“The Selfish Gene”
This may have been a slow episode, but it’s still effective in sticking to the themes that are prevalent in Kiseijuu. The concept of Change is one on those themes, always seeming to me at the centre of Kiseijuu’s narrative, and with it comes the idea of adapting, or refusing to do so. Many anime these days have archetypical characters fit into a certain box and appeal to a certain demographic – and that’s fine, it works and it can often produce something entertaining – but when you have an entire cast of static characters it becomes difficult to find anything beneath the surface. Kiseijuu, however, is the opposite, which I think may come down to it being crafted in a different era. Every character is constantly shifting, changing, adapting or refusing to do so for their own limited reasoning. It’s refreshing, and even if this was one of the simpler episode yet, it’s still very enjoyable to watch unfold..
Shinichi is obviously the most changing character throughout the series, and although we don’t see him do anything he hasn’t done before (like screaming in fury over his mother’s death or cursing at humans like a non-human would do) it all continues to push Shinichi forward on a course that I think is only going to end in tragedy. He hasn’t quite done anything as bad as putting a dog in a bin for a while, but he is a losing his humanity as time goes on and I’m just waiting for his character to explode.
Migi and Tamiya are the other two most changing characters so far. Migi is less obvious, since he still comes across as fairly emotionless and unsympathetic to humanity (as well as the concept of names and human rights). But there are certainly moments where Migi seems like the most levelheaded entity in the room, which is amusing and scary to think about. In this episode we saw him defend Shinichi in a way we haven’t seen before; whether he believes what he is saying though, is another matter. Tamiya’s return to the series means we get to see more of her progression as well, for which I am very grateful. Last episode I complained about her complete lack of emotion on her face, so I’m glad we got to see her learning how to correctly match her laugh to her smile. Tamiya is probably the most intelligent parasite we’ve seen to date, so watching her adjust to human life with a mixture of success and mistakes is always fun.
Altruism vs Selfishness:
The university lecture is obviously referencing to what could/will happen with Tamiya’s character in future. Will she embrace her maternal instincts and apply a selfless attitude to her offspring, or will she revert to her parasite ways and sacrifice it for her own good. Well, based on this episode she doesn’t seem to have much of a problem with using her baby as a shield, so I think it’s a work in progress at this stage. Still, Tamiya is one to watch and I’m just not sure where her path will go from here, which makes me even more excited to find out.
Overview – What’s Next?
It was nice to have Uda back on the scene, and Tamiya’s return to the story has been welcomed, but as a whole this episode was much the same as the last – not much happened, but it was still an entertaining watch. I have a feeling we may be continue to set up for the eventual final act in the coming weeks, though I’m confident it will all be worth it in the end.
Comedy in Bleakness: