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.