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Parasyte The Maxim Collection 2
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Parasyte The Maxim Collection 2

Winning critical acclaim and achieving near cult status, Parasyte The Maxim has become almost universally accepted as one of the defining titles of a generation. Standing apart for its unflinching and brutal portrayal of a teenage boy carrying a deadly secret; his right hand is home to a flesh-eating parasite.

In almost all respects Shinichi Izumi was an average 17-year-old boy, complete with all of the conventions and platitudes that come with being a teenager. It’s this banality however that fractures ever so convincingly, showing just how fragile the things we take granted really are, as he is forced to come to terms with the impossible realities of his situation. He must now adapt to insurmountable dangers and find a way to work with the very creature responsible for so much of his suffering, or die together with it.

The story follows Shinichi as he struggles to build an alliance with a life form completely devoid of empathy, risking slipping further every day from his loved ones, and his humanity. It expertly weaves pain and tumult through the narrative, riddling the atmosphere with foreboding uncertainty while toying with our concept of normalcy. Shinichi’s desperation in the face of this quagmire sells a genuine sense of believability and makes him feel all the more relatable.

Parasyte’s mix of tension and pacing are exceptionally well done. Cliff-hangers and twists are abundant, and I found myself in the rare position of truly not knowing what to expect next. It’s relentlessly grievous, and unyielding formula takes viewers well out of their comfort zone to show them something new. This is the secret ingredient which makes the show so addictive and original. Parasyte goes much further than its competition to achieve its effect. It perfectly captures the plethora of emotions surrounding death, the grief, the anguish, the elation of surviving, and the guilt for those that didn’t.

Of course one of the most compelling aspects of the show is the interaction between Shinichi and his parasite Migi. The reason why I love Migi is that he understands the universal nature of life and isn’t weighted down by the limitations and burdens of Shinichi’s human values and morals. At our core as life forms, we and all others who possess an immune system unconsciously kill and digest millions of bacterium in the name of our health and survival amounting to an untold daily genocide. Migi understands this intrinsically and merely acts as our own immune system would. In many ways, he is beyond the reach of our inflated sense of justice.

The Anime holds a deeper message interwoven in the story which begs viewers to question the nature of the parasites, and their role in both the food chain and the biome. The show keenly hopes to impart some wisdom onto its audience. Perhaps it’s that maybe there’s nothing unnatural about the behaviour of parasites, and by contrast, if anything is unnatural, might it be the behaviour of humans which Migi may dutifully allude to?

Parasyte is a story about how life not only challenges us but can also evolve us. In many ways Migi is an allegory for that, much like life he’s neither good or evil, he simply is. He is an experience that both challenges Shinichi and might force him to grow into something greater.

It’s gratifying to find an Anime that does the genre real justice. I can’t recommend this show enough.