Anime Review – Parasyte -the maxim-: You’ll never believe who I ate last night!

I’m going to try and make this review a bit more structured than the last one, and hopefully it works out.  However, at the expense of sounding subjective, I only care about certain aspects of a show.  The opening, the characters, the music/overall atmosphere and lastly, the plot.  Therefore from now on, my reviews will tend to focus on just these aspects of shows, as they are what I pay attention to the most and derive the most pleasure from seeing done well.  So here we go!

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Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu or Parasyte: -the maxim- is an adaptation of the Kodansha and Seiun Award-winning manga Kiseijuu by Hitoshi Iwaaki.  Parasyte is about high school guy Izumi Shinichi, who wakes up one day to find that his right arm has been replaced by a parasite that was attempting to consume his brain but failed and ate his arm instead.  This parasite only wishes to coexist with Shinichi, now that it has failed in its original directive.  Shinichi and this parasite (affectionately called “Migi”, “right” in Japanese) make a simple promise; if Shinichi doesn’t reveal Migi’s existence to the world, Migi will protect Shinichi from harm.  And so, the strange relationship between Shinichi and Migi begins.

The story moves on to incorporate other parasites, like Migi, that apparently landed to Earth (from God knows where) with the same mission as Migi, but succeeded and are now roaming among the human population wearing the faces of their bodies’ original owners.  Shinichi recruits Migi’s help as he believes that these parasites are the cause of the recent rash of brutal murders across Japan.

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So now that you have a lead-in, let’s start with the opening.  I’ve been a bit of a fan of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas ever since they did the Kaiji S2 opening, so I was hoping that they would do well here too. Thankfully I was not disappointed.  The opening, while a bit generic and not wholly indicative of the show’s entirety, is still a good entrance into each episode, and so it serves its purpose.  Needless to say, if you don’t like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, then you probably won’t like the opening.  The opening itself is still very well designed and hints at a few early plot twists, which I won’t talk about here.  All in all, not bad.

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Next, the characters.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t personally satisfied with the way Shinichi transformed early on in the show, but that’s just my taste, and eventually he became a character I could like again.  Shinichi’s development is a key aspect of the show, as he is the vehicle that the show uses to work through the main concepts that it’s trying to highlight, which include morality, motherhood, logic leading to desensitization, symbiotic behavior and the inherent paradoxes of the human condition.  Pretty heavy stuff.  Although there are a whole host of characters in the show, really only a few others besides Shinichi serve a purpose in driving home those ideas, which makes it easier to streamline the shows development to keep it in 24 episodes, while still effectively conveying the key points in an entertaining manner.  So good job on that front.

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Next, we have the music and overall atmosphere of the show.  The atmosphere was set well from the very start and the animation worked well in tandem with the art to support every moment of the show.  From the simple scenes of Shinichi and Migi having logical discussions to the scenes of people being splattered against walls (yes, it happens a lot), every scene’s art works well with feelings of the moment.  The music was good, and while it worked for me most of the time, sometimes it felt a bit to “synth”.  Maybe that’s just me.  Whatever.  Good work here as well.

Lastly, the plot.  I’ve already talked about it a little, but basically this show is trying to tell a story but also make a point.  Several points in fact.  This show does both of these things quite well and the result is a fine show with super violence, blood and gore as well as many complex critiques of the way in which we humans conduct our business on this Earth.  Combine these two things and you have Parasyte -the maxim-.

That’s it for now!  Hope you liked the review, and feel free to tell me why I’m wrong about everything ever in the comments section below.  Have a great day!

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