I’ve come late to the Parasyte -the maxim- party, but I can’t say I’ve been as impressed as my associates have been.
Before I started watching, I was in a position to observe my Twitter feed and the forums going crazy over the first part of the season, which mostly deals with Shinichi trying to grasp the situation and the limitations and advantages of coexisting with a parasite. I like questions regarding human nature, mostly because over the years I’ve been sold too many lies about it. Parasyte brings it down to the bare essentials: agonizing over others, the nasty habit of contradicting ourselves and human snobbery.
But all that goodness falls into the shadow of it being a male power fantasy. When Shinichi got his ass kicked by Mitsuo and his yankii gang, I tremendously enjoyed that he stubbornly continued to defy them. The act was in my eyes more like a reclamation of what it means to be human rather than a sign of a valiant spirit that Murano tacks onto him. The scene reeked of Japanese snobbery, that’s why I liked it.
However, as Kana’s arc progresses, the show goes out of its way to measure the new and improved Shinichi up to his fellow humans. It’s not enough that he returns Mitsuo the favor, the show’s creators force him to do it several times over to the point it becomes a narrative distraction. Not to mention Migi’s role as his scouter tool, which was the most telling what the show was aiming for there. Kana’s arc is a drawn out metaphor to the degradation of Shinichi’s human side, but the same could have been achieved in less time and in a less intellectually insulting manner.
The rest of the show is about Shinichi basically becoming a yankii himself, with a permanently perplexed expression on his face that’s really starting to get on my nerves. There’s also the issue of how lame the acting patterns of the rest of the human cast are. The girls are almost completely devoid of character, with Kana being the manic pixie girl that had to die. The investigators are the Zenigata stereotypes, except that they die as well.
The show isn’t bad by any means, it’s just popcorn entertainment to me at this point. With the way parasite power levels keep rising, I expect it’ll be necessary for Migi to biohack his host’s body again. It was a bad idea to even delve into the weird parasitic science to begin with, but now we’re stuck with it and we’ll have to like it if we want to make it to the end.