The plot is definitely thickening with Kiseijuu, which is staking out a place as the all-arounder anime of the season. There are other shows that have reached higher highs and may do individual elements better, but Parasyte is the whole package – I don’t see any weaknesses so far in either the material or the adaptation (overwrought protests about last week’s dubstep notwithstanding) and every episode has been spot-on.
This episode was definitely in action-thriller mode from the outset, and never left – it was a tense ride. We have an important new cast member in Tamiya Ryouko (Tanaka Atsuko), another member of Migi’s species that’s quite different than anything we’ve seen up to now. Like most of them it’s taken over the brain of its human victim, but what was once and still calls itself Tamiya-san is interested in hiding its identity and blending into human society. This immeasurably complicates the story in myriad ways, and that’s not even accounting for the fact that she’s chosen to do so as a teacher as Shinichi’s school.
Did Tamiya choose this avenue because it knew Migi (and Shinichi) were attending? I don’t think that’s been made clear yet, but now that she’s installed Tamiya definitely knows Migi is there – and the reverse is also true. For now she seems quite genuine in looking at this as a research opportunity and refraining from dining on the students, but I certainly don’t blame Shinichi for not trusting her. Especially after she shows up for the after-school meeting she demands with A-san (Aizawa Masaki) in tow. He’s trouble with a capital T, seeing little use in Tamiya’s go-slow approach and no reason to hesitate in eating wherever and whoever he wants.
The big bombshell here is the fact that as we saw at the close of Episode 2, A-san and Tamiya have had sex – or perhaps the bigger one is that the baby growing inside her as a result is a normal human. That has all kinds of interesting implications about the nature of what these creatures might be, not to mention the fate of the baby itself. But it’s also important that Tamiya, like Migi, is showing curiosity about that question – not content simply to eat and survive, it wants to understand itself and those like it. And unlike Migi she’s fully in control of her host, so there can be no question that these impulses come from the parasite, not the body hosting it.
For now those questions will have to put on-hold, as Mr. A has decided to eliminate what he perceives as a threat in Migi. As for Tamiya she’s not taking sides – as soon as she realizes what’s happening she recuses herself to observe (presumably) at a safe distance. A-san invades the school, slashing teachers as it comes, and Migi’s plan – use the other students as a “wall of meat” and use the opportunity that provides to pierce A-san’s heart as it’s mowing them down – is a not-so-gentle reminder that he’s still very much a cold and alien presence who places no abstract value on human life. Shinichi vetoes this plan and isolates himself, which both fascinates and puzzles Migi but doesn’t seem to anger him.
It seems as if the duel between Migi-Shinichi and Mr. A is going to be a watershed moment in the relationship between human and whatever Migi is. Migi’s Plan B is to use Shinichi – who it assumes A-san will completely ignore – as a secret weapon in the fight, to tip the scales in their favor. Really for the first time we’re seeing both parties embrace the notion that their situation could actually be an advantage – giving them a leg up against members of either of their species who don’t have a similar arrangement. I’m not going to go so far as to call it symbiotic and the name of the series is “Parasyte” after all, but this relationship is certainly a complicated one we’ve only just begun to explore.