Also known as Parasyte – The Maxim, Parasyte is an anime which aired between 2014-2015 with an English dub version airing between 2015-2016. Like the other animes I have watched recently, this series is available at time of writing on Netflix. The series follows teenager Shinichi Izumi and the parasite which inhabits his right arm and hand, called Migi.
I am not entirely sure why I have just been binge watching anime shows on Netflix recently, it started with Tokyo Ghoul, and since then I have watched Kakegurui, Castlevania, Akama ga Kill, Vampire Knight and now Parasyte. Of the ones I have watched I have only chosen to review ones that I liked or didn’t end on a massive downer. Akama ga Kill ended with basically all of the main characters dead, and featured story lines in which every woman was lusting after an adolescent boy. Virtually every woman in that show had boobs so large it was amazing they would stand up straight, whilst being on such slender frames that it was a mystery they were able to do the acrobatics that characters can always do in anime. It wasn’t a bad show truth be told it just ended on a massively depressing note.
Thus far the only two anime that I have abandoned before the end was Kakegurui which was about a school where the students gamble for ridiculous amounts of money. A new student arrives, who is an expert gambler, and everyone seems to get sexually excited from the thrills of gambling. The girls have huge boobs (obvs) and skirts so short they were practically belts. The reason I quickly grew bored of it was because each episode was basically the same, new girl gambles, seemingly loses, bets big, then reveals she has figured out how her opponent has been cheating to win, and wins huge amounts. Around six episodes in this was the formula which had grown boring and the sexual overtones was really starting to creep me out, so I abandoned it. The second was Vampire Knight because I was two and half episodes in and sweet fuck all had happened, so I was bored, then move onto pastures new.
This led me to Parasyte...
The premise of the show is a teenager named Shinichi Izumi awakens with the feeling that something is wrong with his right arm. He accidently gropes a girl he knows at school and leaps into the road to prevent a child from being struck by a car. His right hand lashes out to stop the vehicle in its tracks saving both Shinichi and the child, whilst leaving both of them unharmed but the front of the car a crumpled wreck
He learns that the night before (which he thought was a nightmare) a small caterpillar-like creature attempted to enter his body through his ear, but due to the fact that he was wearing ear plugs it couldn’t get in. It tried to go through his nose, but he sneezed it up. Waking up he thought it was a bug of some sort and tried to kill it, only for it to leap onto his right hand. It burrowed into his skin and began working up towards his head. He twisted the cord of his headphones tightly around his arm and the bug disappeared. In the morning his hand looked normal so he thought no more of it and went to school.
The caterpillar creature was a parasite that had now taken over his right arm and hand. It directs him to another parasite that has taken over a dog. The parasite is devouring another dog, and Shinichi’s parasite kills it. It speculates that others of its kind need to devour the flesh of their own species in order to survive, as that one entered a dog, it could only eat dogs, whereas any parasites that have taken over humans will kill humans. Shinichi names his parasite Migi who goes on to explain he was trying to get to and consume Shinichi’s brain so it could have controlled his body. As it is, Migi has become an extension of Shinichi’s body and unlike others of his kind can get all the nutrients he needs through his connection with him. Shinichi decides not to tell his parents or anyone else about Migi.
Meanwhile other parasites have successfully entered and consumed the brains of humans, and become monsters that are ripping humans apart to devour them. The state of the bodies discovered have led the police to nickname the attacks [the] “Mincemeat Murders”. Migi can sense others of his own kind and learns that they have hostile intentions towards Shinichi as well as his bond with Migi.
The parasites become more organised and start to integrate into humans society whilst still killing people, with Shinichi being the only one that can stop them, something he can only do with Migi’s help, something that Migi is reluctant to do...
This is probably the weirdest of the animes I have watched, Shinichi’s hand will contort into different shapes, often features an eye and mouth as Migi talks to him, and as the series progresses is able to detach to go off on its own for brief periods of time.
What I liked about this anime in particular was the fact that the parasites start off as effectively mindless monsters but are able to integrate into society. A substitute teacher named Ryoko Tamiya at Shinichi’s schools is a parasite who can sense Migi, but is curious as to why the signals coming from him are not as strong as other of their kind. Ryoko had sex with another parasite named Mister A in control of a human male’s body, and has subsequently become pregnant with a human child. After having the child she grows to love and protect it. The parasites are not just mindless monsters and have a story arc which allows them to grow and evolve beyond what they initially were. The series ends on a rather bitter-sweet note which was not a cop-out and left unanswered questions about what might happen in the future.
Shinichi is fatally wounded by a parasite and Migi is able to rebuild his heart, which resulted in some of Migi’s cells being dispersed into Shinichi’s body. They are not capable of taking over his brain, but they enhance his speed and strength making him better able to hold his own against the parasites.
As they have taken over the heads of humans the parasites can morph themselves into grotesque monsters with tentacles complete with blades, and various eyes and mouths covering them. The design is pretty nightmarish and naturally any humans in the vicinity are sliced into luncheon meat with ease. However, unlike the Ghouls in Tokyo Ghoul that get stabbed, shot, impaled, and so on basically daily, the parasites are still attached to humans bodies, so if the human body is destroyed then the parasite also dies. It makes them both formidable and very fragile which is an interesting mix for such a freakish looking monster design.
Okay, now as Shinichi is a teenager he is convinced that if he tells anyone about Migi, then he will end up in a lab somewhere, so keeps everything to himself. During the course of the series the authorities realise what is happen and even determine a way to root out then kill the parasites. As a result for the majority of the anime Shinichi is not really needed. The authorities are determined to eliminate the parasites, and whilst they cross paths with Shinichi several times, he never actually does anything to really help them for fear of getting found out. The show might have worked just as well, or as a spin-off, from the perspective of the authorities. Such a series would be really interesting and definitely something that I would watch because Shinichi is really only interested in staying hidden, and protecting himself rather than rooting out a threat to humanity.
In one of the final battles against an immensely powerful parasite Migi separates from Shinichi and is seemingly killed. Thing is the during the fight, the powerful parasite guy is badly wounded, and Shinichi doesn’t even try to finish him off, or race over so Migi can reattach to his arm before he dies. It was one of those moments when I was shouting at the television and demanding to know why Shinichi was running when it was obvious the parasite would regenerate to hunt him down again. Which, surprise, surprise, happens and Shinichi has to face it alone.
In addition there are a lot of deaths with many people around Shinichi dropping like flies with the authorities not really twigging that he is always around when deaths happen. I guess it is the whole Clark Kent is never around when Superman is and no one puts two and two together, thing. Anyway there is a girl at Shinichi’s school that is able to sense Migi, they never really explain why, she just can. The girl takes this as a sign that she and Shinichi are soul mates so effectively stalks him, unfortunately this gift means she can sense any parasites that she often mistakes for Shinichi. Numerous times he warns her to stay away from him, and not follow that feeling, but time after time she does. At one point she ties a hair that she plucked from his head around her finger like a ring as she sets off to find him...and things don’t exactly end well for her. Thing is she was kind-of asking for it so it was hard for me to feel any real sympathy for her ultimate fate
I think it was the sheer weirdness and how totally bizarre this anime is that kept me watching, and unlike some shows the monsters are not necessarily what they have been made out to be with some learning how to live in peace with humans. If you like anime then I recommend watching it because there is enough action to keep fans interested but it also knows how to use its downtime so that things don’t get boring...[cough]...Vampire Knight...[cough]...so I will give it a Thumbs Up.
8/10 – A weird and wacky anime series which starts of strange and only gets stranger. It was a thought-provoking show with enough blood soaked action to keep fans of that kind of anime horror happy. Personally, I’m now on the lookout for the next weird anime to get my teeth into...