Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu – 20

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Well, damn.

Make no mistake about it: that was a fucking bloodbath.  Eminently predictable, yes, but pretty shocking just the same.  And it felt like it lasted about five minutes, there was so little time to breathe.  Normally if I say there was very little about the episode that surprised me one might take that as a criticism, but it isn’t in this case, for the very reasons I elucidated last week – Kiseijuu has very much become a tragedy, at the expense of being a thriller.  As with others of its type, the real dramatic punch comes from watching how the tragedy plays out.

Of Yamagichi I said that he was the “hotheaded and trigger-happy human needed to make the situation really dire”, and that he wasn’t “remotely concerned about any collateral damage that might occur.”  Well, right on the nosey there – not that it was hard to spot.  In terms of setting up a tragic clusterfuck, Yamagichi is the straw that stirs the drink – the last ingredient needed to make this explosive situation go off.  He’s clearly and openly prioritized wiping out as many parasites as possible over limiting human casualties – indeed, he seems not concerned about human casualties in the slightest.  First he orders “shoot to kill if you see anyone suspicious”, and later amends that to a what-the-hell “Just shoot anyone you see.”

It must be said that it’s this utter lack of concern for human casualties that gives the assault a leg-up for awhile – it clearly catches the parasites off guard.  They have a few stratagems up their sleeve, like mixing their numbers up with the human “evacuees” in a line so that they can’t be distinguished on the scanner, using human shields to make a break for it, or getting themselves shot at in front of the truck they’ve determined is the home of the equipment being used to ID them.  And if the operation had observed normal military (never mind police) protocol about bystanders, it might just have worked.  As is, it only held things up a bit and forced Yamgichi to raise his atrocity level.

The flip-side to this is that there’s stuff on the parasite side that the attackers aren’t aware of, too.  They don’t know that their heavy-caliber shotgun shells aren’t going to work on Goutou, for example (as to whether they’ll work on Hirokawa, even we don’t know that – but he doesn’t look too worried).  And of course the parasites aren’t thinking in terms of collective welfare here, as Hirokawa and Goutou are only too willing to see their own wiped out in the process of figuring out what the attackers are capable of.  It’s hard to see a whole lot of difference between sides here from a moral standpoint, to be honest – though there are clearly soldiers and police (including the unlucky slob who’s been made Uragami’s minder) who are shocked by Yamagichi’s lack of concern for civilian lives.

As all this is happening, Uragami seems to be having a lot of fun – until he gets a look at Goutou, anyway.  Of course he doesn’t give a rat’s ass who gets killed, and even has a human hostage shot just for kicks.  Clearly he loves the power his ability gives him over the authorities, though one suspects he’s biding his time and looking for just the right moment when the chaos is such that he can make a break for it himself.  In fact he sees a kindred spirit in Yamagichi, a human for whom killing is a routine matter.

By contrast, Shinichi isn’t having a very good time at all.  He actually has very little to do in this episode – he’s stuck in the paddy wagon the whole time – but that doesn’t mean there’s no drama going on inside him.  Migi flat-out refuses to assist in the systematic elimination of those of his species in city hall, and to be honest I can’t blame him.  But it isn’t solely a matter of Shinichi vs. Migi, as Shinichi is plenty divided himself.  Ryouko’s words are weighing heavily on him, even if he doesn’t understand exactly what they mean.  There’s a massacre going on outside that he seems powerless to stop, and the realization is dawning on him that he may have a responsibility to try and prevent further ones, because he’s uniquely placed in-between the two warring sides.  It may not be enough any longer to simply protect his secret and lay low – but even if that’s true, what can Shinichi really do?

Goutou is clearly a beast – he wipes out a squad armed with the tank-killer bullets with no trouble apart from irritation at how easy it was.  But Hirokawa is a complete mystery – both what it is about him that makes him so formidable, and what his goals are.  His “I feel there’s no real point in running at this stage” is as cryptic as Hirokawa himself.  And Gotou’s response of “I’ll just do what I want” seems to indicate a divergence of intentions here, perhaps an actual parting of the ways between the two of them.  Cooperation doesn’t seem to come naturally to the parasites to begin with, so perhaps Hirokawa’s ultimate aim was something else, or perhaps he simply underestimated just how anathema social structure is to his kind.  In any event his decision to calmly withdraw to the council chambers and await his attackers is a puzzling one, and it – as with Hirokawa’s face – reveals nothing about what’s really going on with him.  But I suspect we’re going to find out very soon indeed.

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7 comments

  1. r

    a powerfully unsettling episode… I think Hirokawa may go a different way from Gotou, maybe trying to talk his way out of it all?

  2. R

    This episode was just too good! F*cked up? Maybe, but you guys have to admit that sh*t finally went down and it was awesome. I remembered most of it form the manga, and I gotta say, the adaptation does it sooooooo much better. It's kind of odd for adaptations to improve on the source material, they are usually not as good, but everything in this episode radiated good quality…except the CGI 'cause f*ck that!

    Anyhow, i won't give any spoilers but the next episode should be the best yet, lot of cool stuff and cathartic moments going on.

  3. J

    Could some of that be down to updating the setting from the 80s to now? I'm not a manga reader, but Yamagichi's actions in this episode are obviously meant to be compared to the most hawkish of WoT attitudes. They may be the same in the manga but anyone reading at the time wouldn't have made this connection so strongly.

    As for Hirokawa, his actions stood out even for a parasite. There's definitely something up with him, but whether it's a change in attitudes like Ryouko or a more obvious difference like Gotou we will presumably see next week.

  4. R

    Yeah, the update is a big factor in how much I'm enjoying the adaptation, sadly that is not always the case for other works. I'm usually a big fan of old school manga and anime, but by today standards the original Parasyte manga art would look ugly. I'm still happy that most of the art stayed similar, and the character art that was changed was only for the better*.

    Hirokawa I don't know. I remember his endgame in the manga but I have a hard time remembering what his full goal is. The important thing to remember is that not all parasites are the same, even if they usually lack the human socialization skill. They might seem like emotionless beings without a clear purpose but that is because not enough time has passed for them to develop a clear plan and objectives for their race and themselves. This group is the most impressive cause they have something they want to accomplish. We still don't know what, but I think we find out in the next chapters.

    *Kanna -that chick with the parasite senses that got killed by following Shinichi- was not very aesthetically pleasant in the manga, she would have looked too silly if she had been drawn too similar in the anime.

  5. T

    Every time I see the people say "Parasyte is old", "The art is too old" etc… I just feel sad how people are superficial. Maybe because you are young?
    You need to read more manga to understand why Parasyte still receives a republish and popular in Japan.
    Iwaaki's art style looks old for beginners but there is nothing else like him.
    Look at the panel layout, pay attention the character expressions.
    The one that looks very bland is actually the anime. You'll realize this some day.
    The manga withstood the test of time thanks partially to the art but sadly I don't see the anime survive 2 decades. This is my bet.

  6. R

    Hey, I just said I like the old manga art style (not all) but if is good and well made then I prefer it to the anime. The best thing about the parasyte manga was the parasites themselves, their designs were truly amazing.
    Just because something is old you don't have to worship it and say is better, and just because something is new it doesn't mean people won't like it. The contrary is also true. There are ways to improve on something the right way. The anime improved on the manga A LOT, the live-action movie on the other hand felt cheap and awful. There is a reason why a lot of anime veterans have their eyes on Parasyte instead of most of the other series that came out recently, is because is well made and you can tell people actually cared a lot in making it. I will always love Parasyte because it introduced me to darker manga series, I'm just happy it has recieved the update it deserved for the new generation…well, maybe not that movie cause it sucked :)

  7. J

    There's obviously something up with Hirokawa, but the reason I'm leaning to wards the physical (rather than ideological) side is because as far as I can remember in the anime we've not seen his morph pattern, when we have for every other significant member of his group. If his parasite form has shown up in the manga by this point then I'm off on one again, but if we haven't seen him transform, can we even be sure he is a parasite? We have the example of Uragami to show that a human can in some ways be as bad or worse than the parasites, what's to say that Hirokawa isn't another take on it?

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