Parasyte Ep. 13: Detached

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Detachable Migi is the best Migi.

— So what did Shinichi want to do? Tell Satomi that he had canceled on their movie plans to try and save Kana? I suspect she probably already knows about it, but like most anime characters, I suspect she’ll bury her insecurities until they become too much to bear. Point is, she’s going to explode on Shinichi again some day. The only question is when.

— Looks like some man is following our hero around. Kana’s father looking for answers? An investigator hired by her family? A reporter looking for the next big story?

— The politician and his parasyte friends are undoubtedly bad guys. Not only that, Shinichi’s worst nightmares are confirmed: they are setting up safe zones to allow their kind to safely eat humans. This isn’t really coexisting with humans, and as I have mentioned in a previous post, at some point, all the missing persons cases will have to arouse someone’s suspicion, shouldn’t it? It looks like they’ve got quite a few parasytes with them, and that’s a lot of mouths to feed. The body count — or rather, the lack thereof — has got to be stacking up.

— Plus, I’m a little disappointed that we’re now halfway through the series, but we haven’t met a single full-fledged parasyte that has decided to make the sacrifice and eat non-human food. Mamoru and his buddy are different, but like Migi, Jaw can just sustain itself off of what his host eats.. Everyone else, on the other hand, has been relentlessly eating humans. They’ve even gone so far as to win an election to facilitate this! I mean, if the future of the parasytes is truly at stake, then it seems the safest thing to do is to bite the bullet and just learn to eat other things. But then again, I suppose someone could ask us why, after so many years, most of us haven’t taken the bullet and become vegetarians…

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— It’s interesting to hear one of them remark that the dead parasyte was an animal for giving in to his hunger. How are they distinguishing themselves from “animals?” Is it their logic and intelligence that sets them apart? I ask this, because some people would distinguish themselves from animals through their ability to be moral. We haven’t seen a parasyte entertain such a idea, though. On the one hand, they’re like this new species that has suddenly attained intelligence out of nowhere, so in a way, they’re still earning the ropes. It’s asking quite a bit of a newly intelligent species to pontificate on moral quandaries, especially with regards to their own actions.

On the other hand, the ones like Migi are devourers of human knowledge. At some point, they must have come across all sorts of moral teachings — from Confucianism, which is still deeply embedded in many aspects of modern East Asian cultures, to the various ethical positions found in Western analytical philosophy. Why is it that they haven’t comment on any of it? You can’t argue that they are logic-bound creatures, and as a result, they don’t concern themselves with ethics, because a lot of these ethical positions, especially in the West, are designed to appeal to one’s logic. Kant’s categorical imperative, for instance…

— Anyway, the group now views Shinichi as a threat, but for the time being, Reiko convinces them to let her take care of the matter herself.

— Reiko has already given birth to her child, and during the day, she has hired some unassuming old lady to take care of the baby. At one point, the baby is crying uncontrollably when Reiko returns home. She grabs the baby by its head — luckily, she doesn’t try to lift it up — and commands it to stop crying… and it does so. Maybe the truth is, the baby’s just happy that its mom is back. Nevertheless, Reiko apathetically remarks that she has trained it well, and this behavior naturally disturbs the nanny.

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Okay, two things. First, for someone who is very concerned about the future of the parasytes, why does it seem like Reiko fails to notice how freaked out the nanny is? Second, and this is related to the first point, for someone who tries to fit in with human society, this is a bizarre thing for Reiko to do. In all her research, she’s never noticed that nobody commands a baby in such a way? I just find her actions here inconsistent with her previous characterization. I mean, if she had issued her command to the baby in private, it’d be no big deal, but for her to be so blase about her behavior around another human being… it just doesn’t jive with me.

— Oh well. Reiko says that she wants to experiment on her own child, but she wants it to grow up a bit before she’ll do that. This seems to imply that a baby wouldn’t survive what she has in mind for her experiments. Nevertheless, will Reiko end up bonding with her child as a result of this?

— Many people, including Shinichi, will insist that the parasytes are emotionless creatures, and as such, someone like Reiko is incapable of bonding with her own child. But y’know, a lot of our behaviors are instinctual. And again, the parasytes are a species in its infancy. It hasn’t had to luxury to be instinctual about anything. There’s nothing to suggest that over time, a parasyte like Reiko can’t attain maternal instincts.

— We learn that the man from earlier had been hired by Reiko to observe Shinichi. He finds nothing out of the ordinary about our hero, though. As a result, Reiko sends a bunch of hooligans to pick a fight with Shinichi. Of course, he beats them up and does it rather easily. It’s almost like Reiko is more concerned with convincing her investigator that Shinichi isn’t ordinary.

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— Yuko is predictably put-off by Shinichi’s behavior, but I don’t think find his lack of emotions all that bizarre. Not everyone reacts to tragedy the same way. Not everyone will cry or fall into a depression because a friend has died. This is especially true of guys who are often told by everyone around them to man up and not show their emotional vulnerabilities to the world at-large.

— I think the sad truth is that a lot of men will react to the death of a loved one much like Shinichi: distant and cold. It could be that he’s good at burying his true feelings these days, but you never know if they’ll resurface at one point and overwhelm him. We don’t exactly know how he’s coping. We just know that he simply is.

— You know what’s even more bizarre? Good friends not asking Shinichi how he feels. If he’s being cold, why don’t you… y’know… ask him about it?

— Ah, it seems that Reiko wants to induce Migi out of hiding. Her investigator is always filming Shinichi, after all, and if Migi ever shows himself to the world, the man would no doubt have it on film. If Shinichi’s a threat to the parasytes, having footage of Shinichi’s deepest secret is great leverage. Knowing that Shinichi can now beat people up without directly relying upon Migi, however, Reiko is more intrigued by her subject matter than ever.

— We finally see Shinichi’s father again, but he’s busy working on something in his room. I guess the guy’s already over the death of his wife. Or if he isn’t, the story doesn’t feel the need to address it in anyway. I’m still disappointed, however, that they played up his tragedy and loss only to abruptly ditch it.

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— Our hero returns to the scene of Kana’s death to try and let her tragedy sink in. He wants to mourn her death. Unfortunately for both him and Migi, the investigator spots the latter. Migi’s first instinct (the parasytes have at least that) is to kill the man, but Shinichi literally holds his buddy back. I know our hero is a goody-two-shoes, but what does he intend to do if his secret gets out? Will he accept being on the lam, ’cause he won’t be able to live his normal, high school life if the investigator ever tells anyone else about what he’s seen. I mean, Migi’s not wrong

— One option is to just destroy the camera. Then it’ll be the investigator’s word against Shinichi. For people who have already suspected that something’s off about our hero — like Satomi, for instance — this will just confirm it in their minds that Shinichi is tainted in some way. But for the vast majority of the people on the planet, he’d be safe for now.

— Shinichi: “We can’t kill a human being, no matter what the reason!” Uhhhhh… that’s just foolish.

— The next day, a paranoid Shinichi doesn’t even say hi to Satomi as he rushes to class. At this point, I dare say he should just stop worrying about romantic relationships altogether, because it’s clear he’s got too much on his plate to be a good boyfriend. Few people would ever admit that, though.

— After school, Shinichi starts to freak out for a second… before he calms down again. He then laments the fact that it’s always like this nowadays. He always calms down, and this seems to imply that there’s something inhuman about him.

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But if you talk to anyone who’s afflicted with anxiety, they would love to have what Shinichi has. I’m personally not a very anxious person, but I’ve been told it’s like having your own mind attack itself, and there’s nothing you can do to convince yourself that everything’s going to be okay. So I don’t know, I think Shinichi’s is taking his gifts for granted. I don’t think being human means you have to be an anxious ball of anxiety. Why can’t he be a human in other ways? Take, for instance, his unrelenting bias that he can’t harm any humans for any reason whatsoever, but he seems to have no qualms in believing that the parasytes are guilty until proven otherwise. That’s a pretty human flaw if you ask me…

— Shinichi calls Satomi all the way out to the park — y’know, where it’s not safe and someone could be listening in on them — just to talk. It’s not like people have cellphones, the internet, or anything…

— Satomi wonders why Shinichi doesn’t tell her everything. I don’t recall her, however, ever asking him to tell her everything. If she has, then the story has dropped the ball and failed to convey this. If she hasn’t, and she merely expects him to just voluntarily spill his guts to her, then she’s being a hypocrite, because she has held onto her own misgivings about him all this time. Yes, she’s now asking him directly, but this sort of thing should’ve been done with a defter hand. Satomi could have coaxed the truth out of Shinichi this entire time. Instead, she just dumps everything on the guy at the same time. Is it any surprise that his first instincts are to dig deep and say nothing?

— Still, like I’ve said, he can’t really be a good boyfriend right now. That’s not an indictment on his character. Lots of people will have shit to deal with, and as a result, they can’t be there for others. Simply being busy with life is enough for many couples to put their relationships on hold.

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The truth is, good, healthy relationships require a lot of work and attention, and Shinichi just can’t be there for Satomi. He should let her go for both his sake and hers as well. He should sort his own life out, before he even entertains the idea of being with someone else. I doubt he’ll come to that conclusion, though.

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6 thoughts on “Parasyte Ep. 13: Detached

  1. John

    Maybe the corect explanation for the reason why Shinichi and the people around him are feeling uncomfortable about how he acts right now should be the difference between his current and previous behavior.

    Sure, the anime tries to explain it as a lack of humanity, but when you think of it in this way it makes more sense. He used to be really weak and sensitive and now he can bottle up his emotions and act cool in the face of most situations.

    Reply
    1. Valerie

      I agree, I think the reason people seem to find him weird is because he changed so much in such a short time. It would have been fine if it was years later his friends or classmates, found him acting different.

      Plus, a teenager acting so mature is not common.

      Reply
    2. E Minor Post author

      It’s not really about looking for an explanation for why Shinichi turns people off. We already know that he had a sudden shift in personality. I’m merely pointing out that calming yourself down quickly is nothing weird in and of itself.

      Reply
      1. John

        I totally agree that it’s not weird, but I think this explanation could be extended to this fact and to how he feels about himself.

        In other words, it’s not weird from an absolute perspective, but considering who he was before, he is feeling weirded out by his own changes.

        Reply
        1. E Minor Post author

          I guess I just take a laid back approach to changes. Oh, you’re now super calm? Unless you actually hurt someone, it doesn’t really matter to me how you’ve changed. And that’s why I don’t approach Shinichi’s changes with the same trepidation. Yeah, he’s different, but it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. He’s still a good person. All this drama is just a storm in a tea cup.

  2. Pia

    Ryoko’s behavior is unbelievable, was too difficult for her to pretend love her son? she should know how susceptible humans are, to be foolishly risking her identity to be discovered, yeah I know she can change her face and anything but it’s a chore to start a new life over and over again, is almost like the show is trying to convey that parasytes can’t be anything but adaptable heartless human flesh eaters and ultimately evil.

    Reply

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