"Parasites" are tennis ball sized creatures, whose numbers and origins are unknown. They invade and take over the human mind in order to survive. Shinichi Izumi is a 16-year-old high school student who lives with his parents in a quiet neighborhood. One night, a Parasite invades Shinichi's body in an attempt to take control of it. However, it fails to complete the takeover process and ultimately ends up inhabiting only his right arm.
Thus, both Shinichi and the Parasite—who calls himself Migi—retain their individual minds. Now in a peculiar "human and alien" relationship, Migi proposes that they cooperate to survive. Shinichi has no choice but to agree, and he must now cling to his morality as he and Migi face off against other bloodthirsty Parasites.
Kiseijuu won the 17th Kodansha Manga Award for Best General Manga in 1993.
In 2003, it was reprinted in a eight volume complete version format; in 2014, in a new edition format, and complete version in a bunko format. The manga was adapted into two live-action movies which released on November 29, 2014 and April 25, 2015, respectively.
The series was first published in English as Parasyte by Tokyopop, ran in their manga anthology magazine Mixxzine and had a 12 volume release from June 23, 1998 to November 19, 2002. Del Rey Manga republished the series based on the eight volume reprint from May 1, 2007 to July 28, 2009. Kodansha Comics USA later reprinted the Del Rey release from July 26, 2011 to August 21, 2012. It has been published in Spanish by Planeta Comic and was published in Brazilian Portuguese by Jbc from September 2015 to June 2016. The manga was also published in Italian as L'ospite indesiderato by Magic Press from October 3, 1998 to August 30, 2004 before release was discontinued. RW Edizioni picked up the license and published the manga as Kiseiju: L'ospite indesiderato based on the eight volume reprint under the GOEN imprint from December 6, 2014 to January 30, 2016.
STORY: Alright the story as described in the paragraphs above may sound cheesy and unoriginal to some, I know. However, as the story progresses the plot thickens and is beautiful. It shows how various people with the parasites, the bad not the good, try to cope in society and that's actually amazing to see unfold. One gets pregnant, one tries not to kill, etc.
Also, Parasyte shows quite vividly how someone would live with another symbiote in their body. Needless to say, this is very cool and interesting if you're in to that sort of thing.
Even if your not, this doesn't slow down the story all that much which is fast-paced and easy to read.
(A tiny note here: One of my friends was reading it and it was about two in the morning so he told himself that after one chapter he'd stop reading. He stayed up until 4 to finish the whole thing.)
ART: The art is well done, although some may think it's a bit too sketchy and simple for their tastes. However, one of the neat things that the author/illustrator does, Hitoshi Iwaaki, is that he makes the eyes in such a way that after a while you can tell who's contolled by a parasite and who's not just by looking at their eyes.
Another great thing about the art is the transformations. When a parasite takes over a body they can change the shape and strength of the body to suit their needs. That means that their heads unravel to reveal blades, or they turn into a massive mouth, or many other neat, and creepy, ideas. The transformations are great to look at.
Also the author/illustrator can build teh tension very well by using great panel techniques. One such example is in the second new graphic novel, fourth old one (There have been two different publications), when Shin jumps over a ten foot wall. The panels keep widening until there's a full page spread of Shin leaping over the wall, then the next page the panels shortens to half the page to show the landing. Trust me, it gets your adrenaline pumped.
CHARACTER: At first Shin is just the average teenage hero archetype that has been seen in almost every shounen manga. But when you get to the second new graphic novel, fourth old one, things start to change. The parasite in his hand has to split and about 20% of it is strewn throughout Shin's body. Then Shin begins to start losing his very humanity and has to fight to get it back.
There is also a nifty little love triangle type deal that develops at the end of the second new graphic novel. Because every shounen manga needs to have a love triangle. (Sarcasm, if you hadn't noticed.) But I have to say this one's pretty well done.
ENJOYMENT: Wow. I just can't get enough of this series. Everything about it is pretty much perfect. Sure, you get a translation error every once in a while that makes you wince a little bit but besides that the thing is great. I read all the old graphic novels when I was about twelve and they blew my mind and now that it's being rerealsed by Del Rey there is no more perfect time to buy it. (They have combined two of the old graphic novels for a nice little price of $13-14)
If you like shounen, hell if you like action in your manga, check this out. You may not love it, but you won't be disappointed.
OVERALL: I want to give this series a ten but I just can't, otherwise I wouldn't be honest. If I could it would get a 9.5.
The only problems I can see is that every once in a while there is that translation error that doesn't make sense, and some people may find the art a little two simple.
However, the pluses definitely way out the minuses. There's a little something for everyone here: the one's who like a lot of action and not too much plot, the guys who like a deep story, the people who like watching others get chopped to bits, it's all here. (It even has a bit of sexual humor if you're into that.)
Even if you don't like manga too much, don't worry. I've had people read it who didn't even know what a comic book was, let alone manga, and they all really loved. One of them even went out and bought it himself. The others are all waiting on me to give them the next one when it's rereleased.
Try it, you'll like it.
(If you don't please tell me why. I'd like to know.)
Parasytes are an alien species that take over the human body by replacing the head. Our shmuck lead Izumi was about to be taken over by a parasyte, but due to some quick thinking he manages to stop the alien inside his arm, upon which the parasyte consumes his arm and takes it place. The two then have to learn how to live with each other while also dealing with all the other parasytes that have landed on earth.
What drew me to Parasyte originally was seeing the body horror pictures of how peoples’ bodies mutated and warped and started growing tentacles and teeth and occasionally
dick hands. I’m usually a pretty queasy person so I’m not sure quite why this drew me in, but there’s a definite fascination with how alien the mutations the bodies undertake. Once you get over the original shock, it’s not even that scary anymore. The mutations are so alien and cartoonish they go into this area of scholarly fascination. The only times I would actually get a bit perturbed were the more ghoulish deaths of actual humans rather than the parasytes. This cartoonish nature of the body distortions could have undermined something that was only trying to shock you, but thankfully Parasyte is cleverer than that. It’s got a real dark sense of humour, one that’s willing to laugh at itself, what with the aforementioned dick hands and so forth. Plus the comedy segments don’t detract from the moments the deformations are supposed to shock you. It’s a delicate balancing act, but one that Parasyte pulls off remarkably well.
Parasyte does have more to it than just some alien horror story. Its larger theme is about humanity and what makes someone human. Migi, the parasyte that co-inhabits the main character’s body, is very Kyubey-esque in how he thinks. He has no empathy but endless curiosity driven mostly by a self-preservation instinct. Through his conversations with Izumi, they explore both sides of each character and broader concepts of what it means to be human and why it is that one might perform a selfless act. It’s got that perfect duo combination where the two sides’ conversations force both characters to develop. Migi’s development is more subtle than Izumi’s, but that’s because Migi slow development is reflected in the attitude of all the parasytes as they evolve and and start to change their approach to fitting into society. Their change becomes a way to explore what makes humans tick.
Izumi starts off as a bit of a Yuji Everylead, but he changes pretty quickly into a more fascinating character who struggles to find what it is that makes him human. Fairly early on in the manga he absorbs part of Migi into his bloodstream and it starts to change him in little ways. He doesn’t get emotional, can’t cry at friends and family’s deaths, and some of his actions start to reflect Migi’s apathetic nature. You get the feeling that the times he does show kindness and emotion is him trying to force himself to act human so he can reclaim his identity as a human. It mirrors how some of the more advanced parasytes try mimicking human actions in order to understand them and fit into society better, such as trying to smile, having children and laughing. This in turn causes them to start experiencing much more human emotions. It might sound like this is all heavy stuff, talking about the nature of humanity and all that, but it isn’t really. The last volume definitely gets a bit preachy, but otherwise the dialogue all feels very natural and goes about things with a sense of humour. Plus at the moment it really counted, when they really needed to bring everything to the table around both the parasyte’s increasing selflessness and Izumi’s own struggle with his humanity, they nailed the scene so well that it made me cry.
Let me repeat that for effect: I cried at Parasyte. Fucking Parasyte. The manga with dick hands made me cry. Do you know how often I cry at entertainment? Never! And yet somehow Parasyte made me cry? With proper tears streaming from eyes, so overcome with emotion that I had to stop reading and walk for a bit? The only other time in my entire life I cried at media was at Grave of the Fireflies, which is kind of to be expected since that is basically the only point of Grave of the Fireflies. Plus I’ve kind of gone off Grave of the Fireflies over time, as its method of drawing emotion is to have everything be shit and then everyone dies, which is kind of a cheap almost Jun Maeda-esque way of drawing emotion. Meanwhile Parasyte managed it by being positive. It’s key scene was the fulfilment of 8 previous volumes of thematic buildup and re-affirmation of the main character’s humanity that was so tragically beautiful it caused me to break down.
Sorry, is this all a bit serious?
I picked up Parasyte because I figured if I was going to jump into manga, I’d want to read something that would at least draw a reaction from me, but I ended up absolutely loving it. It keeps the story tight and focused on a small cast of characters. It’s paced excellently, comes to a conclusive ending and doesn’t drag on longer than it needs to. It has depth while keeping a sense of humour, and the body horror is shocking without being an obstacle to enjoyment. It’s a bloody great manga and highly recommended.
They control the body by invading the brain. They can change the shape of their bodies and use them as weapons. They eat humans.
Like a logical continuation of John Carpenter's The Thing (1982), set in modern day society and with more than one parasite, Parasyte is an entertaining sci-fi horror thriller.
Descending from the sky, parasites fall onto humanity. They worm their way into humans, penetrating skin and then act erratically before eating whoever is around them. As the story begins, a parasite fails in its attempt to infect a teenager, Shinichi, who becomes the protagonist. The thoughtful and quick-witted guy
manages to prevent the parasite by cornering it in his arm, which afterwards leads to lots of humour from his wayward right hand with a life of its own.
They settle into a symbiotic relationship, though the parasite, going by the nickname of Migi, needs the boy more than the boy needs Migi. Thus there is the threat of body mutilation waiting for the boy if he ever decides to attempt to remove his right hand or let the world know about the parasite.
It’s a great relationship, with high stakes, tension, and drama. Yeah it’s a boy and his right hand; there should be some kind of perverted subtext at play here.
Migi's presence begins to impact Shinichi's life more than practically, but also mentally. Fearing losing his humanity, he seeks to assert himself more in his daily life and relationships, to remind himself and to teach Migi what being a human is; what humans are capable of, how they can rise above basic instincts and defy logic with their positive traits of bravery, courage, self-sacrifice and love.
Don’t worry, that hokey path is mostly avoided by author Hitoshi Iwaaki who goes into far more interesting places by actually having the boy's humanity gradually seep out of him via various plot devices that don’t feel too cheap, because ultimately they result in far more thought-provoking and juicy themes and concepts.
From the moment the parasite entered Shinichi's body he became a neo-human, but by the midway point he's practically a superhuman, albeit constantly becoming more and more detached from the lives around him, discarding of dead puppies in trash cans without realising how cold he looks to cute girls around him.
Many genre traits appear in Parasyte, such as high-school based comedy and romance, but the key aspect is the thriller undertones that are tied with such a premise. There are many great tense situations. The staple of the thriller genre is to throw an unremarkable character into an extraordinary situation and to watch him squirm and struggle to get out of it. Parasyte delivers.
It more than delivers, it constantly heaps trouble on the poor teenager, terrorising him with death and misery, robbing him of loved ones, of every semblance of normalcy, completely destroying his life. The desperation of the character is palpable and makes us emphasise with him more, there's truly a great The Fugitive-esque vibe running through this manga.
As Shinichi gets accustomed to his predicament the rate of parasites around him and risk of collateral damage also increases. He has to navigate around potential parasites all around him in society while protecting the people he cares about without revealing that living in his right hand is a parasite.
Iwaaki goes many routes with the core premise, not just having the tale centred on one boy but including the far-reaching implications of parasites infiltrating humankind. They didn’t just happen to fall into the brains of high school teenagers, but people with all kinds of professions and backgrounds. An interesting plotline begins when a suspected infected politician starts campaigning for mayor.
There are also cool shonen style rules laid upon the boy's predicament, such as Migi having to sleep for four hours because the parasite is so ingrained with the boy's body, which of course leaves Shinichi vulnerable to attacks from his enemies, forcing him to rely on his own wits.
The art isn’t anything to shout about, though like most manga, improves slightly in later volumes. Action scenes however are drawn well, with good scope and motion conveyed via effective usage of speed lines and P.O.Vs. Gore-hounds will get a lot of pleasure from Parasyte, there are decapitations and blood-letting galore. Although for some reason it appears more dour and disturbing than most other manga I've read, such as Gantz.
Maybe we're jaded at this point, but also maybe because the author doesn’t revel in violence with glee. It’s always disturbing, tragic and merciless because there's no tongue-in-cheek attitude here. Humour is present in the story, but the implications of the premise are never sidelined, the horrifying nature of the parasites and their potential is always at the forefront of the story, and it’s made never more clear than watching random citizens eviscerated without any warning or mercy. Nobody is safe in this story, so after you’ve invested yourself in various characters, watching them chased and sometimes killed, is thrilling stuff.
If a criticism could be laid at this manga, it would be that Iwaaki doesn’t show more snapshots of regular peoples’ lives, the building up of paranoia in society, knowing that there are monsters out there. Wouldn’t there be a hysteria and tragedy after tragedy as the masses implode with suspicion against one another? Iwaaki avoids this by holding the truth of the parasites from society at large, only having the public aware of an urban legend, not solid facts, but even so, having his excellent writing delve into more random aspects of peoples’ lives would have gave the manga more gravitas.
Much like Carpenter's The Thing, Parasyte doesn’t build up to an epic battle to save the planet, but rather a more personal struggle for survival. It’s always personal in this story, and that’s why it works as a sci-fi thriller, constantly keeping you on edge while entertaining you with thrills.
Parasyte is a series written and drawn by Hitoshi Iwaaki. Unfortunately this is his only notable series so I can’t so much about his career. I mostly picked up Parasyte on a whim and also because my favorite manga reviewer, Y Ruler of Time mentioned it on his Seven Deadly Series list. But I digress, lets get started.
Story: The story is your standard alien invasion story. Little spores about the size of tennis balls fall from space and give birth to little worm like creatures. The creatures then invade the heads of humans and take over their bodies. The end result being that the creatures
can flex the heads into any shape or size, making them stretch and snap like rubber, or turn them into blades.
Our story follows a teenage male named Shinichi whom a creature tries to invade, but, due to a fluke, the creature ends up stuck in his arm. Shinichi ends up naming the creature Migi, and they develop a rather odd relationship. For the most part their relationship builds around the fact that they have to fight off creatures that have successfully invaded human heads. Why do they need to fight off the aliens? Well, only because that the aliens that successfully invade human heads have to survive by eating other humans. Needless to say Migi can change Shinichi’s arm into pretty much anything, so that makes for some pretty awesome fight scenes.
What’s really interesting about this series though is that a small group of parasytes inherit human personalities (whilst still remaining homicidal creatures) and end up banding together to not really destroy, but to simply observe and survive. One of them even ends up being the closest thing to human in this series what it started out the most brutal monster of them all. Though later the government actually steps in and takes care of some of them.
I have to say the story didn’t get quite as repetitive as I thought it would, it always kept moving at just the right pace. However, violence does seem to take up a good portion of the series, so if you’re squeamish it’s best not to look into this series. Sometimes the way humans die are just brutal. The story itself was interesting enough to keep me reading.
Characters: Our main character as I said is Shinichi, a young teenage male. I would like to say he’s your standard shonen hero, but he isn’t quite. Migi does most of the fighting in the stories, though Shinichi usually delivers the finishing blow in the more serious battles ironically enough. Shinichi is definitely interesting as a character, he doesn’t quite develop so much as a person as through relationships, in fact, due to some bad flukes, he gets a little worse as a character through the series. But that is mostly Migi’s fault to be fair.
Ah yes, Migi, who undoubtedly is the best character. Migi develops the best, and the most subtly throughout the series. While most aliens are heartless and emotionless, Migi ever so slowly starts to understand human emotions. I even got a little sad when…Well, I don’t want to spoil too much.
There are a few villians but most of them die off pretty quickly. Shinichi also develops a relationship with a girl, Murano, but Migi’s relationship is more important and prominent.
Art: I’m not so much one to criticize art in a manga, since everyone has their own style and what I am presented with, will automatically become my standard. It’s also clear that this was made in the 90’s with the manga style, but I really liked this art. It could become quite gritty and dark at times but was detailed and precise when it needed to be.
The Bad: If I had any complaints about Parasyte, it would have to be the violence. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not a prude or anything it’s just some of the fights are way too violent, too pointless, and overall seemed to be layered in bullshit. Most of the fights do help develop in the story, even the seemingly inconsequential ones, like where they fight a dog that got invaded by a parasyte. But sometimes it’s just aggravating seeing so much blood and violence
Parasyte overall: I have to say with Parasyte you can’t go wrong entirely, I enjoyed the characters, the fights, and the ending especially. The morale and whole idea at the end through me for huge loop. It really raised some philosophical questions.
As this is my first shot at reviewing please don't be too harsh. I would much appreciate any comments on thoughts you had of the review. thank you very much.
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Ever wondered what would happen if humans were no longer on top of the food chain? The scary universe of Kiseijuu: Sei No Kakuritsu, also known as Parasyte, offers a glimpse into this reality. Mysterious creatures are taking over humans, and committing unspeakable acts of horror!