Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu – 07

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There’s no doubt where the cream of this season’s crop lies, but it is an unusual one in one sense at least.

Kiseijuu is great again this week, for the record, though that should come as no surprise to anyone.  There’s no question that it and Akatsuki no Yona are the class of the new series this season by a mile, but it’s quite weird to have the best shows of the season fall on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.  Wednesday especially is unusual – in fact the norm has been for that day to have no series whatsoever that I blog.  Throw in Yowapeda S2 (a sequel, admittedly) and it’s one show a day from Monday through Wednesday that top my chart, along of course with Mushishi on Saturday nights.  I wish I had better series to cover, but it isn’t so bad not having Fridays and Sundays be absolutely crazy as they usually are in a good season.

It’s interesting watching Akatsuki and Kiseijuu follow their respective course, each of them having more or less come to the end of their prequel arc after seven episodes.  The Kiseijuu manga having long-since concluded makes a big difference, obviously, as this show is following a set course towards a certain endgame (though I haven’t read the entire thing, so what happens from here on out will be a surprise to me).  But both series are taking a similar, and I would say similarly admirable approach to pacing and exposition.  In effect, both are treating the story as a puzzle, and trusting the audience (an increasingly rare trait in anime) to be patient enough to put it together one piece at a time.

This episode was new material for me, and I confess I was surprised at the turn of events at the beginning – and pleasantly so.  Of course it was obvious that the parasite Shinichi was chasing wasn’t “Mom”, but to have it be another hybrid – and a rousingly entertaining one at that – was a great twist.  This is an important point in the story, because it’s the first time Shinichi has been given a reason to believe he’s not alone in the world.  On an existential level this is a huge moment for him – though once again he can’t cry, as Uda Mamoru (Suzuki Tamura – anyone who’s been in both Cross Game and H x H 2011 is OK in my book) has no such problem.  His parasite, imaginatively named “Parasite” (Murase Ayumu) has like Migi been foiled in his attempt to take the brain, forced to take over Uda’s lower jaw when he falls from the same cliff Kazuyuki fell from and is on the verge of drowning.

There’s another very crucial detail slipped in here – we see Parasite emerge from some sort of pod before he attacks Uda (this certainly implies extra-terrestrial to me, though not definitively).  Definitely an important puzzle piece, though the interaction between Shinichi-Migi and Uda-Parasite is what really stands out.  Their conversation outside the hospital was one of the most hilarious I can remember, and I adore the contrast between the book-educated Migi and the TV-educated Parasite (Iwaaki, you sly dog).  There’s more evidence here that the act of co-existing subtly changes the parasites’ way of thinking, too.

As for Uda himself, he’s a crybaby sad sack who tried to kill himself after his wife left him but couldn’t go through with it, but he seems a good confidante for Shinichi – a genuinely decent guy who shows some steel when Nobuko attacks him.  He first pledges to stall her long enough to give Shinichi a chance to arrive, then spares him from having to deal the killing blow to what was once his mother.  Parasite shows some real cleverness here, outsmarting the Nobuko parasite which has him badly outgunned (not only is Uda still in command of his brain, but his body is badly out of shape) by deducing that she always aims for the heart, and shifting Uda’s heart out of the way of her likely attack (OK, I’m not sure how that would work).

It’s the ability to balance its disparate elements that really sets Parasyte apart for me, and that’s fully on-display in this episode.  Uda and Parasite are very funny, there’s intense suspense and very strong action sequences once the fighting begins, and the ending of Nobuko’s story is genuinely sad.  In fact Shinichi hesitates in killing her (which I think is a very good sign) when he sees the burn on her hand, but the fact is that even with Migi asleep and only one blade left behind, Shinichi is still able to best Nobuko in a fight.  Nevertheless, he still has to say goodbye to his mother – and when he and Kazuyuki return to the scene later, it’s very clear both of them understand that what the father saw actually did happen.  A father unambiguously declaring that he loves his teenage son – in anime?  I can count the number of times I remember that happening on one hand (and not a Migi-hand, either).

This is clearly a transitional moment for Kiseijuu.  We have Uda and Parasite firmly established as one part of the story, Ryouko and her unborn baby another.  Kana can clearly sense Shinichi even more easily now, and realizes that something isn’t right here.  The nature of how all this started is still a mystery but clues are starting to trickle in.  Perhaps most interesting, though, is Shinichi himself.  Migi tells him (while re-enacting “One Singular Sensation”)  that some 30% of himself is left behind inside Shinichi, “dispersed” and now impossible for Migi to communicate with.  Does that dispersal include the brain?  Migi doesn’t know – but Shinichi is fully aware that his inability to cry is just as much a consequence of Migi’s actions than his newfound superhuman physical abilities.  Where does Migi end and Shinichi begin, and vice-versa – and how much does the presence of each impact the feelings of the other?  We’re in tip-of-the-iceberg territory here, and I can’t wait to take a deeper dive.

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  1. s

    Pretty good episode, I'd say – especially with the way they handled the exposition about the circumstances in Shinichi's body now. Uda is already very likeable even after only one episode as well.

    By the way, if you didn't know – there'll be a double episode of Kiseijuu next week, meaning they'll show episode 8 and 9 on the same time. Apparently it's due to the live-action movie airing a few days later.

  2. I did not know that, thanks.

  3. s

    yea i just saw the live action trailer…im sorry but i kind of laughed throughout it

  4. v

    I'm too used to Migi's voice in the anime that the live-action movie trailer felt so strange.

  5. T

    Uda's parasite has the control the lower half of the face to the chest. Thus he is able to move around some of the internal organs.
    Imagine it this way. An ordinary parasyte can take over a body part as a size of a human head. So Uda's parasite should naturaly be larger than Uda's chin. In fact, Migi use to control Shinichi's whole right arm but since he lost 30% of his body, he is up around to the elbow.

  6. M

    We've seen the pods already with the scenes of Migi's larvae form. His landed on the tip of a satellite dish.

    Another comment already touched upon this, it would seem Parasite's claim of Uda's upper chest is credible. I imagine he doesn't control the spine either, and ended up focusing on the heart and lungs.

    I'd like to point out this is our first time seeing the parasites' larvae form exhibiting intelligence. It was initially portrayed that they are mindlessly focused on their directive of taking the brain. Parasite's decisiveness in a fatal situation proves these larvae are in fact sentient from birth with great awareness of self and surroundings.

    Overall this episode was half of my wish fulfilled. I wanted to see another hybrid, but one who was more educated and able to help Shinichi and Migi reconcile the conflict they have had between Shinichi's sense of humanity and Migi's lack of empathy. (Although it seems the story may be going a different route in making Shinichi lose his empathy, starting with his eyes)

    I am finding Murano rather cute in how she seems to be interpreting her low sensitivity of parasites as part of her intuition (just like when she decided to hold his left hand instead).

    Lastly, does it seem like there was a huge shift in tone with that last "Yo!" ?

  7. l

    I agree that both Parasyte and Akatsuki no Yona are among the best new animes of the season. For me though, Inou Battle has been the biggest surprise and by far my favorite anime of the season, and of the year actually, most recent episode sealed the deal for me. Anyways back to Parasyte, as someone who has read the manga I am really pumped for what's coming up to be animated.

  8. Z

    Sad to say but not fully feeling it. Either the material is overrated or the adaptation is leaving out some magical ingredient that would take it to the next level. I keep getting this nagging feeling that it could be better somehow.

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