Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu – 11

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This all certainly has the makings of a colossal disaster.

Bloodlines certainly do show through, don’t they?  Put one of the most critically acclaimed manga in decades in the hands of a studio that knows what they’re doing when it comes to adapting great manga and you get this sort of anime.  Kiseijuu is just consistently really good, week after week – while it may not be as flashy as some shows either visually or narratively, it seems to have almost no dips in quality in either area.  Every episode is substantial and flies by in what feels like ten minutes, and the story just keeps building and building without ever seeming out of control or incoherent.

What I really like about Parasyte (among other things) is how the personal story and the larger sci-fi plot continue to develop independently of each other, even as they become more tangled together.  There’s an interesting school drama going on here right alongside the main plot, and the quite normal reactions of the characters to events both mundane and bizarre is an important element in moving both plots forward.  I’ve rarely seen a series that can balance these two elements as well as this one does, though many try.  Even Shinichi and Migi’s complex interplay would still be fascinating if you removed the supernatural element from it (though of course that would basically be impossible).

I’m still a bit confused by this whole hair thing, and what the authorities hoped to accomplish by propagating it.  We certainly saw the downside here as a woman was killed by a parasite who it seemed had no intentions of doing so (they’re definitely getting better at mimicking human behavior, too) simply to protect his identity after she plucked three (ouch) of his hairs.  Later on Kana tries to pull the same stunt with Shinichi, and he stops her – but that’s a feint, as he then tells her to go ahead.  It seems the question of whether Shinichi could pass the hair test has been definitively answered in the expected manner, but this was a moment that had foreshadowing written all over it – especially when Kana wraps up the hair and saves it.  There are other reasons for that, but we’ll go back there in a minute.

There are going to be a stream of legendary seiyuu joining the Kiseijuu cast in the coming weeks, and it starts with the incomparable Inoue Kazuhiko as Gotou (poor Nara Tooru gets his run cut incredibly short playing Gotou in the form we first see him, as a dead-ringer for Razor from H x H).  He’s a parasyte who takes out an entire den of Yakuza (22 men) as an “experiment” to see how well “we” would hold up against an enemy with guns and blades.  It turns out that Gotou is working for another parasyte going by the name Hirokawa Takeshi (Mizushima Yuu), who’s a politician running for Mayor under the banner of a pro-environment party.

What to make of all this?  I hardly want to speculate, as it’s fascinating on every level but impossible to pin down based on what we know.  In the first place, seeing parasites work together on this scale is a new and frankly terrifying development in itself.  But what does it mean?  Have these parasites at last awakened to a larger goal of taking down the human race, rather than simply dining on them when peckish?  Are they actually trying to change the system legitimately from within (we have had hints that their existence is a kind of ecological weapon aimed at humans in response to the damage they’re doing to the planet)?  In Migi’s own words these parasites seem “not very interested) in he and Shinichi’s presence – though Gotou does spot them in the crowd and register their presence.

As all that is playing out, the personal drama is ratcheting up in complexity.  Kana is having (hilarious) dreams about Shinichi on a white horse saving her from monsters before both of them get naked.  Meanwhile Satomi is having a different sort of dream, yet she and Shinichi are getting closer despite her continuing reservations about who he is.  And in truth, these are reservations he himself still has.  It’s as if Shinichi is inside himself but watching from a distance, still feeling his emotions but simultaneously watching himself react to them.  When he and Murano (in Inokashira Park) see a mother about to slap her crying child (it’s been a big week for mothers abusing sons in anime) he doubles over in pain and says he has a hole inside him – a Migi-shaped hole, in fact.  And Migi himself is growing increasingly testy over Shinichi’s continued contact with Kana, who he considers a potential enemy and extremely dangerous.

Something is going to give in this developing triangle, and soon – I’d bet on it.  There’s a goodbye kiss at the end of Shinichi and Satomi’s date, which in itself is a pretty big development – but it’s accompanied not just by Satomi’s tearful realization that she can’t trust that Shinichi is the same person, but Kana eavesdropping on the entire sequence of events.  Both these girls sense that something is very wrong but don’t understand what it is, and Shinichi is at war with himself over the changes that Satomi is so unsettled by.  It’s a mess – or perhaps a better metaphor would be a ticking time bomb, which seems more and more to apply to the story in general.

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  1. s

    Parasyte is one the shows this season that is consistently solid every single week and yet gives you something of value to chew on with each ep. Now i see some comments floating around about how satomi is complaining about shinichi changing when there's nothing wrong with him or that why is it so bad that shinichi is changing and i think these viewers are taking a lot of what parasyte has to offer at face value (and as a result, some may think it's a bit heavy handed). The thing is, at least i believe, that there are some things that the characters say or do that are suppose to be red herrings that hide thematically relevant developments when one looks further into it (and the more i realize that, the more i start to see why parasyte was an award winning manga).

    Satomi isnt necessarily afraid of shinichi changing; she's concerned because she realizes that something is wrong with her friend and he wont talk about it. The whole "are you really shinichi izumi" thing near the end is just one big metaphor for a friend who feels helpless to help the person they love overcome a situation that they are clearly not opening up about. It's like watching a friend who has lost a family member one day become so cold and unfeeling, to the point where they start throwing their life away. Now shinichi isnt throwing his life away, but he is bottling up his trauma and it's affecting his behavior; Migi floating around him doesnt have much to do with why he is acting differently. Migi serves as shinichi's therapsit for now (migi filling the void in his heart) but he needs more than that to heal (after all, a therapist can only do so much); he needs human warmth and love, something that satomi provides him…when their doing good that is. Oh and i loved Kana's dream…so hilarious and ironically down to earth; it certainly puts the question about her virginity completely out in the open.

  2. Was there a question about that? I haven't given it a moment's thought.

    As for Satomi, what I think the knee-jerkers are missing is that she knows almost nothing of what really happened to Shinichi. She doesn't know about Migi, or that is Mom is confirmed dead, or what he saw when he went to visit his father. She just knows he's different, and sometimes he acts scary. So she's scared. Why is that so hard to understand? I don't think her questioning him is a sign she doesn't care – it's a matter of wanting to help him and not knowing how to do it.

  3. s

    exactly right; and if earlier episodes didnt give it away, the fact that she tried to ask shinichi about his parents and that she cried near the end should have made that a little bit more clearer.

    And about Kana's dream, i just found the symbolism behind the dream as a pretty subtle way to tell the audience that Kana isnt a virgin and in some way, Shinichi is sort of her savior from the bad crowd of people she hangs out with (substituted by parasite-sort of looking creatures, which makes sense that they sort of look inaccurate to the real parasites)

  4. m

    yes agree! In Satomi's eyes, Izumi looks occasionally in pain, and at times panicky/fearful. It's legitimate reason to worry. Especially when she knows the past Izumi longer than we have, I think the change is disconcerting her. The show doesn't always tell everything but it can be inferred

  5. S

    Jesus christ, nothing abut the dream says anything about her virginity. You're clearly a dude, but in your own twisted logic, did you not have a single erotic dream before losing your own virginity?

    Don't answer that. Speculation is all well and fine, but speculating about somebody's virginity has to be the worst kind of speculating there is. It just reeks of sexual angst and a disappointment.

  6. e

    One thing one could safely infer from Kana's dream both in manga and anime form: she is a closet Pre-Raphaelites Brotherhood fan :p. With a dash of Rochegrosse possibly. Try a Google image search for 'pre-raphaelite knight armour' and have a feast for the eyes ^__^.

  7. Z

    The things people read into.

  8. I

    This episode really puts in perspective how much i dislike Satomi. Every week all she says is "ARE YOUR REALLY SHINICHI, WHY HAVE YOU CHANGE) and really has no character traits other then to be main love interest of Shinichi. Kana is so much more a better character, or at least way more interesting. Really hopes Satomi dies (I mean, not like in a real life scenario that is *nervous laughs*) so I can get my ShinichiXKana on.

  9. Z

    She is also conveniently five feet away anytime something happens with Kana or any other woman.

  10. Z

    Akiho Suzuki has more personality than both of them combined.

  11. D

    Good episode but one thing seems kind of odd to me – why are people so anxious to pull someone's hair out? If you manage to uncover someone as a parasyte, the only one in trouble is you. It's the same weird logic that the glasses girl (can't remember her name) used when she confronted Shimada with her bottle of paint thinner.

    I suppose it could be said that deep down, the characters still refuse to believe that these alien things exist, and as such don't fully understand that they're playing with fire untill it's too late.

    Kana's dream also reminded me of the whole sacrifice sequence from Berserk, in no small part due to the implied rape. Kana as a character seems pretty interesting to me, but I'm not really sure what part she has to play in the story (this is where I stopped reading the manga).

  12. g

    I repeat my theory from Random Curiosity:

    Well, I guess the government isn't to caring about an average Yamada but rather they’re psyched of an infiltration on highest social levels and positions.

    And they want to pressure parasytes to actually organize themselves and to go open about it. They thinks if will be easier to swoop in one go bunch of parasytes, where they’ll know for sure the group are aliens than searching them one by one, when you even don’t know where to start.

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