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Parasyte: Part II (Live Action) Review

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Fight to protect

The aliens have invaded, humanity is, for the most part, unaware of any disturbance and life carries on much the same. That is unless you are the one person on Earth who has been forcibly combined with one of said aliens, parasitic in nature, and predatorial to your species. Add to that the fact that you are a fifteen year old high school student, an age bracket really not designed to handle such change and trauma. Got that? Cool, now you have a pretty good idea about the events and mindset that have afflicted our protagonist Shinichi over the course of Part I. Poor guy still has to get through Part II.

Jumping off from the conclusion of its predecessor, with the aid of a recollective montage, Part II throws us into the more legally appropriate side of the anti-parasite invasion force, otherwise known as the police. Possessing a surprising amount of information and planning, said police/special forces present something that is all too rare in a story that features a singular, powerful protagonist; a credible power. Yes, believe it or not, characters other than Shinichi have actually put in the legwork to figure out the reasoning behind the sudden upswing in horrific massacres and, utilising detective work, stumbled upon their fair share of parasitic corpses. You know, those things Shinichi murders and then just leaves there. It’s a perfect representation of why “out of sight, out of mind” isn’t a viable option in most situations. Surprising anime/manga/film fans even further, the police forces actually manage to enact an effective plan against the parasites, which adds at least some credence to the overarching theme of human ingenuity that had, until this point, been subliminally undermined by the fact that the human/parasite hybrid of Shinichi and Migi has been the only effective force against the invading aliens.

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Humanity unites…

On the topic of humans, the character of Uragami, which readers of the manga/watchers of the anime will know, received far less explanation than in those media. Whilst obviously a direct choice to keep the movie flowing along, his sudden appearance, combined with this lack of focus made him a sort of tacked-on anomaly in the plot. This is also in no small part due to the removal of Kana from the story, whose absence removes any notion of set-up to Uragami’s unique power. Additionally, the nonchalant attitudes of the other characters seem to undermine any audience questions, by treating Uragami as if his ability is well known and accepted. It’s an odd aspect of the film that stuck with me.

Continuing on the vein of directorial choices, there are few key moments in Part II that are noticeable different from the source material. Now I know that in my Part I review I discussed treating the film as separate to the manga/anime, but I found it very hard to separate my opinions whilst watching Part II. One particular example involved a scene towards the end of the film being combined with a rather crucial moment between Shinichi and Satomi. Though the removal of some late introduced, ancillary characters was of no consequence to the film, having Satomi somehow make her way to Shinichi, well outside the city, made little sense. Seriously, she just traipsed out to a mountain at night? Do all fifteen year old Japanese protagonists have free reign? Sure it might be a little complaint, but knowing how the original story played out just made the improbability of it all too apparent.

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…but will it be enough?

As far as the visuals go, Part II plays out identically to Part I. Now, whilst that may sound obvious, there is a form of complaint hidden within it. To elucidate, this second act houses most of the action of the series, with the culmination of the greatest parasite foe to ever stand before Shinichi and Migi; the mysterious Goto. However, on more than one occasion, the most violent sequences are relegated to off-screen moments. Now that isn’t to say that there is no action in Part II, just that the iconic battles of the series carried far less impact than I had hoped. To add a touch of positivity to this paragraph, I was impressed that they briefly showed Goto’s unique running method, with its original appearance having been replaced by a motorcycle. Sure the true reason for all these visual alterations is budget, but just knowing that doesn’t make me feel better.

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Who is the true monster?

All in all, Parasyte: Part II is not a bad film. That being said, it is not the best Parasyte has been. Though the alterations to story did help the film coalesce into a progressive plot, its previous nature as a series shines through, with dramatic moments that clearly served as episode endings. This results in the film possessing a number of apparent endings, with the ending proper unfortunately being the weakest, petering the film out on a fairly bland note. The streamlined nature of the film also removed a fair deal of the intricacies from the source material, with the final message about environmentalism seeming rather awkward, as all but one parasite was presented as anything other than a mindless killing machine and Shinichi lacked much of the internal conflict that crippled him in the manga/anime. Thus, when all is said and done, the Parasyte film, in both its parts, presents a summary of a greater story. Not unworth a watch, but not worth the praise of its source.

Grade: C+

-30-

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