Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu – 18

Kiseijuu - 18 -13 Kiseijuu - 18 -27 Kiseijuu - 18 -46

I have to hand it to Japanese cops – they may not normally carry guns, but when they do they’re apparently self-realoading.

I was a bit surprised that after last week’s episode of Kiseijuu, which I thought was one of the strongest yet, there were only a couple of comments.  Have folks started to sour on this series just when I think it’s approaching real greatness, or has the drumbeat of negativity from manga readers finally won the day?  Or perhaps, as with a show like Kamisama Hajimemashita, when an episode does so many things right without looking like it’s trying very hard people just don’t have a whole lot to add.

This was another humdinger of an episode (at least to me), one that worked splendidly on a number of levels.  I’m getting to the point now where I’m seeing the parallels with “Chimera Ant” more and more as I watch this story play out, which is something of a revelation for me and not in the slightest meant as a criticism of Togashi-sensei.  We all have our influences, and it’s actually refreshing to know that there was a manga that so profoundly influenced what I consider to be among the most ambitious and accomplished arcs in manga history.  Togashi did so much with his story that no one in shounen has done before, but even he was certainly inspired by those who came before – and Iwaaki-sensei is clearly one of them.

Was the confrontation-that-wasn’t between Shinichi and Ryouko the most important scene in the entire series thus far?  It might well be, given how profoundly it impacts both the story and the viewer.  There are very practical concerns here, starting with Ryouko’s words to Shinichi.  She tells us that she’s killed 38 humans, though she didn’t need to kill that many because she could have supplemented her diet with “normal” food because parasites can survive without eating humans.  She tells us that she created (her word) Gotou in the lab, and that Shinichi should stay away because he’s invincible.  Most interestingly she also says that parasites and humans are “family – two halves of the same whole”.  She adds that parasites are “fragile -the children of the human race.”  And most fascinating of all, “Don’t bully us.”

I don’t know where all this would have ended up if there had been no interruptions, but just as Ryouko is about to give Shinichi a warning (or at least an alert) about Hirokawa, the police arrive, led by Hirama.  As it is, it’s a game-changer on every level, pregnant with huge implications about humanity’s role in the parasites’ existence (and creation).  But the series saves its emotional sledgehammer for last, giving Ryouko a shatteringly good death scene as the ED theme plays in the background.  Hirama cleverly verifies Shinichi’s humanity, and after Ryouko’s attempts to confuse her identity don’t phase him, he verifies her identity with a bullet to the forehead.

You can say what you will about Hirama’s methods, but he’s bold if nothing else.  He thinks nothing of giving the order to fire although Shinichi has warned him that Ryouko’s baby is human.  But the lesson of Ryouko’s life is, effectively, a very human one – what gives her life meaning is the life of her child.  She protects the baby by shielding him from the bullets, and slowly walks through the hail of gunfire (from those self-rearming – or magical – handguns) towards Shinichi.  He realizes the truth before Migi does, but the clincher comes when Ryouko takes on the form of Shinichi’s mother and communicates her intent as clearly as she possibly could have.  It’s a hugely powerful moment, all the more so when Shinichi’s tears make a return engagement and reveal what a cathartic one it is for him.

Even before the complicated events of the B-part, it’s clear that these developments have left the story in a state of flux.  Ryouko has charged Shinichi with raising her son as a “normal human” (which should teach me to trust my first instincts), but it seems a stretch to believe the authorities would allow that even if Hirama wasn’t still harboring suspicions about Shinichi – especially given the baby’s obvious important as a research subject.  And what does a 17 year-old high school boy know about raising a baby (though Migi is skilled with Google-sensei)?  How would he explain all this to his father?  And it’s not as though Gotou will have given up on killing Shinichi just because he failed on the first try (and only because he allowed Migi to have his head).

But once Hirama has played his trump card, those questions take a back seat to more urgent matters.  That trump card is Uragami (Yoshino Hiroyuki).  What we know about him is that he’s a prisoner, and apparently a serial-killer.  What we can infer is that Hirama believes Uragami can detect parsites, and that he’d hoped Shinichi would show the same ability.  The explanation for why is unclear, though the one that requires the least conjecture is that he has the same (or a similar) ability as Kana (though we still wouldn’t know why either of them had it).  Hirama has been experimenting on Shinichi – seemingly for a while – and the final act is to have him be part of a group of bogus skeptics Uragami views in a sort of processional police lineup.

Uragami is a real piece of work – by all indications a complete scumbag and probably psychopath, and he thinks nothing of masturbating for the cameras when one of the psychics turns out to be a young woman.  But he sobers up quickly (after he wakes up) when Shinichi appears before him.  It very much seems as if the jig is up for Shinichi here, because Hirama seems to trust Uragami’s ability – though if Shinichi continues to deny the truth I’m not sure just how Hirama can prove it.  Just how far will Hirama be willing to go here – is he bound by any sense of decency or convention, or would he think nothing of Inquisitional tactics to expose Shinichi’s true nature?  Even without the complicating factor of Ryouko’s orphaned son, Shinichi’s situation is a real mess – but if nothing else, the experience he’s just been through seems to have given him a kind of inner peace that may give him strength to face the ordeal ahead.  And by the looks of things, he’ll need it.

Kiseijuu - 18 -8 Kiseijuu - 18 -9 Kiseijuu - 18 -10
Kiseijuu - 18 -11 Kiseijuu - 18 -12 Kiseijuu - 18 -14
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Kiseijuu - 18 -40 Kiseijuu - 18 -41 Kiseijuu - 18 -42
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  1. M

    Is it just me, or that guy is the one who appeared in the first chapter while killing a women?

  2. So I've heard, though I didn't remember until I saw it pointed out after the fact.

  3. s

    yea dats the guy from the first ep; id recognize that Yoshino hiroyuki cackle anywhere. Ryoko this ep brings up some very interesting details regarding the parasites. I just hope people really give thought about the things she said because…well hmmm…i have a strong feeling that the ending of parasyte is going to fly over people's heads and therefore they are going to hate it sort of in the same fashion people were upset with tokyo ghoul's ending. Personally, i liked the ending (ill get into it when the time comes) but it will be interesting to see how people react. The final arc is really winding down

  4. s

    season 1 of the tokyo ghoul anime i mean

  5. M

    Hehe I'm glad to corroborate I wasn't imagining things ^_^ .
    About your comment is seems to me that almost all seinens no matter the genre, try to make a deep reflection about everything what means been a "real human", all of them depicting it with all the ups and downs it conveys, so at least for me, a work which talks about that stuff even more so gracefully and accurate is really worthing, something that deserves respect and admiration, and so everyone shouldn't miss that piece of work…unfortunately as the name of the classification says, it seems that is something non enough mature people would easily recognize and thus won't give it the value it owns, so sad, I hope it won't be the case, and if it's that all them will give it an oportunity to review after they are more experienced.
    P.D. I apologize if I couldnt help you understand what I mean, specially on the "human" part, my english isn't very good so I didn't know how to expres myself correctly xS

  6. e

    Yes that's the same guy we saw in action on that poor woman at the end of the first episode.

  7. G

    Humans aren't that different from the parasytes….

    We can live on fruits and vegetables as vegans/vegetarians but the vast majority of the world prefers to eat the flesh of lower life forms (beef, pork, chicken, etc…).

  8. Y

    "lower life forms"…

    You know who doesn't agree with that "lower" idea?

    Every single non-human on this planet… Every single one.

  9. A

    @Matrioshka – I think you may be right on that one…

    Yeah I think no one really responded cus there wasn't much to add last week. It was really a strong episode and did what it does well.

    As for the baby, I don't think Shinichi will actually raise the baby, I mean he was the child of a parasite. I don't think the authorities will just hand over baby to teenager especially considering their connections to the parasites.

    Can we talk about how this shounen/sci fi anime has some strong motherhood (mother/child relationship) themes?
    It's through the loss of his mother that Shinichi (and his girl!) really started to question his humanity and it's by becoming a mother that Tamura Reiko gained a sense of humanity.
    Not to mention when that mother question Tamura Reiko who she really was because a mother would know her children no matter what (this could apply to humans in general but they used a mother to demonstrate it).
    Just very interesting…

    I too chuckled at the "magical" reloading gun but I'm just relieved the cops were completely incompetent like how cops are in both anime and love action.

  10. A

    *coughs* I meant live action…

  11. Still, doesn't Shinichi owe Ryouko something after that final meeting? Is it narratively acceptable to just forget all about this because it's not realistic? I agree, there are huge obstacles in the way of Shinichi ever raising that baby – but it doesn't feel right to me to just let that angle go.

  12. A

    Putting aside the notion of it being unrealistic, I think keeping the baby would sort of handicap Shinchi's daily movements.
    Definitely a wait and see moment regarding this plot point…

  13. f

    why would manga reader hate this ? it's incredible, i mean, i don't read the manga, but madhouse has done a good job in adapting kiseijuu. it's like hxh, they never cease of being amazingly consistent, a weak kiseijuu episode is a strong episode compared to many other anime

  14. Z

    It lacks panache.

  15. e

    I don't hate it, I merely find it disappointing and kind of flat compared to its source. A bit like Barakamon was for Enzo I might say.
    As anime per se I'd say Parasyte while above average it's just a solid B, while it could have easily been A-tier. Even leaving the watered down and moefied important younger female characters aside it just does not pack the same punch as the manga in the big moments as it could and should. This week being an example. It's one of the big moments in the story yet something is missing. I found it underwhelming unfortunately ^_^". And given the thematic affinities with both HxH and the studio handling this I was hoping for an adaptation that could be on par or above the original.
    That said thare is some intense, poignant and meaty stuff ahead. Even a merely adequate adaptation would have a hard time screwing that. Anime-only watchers will probably have a good time and food for thought aplenty. Happy watching!

  16. s

    what made the scene lack impact for you? i mean i have my nitpicks with parasyte but they are very minor to me in comparison to what it does right which is its strong thematic resonance with it's arcs. Alas, my theories about shinichi just needing to overcome his trauma as the reason for his cold behavior seemed to be right on the bulls-eye with the events that transpired this ep and i like how this series plays with red-herrings. That is one of parasyte's greatest strength's…(that and how the series concludes but that's a discussion for another day). I personally thought the episode executed this scene with the same polish on par/ even better than the manga. Im sort of curious to know what didnt make it work for you as a manga reader seeing that i am one as well. I find this divide to be quite interesting and want to understand the perspective of others who stray to the other side of this positive/negative spectrum regarding the anime's reception

  17. sonic, you're of course free to pursue this line of reasoning as far as you care to. But I've been there with manga adaptations of shows I loved that didn't click for me, and you can rest assured no minds are going to be changed now. To you or me (and I'd read some of the manga before this show started) Parasyte might be a terrific and impactful series. But if it's not what someone had in their mind's eye, that's that.

  18. D

    I'm actually the opposite – I started watching Kiseijuu when it aired a few months ago, but following the episode with Shinichi's mother's death, I decided to just check out the manga. It's a good or even great manga, but the anime is simply better – more emotional, more coherent, more believable. I read the manga up to approximately the events of episode 16 and stopped reading. I wanted the anime to catch up and use that as my primary source material again because I liked it that much more.

  19. s

    oh i completely agree with everything you just said enzo ; i just tend to have a genuine curiosity for these kind of things because it allows me to better understand the way people perceive media and the barriers that come with the different permutations of art. I know that sometimes on the internet most people tend to look at a question like that as an attack against their opinion but i ask out of a desire to understand others and see new views on things (curse my hellbent pursuit of knowledge haha)

  20. No doubt about it, I've never seen you approach any debate without taking the utmost in respectful tone about it. I just think in this case it's futile!

  21. t

    I love Reiko's facial expression in it. Just like Migi's voice, there's a subtle gradual change here that you never notice, but when you do, it's "wow"

  22. N

    Such a powerful episode! Definitely sad to see Reiko/Ryouko go. Shinichi is surrounded by death and tragedy. I can't imagine anyone is safe… Was nice to see shinichi's emotions break through; and nice to see Murano warm up a bit. Though she's hardly a fan favourite as many don't find hey character interesting. I thought hana kanas voice came through nicely this week^^

  23. A


  24. G

    I'm worried if his girlfriend or father will get to live by the end of the series. The friend with the parasyte in his face as well. Very dangerous to be around Shinichi.

  25. Watched the end of the first episode just to refresh my memory on Uragami, and… yeah, that's two minutes you should probably review. But what really struck me was just how much Hirano Aya has changed her delivery as Migi.

  26. s

    i wonder if that has to do with the voice director telling her to change her delivery to reflect migi's development or something unrelated?

  27. I suspect it was planned from the beginning. In purely mechanical terms, she's speaking in a much lower pitch now. But I think the impact is that Migi as he was at the beginning sounds much more "alien".

  28. P

    Never read the manga (though I intend to do so) but every single episode of Kiseijuu has been a blast. Tamura's fate was obvious but still poignant to witness. It's a shame she had to die because her extremely interesting observations were cut short. Now who can resume the work she began? Probably no one around.
    Also the last part of the episode is really tense, if Migi's presence is revealed he and Shinichi will be detained for further research, and even if they manage to escape the cops will never stop pursuing them. Talk about a pinch.
    Notice how at the end of the ending Shinichi has now current hairstyle?

  29. m

    I personally thought the transition from Tamura's death to the investigations and Uragami was a little awkward but I guess that's just me being emotionally attached to Tamura that I can't digest much else.

    It ended beautifully. I love how this series can get so toned down, that you don't realise how much it packs a punch until after it finishes

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