Kiseijuu is certainly taking an interesting route to get where it’s going. While the larger story is in fact expanding, with the parasites becoming organized and the government beginning to take counter-measures against them, the real drama is contracting – rather than a wide-angle, Iwaaki-sensei is relying on the zoom lens. The essence of the series is what’s happening inside Shinichi’s body and soul, and it’s a fascinating tableau to watch.
I’ve been waiting for Uda-san to reappear for quite some time, as he seemed as if he were destined for a larger role in the series. He finally does here, and it’s Migi who’s the impetus for it. After the events of last week’s episode it’s understandable that Shinichi would be skeptical when Migi tells him he wants to “table” the notion of killing for now because it’s so untenable if they’re to continue to be partners. But Migi’s motives seem straightforward enough to me. And the first test case is Kuromori-san, who represents an immediate problem that the pair of them have no choice but to confront. Migi’s plan – to use Uda to help trap the detective “Hunter Exam” style, and it works.
Uda himself is a fun character, and it’s nice to have him back just for entertainment value. He’s renamed his parasite Joe (for “Jaw”) but the two of them have the same goofball dynamic (and make a great contrast to Migi and Shinichi). Kuramori is proving interesting too – he’s a bit of a buffoon, but a quirky one (apparently a nut for detective fiction with dreams of grandeur), with a family and a fair dose of courage. He doesn’t want to run away from what he’s seen – he wants to make sense of it, and he pushes forward in tailing Shinichi even after Ryouko fires him.
The eventual confrontation between the two human-parasite hybrids and the detective is a fascinating one, but most especially for the speech Migi delivers after Kuramori declares that Shinichi should sacrifice himself for the good of humanity. In the first place it’s a pretty big risk telling Kuramori everything unless the parasites are serious about killing him if necessary, and it’s hard to say whether they are or not. But Migi is really eloquent in defending Shinichi – the fact that he continues to fight on and even try and live by his principles despite all the terrible things that’ve happened to him. They’re the words of someone speaking about someone they admire, unmistakably – which is really intriguing under the circumstances.
Meanwhile the other intriguing element in the story continues to be Ryouko. She’s still holding off on “doing anything” to her baby, but displaying a curiosity about the peculiarities of the human animal. She attends a college lecture (with her son in-tow) focusing on altruism and selfishness in nature – touching on topics like the “selfish gene” and infanticide in nature – and it’s clear this is all building towards something big in regards her own relationship with the child. This drama is like watching two runaway trains barreling towards each other – you know something horrific is about to happen but you can’t look away. But Iwaaki has shrewdly planted just a hint of doubt in our minds about what Ryouko might do with the child, which makes it even harder to take our eyes off the two of them.
When Ryouko and Shinichi-Migi meet up on the roof of the university building (at her invitation) the story returns to its core theme – as Migi is slowly taking on recongnizably human traits, Shinichi is growing more and more remote from his own humanity. There’s talk of sharing information, of cooperation – and Ryouko speaks of a desire for coexistence between parasites and humans in the same way humans “coexist” with pigs. But Ryouko can clearly sense that Shinichi is different than when she’d left him, and she artfully pokes at his deepest wounds to draw a reaction. She even brandishes her baby as a shield when Shinichi threatens to kill her, which causes him to flee the scene. He winds up in a railway station (after having shouted “Out of the way humans!” as he ran there) where he meets a fortune-teller who tells him he has a “giant hole in his heart” that can only be filled by getting closure with the person who caused it.
I’m not crazy about using a fortuneteller as a plot device – it’s a bit of a cheat, really. Nevertheless, it does frame the current situation in pretty interesting terms. When Shinichi tells the woman “I killed her”, it’s certainly worth noting that it was in-fact Uda and Joe who killed the parasite that had taken his mother – but the larger point being suggested here, it seems to me, is that it’s someone else that Shinichi needs closure with. Is the the memory of his mother? Is it Migi, who’s made him the way he currently is? Without any question (as Ryouko’s baby could tell you) Shinichi is sailing into uncharted waters, and his situation seems extremely perilous – both for himself and those around him.