Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu – 08

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Franklin, sorry if I may have insinuated you were a cold unfeeling insect; I may have gone too far. Not to mention, you ain’t got nothing on Shinichi! Or rather, the New, Improved(?) Shinichi who has taken form in the last couple episodes, the result of the further cementing of him and Migi. The title of this episode is “Freezing Point”, and Shinichi seems to be arriving at his with all due haste.

Granted, there’s still plenty of the “old” Shinichi in there; the one who would take a dying puppy to a quieter place to expire; the warm, kind, humane person Satomi fell for. When she sees Shinichi caring for the puppy, she’s relieved to see that side of him after her initial contact with him was chillier and less “him”. Heck, Satomi pretty much admits she felt “safer” when Shinichi’s kindness was mixed with his former nervousness.

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Then Shinichi instantly burns that just rebuilt bridge by unceremoniously dumping the dead puppy in the trash. That action is harmful enough, but the chilly way he explains his actions to Satomi makes things much worse.

He asks Migi what he said wrong (never a good sign!), and Migi replies that he didn’t say anything wrong per se, it’s just that he sounded like Migi; saying the kinds of horrible things that used to appall Shinichi when Migi said them. His mind’s changed along with his body so much, now he doesn’t even realize when he says the same kind of horrible shit!

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What this boils down to (or rather freezes down to) is that merging more fully with Migi may have given Shinichi amazing gifts, but those gifts are wreaking absolute havoc on his love life, to the point that there may no longer be any hope for him and Satomi. Still, I guess there’s something to be said for that being your biggest problem at the moment, rather than, say, being worried about getting killed by a parasyte.

In fact, this is a relatively action and violence-free episode, and ironically the most dangerous-seeming person for most of the episode is Shinichi himself, as we wonder just how much more he’ll adopt Migi’s behavior. Then a Shimada Hideo shows up and changes all that. Claiming to wish him no harm, Hideo was sent by a preggers Ryouko to ‘observe’ Shinichi, saying their seeking ways to coexist with humans without killing.

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Hideo, like Ryouko and unlike A, is a parasyte to be reasoned with, or is at least sophisticated enough to play along with that notion. But I like the idea that he’s come to the school out in the open as a new transfer student, and proceeds to one-up Shinichi in a number of P.E. activities, as if he’s trying to approximate an ego. He even succeeds in attracting the ladies.

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Shinichi considers what Hideo has said, but just because he’s starting to act more like one of them doesn’t mean he’s ready to trust one. Again, the old Shinichi surfaces as he remembers what a parasyte did to his mother; only now his rage needn’t be internal and stewing; now he has the strength to do something about it.

He wears that moment of rage all too openly on his face, startling an already unsteady Satomi in a moment that had me laughing out loud. Along with the easy alley fight with Mitsuo, the puppy-tossing, and the Hideo pissing gym contest, Shinichi startling Satomi with his RAGE FACE are all examples of this episode’s cheeky but welcome sense of black humor. It lightens the mood at times, but not so much that the serious horror themes are undermined.

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Getting back to the theme of Shinichi now having the absolute worst luck with regards to Satomi, Kana is now essentially stalking him, making use of her latent ability to sense him coming, which she’s taken to believe means they’re soul mates, creating a tidy love triangle Shinichi wants nothing to do with. Even so, his gallant rescue of Kana from Hideo is another example of him doing something he never could have done before without even thinking about it: be a hero.

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Kana can’t just sense Shinichi, but Hideo as well, which means she can detect all parasytes. And thank goodness Shinichi gets to Kana and warns her to stay away from others, or Kana would have met a sticky end. Along with Satomi, Shinichi’s late mother and now his self-medicating father, everyone who has a close bond with him knows something’s very very different. In his dad’s case, he simply can’t comprehend how Shinichi can be so calm and cool about the tragedy that just befell them.

He wonders if Shinichi is “made of steel”, another not-subtle dig at his new status as a hero-in-waiting. And like any superhero worth his salt, Shinichi’s abilities and duty also serve to isolate him from everyone, especially those he loves and who love him. It’s a lonely road, but if he really wants to avenge his mother, he must walk it without fear.

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On second thought, a healthy dose of fear might be called for, after witnessing Hideo change his face to that of a model’s to ‘bait’ a random young woman into following him into a dark alley where he proceeds to eat her. Shinichi did tell him he’d kill him if he harmed anyone…he knew.

Still, Hideo was less than honest with Shinichi, as Shinichi rightly suspected. Unless something else is going on here, and Shinichi’s aggressive attitude towards Hideo goaded him into falling off the human-killing wagon. Whatever the case, Shinichi must continue to keep his friends close…and Hideo closer.

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Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu – 04

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Our fourth taste of Parasyte starts off tense and gross, with A-san and Migi initiating a furious battle of fleshy, sharp-pointed protuberances as Shinichi struggles to see what’s going on. But Migi is only defending; it’s up to Shinichi to take that sharp chair leg and attack A-san.

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That means walking through a constantly-moving forest of limbs and trusting that Migi won’t mess up and let him get torn to shreds. Once again, Shinichi, welcome to your new life: constantly in mortal danger, and having to make decisions you never thought you’d be faced with, like “It’s him or us.”

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Migi’s plan works perfectly, exploting A-san’s arrogant assumption that Shinichi won’t participate in the battle. This is a guy who had sex, and yet still doesn’t understand that two are stronger than one; he’s a lost cause. Oh, and the blood spout Shinichi makes is super-gross!

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It doesn’t kill him, though. Fortunately, Shinichi can walk away from this not only alive, but knowing he did not take a life. He just made that easier for Tamiya-sensei, who senses A-san coming for her, fills a lab with oxygen, and jumps out the window. The explosion finishes A-san off.

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Then…things kinda settle down, though unfortunately, there’s no interaction between Shinichi and Satomi this week after he was very brusque with her last week. And funnily enough, Tamiya-sensei’s “quiet, normal life” experiment isn’t blown by her role in destroying A-san (though you’d think arson experts would have noticed organic remains in the destroyed lab). Nope, it’s blown by the fact she’s an unmarried pregnant woman!

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Tamiya-sensei isn’t interested in trying to fix this mess; it’s easier to simply start over with a new host and “life.” To that end, she essentially tells Shinichi and Migi that the truce is over, and even reveals her weapon form, in another super-creepy transformation. It doesn’t look like our hero and his hand will get out of this one, but at the last second Tamiya reconsiders and spares their lives. Why? Not clear yet.

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Then, one morning Shinichi wakes up missing his whole arm, and learns of a fresh terror: Migi can detach from him for a maximum of three minutes. Having a sentient hand is disconcerting enough, but knowing it can hop off whenever it wants for a morning walk? Even more unnerving. Stay attached to me, dammit!

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Meanwhile, Tamiya-sensei’s mother visits her, worried sick, and almost instantly realizes that she’s not her Ryouko, but an impostor. When Mom tries to call the police, Tamiya is forced to kill her, but she’s surprised and vexed to no end: how did the old woman know?

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See? The internet corrupts everyone! Anyway, Satomi first hinted at it by asking Shinichi if he was really Shinichi, then later switching hands with him, and then further reinforced by Shinichi’s mother’s increasing unease. It would seem people with strong emotional bonds, like love, in both Satomi and Shinichi’s mom’s case, seem to be able to sense their loved one isn’t themselves. Of course, Shinichi is still mostly himself, but still enough of something else that both of the main women in his life notice.

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With circumstances being what they’ve been, Shinichi owes Migi his life several times over (even if in most cases Migi is the cause of the mortal peril to begin with); his alliance with the parasite in his hand hasn’t really been that big of an issue. The issue, besides not getting killed by other parasites, is a much heavier weight than Migi will ever be, and that’s the truth.

He chose not to reveal it to his parents, because let’s face it, as kind and loving as they are, they could very likely recoil and disown Shinichi on the spot. His mom is already suspicious of whether he’s even the same Shinichi she got burned with hot oil protecting. He can only conceal the truths for so long before the weight crushes him; it must be shared. Will Satomi be a different story?

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