I think I liked Reiko Tamura’s arc the most out of the cast and felt she was the most interesting character by the end.
I would have said Shinichi, but the final 3 episodes kind of made his character go all over the place that I honestly think the writer didn’t know what arc that he wanted to end on. Shinichi goes from feeling responsible for the deaths caused by Gotou and no longer wanting to sulk and hide, to doing exactly that and feeling responsible again, and then nearly killing Gotou then choosing not to kill him because of a sudden eureka moment that all life should be respected . . . and then killing him for his own self-interest immediately after? I honestly was liking the story all the way up to the aftermath of the shootout of the government building. After that, it seemed like the author had it go all over the place because they didn’t know how to end it.
The latter-half made me wish Reiko Tamura or a character like her was explored more. Her arc was definitely my favorite. I liked how she – with a mindset similar to an otherworldly monster – slowly learned social cues, didn’t realize the coldness or awkwardness of her behavior around others, how Shinichi misconstrued her laughter for derision when she was practicing social cues due to her inability to understand human affairs as a parasyte, and how she slowly grew more compassionate due to her curiosity towards humanity. I feel as if this could have taken center stage for the rest of the story and I’d have loved it. It seemed like really good writing for a instinctual, man-eating monster slowly learning to become more human over time from her interactions with others. I didn’t expect her story arc to be as good as it was.
I liked Shinichi’s character arc up until the post-Tamura arc. I get the feeling the author meant his arc to be a metaphor for adolescence, but with the additional portion of a teenager going through loss. He acts like a typical awkward and nervous wreck for the first 6 episodes and then seems indifferent and more rationalistic. Story-wise, it’s because Migi’s cells are increasingly being used to influence his bodily functions after his near-death. However, the mindset and behavior honestly seemed very similar to a depressed adolescent who didn’t know how to properly grieve after a tragic loss. I think that metaphor was definitely intentional considering that portion of his story arc ends with the vision of his mother, who Reiko morphs into, handing him the baby to keep it safe and him finally being able to cry over the loss of his mother after so many months of not knowing how to act about things.
Some of you will probably be disappointed to read yet more bashing from what I read of other impressions in other reviews, but I couldn’t stand Kanna and Murano’s arcs. Both characters are total failures. The story pretends to act as if they’re important, but they’re mostly just plot-devices. The more we got into Kanna’s character . . . the less I was interested. The fairytale idea of prince charming made her story arc so stupidly boring that she’s honestly the most wasted and pointless character in the entire story. Murano barely has any character arc. I think the “You are Shinichi Izumi, aren’t you?” was suppose to imply that she was slowly seeing the changes and putting two-and-two together (the ending implies she had some idea of what was going on all along), but it’s not enough for me to care. The fact the near-end has her and Shinichi suddenly have sex made it even more boring. If Shinichi had just told her the truth, since Migi already agreed not to kill humans since it upset Shinichi, then I would have liked Murano’s character arc more. But honestly, she was just meant to be the bland love interest with no depth and I get that it’s an adaption of a 1980s story. It’s no different from your typical crap from Hollywood’s brainless Macho action flicks. They were boring and that’s that.
One character arc that I liked because of how the author maintained a sense of realism was the private investigator that Reiko hired. I honestly think Shirou Kuramori was the most honest and straightforward depiction of an ‘everyman’ that people genuinely don’t want to think about or discuss. I see so often that heroes depicted as “everyman” heroes get applauded because they’re “like us” as if relatability is somehow a positive without any meaningful reason given. The tacit assumption being that “relatability” should somehow make someone “better” as a person when it seems like an insidious lie to me. When Shinichi tells the private investigator the truth, the investigator first makes demands of Shinichi and then when he realizes the real threat that this poses to his life, he flakes and destroys his own evidence and uses his limited role in society as an excuse to do exactly the opposite of what he just demanded of Shinichi. I think the author wrote this “everyman” with more frank honesty than what we see in most written works today and I wholeheartedly applaud this character arc. The “everyman” is revealed to be a coward, the “everyman” is revealed to not care about right and wrong when it comes to putting his life on the line so long as it doesn’t negatively impact his immediate friends and family, the “everyman” has no higher purpose or moral reasoning to change their behavior to help others, and no hint of selflessness because they are not being personally inconvenienced by the problems that are growing in the society around them. The “everyman” of this story arc resorts to doing exactly what the majority of “everymen” and “everywomen” would do, if faced with a challenge that could be a worldwide crisis; ignoring it as an inconvenience and reiterating their status in society as a copout to not do anything about it. When the problem in society impacts the life of the “everyman” who ignored the growing issue? The “everyman” resorts to finding the person who they feel was coldest towards them and committing a petty crime to hurt them, finding someone else to conveniently blame for the consequences of their own actions. This was one of the most honest and well-written depictions of the “everyperson” that people seem to try to valorize in most modern stories now.
I liked the music and I really liked the action sequences. My favorite was definitely Reiko’s fight against the 3 other parasytes though; her running down the street and laughing with her head off was hilarious and brought an extra charm to an interesting strategic fight. I absolutely loved watching that fight and it was definitely my favorite. I really liked the vast majority of the action scenes in general though.
Overall, I’d give Parasyte: the Maxim anime an 8/10.