Parasyte -the maxim- Episode #04 Anime Review

Parasyte -the maxim- Episode #04 Anime Review Parasyte barrels forward on the plot, returning it to the top of the Fall 2014 season.

What They Say:
They arrived in silence and darkness, descending from the skies with a hunger for human flesh. Parasites – alien creatures who must invade and take control of a human host to survive – have come to Earth. No one knows their secret except high school student, Shinichi Izumi, who’s right hand has been invaded by an alien parasite. Shinichi and Migi, the parasite in his hand, begrudgingly form a friendship and find themselves caught in the middle of a war between humans and parasites.

The Review:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Fall 2014 has been a stronger season than anyone had any reason to suspect. With shows like Rage of Bahamut, Garo, Shirobako and others seemingly coming out of nowhere, Parasyte’s initial monster-of-the-week style episodes were starting to look a little weak in comparison. It makes me incredibly happy to see Parasyte bound back so quickly by mixing up the formula and setting up future events efficiently.

While last week set up a lot of anticipation for the battle between A-san and Shinichi, episode 4 delivers on what we can expect from combat in Parasyte: efficient and brutal. A-san is dispatched rather quickly, but only due to clever thinking on the part of Migi. Reasoning that A-san considers the human Shinichi to be dead weight holding Migi back, Migi instructs Shinichi to pierce A-san’s heart with a metal chair leg while Migi works defense. Seeing Shinichi slowly walk up towards the fearsome Parasyte with blades whirring all around him was fantastic, and it really brought the danger of the battle to life in a way the manga really couldn’t. Perhaps even better was seeing the unusual gait of the wounded A-san, moving in a really uncanny manner that really shows the talent Madhouse brings to the table. The showdown afterward with Tamiya-sensei, and the grotesque transformation of her face into blades was fantastically disturbing. The fact that she discusses keeping her child alive for experimentation, and warns Shinichi that he is “no longer pure,” makes for great horror and yet another memorable moment from a series chock full of them.

We also get some backstory on Shinichi’s parents, as they announce they’ll be going on vacation, leaving Shinichi to fend for himself. The way it’s tossed out in flashback is a bit mercenary, but it’s done the same way in the manga. We learn that the scar on Shinichi’s mothers arm is from when she protected her son from scalding tempura oil, and that Shinichi blames himself for this to this day. Shinichi’s mother is also distressed by the way he is acting, as she can tell he’s keeping an awful secret from her. But with Migi perfectly willing to murder both of Shinichi’s parents to keep its secret safe, there’s really no way for him to tell his parents about the risk the Parasytes present. It is then with some reluctance that he decides to tell his parents to go ahead with the vacation plans, as Migi assures him they’ll be safe together, as Parasytes tend to only attack people when they’re alone.

It’s impossible not to feel a sense of impending doom when Shinichi and his parents decide to part, leaving both Shinichi and Migi, and his parents, alone.

Once again, the weakest link in the episode is the music, especially hurting Tamiya Ryoko’s big speech about the instinct of the Parasytes, stealing away the grim seriousness of the moment with its goofy heavy-handedness. The music continues to have its fans, and perhaps it’s just a generational thing, but it remains the one nail that isn’t hammered down on an otherwise well-constructed show. I’d love to know what the sound director was thinking.

In Summary:
Parasyte slowly begins to reveal its scope and ambition, and it’s getting harder for me to hold my tongue on the meaning of some events. The series will only continue to get better from here on out, and with the introduction of Miyuki Sawashiro’s Kana to the cast next week, the only thing that can prevent it from reaching its full potential is the score.

Grade: A

Streamed By: Crunchyroll

Review Equipment:
Sony VAIO 20″