Every season, in order to pick the shows I will initially watch, I read a little summary on a site such as anichart. During the fall season, I saw Parasyte's blip and thought, "This sounds like it won't work." Creatures that could transform into almost anything possessing humans? I felt like such an idea would be full of incomprehensible plot points and frequent deus ex machina. I couldn't have been more wrong.
*mild spoilers up to episode 17 of Parasyte*
Tokyo Ghoul is often compared to Parasyte, and for good reason. Both explore two sides, human and monster, and each's lack of understanding of each other. In this respect, I think Parasyte trumps the competition. It manages to not just point out the morally grey motivation of both groups, but thoroughly explore the psychology behind each group's perception. Why is it able to do this? Two main reasons: good writing (of course) and the symbiotic relationship between Migi and Shinichi. While Kaneki of Tokyo Ghoul is half of both sides, Migi and Shinichi are two SEPARATE identities forced to collaborate through mutual need. By having to compromise with each other, they more thoroughly exhibit the viewpoints they represent than could possibly be done by one individual. Their relationship is perhaps the strongest part of the entire show.
Another area Parasyte has excelled in is its ability to build tension while not necessarily climaxing in each episode. Parasyte has made an excellent weekly watch (and I'm sure would be great to marathon too) because I have never felt like a single episode has been filler or a drag. While some installments have technically just been setup, they manage to have the feeling of being an integral and engaging part of the story and make it hard to notice them as such. While I would not fault the show if it did have lagging episodes, the fact that there are none is a sign of excellent pacing, and is something even great shows sometimes fail to achieve.
Although it has many strengths, Parasyte still has one mixed bag: supporting characters. While Shinichi and Migi (and Tamura as well, for the record) are interesting, several characters feel underdeveloped or underutilized. The ones that come to mind are Murano and Uda/Jaw. Murano is a very important character in the story, yet I feel like she literally only exists to be a perpetual love interest for Shinichi. Her relationship with him has also barely developed at all, and outside of that we know very little about her. Uda and Jaw are relatively minor characters, but I feel like it's a bit of wasted potential that they are not used more often in the story, as they share Shinichi and Migi's unique connection. However, that's not to say that the supporting characters in general are bad. I particularly enjoyed the private investigator Kuramuri, who was greatly developed and also served to advance Tamura's character despite only being around for a few episodes.
Parasyte as a whole has managed to stay entertaining and engaging every week since its original air date. Although I can see some supporting issues, it has several strong characters and great tensions that has kept me looking forward to it each week.
Parasyte: the Maxim is currently available for free and legal streaming on Crunchyroll, with a new episode every Wednesday.
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