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.
— 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.
— 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.
— 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.
— 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.