So Parasyte’s latest episode has been providing a bit of a mixed reaction in the communities I frequent, mostly in regards to the ultimate takeaway you’re supposed to get with its ending scene. I myself have made several sarcastic tweets on it, but upon closer examination, it wasn’t quite as straight-faced as I made it out to be and thus I think this episode is worthy of its own post in order to gather my thoughts. Feel free to correct me if their are holes in my view. It’s not like I have much investment in the show to really care at this point given how painfully dull the journey has been since Episode 7 or so.
First off, I don’t like the fight scene between Shinichi and Gotou. I’ve never liked any of Parasyte’s fight scenes in general because they generally look like crap and I hate shonen action logic on principle. Bobduh may think that the cat-and-mouse schtick along with Shinichi narrating his plans before he made moves against Gotou was tense, but I think it’s just wasting time whilst being stupid, especially given how most of the dialogue is just “I’m going to die” or “you can’t beat me” shit and Gotou’s very existence is enough stakes for me, thank you very much. Sure the action was more fluid and better choreographed than it was previously, but that’s small comfort in regards to the other problems with said fight. And whilst it makes sense regarding how Migi survived within Gotou, tampered with his innards, and re-attached himself to Shinichi’s arm, it was still pretty dumb to watch. Lightning? Really Madhouse?
That said, it’s what happened afterwards that got me interested in the show again. Whilst I didn’t like how Gotou ultimately died due to pollution at first – even comparing it to Eureka Seven and how it introduced its awful environmental themes out of nowhere – it’s kinda apropos when you think about it. We get the usual schtick about how humans have polluted the Earth and everything else that’s usually attached to these environmentally-aware stories and we even get the part where some higher being decided humans deserve to die for their actions and that’s why the parasytes were sent to Earth. Obviously, the humans won’t stand for that and they fight back with that tired message of how despite being evil, they deserve to live. If this week’s Parasyte had something along the line of “deep down inside, humanity is good”, I would have screamed bloody agony that probably could have been heard by Madhouse’s animation studios. Granted, I was already screaming that when Shinichi questioned sparing Gotou because it’s the human thing to do, so sorry if you guys experienced earthquakes in your area.
But then we get into some of the actual details surrounding all that stuff. I’ve talked before how despite Angel Beats’ ending having a lot of things wrong with Key, the context it was framed in shed a different light that turned what should have been shit into something entertaining. Well Parasyte does something similar except without an epilogue that threw said context into question. Despite Gotou ultimately being a tool to kill humanity for polluting the Earth, he is ultimately killed by said pollution. Before people assume anything, no I don’t consider that to be a pro-pollution message or anything. In fact, it’s a symptom of the larger message that we’re supposed to get at the end. What is said larger message? Well it comes down to Shinichi’s final decision regarding what to do with Gotou.
Despite all that preachy third-grade level speech about how it’s human to not kill your own kind and how the Earth is worth saving and all that stuff, at the end of the day, Parasyte wants you to realize that stuff is bullshit in comparison to humanity’s need to survive. He may have hesitated at first, but at the end of the day, Shinichi’s need to be alive and protect others for his own selfish reasons is on a higher ground than “because it’s the right thing to do”. Humans are selfish creatures when you get right down to it, and thus whilst we’ll still have moral quandaries, we ultimately do things because it benefits us. And despite pollution being a bad thing, it did kill an unkillable monster that would have killed us at the end of the day so we’re not going to complain. It’s kinda like the ultimate takeaway from Nausicaa except reinterpreted by Sion Sono.
Unless you’re incredibly against that sort of message for some reason or another, I don’t see how you can possibly not see said takeaway as a good thing.
I’m not saying this episode is enough to save the show on the whole, or that the episode itself didn’t have problems. I myself stated in the early paragraphs that I did not like the first half of it, and I still don’t. But I think people need to take this interpretation into account first before passing judgment on this week’s installment. I know I could have used it sometime ago.
PS: Sorry for the lack of images in this post. Deleted the episode before I got it in my head to writing this.