The line between the suspense/thriller and the tragedy is always an interesting topic to ponder when it comes to anime, especially those in the sci-fi horror family. With some shows it’s pretty obvious from the start on which side of the divide they sit, but with Kiseijuu I think we’ve seen something of a migration. We started out with a lot of unanswered questions and the scenes of violence were built around shock value, but more and more the series has taken on the feeling of a runaway train headed towards disaster. The drama, increasingly, comes less from wondering what’s going to happen than wondering how what we expect to happen is going to come down.
Of all the relationships in Parasyte, the one between Shinichi and Migi has always been the most interesting. There’s a lot of fascinating stuff going on in this episode, but that relationship remains at the heart of everything. To say it’s unnatural seems to be belaboring the obvious, but the issue goes much deeper than the simple matter of two sentient beings sharing one body. Shinichi’s humanity seems incompatible with Migi’s influence over him, and ultimately their interests are mutually exclusive. It was easy to be lulled into believing a sort of symbiosis had developed between them – even friendship – but the last few episodes have made it clear that Migi’s priority remains self-preservation, and Shinichi’s mental well-being matters only in the context of how that is impacted.
Among the satellites orbiting this drama, Tamiya Ryouko has always been among the most interesting. She’s taken on the role of investigating Shinichi for Hirokawa Takeshi’s group, who’ve taken an interest in him and suspect he killed the parasyte who killed Kana (not that they’re mourning him). She’s hired a nanny to help care for her son, but it’s Mommy dearest who can silence the boy by simply whispering “Be quiet!” in his ear. This whole scenario is extremely creepy and seems fraught with potential tragedy, but this scene is weird indeed – how the hell can she exert such control over an infant? Does he retain some parasyte characteristics, despite her earlier assessment to the contrary? Or is she just that scary that she can shut up a baby with mere words? She talks of “experimenting” on the child, but only after he’s grown a bit more. I’m having a hard time seeing how this ends well.
Another thing Ryouko has done is hire a private dick named Kuramori Shirou (Futamata Issei) to keep tabs on Shinichi. I’m not wholly clear why she feels she needs a human (whose powers of observation she disdains) to do this job, but through sheer persistence Kuramori does inevitably catch Shinichi in the midst of a suspicious act – returning to the scene where Kana was murdered. Shinichi has done this to try and spark a reaction in himself – to try and rekindle the grief he knows he should be feeling. That’s fascinating in itself, but the practical import is that he openly speaks with Migi, believing he’s unobserved, and is seen (and taped) by Kuramori.
This, then, is where all hell really breaks loose. Migi’s response is predictable, but no less than Shinichi’s. Their conflict has been brewing for a long time, but we’ve never seen them so starkly at-odds before. For Migi the equation is simple – if Kuramori lives, he and Shinichi ends up as “lab rats”. For Shinichi it’s no less so – no matter how many have already died around him, he simply cannot accept being directly responsible for the death of a human. The two physically struggle over the outcome, with Migi finally detaching himself but being able to do no more than wound the detective in the arm and leg. They do manage to confiscate the camera and delete the video, but in both Migi and Shinichi’s minds it seems pretty clear that the jig is up.
There are two dramas playing out here, and both are compelling. Shinichi is struggling to understand who he is – how it’s possible for him to be losing his human emotions yet still be emotional enough to be terrified at the prospect and try to prevent it. And the net is closing around him even as he does so, with the parasytes becoming increasingly organized and bold under Hirokawa’s leadership. There are strong hints that Shinichi’s father is up to something, and perhaps suspects something is up with his son, and the gap between Shinichi and Satomi is growing ever-wider (thanks in part to idiot Yuuko’s meddling – hasn’t she done enough harm?). This seems to be the source of the next and perhaps greatest conflict between Shinichi and Migi – it’s increasingly obvious to Shinichi that his relationship with Murano can only be salvaged by telling her the truth, and that’s something it seems Migi will never voluntarily allow. I’ve been saying it a lot, but it’s hard to see any way that ends well…