Sometimes I get sucked into binge watching, although it's something I don't like doing because after eight or more hours of watching a single show my brain starts to hurt and I end up having really weird dreams. But yesterday I wasn't doing anything so I started watching Parasyte.
I may be showing my age here but I remember this manga when it came out a looooong ass time ago in MixxZine and in fact this was one of the first manga (manga's? what's the plural for that?) that I was introduced to alongside Sailor Moon, X and Rayearth (and that other one that had to do with Russia and spies? I can't remember). I remember Parasyte because it was such a good idea for a horror story. Funny, it's taken well over a decade for an anime to come out - I mean, this thing was popular like in the early 90's.
Gist of it is: Japan is under siege by an alien life form that needs a human body to survive, and after this tiny worm-like creature burrows into your brain it takes over and you are essentially dead. In order to KEEP surviving these creatures need to eat other humans to sustain themselves. Enter our protagonist, Shinichi Izumi - a normal high school boy who has the normal worries of school, girls and grades. That all changes one night when one of these parasitic worms burrows into his hand and makes its way up to his head.
In desperation and terror he takes the earphones from his walkman (HA! you youngsters don't even know what that is do you?) and cuts off the worms progress in his arm, therefore the parasite 'fails' to take over its host and settles for his right hand.
Shinichi assumes it was all a horrible dream until he wakes up the next morning and his hand talks to him, lamenting how it 'failed'.
The story revolves around Shinichi and 'Migi' and their co-existence while surviving what is a new world order as parasyte infected hosts prey upon the human population.
I will be the first to admit that this is a damn fine horror story. I really enjoyed watching the anime, it strings you along because you're hoping people will survive but they are killed off in droves, so don't get too attached to characters. There are some problems I had with it though, that keeps it from being an A + anime.
There are some tropes and just plain stupid writing that kept me from fully enjoying it and I'm going to bring a couple up:
The first that bugged the shit out of me is the age-old Fridged Woman, in this case it was Shinichi's mother. If you don't know what the Fridged Trope is, it means that (usually) a close female relation of the (usually) male protagonist (lover, sister, MOTHER - usually the lover though) is killed off in a particularly gruesome manner to further the development of the male protagonist. Killing off women so the man can have revenge and grow as a character is so common IT'S A FUCKING TROPE. Therefore aggravating as hell, and the circumstances behind Shinichi's mothers death are just ludicrous.
Shinichi is dealing with parasytes coming out of the woodwork so he convinces his parents to take a vacation, because the chances of them getting murdered are statistically lower in a smaller population that is isolated SO OF COURSE there is some rando parasyte in this isolated area who has a sudden and dire need for a woman's body to take over. AND OF COURSE Shinichi's parents JUST HAPPEN to be on a cliff side in the middle of nowhere so Rando Parasyte can sneak up behind Shinichi's mother and bite her head off and take over her body.
The body of his mother returns to get rid of all witnesses (his father and Shinichi himself) and because of the terrible trauma of having his mother's corpse confront him makes Shinichi pause he gets skewered by the parasyte then is left for dead. (No worries, he survives, barely, to come back for revenge).
Here's the real turning point of the story and one I'm not very happy with.
See, here's Shinichi before his mother died:
fluffy, scared, human
and here's Shinichi after he survives his ordeal brought on by his mother's murder:
bad-ass, fearless, strong, everything a man SHOULD be, right?
I don't know, I really feel that a male character finding growth through the brutal murder of a female figure in his life is goddamned lazy writing and EVERYBODY DOES IT. Augh, ok, that was one problem.
A couple others -
- This show keeps rhapsodizing about how RARE the parasytes are, and how unlikely it is that anyone would run into one, and how they need to keep a low profile lest they are discovered and eradicated. Like, that makes sense, and you'd think the story would follow it but Shinichi is a goddamned parasyte magnet or something because he finds ALL THE PARASYTES, keeps getting involved in mass murders and breaks the suspension of disbelief multiple times. Not to mention people are getting SLAUGHTERED on a massive scale and there is a point in the anime where the parents are like, 'meh, I'm used to it'.
This 'unlikelihood' of meeting a parasyte makes his mother's death even more ludicrous and an obvious poorly written plot move to make Shinichi 'stronger' if by stronger you mean willing and able to slaughter parasyte infected people.
- There is a definite 'HUMAN BEINGS ARE BAD AND DESTRUCTIVE AND SHOULD BE DESTROYED' message you get beaten over the head with in this anime. Is this another trope? I feel like the 'human beings are the real parasites' message has been used a lot in entertainment.
- The Geek to Cool transformation bugs me.
- and one more thing before I shut up about this, was the school massacre plot that was the dumbest fucking writing I've seen in a long time.
People are wising up to the parasytes; in Shinichi's school alone there are a few people who know something is up. When a parasyte is sent to 'observe' Shinichi and Migi one of his classmates starts following him (the observer parasyte) around, knowing something is off with him.
This girl finally gathers overwhelming proof that this thing is not human and is actively murdering people but then she goes I'D BETTER CONFRONT HIM BY MYSELF, ALONE, IN AN ISOLATED AREA JUST TO BE ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN. This is just stupid beyond words.
Idiot girl confronts him at school in an empty art classroom SO OF COURSE the parasyte changes to a form to kill her except by chance she tosses a bottle of ethanol at him and it breaks over his tentacles sending him into a frenzy.
This in turn causes a MASS MURDERING RAMPAGE where dozens of children (and adults) are SLAUGHTERED by this thing until Shinichi FINALLY gets his ass in there to stop it.
and it was at this point where I was done watching the anime and went and read a summary of the rest of the episodes because stupid writing is stupid and I don't have time for that.
Essentially: Shinichi struggles with what it means to be human, a shit load of people die, Migi eventually dissolves back into his body (?) the end.
Worth watching, but watch out for dumb plot lines.