Knowing how time affects my opinion of anime in how well the memory of a series ferments in my head, I thought I should do a review for this series when it was still fresh in my mind. Parasyte – The Maxim has all of the things I like about modern anime, good pacing, action, drama and ideas that make you think. Despite having seen an entire expo room dedicated to it in certain anime stores in Japan I still was very hesitant to get on the bandwagon because of it’s odd visual design of the parasites. But having already watched shows that had similar ‘gore-ish’ content and been surprised at how good they were I finally found no excuse not to give it a try, and I’m glad I did.
Set in the most generalized of Japanese towns, nervous high school wreck Shinichi is wracking up his undeserved harem of high school girls when his life is changed by having his right hand being invaded by a parasite that can make his hand shape-shift. Turns out he was lucky to have his hand taken because if it had been his brain the parasite would have taken over his body and started devouring people, just as the other parasites have. Feeling that he, with his still-human brain, might be a treat, the other parasites begin attacking him in battles that mostly equate to facial patty-cake as shown by this image.
I guess the greatest attribute to Shinichi is his character development. Although it is represented by his changing hair styles (one in particular making him look just like Okabe from Steins;Gate) there are actually points throughout the story that clearly justifies the changes that he undergoes, only one of these changes due to the parasite itself. The Parasite, named Migi for his right hand, plays a pivotal supporting character role, enforcing Shinichi’s empathy by Migi himself having none. This makes their cold-calculating and warm-caring relationship an interesting duo to watch as Shinichi slowly sees himself become more and more like that which has taken residence in him and Migi slowly coming to understand human feelings, altruism being a very significant theme.
What can I say about the different parasites other than they look like a cross between some of the characters from Aaahh!!! Real Monsters and the Don Pedro from the Resident Evil 4 game. Needless to say that some of them are pretty terrifying but this does have horror as one of its genres so what were you expecting? The surprising thing to me is that in the end I felt the greatest sympathy for them in the whole series, especially for Reiko Tamura who ended up becoming more human than most of the humans in the show.
As I mentioned before, Parasyte has a very good pacing. There is no fat to cut in this series and for the 24 episodes it is given it doesn’t need any filler. This makes sense considering how much content from the manga they needed to make a fulfilling story arc for the anime, and in that comes it’s only flaw. Don’t get me wrong! The series ends satisfactorily and conclusively but the ending also feels somewhat self-aware that it had to end and end on a paced but high climax despite the manga continuing. Maybe it was because of this that, to me, the beginning and middle were the highlights. Another thing that I felt took away a bit of the atmosphere was the music. I liked most of it but for some scenes I felt that it was just a bit much and didn’t fit the scene as well as it could have. In the end was it the best of the 2014-15 line up? No, but it was certainly close. Definitely better than most and still rivaling for my top spot next to Zankyou no Terror. The main difference was that (and this may seem pretentious) with Parasyte’s music and action this was a definitely a great anime but, for me, Zankyou with it’s music and themes was a work of art. Who knows maybe by the end Unlimited Blade Works will take them all out, it certainly has the budget and story to pull it off so far. Back on subject, did Parasyte – The Maxim have it’s flaws? Yes. Did this stop it from being a great anime? No, and I would recommend anyone who was considering it to hop on bandwagon with me.
Total Rank: 8.5