Shinichi dashes out to confront his mother’s killer, only to find Uda, a man in the same boat as him. They become quick friends, and Uda decides to help Shinichi as his mother’s killer finally reveals itself.
A lot to like about this week’s episode of Parasyte. For the longest time, Shinichi has been a man alone. Even though he had a protector in Migi, the two have never accepted the other’s philosophies. Now with his body changing even more, Shinichi’s feelings of loneliness seem to be overwhelming him. That is why the introduction of Uda in this episode does a lot to disperse the cloud looming over. He’s a welcome comic relief in a show that has little to laugh about. He’s also just an instantly likeable character. His back-and-forth with Parasite(way to make that easy on english speakers, dude.) is really enjoyable, and his refusal to fall into despair is a perfect foil to Shinichi’s struggles. Horror hosts gotta stick together, after all.
The action also picked up once again, as we got to see the strength of Shinichi’s convictions, but also his inability to completely remove sentimentality. Obviously the show wouldn’t have told us about Migi’s sleep requirement if it wasn’t going to become plot relevant, but it still struck me as very strange that Migi did not decide to sleep earlier. I do like what it did to force Shinichi’s hand, as he didn’t even have the cold calculating decision skills of Migi to make the killing blow for him. We who were watching also had a nice Fridge Joke at the idea of Shinichi having to keep his arm like that for the next four hours after that fight was over. It was encouraging to see Shinichi be able to fight against the monster. From a pure presentation standpoint, it was a great bit of Show Don’t Tell as we got to see how his Parasyte enhancements have changed his body. In the end though, I think the most powerful image was seeing his mind win out, unable to land the killing blow. If there was any argument to be made for his remaining humanity, it would be his inability still, after all this time, to brutalize the body of his mother. It allowed Uda’s last second save to not feel too cheap, as its focus was obviously distracted enough to be taken out even with Parasite’s lack of fighting experience. Uda’s words at that moment might be what solidified my admiration for him. Even with this messed up situation, no one should ever have to be the one to land the killing blow on someone they love.
Despite all that excitement, what I found most interesting this episode was Parasite’s temperament. So far, Parasytes have not all been cut from the same cloth, but they still have had the same directive: kill and eat other human beings. Now Parasite gives us the possibility of Parasytes that don’t even have that need. It’s been proven that the creatures can subsist on normal human food, it is simply the ghoulish directive that makes them monsters. Is this an intentional bit of experimentation by whoever created the Parasytes, or is it a natural mutational glitch? It makes me wonder if it’s possible for a Parasyte to take over a human body and be given the directive to live their lives as if nothing happened, and could actually pass off as human? I love the philosophical questions the abilities of the Parasytes bring to the table, and with Kana coming back into the story we may get some more info about her powers next.
This is a moment from the manga that I’ve been looking forward to since the anime was announced. Uda is a bro and hands down one of my favorite characters in Parasyte. He and his friendly Parasyte (…named Parasite) are an affable duo and help reinforce the idea that not all Parasytes are made equal. On one end of the spectrum, you have guys like Mr. A, who are so feral they can barely contain their human facade. Then you have Parasytes like Tamura who can plan and hold themselves back for a tactical advantage down the line. While Parasite’s goofy demeanor can probably be chalked up to learning how to talk from television, he and Uda’s relationship are still a distinct difference from the way Shinichi and Migi act. While Shinichi is willing to work with Migi, there’s still an underlying tension between the two as Shinichi continues to question his fading humanity. Additionally, Uda and Parasite’s very existence is something of a comfort for Shinichi, who previously thought he was alone in the world. While I would probably find it contrived if a dozen other Human-Parasyte hybrids showed up, having someone like Uda serves as a vital comfort and source of levity in the grim world of Parasyte.
The fight itself shows that Parasyte still knows how to bring the tension where it matters. Shinichi does a great job of dealing with the Parasyte that’s taken over his mother. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, Shinichi’s humanity prevents him from landing the killing blow. While I think it’s somewhat disappointing that Shinichi still can’t make that final step, it does give a chance for Uda to come in with the save, cementing his status as a true ally.
Overall, there are tons of things I could say, but at the end of the day, I’m just very happy that the Parasyte adaptation has been so solid so far. Compared to something like Unlimited Blade Works, which had its name and its Ufotable funding behind it, Parasyte was a bit of an anomaly. An adaptation of a violent 1990s horror manga done by a flagging studio, it could easily have ended up being TERRA FORMARS levels of bad. Instead, Parasyte is proving to be one of the most competent adaptations of the season, if not the entire year. I can’t wait to see how they adapt the following episodes.