Parasyte Ep. 10: Latent fears

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So this is what it has come to.

— Sometimes, these parasytes don’t seem all that smart despite what we’ve been told about them. Hideo swipes at a bottle of paint thinner, allowing its content to spill on him. Maybe he doesn’t know what paint thinner is, but hey, maybe we shouldn’t just destroy everything that flies at us.

— This allows Yuko (I finally learned her name) to crawl out of a window, then eventually jump down from a ledge. I suppose it makes more sense to risk falling from a tall height than to let some weird alien hack you up, but I thought it was kind of silly how far she managed to fling herself.

— I think I’d personally feel a bit of urgency if I saw a guy looking like this. Maybe the kids in this universe have just grown slightly apathetic since nothing usually ever happens.

— Shinichi suffers a bit of a breakdown when he sees all the students that HIdeo have killed. Essentially, he’s changed, but he’s still human. His pain threshold, both physically and mentally, have increased beyond that of the average person. He can still reach it, however, if the atrocity is great enough. He quickly recovers afterward, but is that because he’s inhuman? Or is it because he wants to protect Satomi, his love interest, at all costs, which is an all-too-human sentiment?

— The thing is, I don’t see it as Shinichi slowly becoming inhuman over the course of the story. Rather, I prefer the idea that he is the synthesis. He is the product of the thesis, i.e. the old Shinichi, and the antithesis, i.e. Migi. So if anything, the new Shinichi is also a new human.

Parasyte - the maxim - 1004

— Shinichi eventually finds Satomi and two other classmates facing and clinging to a corner of a hallway. They’re too traumatized to even run for their lives. I guess I’m now even more impressed with Yuko’s willingness to jump from a tall ledge. In any case, the survivors are going to need therapy for a long, long time. Oh wait, this anime, so there’s no mental healthcare waiting for them. Whoops!

— I mean, c’mon, Shinichi’s dad lost his wife, and no one has even suggested that he go and see a therapist.

— I’d say the two classmates are dumb for suspecting Shinichi since if he really wanted to kill them, he certainly wouldn’t need to put on an act. But again, they’re likely traumatized so whatever. Can’t expect them to think too clearly when their brains are fried.

— The choice of music for this scene is interesting. It’s a sad, solemn piano piece instead of something heart-pumping. Instead of conveying urgency and danger — “We have to get out of here now!” — it says, “Look how tragic this is.” It just goes to show you that Madhouse never really wanted to adapt this as your average bread-and-butter horror story. It’s still a horror story, but a tragic sort of horror story. One that deals more with human failings than creatures that go bump in the night. Although Hideo continues to stalk the hallways of the school like the twisted monster that he really is, the soundtrack makes you feel as though you’re witnessing the aftermath of a school shooting but without the shooting. And perhaps this comparison is more apropos than we think.

— What we essentially have here is an individual who has tried to fit in with the rest of his classmates, but no matter what he did, he kept being harassed by them. Hideo thought he had found a kindred spirit in Shinichi, but Shinichi rejected him, too. Yuko then basically told the sociopath to leave the school and never come back. Naturally, this was the breaking point. And because school shootings are not a thing in Japan, none of the students take it seriously unless they’ve seen Hideo’s atrocities firsthand. Here in the ‘States, a shooter on the loose is probably the first thing that would come to most kids’ minds if their teachers started frantically telling them to evacuate.

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— Oh Cho’Gath, don’t you have anything better to do than murder kids?

— That’s not to say, however, that Hideo is just some misunderstood individual. He’s a bad person through and through. After all, we saw him lure a person into a trap and eat them. There is thus no moral ambiguity here… on the surface, at least. When it comes to subtext, however, it gets a little tricky. I’ll elaborate in a bit.

— Why wouldn’t Satomi ask Shinichi where he was going? Why wouldn’t she worry about his safety enough to ask him to stay by her side?

— Why would you even bother to tell a monstrous-looking figure like this to stop? What are you going to do? Get the monster to surrender and then take it into custody? But if I think of all the times that the police have shot first and asked questions later, I can’t help but wonder if they thought they were seeing a monster too?

— What’s odd is how the story has dehumanized Hideo as the episode unfolded. At first, his thoughts were incoherent, but he still had them. We still got to hear them. At this point, however, his thoughts are completely silent to us. I’m sure he’s still having them, but we no longer get to see what he’s thinking. Again, the story wants to make this as black and white as possible. If we were to hear his thoughts, we might even feel sorry for him. So instead, Hideo’s been reduced to a silent monster who simply stalks the hallways of the school.

— If the parasytes have really come into existence to keep humanity in check, there is surely a better way to go about it than releasing some shape-shifting alien parasite into the air. Why don’t we try, y’know, a deadly disease? At the end of the day, I don’t think it is about that.

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— Yes, the parasytes have landed all around the world, but this isn’t really a story about that. We don’t see nor do we care how, for example, the Chileans are dealing with the parasytes. Rather, this is about Japan, a country thought to have homogeneous population, and how it deals with what it perceives to be a threat from the outside… a foreign threat, if you will. Yes, we see the parasytes murder and feast on other humans. We see that most of the parasytes are inhuman animals, only interested in their own self-preservation. But again, this is a horror story. It’s not meant to be a literal one-for-one translation of what it’s really supposed to be about. In other words, the parasytes are portrayed as dangerous animals because they are a manifestation of society’s latent fears of, well, illegal immigrants. Illegal immigrants, aliens, infiltrating our society, preying upon our kids in our schools, pretending to be us when they can never be true Japanese citizens, taking our jobs… Psst, did you hear that the new teacher is really an alien?

— Why were the parasites put on this planet? Well, why hasn’t anyone said the most obvious answer? It’s to survive, of course. Who knows where the parasytes have come from, but it’s clear that they’ve come here to grow and survive.

— The question isn’t whether or not the parasytes can become like us. While they may eventually learn to adapt to and coexist with human society, they’ll never be human. Rather, it’s whether or not we can love them anyway even though they’ll never be us. In other words, can we love the immigrants anyway even if they’ll never be “truly Japanese.” After the incident with A, the death of Shinichi’s mother, and now this, it may not look like love is in the cards, but Shinichi and Migi are still getting along swimmingly…

— So why did that guy from the previous episode even come up with the theory that humanity is toxic? Well, think about it. If everything in Japan was A-OK, would it need immigrants at all? Of course! Countries these days depend on the labor of immigrants. But that’s not what everyone believes. There are always those people who hold the extreme position that outsiders are not necessary whatsoever. And if we must rely on outsiders, that must be a sign of society’s degradation — perhaps an indictment of our decadence.

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— Seeing that the police have failed to subdue Hideo, Shinichi saves the day by pitching a fastball through the guy’s chest. I just find this choice of action kind of funny. At the end of the day, the outcast — the sociopath who ultimately couldn’t fit in — is defeated by the new, cooler, sports star Shinichi. And hey, what sport is more popular in Japan than baseball?

— “There are rumors that they’re trying to weaponize parasites in the U.S.” Haha, what? I mean, c’mon, if this show isn’t about Japan’s latent fears, then I don’t know what it is.

— And now, a doctor is teaching people who to profile the parasytes. It just makes a lot more sense when you’re dealing with an entirely different species.

— We learn that even though Shinichi had saved her, Satomi continued to ignore his messages to check up on her. Great friends, huh? I suppose she can’t help but wonder if Shinichi is a “monster” too, but it just goes to show you that we judge others too much by what we perceive them to be. Shinichi hasn’t really done anything wrong other than offend her with the puppy thing. In fact, he’s saved her life. She can’t help but keep him at arm’s length, however, because he’s changed. Maybe she’s finally come around now that they’re talking again, but I don’t know…

— So is this a story about puberty, killing one’s mother, becoming a superhero, or illegal immigrants? Well, how about everything? Each arc takes on a different flavor, adding complexity and depth to the story.

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15 thoughts on “Parasyte Ep. 10: Latent fears”

  1. Satomi’s a jerk, she nonchalantly ignored Shinichi’s messages like that, girl, that guy jumped from the fourth floor in order to save you and you can’t even reply his messages? yes I know you’re afraid now that you witnessed a parasyte and you suspect of Shinichi but in my eyes you’re more “inhuman” than him, when I was in school I really felt sad when a friend of mine ignored me, that’s one of the worst way to abuse of a dear one.
    How the hell pulling a friend’s hair became a trend? that shit hurts… just sayin’.
    Good episode nevertheless and great insight, Japan surely is afraid of aliens.

  2. I have to say I really enjoyed your post, especially the part about immigrants, I never thought of these parasites as immigrants just trying to get by of course what they are doing is horrible but if you look at it from a different perspective their actions kind of make sense.

  3. Therapy in the 80s. I guess the adaption could have bought it up but then again therapy in Japan. On that note what country does handle mental health care well seems like they all handle it badly.

  4. I actually felt bad for Hideo he just never got a chance to grow as a part of society. He was instantly rejected by society had his face scarred then killed. Shinichi could have at least reasoned with him the same way he reasoned with Migi before all this happened. He just handled the guy horribly. I mean sure he ate people just to satisfy himself but there was not much of a argument presented to him on why he was wrong. Then in the end he gets killed by the person who was closest like him. His rampage was not even his fault he had lost complete control of himself due to the paint thinner. Never thought a show would make me bad for a mass murdering alien but man I felt bad for Hideo. The police would have eventually killed him just suffered more losses.

    1. I agree. Shinichi continue to be a bigot specieist he is. It’s never “Why does he suddenly start a killing rampage now? It makes no sense!”, but always “He finally shows his true color, that bloodthirsty animal!”.

      You have to forgive him though. A parasyte DID kill his mother after all.

      1. I forgot all about that. Also I love the significance lives have in this series. Way to often do mass killings have no sense of fear or panic to them. No it did not make me feel scarred at all but the execution of it was great.

  5. The way they make that scene…it makes me feel bad for Hideo. He certainly won’t do something like this in normal situation, even though it’s just out of cold logic, and however you look at it, it’s a very slow and painful walk to death. Why does Shinichi ask Migi “do you think Shimada’s at fault here?” I won’t say that he’s innocent: he certaintly kills people. But I think there’s something very tragic in this unfortunate events.

    Nice connection to the free shooting in America school ground and the theme of rejection. It’s an interesting interpretation. And maybe you have a point, because Japanese people sometimes could be a bit “xenophobic” – there’s a strong distinction between the people “inside” and “outside” a circle. In their language for example, there’re tons of subtle nuances about the different expressions to use to each group, which troubles foreigners studying Japanese a lot. Japanese themselves know this, I think, as from what I remember their artists mention this in their works pretty often.

  6. I found your interpretation of paraystes as immigrants quite interesting. In Japan there is discrimination against people of Korean and Chinese descent living there. They are often portrayed as the ones most likely to commit a crime. From just one glance, you can’t really differentiate (I’m East Asian, too… I can hardly tell them apart), but people notice there is something “off” about them. They try hard to fit in (even as far as getting a “Japanese” name) so they won’t be discriminated against… etc. etc.

    Racism within Japan really isn’t really addressed in manga/anime so I found what you wrote really refreshing… (Portrayal of ethnic minorities isn’t that common either, but that is a different story.)

  7. As a Japanese I do agree that your analogy works. However, if the analogy works on us, it means it works on any other society for some extent.
    When there is discrimination against people of Korean and Chinese, it means there is discrimination from them towards the Japanese too. (The question which is worse or who started first is useless)
    Your post had a good amount of stereotipic view on Japan this time. While you try harder to explain stuff from a social issue I could see you where feeling safe that you have someone to look down on. It’s the same sadness when “The Cove” received the Academy Award.The Japanese were depicted as a mere dolfin-eating monster in that movie. We know how it feels to be treated like a parasite, thank you.
    I’m not going to deny about social issues in Japan. But is this anime really just about it?
    I want to hear what you thought about the story, not about the Japanese.

    PS.Go read the manga. I think everything was written and shown better than the anime.
    I’m sure you will have less stuff to nitpick at.
    And yes moe sucks.

    1. You’re being rather defensive. I never said anywhere that other countries do not have their own problems with immigration. I never even said that Japanese society as a whole is fearful of illegal immigrants.

      However, if the analogy works on us, it means it works on any other society for some extent.

      This is an anime about Japanese people, so I’m going to focus on Japan. I’m not going to talk about Europe’s ongoing problems with the Muslim population in a Parasyte post. Hell, if anything, my point is that the anime wants to convince us that hating the Other is wrong.

      Your post had a good amount of stereotipic view on Japan this time

      If this post was about America, I’d just as easily say, “America has latent fears about illegal Mexicans.” Obviously, not everyone in America is fearful of illegal Mexicans stealing their jobs, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to couch my point with pointless phrases like “Not all Americans!!!” Likewise, I’m not going sit here and go, “Not all Japanese believe this!!!” Anyone who is sensible knows that the the majority of the country is not hateful or xenophobic. I’m not here to babysit people who are easily offended because I’m not spelling everything out to the point of absurdity. Nevertheless, it seems that we’ve hit quite a nerve.

      While you try harder to explain stuff from a social issue I could see you where feeling safe that you have someone to look down on.

      Haha, are you serious? You don’t even know what ethnicity I am nor why I have such an interest in such a topic.

      I’m not going to deny about social issues in Japan. But is this anime really just about it?

      “– So is this a story about puberty, killing one’s mother, becoming a superhero, or illegal immigrants? Well, how about everything? Each arc takes on a different flavor, adding complexity and depth to the story.”

      But whatever, bro. You believe what you want to believe.

      I’m sure you will have less stuff to nitpick at.

      There it is! I’m just “nitpicking.” We can just invalidate everything above because you have arbitrarily decided that I’ve crossed some threshold for criticism and interpretation.

  8. this guy had some observations that in Japan therapy is way less accepted or available than the west.

    He may not be up to date (I’m not either, just a couple of articles that I read) that in the west therapy has been treding away from talk therapy for a long time.

  9. It has always bothered me a little how characters in anime overcome their problems. Of course, there are cases when psychological therapy isn’t an option, sometimes because of the nature/context of the show (I mean you don’t expect the main character of a shounen to go to a psychiatrist). But even with animes that aren’t completely divorced with reality you rarely have one that shows therapy as a way to treat your problems, hell, sometimes it doesn’t even get mentioned. I know very little about Japan but I suppose that this can be related to be a shame-based culture and what you explained in one of your answer in ask.fm.

    Is there any reason to use Chile as an example or is just because is a rather unknown country? I ask because you have used it as an example in other occasion too and I’m extra curious because I’m chilean.

    Great reading by the way!

  10. Those two students getting scared of him and running away like that was…kinda dumb. I understand if they were shocked that he seems to be too calm about seeing dead bodies but being scared of him?

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