If you have the right to live, so do we. Granted, I believe rights are a concept unique to the human species.
Humans are a cowardly bunch, they have many things they fear because they have many things that they do not understand. Because of that, we humans are inclined to seek knowledge.
Some seek scientific knowledge, some turn to religion in hopes to quell their fears, some turn to atheism to dispel fears of the unknown by claiming they don’t exist. But, curiosity drives us. It motivates us.
We think, we try, we experiment. Philosophers come and go, scientific discoveries are documented one after another, but we could never possibly, especially by ourselves, answer the age-old question:
“Why do we exist?”
Parasyte: The Maxim answers this question….and more…
Parasyte: The Maxim is an anime adapted from the 1988 science fiction horror manga by the same name. It revolves around Izumi Shinichi, a normal, nerdy 17-year old teenager. One day, a parasitic worm-like creature attempted to enter his head and take control of his brain. However, it failed as he slept with his earphones on and when it decided to enter through the nose, Shinichi was alerted to its presence. In a desperate bid to enter Shinichi’s body to avoid death, it burrowed into Shinichi’s right hand and settled there.
The next day though, Shinichi realized that his right hand was now under the influence of another creature. Shinichi realized that the creature was a highly intellectual being albeit having the emotional sentiments of an insect, and called it Migi, literally ‘right’ in Japanese. Migi is a rather selfish creature as it cares only for its own survival and could shape-shifts Shinichi‘s right hand, changing the composition of the hand while doing so.
Meanwhile, Migi’s failure, as a parasite, to destroy the human consciousness drew the attention of Migi’s comrades and some of them decided that Shinichi and Migi are both dangerous to their species, thus attacking them. Their lives now at stake, the duo now have to work together to fend off other parasites that have taken over the brains of their human hosts.
The plot of the anime adaptation is rather simplistic. There is no distinct plot or story arcs. Rather, it follows the daily life of Shinichi and Migi as they attempt work around the obstacles faced as they go about their daily lives. It doesn’t attempt to do anything clever, but follows the plot and makes up things as they go.
The more interesting portions of the show focuses on the philosophical side of the story. The psychological aspect of the plot is rather interesting, as you follow the ups and downs of the characters’ mental state. Such a thought-provoking plot is commendable and the execution was flawless. There were not many plot-holes but if there were such plot holes, they wouldn’t be obstructive or even obvious enough to be noteworthy.
The character development of the show was rather intriguing too. The variety of characters, humans and parasites alike, ranging from serial killers to detectives to parasite mothers are rather interesting to watch. I mean, watching parasitic creatures with the sentiment of an insect trying to figure out human reasoning is definitely a much needed change of pace compared to the regular anime cliches to be had.
That being said, the main human characters do feel a tad bit dull in comparison (Just a tad bit, mind you) since they were regular high-school students, but I’d leave that to your own discretion. Everyone’s tastes are different after all.
However, it is interesting to point out that the manga the anime is adapted from is as ‘seinen’ as it gets. It’s gritty, it’s dirty, it’s bloody, and most of all, it’s downright gross. Let me give you an example.
Do you know the reason for the anime setting being in an high school? No, it was not because it was following a set anime-high school trope. The reason the author chose to set the story in a high school was actually out of consideration for a particular scene in which Migi shape-shifts Shinichi’s right hand into the shape of a penis in front of the main heroine, Satomi Murano.
In fact, in one scene of the already toned-down anime, Migi was obviously very interested in how the human body (Read ‘d***’) works and promptly tried to cause an erection when Shinichi is answering nature’s call in the school toilet. It also referred to Satomi as the girl Shinichi wants to ‘mate’ with, which he eventually did in the later half of the anime. I can already imagine those bloody doujinshi authors franticall churning out hentai manga based on this anime. ‘Cuz you know, inspiration strikes only once, right? Especially with shape-shifting, tentacle-like right hand, y’know?
If you’re grossed out already, don’t worry. This anime adaptation is extremely toned down and almost all the sexually charged parts of the manga has been left out, replaced with only the less offensive and sometimes rather awkward sex references. Even the gory parts that was supposed to be the main attraction of the manga itself was toned down so much so that blood splatters on the wall is probably the goriest scenes you will get from the anime. The parasites themselves were also less intimidating and scary compared to their manga counterparts.
While that is the price to pay in exchange for being produced as an anime, I wouldn’t say it was for the better. It’s not as if I have a fetish for shape-shifting hands or extreme gore, but in the anime adaptation, there are many scenes that felt a little odd as there were parts of the story that felt as if there were missing portions. Though I can’t help but feel a little weird, the alterations did not directly affect the story.
However, it did alter the overall feel of the anime. Instead of feeling as if it were a seinen horror science fiction, it feels like it is adapted from a shounen action manga. While it doesn’t necessarily means that the anime is bad, it is safe to say that the feel of the anime has deviated from that of the manga.
The animation is fluid and well done, though not exactly very outstanding. I guess it will suffice. Not every studio is like Ufotable, after all. The music though, was quite peculiar. For some reason, the background is very jarring and definitely didn’t suit the show at all. The piano background music in sentimental scenes were out-of-place due to its pacing and the dubstep/techno soundtracks during the fight/confrontation scenes were so weird that I actually found it hard to take that particular scene seriously because the music was too weird.
All in all, Parasyte: The Maxim is an enjoyable anime with fluid pacing and packs a lot of punch. Even though I say that, it is not exactly very memorable as it lacks something that stands out among the crowd. If anything, the BGM is the only thing about the anime that stands out. I mean, in today’s anime realm filled with multi-colored haired characters and cross-dressing traps (in the 2015 summer season, there are already two main characters I know of that are traps), you’ve gotta have something that stands out to be great, and that is the one thing that is lacking in this anime.
Thus, after I have meticulously calculated the scores for plot, character development, animation and sound, and my own personal enjoyment, which I have injected with 5 individual parasites, making it into an impervious, invisible yet fragile being of mass destruction, I decided to award Parasyte: The Maxim with a rating of:
There you have it, my review of Parasyte: The Maxim. Well, I know I said some bad things about the show in the past, but now that I’ve watched the whole thing, I would say it is quite good. I still won’t say it’s the best though.
I know, I sound rather serious and all in this review, but I just can’t joke about a show like this. Well, maybe just the occasional masturbation joke that doesn’t seem appropriate at all. I just finished my mid-semester examination and binge-watched the whole Parasyte series in two days and even caught up to the latest episode of Ushio to Tora. Now all I have to do is find a reliable Wi-Fi to upgrade to Windows 10.
I am now flexing my muscles to binge-watch another series. This time around though, it’s a 51-episode long, well known anime series. It’s a little old, but the animation is splendid and I’m enjoying it so far. Out of all the ongoing series, I found only a few worthy of my attention. That is a story for another day, though.
So, till the next post, Cheerio!