Parasyte has continued strong these past two episodes, and the arcs have also been growing longer and ever more tragic. So far the story has been somewhat about puberty, and the fear of both psychological and physical changes in oneself during that time. Now we get to see how these changes are represented in media, all the time.
We’ve seen this story play out many times before, it’s practically the default setting when it comes to The Heroes Journey. A young hero with a unique ability unlike that belonging to anyone else has to leave his comfortable life in search of a greater purpose. If it’s not to save the world, then it’s usually on a journey motivated by revenge. The heroes life is ruined, perhaps, his home destroyed and his friends and family killed, the only variation being in severity. The hero has to avenge their death by killing the antagonist who killed them, who surprise surprise, is also very likely to be a threat to all of humanity as well. I suppose the most recent, fresh, and direct version of this would be Attack On Titan from last year. Lo and behold, in episode 5 of Parasyte, Shinichi’s mother is killed by a Parasyte and his Father barely survives. After the Parasyte killed Shinichi during last episodes cliffhanger, Migi revives him and we kick off the revenge plot line. So, is Parasyte just rehashing tried and true plot lines?
We’ve already spent 5 episodes getting to know Shinichi as a timid individual. He’s idealistic and surprisingly brave, but at the same time he’s self conscious, weak, and a little geeky. Not exactly the traditional heroic badass we’ve been seeing so much of lately. This episode, however, we see Shinichi’s most radical change yet, as he turns into exactly that. Shinichi, metaphorically, ‘died’ last episode by his mother’s hand, and now he is reborn as a new person. He’s stronger, scarred, he no longer needs glasses, and presumably his other senses have improved as well. He can make super human jumps seemingly without Migi’s overt assistance. He’s become more brooding and secretive, and he’s away from the comfort of his own home, virtually alone and with a mission. While he is nearby his Father, Shinichi needs to protect him from the Parasyte who is liable to come and finish off the other family member while he is vulnerable. It took six episodes after Shinichi’s initial gift in the form of Migi, his ‘supernatural aid’ but now Shinichi is finally in the second act of his journey. He is severed from his past self.
This all happens in tandem with Migi having connected himself even more closely to Shinichi’s bodily functions, reviving him by briefly becoming his heart and sealing up a gaping wound in his chest. This episode demonstrates that one of humankind’s most effective and ancient forms of drama is not simply the tragedy inherent in one’s parent being killed, but that of growing up and moving on, forming independence. In his last moments, Shinichi was still desperately clinging onto his childhood and his prior relationship with his mother, believing himself to be the monster, the one in the wrong, apologising repeatedly and refusing reality. His Father is also confused, unable to help Shinichi. Not only is he hospitalised, but the police and his doctor have been telling him that he hallucinated his wife’s death. After all, the story doesn’t match up with the fact that she was seen walking around in broad daylight, does it? Even though both Shinichi and the audience know better.
So the interesting part is that Shinichi wants to avenge his mother by killing his mother. Essentially, this draws astute attention to what Shinichi, and by extension what every other protagonist ever has ever been angry about, the death of their childhood, and their loss of innocence. Usually the characters of victim and culprit are separate, and speaking literally both Shinichi’s mother and the parasite inhabiting her are also separate, but since it wears her face, we can read them as being representative of essentially the same person. Parasyte is using this story structure and genre to make a point about a lot of media, that the heroes we look up to are representative of our own hang ups of growing up, as well as our need to asset our own independence, in this case, the literal murder of one’s parent.
As for Migi, he’s becoming more aware, and perhaps even concerned, for Shinichi’s sudden changes. Towards the end of the episode, as Shinichi is made aware of his mother’s killer and chases after her in a blind rage, Migi feels the need to try to catch his attention, telling him that there’s something else that he needs to tell Shinichi. What this is is a mystery, but it is quite clear that Shinichi is much more aggressive and single minded than before. Is Migi concerned about his changing personality, and the direction it is taking?
Oh, and I’ve heard complaints about the music in regards to this show. I personally haven’t really noticed it, although I do find dub step pretty unappealing. In this episode, and episode 5 as well I believe, the music really stood out to me as a powerful and emotional. It gave the scenes a greater sense emotional weight to them, which I really appreciated.