Parasyte -the maxim-, one of the best anime series to grace the autumn ‘14 and winter ’15 seasons, has finally arrived on home video in the UK from Animatsu Entertainment. Parasyte -the maxim- is an anime adaptation, from studio Madhouse, of Hitoshi Iwaaki’s Parasyte manga. Following on from the two live-action adaptations that Animatsu Entertainment released recently, Parasyte -the maxim- Collection 1 comes on both Blu-ray and DVD forms as well as a very attractive Deluxe Edition (you can see our unboxing here).
When Parasyte -the maxim- was announced as part of Crunchyroll’s streaming line-up back in 2014, I was immediately interested. Rarely do we get adaptations of older titles; this is more so true of horror titles, which are often few and far between. Thankfully this absolute gem was adapted, streamed, and is now getting a home video release in the UK. Now, I’m not familiar with the source material but I’m definitely keen to get stuck in when I can.
“They arrived in silence and darkness, descending from the skies with a hunger for human flesh. Parasites – alien creatures who must invade and take control of a human host to survive – have come to Earth. No one knows their secret except high school student, Shinichi Izumi, who’s right hand has been invaded by an alien parasite. Shinichi and Migi, the parasite in his hand, begrudgingly form a friendship and find themselves caught in the middle of a war between humans and parasites.” – Animatsu Entertainment
The whole concept of a parasite life-form attaching itself to a human and taking over the brain is a pretty common horror/sci-fi trope, John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982) being a classic example. This in itself can make for quite the fun little horror series but Parasyte goes further than that and focuses on the parasites’ attempts at integrating into society. Their initial instinct is to eat humans but some, especially in the case of Reiko Tamura, otherwise known as Ryōko Tamiya, have taken great steps to blend in to society. This extends to going as far as practising coitus and eating human food; these parasites of higher intelligence are wary of Shinichi, our main character, and his parasite Migi. Because Migi never managed to take over Shinichi’s mind, forced to settle in the right hand, they are both viewed with interest and suspicion by other parasites. Being dependant on Shinichi’s nutrients through the bloodstream, Migi, in his best interest, works with Shinichi in order to survive.
What I find most enjoyable about Parasyte is that even though Shinich is going through this huge life-changing situation, encountering monsters and so on, the story stays rooted in his personal relationships and responsibilities. He continues to attend school and does his best to keep the people he cares about away from danger. A lot of series tend to go for the more fantastical and over the top approach where real-world relationships and responsibility are cast aside without a care. Parasyte, however, does a fantastic job of toeing the line of believable and I can’t praise it enough for that.
The animation quality of Parasyte -the maxim- is fantastic and works really well with the art style. The action is clean and crisp, fight scenes are fast faced and epic, kudos to Madhouse for such a visual treat. Given the show’s theme, it’s good to have a more adult-oriented art style as opposed to what we’re used to seeing on a regular basis. I really like the 80’s styled character designs, it feels fresh and new. In an era of generic clone-like main characters, it’s a welcome change to see something different. I’m glad Madhouse decided to go this route rather than redesign the characters from scratch. Of course, the characters have been updated but still, stay largely true to their manga counterparts from what I’ve seen.
I usually find soundtracks in anime a little hit and miss, some I won’t even notice because they lack any impact and others are just too good. Parasyte sits more towards to the good side, while the tracks don’t exactly jump out at you, their subtlety really brings some scenes together. The opening theme “Let Me Hear” by Fear, and loathing in Las Vegas is really good, definitely one that you’ll be watching each episode. The ending theme is “It’s the Right Time” by Daichi Miura and is a much more upbeat and slower-paced song that is also fairly decent.
Extras on disc are a little underwhelming if I’m honest and only included Clean Opening and Closing Animations and a selection of trailers of other Sentai Filmworks titles. Hopefully, we’ll see a little more in the way of extras come collection two. However, if you’re planning to pick up the awesome Parasyte -the maxim- Deluxe Edition then you’ll be the owner of a nice little microfiber cloth, tattoo set and an exclusive Migi Be@arbrick figure. There are only 1,000 units of the Deluxe Edition, so be quick if you plan to pick one up. You can see our unboxing of the Parasyte -the maxim- Deluxe Edition here.
Parasyte -the maxim- collection one is a fantastic watch and I’m eagerly awaiting collection two. It’s hard not to see how Parasyte is as highly rated as it is because it features a great story, soundtrack and animation. If you’re a fan of horror/sci-fi then you need to watch Parasyte or if you just looking for something new to try then Parasyte will not disappoint.