Shinichi has not been having a good day. Last night he had a strange incident where he swore he saw a snake like creature burrow into his arm, and now things just seem to be getting worse and worse. First he grabs his friend Murano’s boob for no reason, and then during class he somehow accidentally turns his phone on. And this all made more confusing by the fact that he somehow stops a car from hitting a little girl on the way home! Before he knows it his right hand is suddenly speaking to him and morphing into a strange blob with eyes and a mouth, and it tells him it’s an alien that has taken over his right arm. Yep, Shinichi’s day could not get any worse… Or could it?
Now I’m not going to lie, Kiseijuu, or Parasyte in English, is a pretty great show. And I know that may seem like rather high praise right out of the gate, but this show is really worth your time. The episode starts with a bang, giving us a gruesome scene where a parasyte infested Father eats his wife’s own head. From there it only gets better, building and building with great scene after great of body horror, which is all complimented with a thick, moody atmosphere. Every moment here is executed with precision, and Madhouse is making it clear they are not kidding around with this project.
The writing and characters here are top notch stuff, with characters like Shinichi, his right hand, and Murano giving off distinctive personalities with the screen time they’re given. Shinichi especially stands out, as the animators and screenwriters work in tandem here to show the subtleties of his personality changes. It’s interesting to see the way he fears spiders in comparison to the scene near the end of the episode were he picks one up and throws it out into his backyard; and it’s clear building blocks are being set up for his future character development.
His alien right hand is much the same, as in this first episode alone it’s clear that this is an alien creature driven only by the instincts to consume knowledge and survive by any means necessary. It’s character could not be more accurately fit the term parasite, but, out of all the things that interest me in this episode, the alien’s relationship with Shinichi is by far the most dynamic thing I’ve seen yet. Already Shinichi has been gaining more confidence with himself thanks to his new found alien friend, and while he’s disturbed by the idea of having the “beneficial” relationship the creature suggests, throughout the latter half of the episode he seems to be more and more keen on the idea. Their relationship is amazingly complex, and I can’t wait to see how it develops.
This all wouldn’t be nearly as interesting however if it weren’t for the previously mentioned amazing production quality. Sure there are a few wonky CGI background characters, and seeing of the some dubstep-like pieces in the soundtracks matched up with this 80’s manga adaptation is slightly jarring at first, but otherwise the direction, voice acting (Shout out to Aya Hirano for delivering a great performance as Shinichi’s right hand), and the overall style of this thing is just spectacular! Madhouse clearly wants to do this popular manga justice, and very few corners are cut here animation wise. Every movement is crisp and visceral, and the gore scenes are beautifully executed. I’m not usually a horror fan, especially when it comes to anime, but the blood and viscera in this episode is used for maximum effect; and the tense atmosphere adds to these scenes tenfold. If you’re afraid you’ll be scared by it, I’d recommend checking out the first scene and seeing what you think of it. From that alone you can probably tell whether or not this show will be your cup of tea.
Anyways, the best part about this episode though is the great fight scene at the end. You thought seeing a man’s head open up to form a gaping hole of teeth and saliva was disturbing? Well then how about watching a cute corgi morph into a flying monster! This scene doesn’t last for very long, but it leaves a lasting impression nonetheless. I mean it’s a weird flying dog monster that gets killed by a teenage boy’s right hand which transforms into knives! Creepy… but awesome.
In the end though Kiseijuu seems like it’s going to be a pretty magnificent show! Everything about this show is top of the heap stuff, and it’s clear Madhouse gave an actual crap about giving this manga a proper adaptation; UNLIKE SOME OTHER STUDIOS (Cough cough, World Trigger, cough cough). I definitely recommend it, it’s chilling, amazingly directed and constructed, and an entertaining watch. This is already turning out to be one of the must watch shows this season, you should seriously check it out!