Parasyte -the maxim-
by Nick Creamer,
This was a bits and pieces kind of episode. With the Shimada conflict concluded and no other immediate threats on the horizon, Parasyte took some time to check in on Kana, introduce some new parasites, give Shinichi and Murano a little time off, and finally set the stage for a whole new level of conflict going forward. It wasn't as focused as the past few have been, but it was a necessary expansion of scope and a breath of air between the heavier episodes.
We started off this week with an almost laughably surreal dream of Kana's, where she imagined herself being chased by bizarre monsters and then being saved by Shinichi on a white horror-horse. I really liked this weird little sequence, actually - it was extremely strange, but that's generally how dreams go, and the articulation of her nightmare landscape was very visually engaging. From there, the episode moved into a lengthy segment of Kana just generally crushing on Shinichi, still sure her instinctive awareness of parasite nature implied the two of them were destined to be together. After the heavy bloodshed and tension of last week's episode, it was pretty great seeing the show turn on a dime into this ridiculous romcom territory - the disconnect between Kana's “you're worried about me? That makes me kind of happy…” crush and the fact that Shinichi was worried because she might get murdered by awful cannibal monsters made for a very entertaining sequence. Kana's making some terrible decisions here, but that actually just makes her even more likable as a character.
From there, the episode went briefly insane as a new parasite decided to test his ferocity on an entire office of yakuza. This sequence was very likely the best action scene Parasyte's had yet, and ably demonstrated the strength of Parasyte's brutal, blink-and-you'll-miss-it animation style. The choreography was kinetic, the direction flowed energetically from blow to thrown body and back, and even the music nicely contributed to this stylish, punishing sequence. Parasyte's fight scenes have sometimes been a kind of muddled blur of spinning blades with no real sense of contact or physical back-and-forth, but in this scene, where the parasite intentionally limited himself to using his human-shaped body, demonstrated a real eye for engaging action. Hopefully this scene is a sign of further well-constructed fights to come.
After that, the episode slowed down for a somewhat awkward date between Shinichi and Murano. This was the episode at its most restful, with the show seemingly deciding that these kids frankly needed a little relaxation time after all the horrors they'd been through. The dialogue here mainly reiterated things we've seen before - the formative influence of Shinichi's mother's death, the way Murano alternately tiptoes around and obsesses over the changes in her boyfriend - but the time didn't exactly feel wasted, either. These characters can't be fighting for their lives all time.
The episode ended with one more shocking reveal, as Shinichi learned that a group of parasites are now running for public office. The last few episodes have somewhat lessened the overall fear of a parasite invasion due to the knowledge that the police are already working to counteract them, so it's good to see the show upping the ante in response and offering a new scale of danger. And beyond that, the fact that the candidate in question is specifically depicted as campaigning on environmental issues indicates we may once again be returning to the questions of morality and human/animal nature this show's always explored, and possibly leaning towards the common but never untrue fact that most animals would probably be better world leaders than us resource-immolating humans. This wasn't a highlight episode, but it still had its gifts, and it's looking like the show is already heading into a host of new problems for our friend Shinichi.
Nick writes about anime, storytelling, and the meaning of life at Wrong Every Time.
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