Parasyte: The Maximum – Not Completely Infectious

So here we are with my unoriginal premise of me wanting to watch this show for a while. When this show was originally airing, I wasn’t interested in it because I’m not a horror series fan. Going out of my way to watch something that I am not interested in is not something that I have time to do that often. Then I saw my dad watch some scenes of this series on Toonami a while back and it seemed interesting to me. (Yes, my dad watches anime because he’s cool like that.) I had no idea what was going on in the scenes that I was watching, but it looked engaging. I’m kind of sad that I didn’t get around to Parasyte until now, but I have my own anime watching schedule that I try to keep up with. Yeah, I even put non-seasonal anime on a watching schedule. I’m weird like that. Maybe I should talk about the anime series more then myself, but it’s hard to do that when it’s not an interesting series. Just beware of spoilers, because I am going to talk about the ending of this anime. How could I not? It’s a thing that needs to be discussed at least a little bit.

Parasyte’s premise is similar to something you would expect from a 1950’s science fiction horror movie. One quiet night in Japan, strange worm creatures from who knows where called Parasytes appear. Their goal is to take over the brain of different human hosts by entering through either a human’s ear or nose. Basically, they use whatever obvious open orifice that is available to them to take over their hosts. Yes, my mind can go to dark places too. Anyway, our soft boy protagonist by the name of Shinichi Izumi wakes up in the middle of the night during this event happening to him and mostly stops it. Instead of taking over his brain, the parasite takes over his right arm instead. So here we are with this interesting premise of our softy boy protagonist Shinichi trying to understand this cold and purely logical being that wants to survive. Those two are going to try their best to understand and live with each other while Shinichi is doing his best to live a normal lie. It is interesting stuff, but it’s not as explored as it could be.

shinichi
Starting off Shinichi (http://animeuprising.com/moviefiendz-anime-review-parasyte-the-maxim/)

Six episodes into the anime series, everything changes when Shinichi’s family go on a trip for some reason and tragedy finds them. At a beach head, a parasite that took over an adult female’s body is gravely hurt and ends up taking control of Shinichi’s mom’s body and attacks the dad. After Shinichi’s injured dad makes a phone call as he is bleeding out to warn Shinichi about this experience, Shinichi gets prepared to face his mom. And you know what, the parasite in form of his mom does attack his house. Shinichi is too emotionally compromised to attack because of how much he loves her. The result is Shinichi gets gravely injured and his right-hand parasite by the name of Migi helps resuscitates him. Some of Migi’s cells are spread all over his body which results in him becoming colder and more logical just like Migi. With Shinichi becoming less human, but more athletic psychically. It feels very Devilman, because this evolution could be compared to puberty as well.

Shinichi later.jpg
He might have changed a little bit…

I think this seems like a natural point of talking about the side characters, because this is the point where they play a bigger role in my eyes. I think my main problem is how boring they are to me. Murano is a female that could debatably take up the role as Shinichi’s girlfriend. In the first quarter of the series, she just gets attracted to this shy boy named Shinichi Izumi. We don’t really learn much about her family life, her grades, or anything at all. We just know that she is an attractive anime girl, she has an attraction for Shinichi, she either plays the role as the damsel of distress, or is the monitor that tells Shinichi how not like himself he is. I’m disappointed by this because Komuro never gets time to be interesting.

Then there is this other girl named Kana who gains a psychic ability of telling where Shinichi or other Parasytes and thinks that means she is in love with Shinichi because of this. Another boring character we never learn about, because she just spends time around her school’s gang and just being around for some reason. Another disappointment. Even Shinichi’s dad loses all characterization after the tragic accent occurs because he either ends up drinking whenever he is on screen or not there at all. He’s just a worse monitor of Shinichi’s humanity at this point because he doesn’t seem to be able to recognize that his son changed at all. Maybe that could be a character point, but that just allows Shinichi’s story to happen under hindered. It’s a little frustrating really, because everybody feels so stilted and inhuman defying the story a little. There is that other half parasite half human person, but he is just kind of there to be used and be helpful until he isn’t. I think I am thinking about these characters too much.

kana and murano.jpg
Left to right: Murano and Kana

Despite the side characters being just kind of there, the villains for the most part are pretty fun. The Parasytes that are just standard parasytes who want to kill humans themselves are terrifying. The very act of seeing human heads opening like a Venus fly trap or gaining arms with blades on them is high quality body horror. They fulfill their role as standard minions that Shinichi needs to be cautious to fight with and who he’s fighting against. Then we get to the villains that are infinitely more interesting Tamuro Reiko is a complex in that she is exploring options on how to maintain the Parasyte species. She/it is super strong and can take Shinichi or who knows how many other Parasytes out whenever she wants to, but instead considers Shinichi an experiment for Parasyte’s survival. I should also mention how she has a human baby and how interesting it to see her around it? Why isn’t she the main character? The show gets completely dull without her because we only have the five Parasyte being of complete boredom to fight.

Then there are some other interesting plot developments like the Parasytes taking public office in the second half of the series. Now Parasytes can control the town and can feed themselves whenever they want. Quite impressive considering that when they first took over their host’s bodies they couldn’t understand any human language at all. Still, not much comes from this either. Because this show’s length is short, we never see what happens in this story because the focus is somewhere else. That investigator following Shinichi around, who we do learn a lot about and feels like a person, takes up that time. I didn’t mind it, but it means we never see the of the Parasyte government which would be fascinated to me. We jump into an immediately a police assault at that city governments building where most of them are taken out. After that and a death of a lot of policemen, the five Parasyte in one Parasyte is the only encounter left and those episodes dedicated to it weren’t that interesting. Maybe they were on a thematic level on how the Parasyte species will exist from that point on, because this final fight does have that theme in it, but the ending doesn’t sell any of this at all. It’s half assed like a lot of the aspects of this show.

tamura reiko.png
Tamura Reiko or whover she is.

I thought I was going to talk about this show’s finale on a huge level, but I don’t really want to. Just know that it’s that kind of finale that won’t commit to the show’s idea. The idea of whether or not Paraysytes and human can coexist, which is the thing Parasyte was trying to explore and comment on, is dropped and isn’t at the same time. What was the point of that? Then there is that whole bring the show into the present thing. Can we please not do that anymore? Like any studio at all? Just like Mappa with Banana Fish, all Madhouse did was insert the technology from 2015 and just insert them in places they would use their analog alternates. Because of that, so many plot points could have been solved through mobile phone calls. Then the visuals were alright. Characters designs were standard, but the fights weren’t that interesting sometimes too. When Shinichi is fighting without Migi, the fights are engaging. When Migi is awake, they feel like quick time events because all we have are hands waving back and forth quickly. Once again, kind of half assed. Kind of the nature of the game here.

Tamura Reiko 2.jpg
She might have changed since her picture above.

So I want to say this right here, I don’t think Parasyte (2015) is a bad anime at all. I know that I’ve been ragging on it quite a bit, but that’s because I want it to be a little more. Parasyte does bring up quite a few good ideas, but I don’t think its long enough to explore all of them in a meaningful way. In my mind, I keep thinking about Devilman Crybaby because of how similar the premise is. While Crybaby is completely imperfect and way too short, it explored the same concepts better in a shorter amount of time. Hell, it even used technology better because social media plays a large part in that anime’s story too. Enough about Devilman Crybaby, I should finish up talking about to Parasyte. I don’t regret watching Parasyte at any rate. There were plenty of moments that grabbed me and there was clearly a spark of inspiration for this show to be put out in the first place. I just wonder what it is. In the end, Parasyte (2015) is average to me.

9 Comments Add yours

  1. Irina says:

    You know, I love how you can always focus on the positive aspects of anime even when you acknowledge and uneven product!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Scott says:

      I try my best to be as even with everything as I can. There have been a few times when I can’t like with Snafu.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Irina says:

        we are on the same page with that one…It may just be us though

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Scott says:

        That’s ok. It can be our fun, little club.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. raistlin0903 says:

    I actually started watching this one for a couple of episodes and then dropped it. I never really got into it (and that’s me who is honestly a huge horrorfan).
    Having read this post now, I’m still thinking I made the right choice, but at the same time you also made me wonder if maybe I should give it a second chance as you also adress quite a few aspects that are pretty positive. And that’s the sign of a great post if you ask me 😊😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scott says:

      Thank you so much 😁. That’s a huge compliment.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. moyatori says:

    I found the portrayal of female side characters horribly annoying as well. My mom kept telling me how great Parasyte is (the manga was apparently popular back in the day in Asia). I guess I just don’t see that. Parasyte is definitely an average anime to me as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scott says:

      I’ve heard that the manga is pretty fantastic. I’m sure it must have been much better characterized.

      I’m glad we agree about the anime though. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

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