Hey everyone! It’s been a while, again… Yeah, sorry for being late for this Kiseijuu post, finals happened, and as we all know, finals are annoying. So anyways, how has Kiseijuu been recently? Well it’s been a little bit disappointing to be honest. I mean don’t get me wrong, these three episodes of Kiseijuu definitely aren’t bad in the traditional sense, and when compared to most schlock out there, they’re still well above average. However, when compared to the rest of the series, these episodes just aren’t as well made. The writing takes a lot of cliché turns, and in general they really don’t showcase Kiseijuu at its best.
I feel like the main reason for this is the focus and conclusion of the Kana subplot I complained about in the last post. For any of those who need a refresher, I don’t like Kana much is due to her mostly being a part of the show’s lackluster romantic drama subplot, which really is not Kiseijuu’s strength. Kiseijuu is always more interesting when it’s focusing on its themes of animalistic vs. humanistic instincts and perceptions, not when it deals with Shinichi’s crippling heartbreak over not being able to convey his feelings toward Murano. It also probably doesn’t help that Kana is a pretty boring character. She’s a girl with weird sixth sense abilities and she has sexual dreams about Shinichi; and that’s really about it!
It also probably doesn’t help that her basic purpose for the story is to be a massive plot device that helps Shinichi develop more as a character! You see in episodes 11 and 12 we learn that Kana’s psychic abilities are beginning to become more and more powerful, with her eventually being able to emit a signal that is similar to that of a parasite (They still never explain how she does this by the way). Shinichi of course tries to stop her from conversing with him and other parasites, but she’s so enamored with him that she tries to find his individual signal from miles away, which leads her to her death in the same place that Shinichi confessed about his right hand. Ew…
Pretty much everything about this part of the story grosses me out. They tried to do the Gwen Stacy death from Spider Man here, but it comes off as really uncomfortable in a lot of ways. I think it’s mostly due to the fact that Kana near the end basically becomes a stalker, which raises some unnerving sexist subtext; and then she just gets offed from the plot in order to send Shinichi into a psychological breakdown. Maybe this could have worked better if Kana had any character traits in lieu of her otherwise empty personality, but that obviously didn’t happen here.
I can’t help but think there must have been a better way to do this, like maybe having Murano die instead, or having Shinichi accidently kill a human, just anything that didn’t involve creating a character solely for the purpose of dying! Yes, I know this stuff came from the original manga, but that doesn’t mean that Madhouse doesn’t have the ability to modernize some of the more outdated parts of the story. They already did that with the soundtrack and character designs, so why not tweak this small plot point? As it stands though, this is definitely the lowest point in Kiseijuu’s good track record.
Of course I can’t end the post there, so let’s list off the remaining and consistent positives. The animation is still competent, if not a little messier, and the direction is as spot on as ever. Kiseijuu has also finally gotten rid of most of the dub-step pieces from its soundtrack at this point, so the music seems much more fitting than it used to. I also like how the show is still introducing interesting ways the parasites are integrating with human society, such as the new mayor of Shinichi’s hometown being a parasite himself.
And for a final comment, I liked how the show ended Hideo Shimada’s subplot. I thought his death wasn’t foreshadowed very well, but him loosing connection with his attack cells leading him to slaughter a bunch of students at Shinichi’s school was a powerful way to go out. It showed the brutality of his characters, and opened a lot of cool avenues to show how the Japanese government would deal with the parasite invasion. Which basically was making it so that people start to pull out strands of hair from every person you meet as a greeting exchange. Not only is it a thing that parasites might adopt into their habits, but if the hairs try to reattach to their owners head then it proves their a parasite. Of course the parasites catch onto this pretty quickly, but I thought it was a cool and realistic idea about how the government would try to protect its people nonetheless.
Sadly though these past few episodes of Kiseijuu haven’t been very good. Once again, I don’t think they could be considered bad, but they definitely weren’t up to par when compared with the rest of the show. And all of the problems really just come down to the way the show treated Kana as a character! She wasn’t interesting due to her limited personality, and so she just ended up feeling like a piece of the plot, which is never a good thing in character writing. I would like to say the ends justified the means in this case, but I can’t. No character deserves to be treated like a pawn in a game of chess.
Anyways I’ll see you soon with another post on Kiseijuu. Until then though, I bid you adieu!