psychological series, it is important for the lead's thought process to be broken down into comprehensible chunks. But in the case of Shinichi, it was like I was listening to my West Highland Terrier's thoughts as she hunts her mortal enemy, the local squirrel. For example, in episode 23 Shinichi marches off to certain doom to do battle with THE ultimate enemy. Only when finding this last boss that he previously ran from - crying, I might add - does it occur to him a plan would be quite handy. Beforehand, he even monologues about how the situation will surely work itself out, as if certain the author will save him. Predictably, Shinichi found himself thinking "WHAT DO I DO!?' as my eyes rolled into my head. Then, in a moment of 'I will stand here ominously while you think' inspiration, he remembers the old woman he met a few days ago. "Never give up!", she says in his head (not meaning don't give up in the context of a 1 vs. 1 battle with a monster, but I digress). Only then does Shinichi - still in his head - miraculously remember a weak-spot based on plot convenience.
The internal monologues are more of a superficial problem. Irksome but perhaps ignorable for those demented by anime. The real issue? Madhouse adding emphasis to the flaws of something decades old and not fixing ANY of them. At the start of the show, Migi - in his loveable matter of factly way - pointed out that humans are the true parasites on Earth / eat cows. At the end of the show, after it somehow stumbles into politics, a politician says THE EXACT SAME THING, as if it is a revelation. He even gives a dramatic speech. And that is all Parasyte has to offer: what it offered at the very beginning. The rest of the 'plot' simply had Shinichi fight parasites hiding in human skin as Migi told him what to do and/or saved him, whilst I had to plug my ears whenever Kana Havawank's character appeared to avoid punching her face on my screen; especially when the 'romance' became horribly overwrought with THAT damnable piece of music. Never before did I realise adding a voice could make me go from indifference to hatred. Her most noteworthy contribution was supportive sex--a modern day Japanese comfort girl, if you will.
So, what else does the series offer? Well, unlike in the manga, Shinichi starts out as a scrawny four-eyed representation of the what anime has taught me to be the average Japanese high school student. Most of the time, he sounds like he is on the verge of tears. Naturally, three girls still gathered to talk about him, without the bitchy detest reality requires. But before even being halfway done, Shinichi finds himself some hair gel and contact lenses; becoming a new boy, as it were. And then... CIRCLES. The annoying wannabe girlfriend of the piece runs around questioning whether Shinichi is still human after he put a dog in a bin, whilst I simply questioned if he is just an outright moron. Then another girl - with moe earphones added in the anime - decides to also run around after Shinichi due to the 'red string of fate'. Cringe. At this point all I remember is episodes upon episodes of meandering as girls chased Shinichi as he got lost in thought over his inability to cry. Then, towards the end, he discovers he can cry, loses all composure and reverts back to how he started, making me question the point of life/this story. After that, the series randomly just ends on a bizarrely abrupt and 'parasites are hiding now, OH WELL; bye, Migi!' note.
The single most disappointing aspect? Madhouse's (lack of) budget. Over 20 years late, and the only impressive visuals come in an opening that screams 'TEENAGERS: WATCH ME!' so loudly I feel almost old, an exciting intro though it is. So poor is the art consistency that eyes did not even line up correctly in key episodes. And the parasites quickly took a nosedive towards blob animation, so lacking was the detail. It was so limited I started to believe that the mid-battle internal monologues existed to save even more money by avoiding fluidity. And the colours were on the bland side of dull throughout. I just do not understand: why wait all these years to half-arse something?...
I do like some things. Not many, but some. Migi, for one. The brains AND personality of the series... in spite of being emotionless and machine-like by nature. Easily one of the most unique characters ever created and, despite not being human, more relatable than the rest of the the human cast combined. His intentionally unintentional deadpan "That would be a problem" moments of comedy gold are my favourite parts of the series, along with the bizarre grotesque broship bond he shares with Shinichi. And Parasyte does have an undeniably cool concept. There is something genuinely disturbing about a head turning into a mouth and eating people. Some of the music is uniquely excellent, also: 'hypnotik' being my favourite, if only for the previews. But the rest of the show?... the lack of a plot, or any kind of answers given by its tacked-on 'ending', were issues all those years ago. All the anime added is internal monologue emphasis emphasis suffering and... Aya Hirano as a talking hand. An uninspired adaptation of a manga lacking direction and without any closure does not satisfy me, and nor should it satisfy anyone else.
Humans are bad. They ruin the beautiful planet earth. No, wait, humans are actually good and all bad people aren’t humans. Eating meat is evil, or it’s a part of nature. Killers kill because they’re unrestrained and society is the only thing that keeps us from killing all that surrounds us. Planet earth is beautiful, and the fate of the world is in the hands of a teenage sex bomb and his, well, talking hand. Also, bass occasionally drops.
The concept isn’t bad. A talking hand gains automatic Cool Points and it doesn’t prevent the story from exploring deeper things. Having a sex bomb for a
main character isn’t a death sentence. It’s when the anime juggles 90’s Sci-Fi weirdness with no insight or boldness. The parasites are cool at first, but not for 24 episodes. Shinichi is a good-natured sex bomb and people are evil because they’re evil, so where’s the shock value?
The problem with Parasyte isn’t that it’s stupid. The problem is that it wants to be smart. Too many times it points to a bigger idea, something about human nature and eating meat. Then it undoes every insight it has by having sex bomb characters, pornographic violence and cheap emotional manipulation. The techniques don’t match the aim of the anime.
Parasyte ends up joining the ranks of pretentious grimdark anime who think violence equals depth. The violence is fun for a while. Limbs are torn off without a second thought. The Parasytes distort the human body in Cronenberg’s favorite ways. You can’t carry an entire show based on that though. The creators quickly run out of visual ideas. Besides the blades, muscle tissue and eyeballs everywhere the Parasytes don’t have much to offer. Blood stops being shocking after a few gallons. The action scenes are hardly action scenes. A lot of fighting is simply blades clanging in the speed of light.
Clearly, the series wants to be more than a silly Sci-Fi story about bodysnatchers. It’s hard to take it seriously when the lead character is a sex bomb and nobody points out how weird it is. Every female character with a speaking role expresses interest in him. The teenage ones’ affection are clearly towards romantic. Does that sound like a harem premise to you?
The difference between this anime and other harems is that it’s serious. It never addresses the fact all the females somehow love Shinichi. Yes, it should considering it happens so much. There’s even beating up of another girl’s asshole boyfriend. From a distance, the abundance of female characters is nice since stories like these are often criticized for the lack of female presence. Then again, if the main thing they do is to stroke the main character’s ego what’s the point?
Having sex bombs for characters in such serious shows is always funny. While the anime preaches to us about how horrible the world is, how horrible humans are and how dare we eat meat it forgets losers and winners are everywhere. Sexuality isn’t some antidote to our violent nature. Sexuality and violence go hand-in-hand. Both have winners and losers, defeaters and defeated. The difference is, violence is more fair. Unless you disabled, you can use your fist. I guess the creators are all sex bombs too.
Is calling Shinichi ‘privileged’ making me look insensitive? He loses people left and right, and yet he still comes off as a boring, privileged dude. External and internal troubles are not the same thing. Although a lot of terrible things happen to Shinichi, he has no internal struggle. He has no lens through which to view the horror.
Attack on Titan is an obvious comparison. Both deal with an epic battle of humanity against another being, and in the center is a teenage superhero. Eren also loses loved ones and is knee deep in the abyss. Unlike Shinichi, he has a clear personality through which the suffering is filtered. Eren doesn’t just feel bad over his troubles. He views them in his idealistic, hero-delusional lens. In contrast, Yukki (Future Diary) and Shinji (Neon Genesis Evangelion) react to the danger with fear and avoidance. Shinichi has no such lens. He gets sad and screams in sorrow for a while.
Nothing actually drives him. Survival doesn’t count, since all organism are driven by survival (or well-being). He’s barely active in the story. Things happen to him and that’s it. The only decision he makes are whether to fight or flee. It almost sounds clever, since the anime wants to say something about how humans are still animals. Only it’s not true, of course. Humans are the only organism who are aware of their own death, of their consciousness. You need such cognitive abilities to start thinking about existence. The Parasytes start going existential, too.
Characters die all the time. The light/dark contrast is clever and will never lose its shine. Here it ends up being a cheap trick. Nearly every character that’s introduced will die. Some die in the same episode they’re introduced. Others are lucky to survive a few more episodes. The game of ‘who will die next?’ may entertain some, but that’s just gruesome RealiTV. It’s easy to recognize who will die and how. Many characters die so Shinichi can grieve over them, feel bad and then not change. He doesn’t have a personality that can change. The result is cheap manipulation of the viewer. Introduce a character, makes us relate to them and then rip their heads off.
There is a little spark, a little energy here. The anime is based on an old manga, and you can see it. The tropes and storytelling style all belongs in an older time, of moral heroes and sci-fi paranoia. It’s another thing that’s almost clever. They could’ve mixed the moral heroism/optimism of Shinichi with the 90’s techno-paranoia that gave us “Spaceman”. There’s no attempt to bridge these two, though. Shinichi is moral for convenience and the darkness is here to shock. He would’ve probably been one of Reznor’s ‘pigs’ with how bland he is, or one of Manson’s Beautiful People.
It’s nice the soundtrack keeps up with the times and gives us Bass Music of all kinds. I love Skrillex and Zomboy and Knife Party and all these. The soundtrack is so good, in fact, that I hope it will make its way to Excision’s Shambhala mixes. Sadly, the few bass drops don’t make up for a shitty story. They make it slightly more bearable.
Parasyte is crap. There’s no way around it. What starts off as fairly bizarre loses its shine quickly. It’s another grimdark anime where people die violently and this is somehow reflective of how terrible life is. Parasyte plays a little more with light and dark, but in the end it all leads back to the abyss. Don’t expect the depths you can get by going to suicide communities though. It’s so much of an abyss as it is a black wall.