Manga: Parasyte

If you’re not familiar with game news, the newest Pokemon games, Omega Ruby and Alpha Saphire (ORAS) was just released today. So glad I managed to grab a copy of Omega Ruby even without pre-ordering it WOOHOO. Guess what I’ll be playing for the next week or so XD

Today’s manga is such a classic.

Manga: Parasyte 「寄生獣」 Kiseijuu

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   Parasyte vol 1 and 2 covers (English)

Parasyte is a Seinen, sci-fi, horror written and illustrated by Iwaaki Hitoshi. It was serialised from 1990 to 1995 and is completed with a total of 64 chapters compiled into 10 tankobon volumes. An anime adaptation titled, Parasyte -the maxim- (Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu) is currently airing. Two live-action films are also scheduled to be released, one in Dec 2014 and the other sometime in 2015. I currently follow the anime, but this post will just be on the manga.

17-year-old Izumi Shinichi lives with his mother and father in a quiet neighbourhood in Tokyo. One night, worm-like creatures appear on Earth, taking over the brains of human hosts by entering through their ears or noses. One creature attempts to take over Shinichi’s brain while he sleeps, but fails and ends up getting stopped at his right arm instead, giving himself the name, Migi (“Right” in Japanese). Because Shinichi was able to prevent Migi from taking over his brain, both beings retain their separate intellect and personality. Parasyte follows the story of Shinichi and Migi as they learn to live with each other and battle for survival against other parasites.

WARNING: Lots of violence, gore, mutilation, death. A little bit of nudity. One or two short sexual scenes. Some use of profanity. Heavy themes.

Parasyte had been on my to-read-list for so many years but I never actually got to it until I heard the news about it getting an anime. Had always vaguely known what it was about, but I thought it was a horror manga like any other with a generic ‘Humans VS Things that take over them (Parasytes)’ plot. It was so darn great to find out that wasn’t the case.

A friend previously thought of a pretty bad one-liner to explain the plot of this series:

“The relationship between a guy and his right hand.”

That’s… pretty accurate, but probably sounds way too suggestive.

The manga has a brilliant, well thought-out story which was continuously exciting. I guess one part that really contributed to that was the way the paneling was planned. Because of the paneling, the action scenes were really interesting and easy to follow too. Even with the usual ‘obligation to save humanity’, it didn’t try to be something huge with  ‘human-working-with-parasite-to-be-saviours-of-humanity’ plot or some shit like that. Its focus was pretty simple in that the manga was contained around Shinichi and Migi, but not just about the relationship between them. Humanity was a main theme that came up often, like emotions, empathy and similar, unexplained, humane connections such as the relationship between a mother and child. It was pretty thought-provoking and moving.

I really liked how unpredictable and different Parasyte was from a lot of other series in the horror genre. It’s also honestly pretty close to a Shounen type of story. If not for the pretty jarring mutilations and gore along with the heavy themes, I’d almost think it a slightly twisted Shounen manga. But thank goodness because I prefer Seinen’s heavier stuff.

   Kiseijuu_v02_p119_7945   shinji-and-parasyte

    Shinichi and Migi

If you’re not one for older art, you probably won’t be one for Parasyte’s art. Considering it was serialised in the early 1990s, this manga is a prime example of the manga art style present during that period of time. It’s a little messy, simple, but not bad. You do need to get used to it though. I needed to get used to the characters actually wearing their pants and skirts at their waist and not their hips (IT WAS REALLY HIGH). Also had some trouble differentiating between the older male side-characters throughout the series because some of them look relatively similar. But that’s probably just me. The art gets a heck of a lot better from the start to the end of the series.

One thing that really irked me… this might sound immensely stupid, but… I… REALLY… couldn’t get over how badly designed one of Shinichi’s shirts were. HAHAHAHAHAHA. There was just one shirt he wore that was so darn horrible I can’t get it out of my head. Maybe it’s just the screentone that was used, I don’t know.

The best part is without a doubt, the transformations of the parasites. It’s really cool to see the different creepy ways the parasite attacks. Sometimes a head unravels into a long, whip-like blade or sometimes it splits open to form a huge mouth… there’re just so many transformations and the way all these are portrayed via the art is great.

Parasyte is the kind of manga where if you pick it up, you’d have trouble putting it down until you’re done. It ends really well too.

Actually had a heck of a lot of trouble writing about this series. It’s so great, but I just can’t seem to get over a slight writing block, argh. I’ll do better if I write more about this awesome series next time. Or about the anime.


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