I wish I was lying when I say this piece was originally intended for Halloween but the truth is I moved to Spain at the start of October and adapting to the Spanish way of life has been far from easy. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret any of it, but having dinner at 9pm and going cold turkey on a serious Irn Bru and Jaffa Cake addiction is not enjoyable. One thing I do enjoy however, is horror. Horror games, horror movies and, of course, horror anime. I am without a doubt a member of the ‘world’s biggest Jessie’ congregation but there’s something about the build up of tension and fear of the unknown that I love and always find myself going back to, and today I’m going to be reviewing one of my favourite horror anime series; Parasyte.
Things kick off with our main protagonist, Shinichi Izumi, a typical shy-guy high school student who accidentally finds himself the host of a parasitic species which is hungry for human flesh. Lucky for him, this particular parasyte, Migi, has only been able to inhibit Shinichi’s hand and failed to make it to the brain which in any normal case would allow the parasyte to take total control of the human body and shift into anything it deems necessary in order to survive. With parasytes taking over left, right and centre, it’s up to Shinichi and Migi to keep their existence a secret and prevent them from killing off the human race for good.
We all know the Japanese love a bit of over the top violence and with Parasyte, it’s no different. I mean, if the opening scene doesn’t offer a taste of what’s to come then I don’t know what will. Spoilers: it’s brutal. And it only gets more brutal as the series progresses. At first the story pans out merely as a fight to keep Shinichi and Migi in once piece and sprinkles in a fair dusting of humour from Migi’s perspective as he discovers the everyday habits of the human race. When the main turning point of the series is made evident, the viewer will soon realise these things are killers and have to be dealt with. For all Migi may seem like a ‘good guy’ (which he mostly is), the rest of the parasitic race are most certainly not. You soon start to feel sympathetic for the humans who have fallen victim to them and understand that they have simply been made into a monstrosity out with their control, destroying relationships with loved ones and their normal lives for good.
The relationship between Shinichi and Migi is fascinating. At first, when Migi is introduced, you’ll likely think to yourself “Ew. OMG! Wtf is that????”. But the more you get to know Migi and his ways, the more you grow to love him for his weird self. His actions are unpredictable, like that of a wild animal and it keeps the viewer undecided about his true character and motives. In addition, seeing him transform into random objects and weapons is simultaneously humours and provides brilliant action in some scenes.
As for the story, it’s nothing groundbreaking or massively original by any means but that doesn’t mean it’s enjoyable to watch. There’s a good mix of well choreographed fight scenes, suspense, mystery and a hint of romance too, because who isn’t a sucker for a love story? I’m probably being biased here when I say Madhouse do a phenomenal job on the animation in this series, but I well and truly believe they are the best animation studio out there and their work is memorable and pretty much perfection in my eyes. The soundtrack, composed by Ken Arai is a pleasant blend of electronic, hardcore dubstep and pretty piano pieces. The opening is fun, and I particularly enjoy the use of colour throughout it, along with the fast paced screamo music that gets you set up for the upcoming episode.
Parasyte offers everything that fright fans want whether it be copious amounts of blood, threat, or body horror and it offers more than that for the casual fan with dusting of other genres in between. This series isn’t a masterpiece or one you’ll find yourself immediately hooked on but character interaction and fight scenes will have you coming back for seconds and by the end you’ll feel pleasantly content with the outcome of Shinichi and Migi’s blood splattered journey.