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12 days of anime #5 – A justifiable lack of common sense [Parasyte]


I’ve mentioned this a few times in my episodic reviews that the common sense of the human characters in Parasyte is worrying. They often risk being killed by parasytes due to being too oblivious. How can you ignore these super suspicious people, especially after witnessing their power? The parasytes fly like supermen and morph their head like playing with some clay! That is unignorable! Sometimes it seems as if the human’s silliness is just there to serve the plot conveniences.

Nevertheless, there are also other times when the ignorance fits the mental state of the characters and works wonders for the episode.

Watching Parasyte reminded me of the first time I read something called the Story of an Hour. The short story was about this woman Mrs Mallard who immediately cried aloud on hearing her husband had died. Her reaction was described as strange, because normally one would pause and doubt and refuse to believe bad news. I was such a dense student at that time that this revelation enlightened me. Ever since, I’ve noticed again and again how this psychological reaction manifests in other people. Often when I announce something unpleasant, people ask me to repeat my words, not because they can’t hear me clearly, but probably because they are hoping that by giving me another chance to say it right, they can push the harsh truth away. I’ve always found this kind of rejection intriguing.

[warning: spoiler next]

Parasyte 05 - warning

Episode 5 of Parasyte is an excellent example of this. The tragedy in the episode was foreseeable, as a parasyte had taken the body of Shinichi’s mother. The appearance stayed the same, but it was indeed a barbarious monster. The parasyte had to be killed, no matter how hurtful it would be. As a viewer, although I felt sorry for Shinichi, the task was as clear as day. Therefore, when the fake mother stepped into the house, I raised my eyebrows at how easily Shinichi calmed down and welcomed it. After the next few seconds, he must have noticed the peculiarity of the creature, so his inaction became a bit annoying. But as he persisted even after Migi’s warning, it dawned on me how heartbreaking the situation was.

Shinichi was downright rejecting the truth. He even fabricated his own version of the new truth by pretending that he was talking to his real mother. He refused again and again to listen to Migi’s voice of reason and facts. Shinichi desperately held on to the presence of the scar to tell himself that his mother was there. The more the cold words and behaviour of the parasyte confirmed its cruelty, the more he stuck to his illusion. It was too painful to watch. You see this person right in front of your eyes who’d rather lose all his rationality than acknowledge that his mother had been savagely eaten. The execution of the scene was so perfect that it pained me and I felt helpless.

So there we go, my unforgettable anime moment of the year. I blog this series like every week, so there are still plenty of chances for me to further analyse Parasyte’s development and events. But since I missed a post on this episode when it aired, I just want to get back and highlight its success before the season ends. Sometimes Parasyte is really incredible.

  1. ndqanhvn permalink

    Yes, even though I already read the manga and know what’s going to happen, that scene still leaves a strong impact. It’s just that incredible a scene. In a short moment Iwaaki has reached such a deep level in depicting human’s first stage of grief. It saddens me that some shallow anime fans say that Shinichi is a wimp and need to tough up in that scene. Years of unrealistic anime have done that to them. Hayao Miyazaki has said the biggest problem of the anime industry is the fact that animators nowadays no longer observe how human beings would live their life in real life, I could not agree with him more, and that’s not just animators, but also writers and everything.

    MADhouse also did an incredible job with that scene, the music, the lighting, the voice acting and everything. They’re still one of the best studio, it’s clear.

    • I rewatched that scene a few times before writing the post and really admire how much work they put into it, from the voice acting to the complex facial expressions and so on. Also, Iwaaki’s observation of human psychology in Parasyte never ceases to impress me.

      Thanks for your comment, I love it.

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