OP: 「Let Me Hear」 by Fear, and loathing in Las Vegas
A two-decade old manga has finally gotten its debut as one of the more anticipated series this season. When I first heard about Kiseijuu (also known as Parasyte), I immediately knew that I was going to be a fan of this one. Even though I’m generally not a fan of horror or gore and blood, Kiseijuu has a much more than that and an intricate story is what I’m after. Best of all, it’s a finished manga series and unless the anime decides to great an original ending or the original material goes downhill, I’m expecting it to be a close adaptation. Anything less would be ruining the manga since its received so many great reviews and recognition.
Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakauritsu is essentially a sci-fi story about an alien race that has invaded Earth by invading the brains of humans. They come in the shape of small glowing worms and make their way into the brains of humans (or other mammals) and take control of the nervous system and the human consciousness. The person who used to inhabit the body would technically be “gone” and the alien that took over it feeds on other live humans. The alien also has to adapt to the “human world” and starts to learn Japanese to communicate. Our protagonist is a young student by the name of Izumi Shinichi (Shimazaki Nobunaga) and one night, an alien tries to climb into his brain overnight. Luckily, Shinichi wakes up to fight it off and the alien buries into his hand instead. The next day, Shinichi finds out that his hand is no longer ”his hand” and instead, this alien (Hirano Aya) has taken its place. The alien has full control over Shinichi’s “hand” but simply takes the form of a hand to sleep or hide its identity from humans. In the span of two days, Shinichi and his alien manage to somehow compromise with one another and neither will do anything to put their lives at risk.
This first episode was very introductory but still intriguing enough to keep my attention and want more. If you’re wondering what we’ll see next, I would bet that there’s going to be more human deaths, more killing and probably a more thorough look at Shinichi’s psyche. Just from this initial meeting, Shinichi and his alien hand have almost nothing in common and don’t deal with dilemmas in the same manner. Their outlook on death and killing is different and even Shinichi himself points it out. His life isn’t in danger (because his alien partner depends on his life to continue living as well), but learning to cooperate with the alien for his entire life is a different question. The alien doesn’t seem to have a morale sense of right or wrong as long as it lives and survives. It also has no memories of where it came from or what its goal is on Earth. The only one that seems to know what’s going on is the narrator at the beginning of the episode (and end) and that scene was cut short so the origin of the mysterious aliens will probably be revealed later on. I would expect that between then and now, Shinichi and his alien will grow to adapt the personalities of each other and learn from one another.
The premiere for this series was relatively tame compared to the image that I had for a horror/sci-fi series. I have never thought that aliens were considered scary and if you ask me, horror stories about murderers and criminals are much more terrifying. However, one thing that Kiseijuu has going for it is the shock and awe factor – especially in those first few seconds and last few seconds. Seeing the distortions in people’s faces is gruesome but better than being censored so I have no complaints. I won’t speak for the entire series, but so far you can recognize that this story comes from an older manga because what might have been original then is not unheard of now. Stories about alien races taking over human minds is a plot line that I’ve seen before (if anyone’s read The Host) and while an alien race taking over might have been a frightening idea twenty years ago, I don’t see that aspect being translated well into the anime. The atmosphere of the series is not as horrifying as I expected and compared to the recent Tokyo Ghoul or the old favorite Elfen Lied, this anime is not on that scale. I mention this because if you’re a big chicken like myself, I think this series will give you the thrill that you’re seeking for, without the “monsters-popping-up-at-you” scare. If that’s still not enough for you to give it a shot, this is a highly rated series backed by Madhouse and the production values are by no means low. It’s also been a while since I’ve noted a good soundtrack for anime, but I actually really like the ending for this one. It can be very soothing after an intense episode and right up my alley.
My final message is for you to go out and watch this one. Not even a three-episode trial period, just sit and watch it out for the entire two-cour because it’s going to be an adaptation of a finished manga with a good animation studio backed by decent staff. I don’t expect this series to be half-a**ed. Unfortunately I will not be blogging this series on a weekly basis even after an excellent premiere; I already have a packed week with 2.5 shows. However, never say never… so please keep your eye on the Fall Schedule for anyone that might pick this one up.
Bottom Line – @RCCherrie: #kiseiju_anime just blew my mind! Wow… for a two decade old manga, it’s not bad. I’m impressed =) or maybe Madhouse is just really good.
ED: 「IT’S THE RIGHT TIME」 by 三浦大知 (Daichi Miura)