Anime Monday - Parasyte -the maxim-

You guys do not notice that we, are gifted just by being humans, we are absolute predators. We do not even have any, enemies, maybe there are other animals watching us and thinking that someday we will beat them down!!!!! - If you have no idea what any of that means, then you really need to check out the first episode of Parasyte.

The first time I heard of Parasyte I didn't know what to make of it. I was mainly seeing it being recommended on "top" lists on YouTube, by people who normally don't even discuss anime. It felt like they were just latching onto it because it was the "new" and "cool" thing to like. So yeah, my initial impressions of the series weren't great at all. I thought it was stupid, but in reality I was the stupid one. I had no idea about it's long legacy as one of the top selling manga, nor did I realize how many people wanted a part in this series. Heck even Don Murphy was going to work with Jim Henson Studios to make a live action version of it! This series was popular, and with very good reason. So again, I was pretty stupid to ignore this anime adaptation.

Eventually I did come around though after some other friends were recommending it. One day about a week before I started my new job it popped up for me on Hulu, and I decided it would be a good way to kill time before I went back to work. And man, did that time fly. I was hooked from start to finish, and before I knew it I had watched the entire series and my "vacation" had come to an end. It was a great way to finish it off.

But that's enough about me. What is Parasyte, and why should you watch it? Well...

The Story of Shinichi and Migi:

When Parasyte first opens up we get to see these weird worm like things descending onto Earth and making their way towards their host bodies. These worms are what we will eventually call parasites, but during this opening scene it's not exactly clear what they are. That is until we see one such parasite enter the bedroom of young Shinichi. This worm like thing enters Shinichi's body through his arm, and quickly starts making it's way towards his brain. Thankfully Shinichi is woken up by the whole ordeal, and quickly ties off his arm and cut's off it's blood supply.

The next morning Shinichi thinks the whole thing was a dream, however it doesn't take long for this to be proven wrong. Horrifyingly his hand transforms in front of his face and grows not only eyes but a mouth as well. This "thing" claims it has now taken root in Shinichi's hand, and that both of them are now dependent on the other. The parasite needs Shinichi to live, and if Shinichi doesn't cooperate, he too will die. Of course the parasite wanted to take over Shinichi's entire body, but it is now too late for that. And just like that, against his will, Shinichi's life is changed forever.

After giving the parasite the name "Migi" (because "migi" means "right" in Japanese, and the parasite is currently in Shinichi's right hand), the two try to come to some sort of common ground so that they can get through this whole thing. Migi doesn't care what Shinichi does as long as he survives, but Shinichi wants nothing more than things to go back to how they should be. That's not an option though. Migi is now a part of his body, and he has to deal with it -- that means keeping Migi a secret, while also continuing his everyday life. Thankfully Migi understands that he must remain hidden so that's not an issue, but what is a problem is the fact that Migi is not one of a kind. There are other parasites out there, and they've taken over other human bodies as well. These such parasites are attracted to each other, and that ultimately means it's only a matter of time before Shinichi comes face to face with another. Another that wishes to kill and devour him. This is where the horror begins, as Shinichi soon finds himself in a fight for not just his life, but Migi's as well.

Although Migi is capable of transforming into a "weapon" of sorts which can rip pretty much anything to shreds, one thing that makes Parasyte so unique is the fact that Migi actually isn't the weapon here. Migi only cares about protecting his and Shinichi's life, and he's only able to do so much on his own. This is a true partnership, and Shinichi must pull his own weight if they hope to overcome it. Initially Shinichi is nothing but a weak kid who is too afraid to face his fears and do anything about the situations he finds himself in, but eventually he's forced to face reality. After going through multiple traumatic events, and due to Migi's influence in general, eventually he does slowly start to change. Who was once a normal boy who is terrified by the horrors he must confront, eventually becomes an emotionless killer who is willing to do anything to ensure his own survival. While Migi protects the two Shinichi becomes the weapon, and this often makes him do some pretty horrific things himself. He'll even rip out a living person's heart if he has too -- this is who he eventually becomes.

The Fight for Survival, and the Mystery:

Parasyte isn't quite like other shows of it's kind. In some ways it's a "battle royale" between all of the parasites of the world, but in others it's a simple horror survival series. Shinichi wanted a normal life, and he's doing whatever it takes to protect it, but the only way to do so is to eliminate the other threats. He and Migi must be the only ones left, or else more people will continue to die. Of course not all other parasites are just monsters only out for food, which is where some of the series' other story arcs come into play. They too just want to keep living and do what is required, but they also can't help but question who they really are and how their new human bodies work. One such example happens during the first few episodes where a parasite in a human female body decides to become pregnant. By finding a parasite in a human male body the two have sex and manage to conceive -- but what about the baby? What is it? Will it be human? Will it be parasite? Will it's body be different than others? That's a question you'll have to find the answer to yourself. But again, it's just one of many. While many parasites do wish to kill Shinichi and Migi, there are those who are genially curious about the world they live in, and it makes us the viewers wonder about them as well. Just what are these parasites? Where did they come from? There are so many questions about them, and it's a part of this mystery that drives us as viewers to continue forward. Well that and we want to see the next crazy thing Shinichi pulls off!

So, Should You Watch It:

Well, this series isn't for everyone, but it's also not one you should give up on so quickly. When it first starts out it is a little weird, and Shinichi himself isn't anything too special. He's a nerd who everyone at school picks on, and he's too afraid to stand up for himself. It's what he eventually becomes that makes the show worth seeing, and seeing exactly how the events unfold before him. In this series no one is truly safe, and you never know what to expect out of each parasite encounter. Shinichi isn't going to come out of this unscathed, that much is obvious, but the death and destruction around him is what no one would've expected. It's one of the few series that can keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish, and by the time it's all over your emotions will be allover the place. It's a non stop roller-coaster, that doesn't end even after the series finishes. It's something you'll never forget.

That being said you have to be okay with graphic violence, disturbing content, and horror in general to enjoy this show. If you can't take it, then you really shouldn't be watching. Also for those of you who have read the original manga, you have to keep in mind that this is not a perfect retelling of that story. The original manga came out in the late 80s and early 90s, and is a product of it's time. The anime adaptation of Parasyte takes place in our modern day (technically the 2010s) and has been updated to reflect our new world. Cell phones, PCs, and tablets all play a key role in the series with characters calling and texting each other, as well as looking up the latest news articles online. This is a big difference from the 80s/90s where news papers and TV news channels were the main source of information, so there will be these types of changes throughout the series. Overall the story is in tact, but manga purists may not agree with these updates.

Even so, the Parasyte anime is something everyone should at least give a chance. Everyone who is into horror that is. You won't regret it.

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