Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu – 06

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This episode of Parasyte was a level-up in every way.

Periodically you get an anime episode that simply gets everything right, from the first frame to the last.  Some are more ambitious than others but a perfectly executed ep is a unicorn indeed, and something to be marvelled at and treasured when it does happen.  Kiesijuu is an ambitious series in terms of the story it’s telling, though quite direct and straightforward in the way it goes about telling it and every episode so far has been no worse than very good.  But this was the week when the series really lifted its game to another level.

In terms of what it set out to do, I would say this ep was functionally perfect.  Taut, tense, gripping from start to finish – and you’ll never see exposition handled any better than it was here.  This was obviously an important chapter for the series because there’s a lot of drama happening, and the relationship between Migi and Shinichi is functionally changing.  At the same time both of them are changing as well, which is really the point – the beauty of Iwaaki’s writing is that both of them maintain their individual identities, yet the line where one stops and the other begins grows blurrier all the time.

I was a little skeptical of how Shinichi would survive what happened at the close of the last episode, but the solution Iwaaki crafted was quite believable in context.  The heart is a very complicated organ indeed, and effectively turning himself into an artificial heart while organizing Shinichi’s cells into a healing brigade (and nursing him) would certainly be enough to knock Migi out of commission for a couple of days.  Of course one might be tempted to ask why Migi could do what he did to the heart and not the brain, but the truth is that as complex as the heart is, the brain is exponentially more so – and in the end Migi didn’t replace Shinichi’s heart, he repaired it (and it’s safe to guess made it stronger than ever).  Trying to take over his brain in the same fashion simply wouldn’t have worked.

This, then, takes us to the end of the OP – to this new and improved Shinichi.  One take-away from this is that in all likelihood Shinichi and Migi probably were being subtly changed by each other even before, but the process was obviously speeded up exponentially by this emergency.  The first clue for Shinichi is that he no longer needs his glasses, but over the course of the episode we see suggestions that this syndrome goes much deeper – this Shinichi is better, stronger, faster.  His hearing is more acute.  He can run faster, jump higher.  But Migi has been changed, too – he now needs “true” sleep for four hours a day, a sleep where he won’t wake even if another of his kind is present.  But if that’s the change we know about, might there be more that we – or perhaps even Migi – don’t?

The implications run deep here, obviously.  And the purely practical ones start to reveal themselves when a phone call from the hospital where his father is recuperating finally wakes Shinichi after what seems a few days (Migi is still unconscious at this point).  This is where things start to get really tense, as a haggard and gaunt Shinichi embarks on an agonizingly slow journey by ferry to Sakurazaki, the island where his parents were vacationing, knowing full well that his “mother” could figure out where his father was at any time and come to kill him.  While on the ferry Shinichi’s obvious distress catches the eye of seatmate Maki (Serizawa Yuu), a genki (middle?) schoolgirl who will factor into the episode later on.

The situation Shinichi faces is a real mess, to say the least.  The police believe Nobuko is alive because she returned to the hotel, and the doctor tries to convince Kazuyuki that he dreamed the nightmare scene he described.  Kazuyuki repeats this fiction to Shinichi when he arrives, but it’s clear that even he doesn’t believe it – he’s trying to spare his son the terrible reality he knows is true.  Shinichi, of course, still can’t tell his father why he knows what he said on the phone really happened.  And all the while Shinichi has to deal with the very practical reality that his father’s life – and his own – could be in terrible danger at a moment’s notice.

From the start Kiseijuu has presented the parent-child relationship splendidly, with great realism and depth of feeling.  And the agony father and son are feeling in that hospital room as they lie to each other is gut-wrenching to watch.  Fundamentally only one thing really matters to Shinichi – he’s lost one parent and he’s desperate not to lose the other.  And once he finds out about Migi’s new weakness, that threat becomes all the more real.  He’s found an inn close enough to the hospital to be inside Migi’s “sensor” range – an inn that happens to be run by Maki’s family – but has no choice but to personally keep watch during those four hours when Migi is offline.  Shinichi reasonably concludes that broad daylight is the best time to do that as it’s the least likely time for “Nobuko” to show herself, but when one of Migi’s kind does just that, Migi is the one who points it out to Shinichi.  Was he not sleeping after all?

The episode certainly leaves things in a fascinating state.  Shinichi is going to have some serious explaining to do with Maki, but that’s not the main issue.  The creature Migi sensed was clearly not Nobuko, but they’re still going to have to be dealt with.  More than that, this new Shinichi and Migi dynamic is even more fascinating than the old one.  Not only is Shinichi physically enhanced, but he’s emboldened by the drive to avenge his mother.  And his feelings towards Migi have clearly softened after what Migi did for him – and I would even venture that Migi sounded a bit wistful when delivering his assessment of what Shinichi thought of him (a nuisance and an enemy).  This relationship appears to be growing more symbiotic all the time, both in the physical and emotional sense, and that can take the story to some spectacularly interesting places.

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  1. O

    And I am, once again, excited on a week by week basis for an anime adaptation from Madhouse. Thank goodness for them and the source material. =)

  2. M

    "Shinichi reasonably concludes that broad daylight is the best time to do that as it's the least likely time for "Nobuko" to show herself, but when one of Migi's kind does just that, Migi is the one who points it out to Shinichi. Was he not sleeping after all?"

    Maki asks him if he had been siting there the whole time when she runs into him. So it seems like he had been there for a while. Migi might have just woke up and noticed the other parasyte.

  3. m

    Actually I assumed Migi to have just coincidentally finished his 4 hour sleep before he gave that abrupt report. After all, the man could have been at the beach all the while since he didn't look like he was targeting Shinichi in the first place. And yes, I so agree that Migi and Shinichi's relationship is increasingly fascinating as they come to terms with each other's existence and values, alongside the physical changes. Parasyte has never failed to disappoint in the gripping factor for me thus far.

  4. v

    I appreciate how Madhouse drew Shinichi to look so haggard, almost adding a few decades to his age right after his recovery. This kinda attention to detail goes a long way for me.

  5. D

    After last weeks episode, I decided to check out the manga, simply because I was just so curious to see how the story unfolds. As such, I was expecting this episode to not be as gripping when I watch it. As it turns out, the anime not only held my attention, but it was gripping untill the very end, despite me having seen all of this already.

    I'd even go so far as to say that the anime improved a lot on the source material, particularly with Shinichi's "transformation". it comes off a lot less shounen-y now and more grounded, serious. He really gives the impression of someone being torn inside and out, instead of just being spontaneously turned into a badass version of himself we see in the last frame of the OP. Overall, I'm glad I took a small glimpse into the manga, because it made me enjoy and respect the show even more. Madhouse are really doing a wonderful job.

  6. Telling us what questions we should be asking is spoiling.

  7. D

    I agree that the Maki part was a bit odd, since they changed the circumstances of their meeting slightly, which is a shame. The other stuff, I feel, isn't an issue and can potentially be explained later on.

  8. D

    I haven't been enjoying this year of anime very much, having only liked Knights of Sidonia and Argevollen outside this season, so there isn't much competition, but I'm dead set on Parasyte being my anime of the year. This is also the best season as I continue to enjoy Shingeki no Bahamut and Akatsuki no Yona too.

  9. G

    The situation with Maki was strange. She was on him like he was the last male on earth.

  10. She lives on an island – the field may not be especially attractive. Plus, he's a high-schooler and she's a middle-schooler.

  11. s

    exactly right; not to mention that maki being drawn to shinichi is suppose to mark the physical level of attraction he has attained from this metamorphosis

  12. Z

    She was awfully forward though wasn't she?

  13. k

    Well the anime did skip a scene where Maki was introduced on the boat and where Shinichi showed some temper haha.

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