Parasyte -the maxim-
by Nick Creamer,
Shinichi's magical journey into inhumanity continued on this week's Parasyte. We started off with Migi performing some emergency surgery to save him, after which Shinichi set off to reconnect with his father. After learning his father is somewhat in denial over the death of his wife, Shinichi decides to stake out the hospital to defend him, and ultimately leaves to chase down what he assumes is his mother's killer.
Shinichi underwent both physical and emotional transformations this week, with Migi's efforts to save him clearly changing him in a variety of fundamental ways. Shinichi spent a whole bunch of this episode with his shirt off, which helped make the physical changes very clear - from his more masculine facial features to his more rugged-looking physique, it seems like Migi's influence is turning him into a more effective animal. And all that physical change came to a head at the end, when it was made clear that Shinichi has gone beyond human limits. It'll be interesting to see how Shinichi's increased physical competence ends up altering the dynamics of future fights, especially given his newly proactive attitude towards fighting the parasites.
On the emotional side, although Shinichi hasn't overtly articulated a change in his philosophy, it's clear he's now seeing the world in a different way. The first important declaration here came after meeting with his father, when he first admitted to himself that he's reliant on Migi's strength, and felt shame at this fact. The death of his mother and the adoption of Migi's cells seem to both be making him see the world in more practical terms - as he stepped outside of the hospital and thought to himself “300 meters is too far, that's the edge of Migi's detection,” I couldn't help but think that sounded much more like a Migi thought than a Shinichi one. Shinichi is being forced both by circumstance and biology to become something different, and in light of these changes, Murano's hesitant “you'll come back, right?” seems to take on a more ambiguous meaning. Shinichi may come back from the island, but Shinichi has already left a great deal of himself behind.
On a pure narrative front, the direction this episode is pushing the story in is fundamentally engaging. It's nice seeing Shinichi begin to think about his circumstances in more of a tactical than an emotional way, and the idea of him staking out his father's hospital to defend it from his mother's doppelganger is an inherently compelling and kind of heartbreaking one. It's also nice to see further complications altering the dynamic between Shinichi and Migi - as their perspectives begin to converge, moments like Migi's confession of his new weakness or question of “am I allowed to kill her?” come across as equal parts pragmatism and sympathy. Migi certainly doesn't trust Shinichi, but it does seem like he's moving towards respecting him.
I was also relieved to hear the soundtrack being used effectively for once this week. It's often been the elephant in the room with this show, but I felt the driving track used when Shinichi headed off to the island actually pulled that entire sequence together, and the rest of the episode's musical choices weren't far behind. It's almost frustrating to see how much this show improves when the music isn't detracting from the atmosphere, but hopefully this means the soundtrack will be used more judiciously and effectively in the future. Overall, this was a strong episode that added a number of compelling new ingredients to a narrative that's becoming more engaging every week.
Nick writes about anime, storytelling, and the meaning of life at Wrong Every Time.
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