Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Parasyte ~ The Maxim (Kiseijū Sei no Kakuritsu)

I love monster movies, but I think my all-time favorite monster movies are probably 1986's The Fly and John Carpenter's The Thing. Aside from the stories and characters being fascinating the creatures are also delightfully creepy. Whether it's Brundlefly or the spider-head thingy, there's just something insanely iconic about those visuals. Despite a surplus of monster anime out there in animeland, Parasyte ~ The Maxim is the only one I can think of that really gives me the feeling that those two movies gave me in terms of both story and visuals. So I think it is a safe bet to say that if you like and appreciate monster movies and maybe those two in particular then you might find something to like in this anime. 

Now just imagine this for me. Your right hand is no longer yours. You still have it on your body and you still have use of it, but inside of your hand is a creature that can grow tentacles, eyes, and blades that can slice you like a pizza. The creature is a parasite of unknown origins and after failing to infiltrate your brain and take over your body it has reluctantly settled inside of your hand. Had it taken over your body it would started to devour the flesh of humans, but right now it is content for what it can get from your bloodstream. 

Since it failed you are now stuck with a roommate and a bodymate that you can not get rid of. At random times during the day a mouth and a set of eyes will appear. It's watching you and it is talking to you. You want to warn the world about those parasites, but if you do your own parasite will kill you. You know that because it told you so. 

As a "failed takeover," you are being pursued by parasites and you cannot go to humans for help because there is almost nothing they can do for you except get killed because you brought them into trouble. 

That is the life of Izumi Shinichi now that his parasite "Migi" has come into his life. His school life is completely thrown for a loop and his hopes at succeeding with the girl he likes are dashed. He really does have a relationship with his hand now. 

This anime came out in October 2014 so it is pretty new, but the source material was written back in 1988. I am technically still watching it because there are a few more weeks left on the simulcast, but I'm fairly certain my opinion of the anime won't change. It's awesome. Pure and simple. 

I love body horror. I love the idea that something inside of you is undergoing a change and you wake up one day with a creature from your own hand staring into your eyes with one giant creepy eye of its own. Maybe it even has a blade to your throat. Talk about sleeping with the enemy, huh?

I get creeped out just imagining that and Parasyte succeeds at creeping me out in a way that I haven't been in some time. The pacing is also superb with each episode ending on a cliffhanger although not every episode is a complete action-fest. It's almost impossible to watch just one episode without watching the next one. 

Throughout the anime Shinichi undergoes a gradual process similar to the Brundlefly although not so much from a visual standpoint. As more time passes Shinichi seems to become mentally more like a parasite and his parasite seems to take on human traits. What started as two beings sharing one body gradually becomes something like a fusion. At this point I really don't know how the story will go. I'm riveted. I don't know if there's another Brundlefly on the horizon or not. I hope not, but I just have to wait and see. 

The story is moving and a fairly honest. Sure, it has obligatory "anime moments," but it's fairly realistic considering the subject matter. This is definitely a bleak anime about losing your own humanity and not a feel good watch. I'm sure there's a sociopolitical message somewhere (the idea that strange creatures can begin forming political parties to imitate humans recalls both Animal Farm and Invasion of the Body Snatchers), but whatever the message is isn't getting in the way of the story. It wouldn't surprise me if certain elected officials did have tentacles, though. 

You could do a lot worse than to watch this. 

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