If you’re looking for surprises, you’re not going to find them here. As far as I’m concerned, Kiseijuu is the most consistent series of the season and maybe the year (apart from one or two obvious choices) – it’s the “all-around” Gundam that Hoshino-sempai was looking for on “Try” this week (and incidentally, someone really ought to tell Mr. Ral that they have ointments for that problem). Not only is it handling every aspect of storytelling with equal aplomb, the pacing both internally and externally has been rock-steady – steady-fast, but steady. I like knowing what to expect when this is what I’m expecting.
There’s a wonderful onion-like quality to Parasyte – not that it makes me cry (though I suspect some grim events are close at-hand) but that it seems there are layers upon layers here, always being revealed. There’s a lot going on with this story, both in-terms of character and plot, and that definitely starts with the relationship between Shinichi and Migi. This is complicated stuff, not least because it’s dealing with two parties – one a teenager and the other an alien (?) who doesn’t know its own origin – who don’t truly understand themselves.
There are many faces to this show, and one of them of-course is an action series, and that’s where we begin the episode – where the last one ended. I wouldn’t want to assume it, but I’m beginning to suspect that the union between Migi and Shinichi gives Migi more advantages simply than the one he exploited in the battle with A-san. Migi seems to have a sharper, more analytical mind than the others of his species we’ve met (though Tamiya-san – no longer “-sensei” is sharp too) – and I wonder if the act of combining his intellect with Shinichi’s is the reason. He outsmarts A-san here, plain and simply – it isn’t just a matter of A-san misjudging humanity, but that Migi has correctly deduced that he would do so in a fight.
You can mock Shinichi for his unwillingness to finish off A-san after mortally wounding him, but I think a lot of the misguided criticism of his character would be allayed by simply trying to put oneself in his position – killing someone who looks like a person surely isn’t an easy thing to do. With no such qualms, of course, is Tamiya-san, who indeed finished off the being who’s now become a threat to her. Not incidentally he’s also the father of the baby inside her, but Tamiya seems anything but sentimental.
Tamiya-san is proving to be a fascinating character in so many ways. It’s interesting that Shinichi seems to overcome his squeamishness and suggests to Migi that they kill her, based on the fact that she’s surely killing humans to survive – but just as interesting that she defends herself by talking of the “directive” she felt when she took over her host’s brain. “To devour this species”, just as flies have a directive to fly and spiders to spin webs. Does this suggest something about her origin, and that of those like her, or she is she merely waxing philosophical? Also intriguing is why she decides not to kill Shinichi/Migi – because Shinichi is “no longer pure”, and thus, an interesting subject to observe. Has she sensed the killing intent in him towards her? The guilt he feels over what he did to A-san?
Tamiya-san is at the center of many mysteries here. What will happen to the baby she carries inside her, the one she smugly says will be “useful as an experiment”, and if not that a meal – and will Shinichi act to stop it? Family is the central theme of the second half of the episode – first when Kamiya Ryouko’s mother comes to her apartment after hearing she’s left the school. The mother recognises almost immediately that something is wrong – in fact, she’s dead-certain (and soon enough literally) that this isn’t her daughter at all. This is a big shock to Ryouko, who can’t process how this has happened – this is an aspect of humanity that eludes her intellectual ability to decipher.
This bond between parent and child is key here, as the rest of the ep is spent watching Shinichi interact with his parents. They’re quite a likeable pair, very realistic, and the father Kazuyuki (“What, was he jerking off?”) is a font of dry and sanguine humor. We see how Nobuko got the nasty scar on her hand and arm, and it’s quite a moving scene (even if Kazuyuki-san is way too calm) – not only did she injure herself to protect her son, but she didn’t even feel pain until her husband pointed out that she was badly burned.
The hinting here is that this is another weakness for Migi’s kind – they lack the kind of “directive” that humans have, to protect those that they love – especially their children. In that light it will be very interesting to see if there’s any spark of that when Tamiya-san gives birth, and whether Shinichi’s grim assessment of Migi having no genuine regard for him as more than a food source is put to the test (we also see – somewhat ominously – Migi testing how long he can survive separated from the rest of Shinichi’s body). The interaction between Shinichi and his parents surrounding their planned trip and Nobuko’s worry about the changes he’s going through is often quite funny, but there’s a definite undercurrent of impending tragedy here, almost as strong as that in Akatsuki no Yona – these are good people caught up in bad things, and I fear there will be blood…