“Life and Vows”
I predicted that we would see the end of Gotou in this penultimate episode, and it turns out I was right. There was a lot of hype going into this final battle, and you could count me as one of those excited. After so many back-and-forths, the fact that the end is within touching distance is both fantastic and bittersweet. I knew this wasn’t going to be a straightforward final battle like you’d expect between the protagonist and the antagonist, if only because Shinichi enters the battlefield weak. But that weakness is mutual, as Shinichi finds Gotou in a state of rest, open to attacks from all angles. It’s ironic that Shinichi can only walk up to him with such ease once he is cleansed from his parasitic powers; being a normal human in that moment is his greatest strength.
Once the battle got underway, I was hooked. I knew Shinichi couldn’t lose this, even if it seemed like a suicide mission. Migi’s return was expected, but that didn’t prevent it from being rewarding to watch. After last week’s episode, we’ve delved so much further into that little parasite that losing him for good would have been criminal. Seeing him back was fantastic, as were the flashy actions sequences he delivered.
But we’ve all watched the episode (I hope, otherwise you’re spoiling yourself by reading this!) and so we know that Gotou lost. Shinichi and Migi did it, and their method was an unconventional one, but one that ties wonderfully with the themes and previous plot elements that have weaved in and out of Kiseijuu’s narrative.
Toxins & Human Waste:
My mind goes back to Hirokawa Takeshi, the human who sympathised and worked alongside the parasites this whole time. His campaign and passion on environmentalism was genuine, and that ties directly with Gotou’s death. Hirokawa detested humanity and blamed them for their self-serving definition of justice, as well as how they actively participate in the death of their own planet. What he said was all true, and so it should have clicked when I saw the garbage dump last week. At the time I thought it as just a way for Shinichi to have his downtime in a new setting, but the toxins and waste left by the humans are what poisoned and defeated Gotou in the end. Shinichi may have dealt the final blow, but there’s something poetic about humanity’s self-destructive ways being the final weapon against the parasites. It’s truly fascinating that this is how it all ends – not with a bang, but with a whimper. The parasites may not destroy Earth now, but that doesn’t mean that humanity won’t either.
Shinichi & Migi’s Final Call:
It wouldn’t be fitting to end without a moral dilemma. Morality has been in question for several characters throughout the series, but Gotou attempting to call all the parasites who tried to escape while they could was one of the best we’ve seen so far. Migi calls it a 50-50 chance operation, and after he refuses to ‘murder’ his own kind, it’s up to Shinichi to finish it off. I thought he was going to walk away at first, and he seemed to be thinking of doing just that (he didn’t want to judge Gotou on human laws and morality, apparently). But he turns in the last moment and severs Gotou’s chances of survival. Compared to all the gore and brutality that we’ve seen from the very first scene of the first episode, this final act should feel like nothing. But it doesn’t. This feels incredibly heavy, like murder. Shinichi had to finish Gotou off when he was at his absolute weakest, and that’s what made Shinichi’s decision even more fantastic to watch unfold.
Overview – What’s Next?
Kiseijuu delivers a fascinating penultimate episode, showing that the strongest among us are sometimes the most fragile. Gotou held a dictatorship within his own body – he had so much power that when a simple threat presented itself, it spelled his defeat. There’s such a thing as having too much power, and that, in the end, is what sealed the deal. This episode was absolutely superb. I can’t wait to see next week’s conclusion, whether it in gore or glory.
Murano in his Final Moments: