Oh Kiseijuu, how you disappoint me. Yep, after a long delay, I’m finally back to cover the ending of this show. Now I’m not going to lie, despite the fact that I’m going to say a lot of harsh things about it, I want to make one thing clear: Kiseijuu isn’t terrible. I don’t think it’s a masterpiece of fiction, but it still has a lot of good elements that make it a nice thriller (Elements which I will be mentioning in this post). However, that still doesn’t mean I don’t feel burned by the dip in quality this thing took. The first half had some of my favorite moments from any show that aired last year, and for it to all end on a whimper, well, it’s depressing. Still there’s plenty to talk about, so let’s get this show on the road!
I feel like the major problem with these final episodes, besides the godawful final episode, would definitely have to be the amount of dark content they cram in here. The most egregious example would definitely be the parasyte genocide in episodes 19-21. While I did like the twist with the mayor Hirokawa turning out to be a human working with the parasites, nothing else had any bite to it. There is just no subtlety to the message here, and sure, the beginning of the series wasn’t necessarily all that sneaky with its subtext either, but at least they weren’t constantly making the humans pointlessly kill people to make a point.
Edgey is the perfect description to the content of this story sequence, since the government soldiers here just kill anyone in sight for cheap shock drama. You could make an argument that this would happen in real life, especially if there were parasitic aliens that could blend in with everyone else, but shooting their guns in a room full of civilians? Nope, you just cut off my suspension of disbelief right there. It also doesn’t help that the show keeps going back to Uragami, a serial killer who can sense parasites, just to have him spout monologues about how humans are just like parasites. We get it, the humans are mercilessly killing people, and so do the parasites. I see the parallel you’re making Kiseijuu, you don’t need to spell it out for me.
Still none of that is quite as bad as the final episode, which feels utterly tacked on. The episode consists of two sections, Migi and Shinichi having monologues about the message of the show, and Uragami showing up last minute. To be honest, this episode really isn’t the worst one in the show. Migi’s decision to do some self-exploration while in deep hibernation does it’s job well plotwise, and the optimistic counterpoint about how humans really care about life even if they can sometimes abuse it really helps elevate this episode past the pointless grit of previous episodes. Of course that doesn’t mean much since it still p***ed me off!
First there’s Shinichi’s recap of every single theme in the show, which is not only redundant, but also extremely cheesy. As soon as it started showing the montage of living animals killing other creatures, I thought, IT’S THE CIRCLE OF LIFE! AHEY YEH YEH! AND IT MOVES US ALL! Because, at the end of the day, that’s basically what the message of the show boils down to. We’re all just animals acting in self interest, so other creatures killing people isn’t something we should be disgusted by because, well, it’s all part of the circle of life. This final exploration just lands with a deafening thud, coming off as neither compelling nor complex.
Then there’s the second half, oh boy, oh boy, is their the second half. You remember that Uragami guy I mentioned earlier, well he comes back for one last confrontation with Shinichi. He kidnaps Murano and then proceeds to have his own overly long monologue about how humans are the way they are today because they killed others to get to the top. Shinichi and Murano of course reject this, and Shinichi runs toward Uragami in hopes of saving Murano. She then falls off the building, and Migi wakes up briefly to save her. I HATE THIS ENDING SCENE! Maybe it’s because I’m tired of the long monologues, or maybe it’s because they almost killed off the last slightly developed female character in the cast, but I almost rage quit near the end of this scene. In general, this final episode was all the worst aspects of Kiseijuu rolled into one big ball of bleh. Flatly delivered exposition, a damsel in distress, and going back to old ideas that were already wrapped up pretty well.
That being said, Kiseijuu has always had it’s good moments, and the two penultimate episodes definitely had some nice highlights. For example, I liked the final fight scenes. They were pretty tense, and while the death of Goto was kind of rushed, Shinichi’s facial expressions and final actions conveyed more about the show’s message than that slog of a final episode ever did. We also got to see a cool philosophical old anime lady in episode 22 to, so that was a lot of fun. The animation is also rather nice here. After being away from the show for show long, I kind of forgot how nice the character designs and fluidity are.
Overall though, I got pretty salty near the end of Kiseijuu. For something that had such great potential, this adaptation just didn’t make enough changes to really bring out the best of the story. The final half drags way too much, Kana’s arc feels utterly useless in retrospect, and that final episode should have been completely rewritten. And yet, I can’t say it was really that bad, it’s just kind of underwhelming. So yeah, if you’re looking for something to kill time over a long vacation, I can’t say this is a particularly bad choice… But then again, you could be watching something much better instead.