Roughly 25 years ago, a man by the name of Hitoshi Iwaati had a rather strange thought. The thought latched onto his brain like a parasite and evolved. That thought of a man more than 2 decades ago became a manga series named Parasyte, one of the most critically acclaimed works the medium has ever produced. Here we are 25 years later and we are still talking about Parasyte, a series that captured the imagination of a generation. Parasyte is born again this time in animated form, for the first time ever and thank god for that.
With Madhouse handling the production of this much anticipated anime series, fans had little doubt that Parasyte -the maxim wouldn’t be something special. After watching the first episode it can safely be said that Parasyte is in safe hands with Madhouse because this episode was simply phenomenal.
Treating viewers with a sense of intelligence, Parasyte skips the foreplay and trusts the audience to follow its lead. Jumping right into the action as Shinichi becomes infected by a parasyte. Wasting little time the wheels are immediately in motion and the show rolls on rarely stopping for pleasantries. It is full throttle story-telling, superbly paced with a clear sense of respect to the source material.
While Parasyte -the maxim takes a few liberties in adapting the source material for the modern day, the heart of what made Parasyte such a memorable manga is retained in this adaptation. At its core Parasyte is an exploration of the human soul, stripping layers off what makes us human, revealing at times darker shades beneath. The parasytes themselves are beings completely juxtaposed to humanity but simultaneously represent the inner beast within us all. This first episode does a brilliant job at laying the groundwork for Shinichi’s transformation all the while sprinkling in a taste of a deeper story at hand.
One of the things that makes Parasyte resonate so strongly with its audience is the underlying sense of humour that lies beneath the brutal world it portrays. There is something innately funny about the concept, scenario and world in which the anime takes place and rather than come off as goofy it ends up being more charming than anything. On top of that it gives the all important balance to the series that prevents it from hanging too far into the dark end of the emotional spectrum. A bit of light-hearted fun can honestly go a long way.
The episode interestingly concludes rather quietly, without a flashy cliffhanger or anything of the like. Rather it simply says, “This is what Parasyte is about. If you like it, we’ll see you next week.” And man is that so much more powerful than a cheesy cliffhanger like other series this season have tried to pull (I’m looking at you World Trigger).
As far as the animation work goes, Madhouse have blown my mind yet again. I don’t know how this studio does it but with every single production they put on, the quality never falters. The artwork is slick and conveys the feel of the manga quite well. I know there has been some fan complaints regarding Shinichi’s glasses (an anime only character trait), but I don’t see issue with it, especially considering the opening theme video showcases his ultimate removal of the glasses as he transforms into the badass he becomes.
Parasyte -the maxim is easily my favourite anime premiere this season. It takes a classic manga tale into the modern age and gives it life with a brand new generation of anime fan. If Parasyte hasn’t infected your brain yet, you better get ready for the bug to get you, because Parasyte is taking the anime world by storm and there isn’t anything that can stop it. Parasyte -the maxim is finally here and it’s about damn time.
You can check out episodes of Parasyte -the maxim on Crunchyroll here.