Posted on 26 March 2015 with categories: Parasyte

Parasyte, along with Gugure Kokkuri-San, are the only two shows from the last season that I’ve actually finished, and that’s actually saying quite a lot–seeing as how I haven’t been watching (much less blogging) anime at all this past season. However, I figured I should at least write a final review for Parasyte, just because it’d been such a consistent and solid series.

A lot of time in this series is spent building up Shinichi’s humanity (or rather his loss of it) as he meets a creature named Migi. It’s not even anywhere near as slow paced as Shiki, another anime similar in theme and story, but this show still puts emphasis on creating an atmosphere to draw the viewer in, and this is also what makes this show good; the contrast between surprisingly relatable characters, and the really intense scenes.

Most of the time with a lot of mediocre horror shows, the directors spend almost no time on the less significant characters, and Parasyte was no exception at first. Yet what separated this from the others was that this series fixed a lot of its initial problems very well over 24 episodes. I mentioned several months ago how Shinichi wasn’t a very good character to show the gradual loss of humanity because we didn’t know him at all before he met Migi–but as we saw more of his own humanity, we saw Shinichi turn into a much more self-reflective character for the better. In addition, his change as a character is so completely different from early on that it’s commendable that the producers did it so seamlessly. Migi, on the other hand (excuse the pun, I had to make it), was an amazing character from start to finish, and it was interesting to see his character wrestle with problems that were the exact opposite of Shinichi’s in that he gradually learns what it means to value human compassion. Because of that, the ending was great in that Migi, the initial source of Shinichi’s inhumanity, saves Satomi’s life through a spur of human compassion–a very fitting ending, I have to say.

The show has great control over every climax. It evolves very nicely as we learn what’s going on with the characters, and loves to drop random tense encounters with the Parasytes everywhere–which really spices up its scenarios. Because of this, Reiko was definitely a highlight throughout the entire series. While this show doesn’t answer everything like the lingering questions about the parasites, the closure it gives at the end does wrap things up well. So in the end, Parasyte remains a thrilling “horror” story that never really dragged on longer than it needed to.

Final Verdict: 82.5/100

Storytelling: 7/10 – Lots of action, and does this well, knowing how to balance it out with its plot.
Characters: 10/10 – Simple, but effective and likable.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Alright soundtrack. Animation has a lot of weaknesses, but still remains pretty solid for an action series.
Setting: 8/10 – The backstory actually does what it needs to do to make this series interesting for a full 24 episodes.

Ultimately, I gave this show an 82.5/100 because of all of the great qualities I’ve already raved about above–yet the fact that it fumbled the pacing of the first handful of episodes as well as the existence of Shiki, which accomplished what Parasyte did and even went above and beyond in just the span of 22 episodes (excluding the OVAs) means I just can’t see myself giving it the 9/10 I would’ve initially given it. However, it goes without saying but 8/10 is not a low score by any means, I’d recommend it to anyone.

Suggestions:

Shiki

Posted on 11 November 2014 with categories: Parasyte

Let me put up a disclaimer: When I first started to review this series, I didn’t foresee the obvious outcome that this show would end up so mediocre. I debated whether or not I should write reviews in groups of 2-3 episodes versus reviews that would drone on about the same issues every single episode, and I ultimately decided on the former. Parasyte is yet another anomaly- because while the pacing and story are solid as hell, various weaknesses in character development and a total failure to create an effective setting ultimately bring the show down.

First, I think we can all agree that Migi is by far the best character in this show. But besides him, who else do I genuinely care about? Shinichi’s “dehumanization” continues to occur far too rapidly for us to care about it very much, yet the writers seem to keep beating us over the head with evidence that he’s changing- when Mr. A is approaching Shinichi in episode four, Shinichi feels strong remorse about having to kill A, even though he ultimately kills him out of self-defense. So I was initially under the impression that Shinichi doesn’t want to kill any organism regardless of their threat level, because his actions had demonstrated that very same idea up to that point. However, when a pregnant Miss Ryoko is literally causing zero harm to anyone, all of a sudden, Shinichi wants to kill her- what a textbook definition of beating us over the head with character development.

This also directly correlates with the failure to create tension whenever Shinichi goes outdoors.  With a premise as this reminiscent of vampires, there was so much potential here. Although this is obviously a minor issue in comparison to something like character development, creating an unnerving tension whenever Shinichi goes outside to interact with other humans would take the story this show seeks to tell and drastically further push the narrative. How awesome would it have been, had the writers shown Shinichi suspecting every person he saw in the city simply because one of them might be a parasyte? Because so far, the only things that remind us that there are other parasytes out there are the “boss fights” we get every episode.

Overall, although I’ve only listed the negative aspects of the show fron episodes 3-5, the parts this show does right remains the same as what I wrote for my episode 2 review. Regardless, the soundtrack is definitely now a problem- the big emotional reveal in the fifth episode was ruined for me because of the badly composed dubstep (a genre of music that I normally enjoy.) Ultimately, the positives and negatives of this show make this series a fairly average one so far.

Posted on 16 October 2014 with categories: Parasyte

Before I continue reviewing this anime, let me put up a disclaimer: I will be discussing the anime of Parasyte, not the manga. If you want to talk about spoilers, I recommend you go to a site that will talk about those things. Don’t be an ass and discuss spoilers down in the comments, because I will delete them immediately. It’s been a long time since I read the manga anyways. Thanks.

Now, this episode focuses on Izumi’s character and gives further insight into Migi’s idiosyncrasies, while attempting to show Izumi’s exponential dehumanization. However at this point, it’s much too early in the series for me to take Izumi’s “dark side”seriously, because we still don’t know enough about his normal personality in order for us to really care about the change. However, this episode does do a pretty good job of showing the symbiotic relationship Izumi and Migi have been forced into, and I can very much see Migi becoming my favorite character of 2014.

Either way, this second episode was definitely weaker than the first, because although a lot of things did happen in this episode, nothing really occurred that really progressed the story. We get some drama with Izumi’s character and see yet another Parasite, but it just lays down the thematic elements this show seeks to talk about, like humanism and the concept of duality, nothing more. To its credit though, the directing was well done, and the animation complements the campy premise quite nicely, turning the story believable and rather immersive.

Overall, although this episode was weaker than the first, it isn’t a bad episode by any means, I want to make that clear. If Madhouse can keep up the solid work and tweak the issues that I listed, this can easily become my favorite show of the season.

Posted on 9 October 2014 with categories: Gugure! Kokkuri-San, Parasyte, Shingeki no Bahamut, Some Quick First Impressions

Shingeki no Bahamut: Genesis

Short Synopsis: Our lead character is a bounty hunter.
Impressions: This show gets how to make a first episode, Keiichi Satou does a superb job in introducing us to the world of Mistarcia. The various character introductions are just as well done, and the 17th Century Spain-like setting really sets the tone for the anime. The anime borrows the styles of some of my favorite Westerns and swashbuckler films, like Ivanhoe, True Grit, Three Musketeers, and The Master of Ballantrae, which I cannot praise enough for having the balls to do. This episode showed me that the series knows how to borrow those styles correctly, and as a fan of 20th Century Westerns & swashbucklers myself, I appreciated the homage. On top of that, this series really knows that it’s an anime, and you can see a lot of personality in the characters which I thought that even some Westerns lacked. This episode had a lot of things happen in 20 minutes or so, but it knows how to pace itself relatively well, using that time in the most optimal manner to show as much personality in the characters as it possibly could.  Lastly, I feel like I have to mention the soundtrack, which is yet another great homage to my favorite Spanish films from the 50’s and 70’s.

ED: A nice listen.

Potential: 90%

Parasyte

Short Synopsis: Our lead character’s right hand becomes sentient
Impressions: Okay, the marketing department really did this anime injustice; the trailer for this show sucked and pretty much failed to garner much interest (aside from fans of the manga/people who pay attention to these things). However, who cares? The first episode was great, and despite the complaints pouring in from the raging idiots about the “modernized” character designs, the animation and art were very solid. Other than that, I just need to see that the creators know what they’re doing going forward. The episode had it’s problems, but at the same time, I saw clear efforts on the part of Kenichi Shimuzu  in making this story resonate with today’s audiences to the best of his budget. Both the pacing & character introductions were very well done, succeeding without having to put in much dialogue between the characters themselves-which ultimately allowed tons of things to happen in just one episode. It’s quite a shame, really, that this sub-genre of horror (with the exception being the works of Junji Ito) hasn’t been done very well since 95′, because it’s still pretty much uncharted territory at this point. Hell, there is real potential here.

OP: Not really my kind of song.

ED: Safe

Potential: 85%

 

Gugure! Kokkuri-san

Short Synopsis: Our lead character summons Kokkuri-san.
Impressions: Okay, so this show knows how to use the comedic formula, a pleasant surprise after being months without a decent comedy since Spring. Regardless, I  have to point out the fact that this appears to be one of those comedies that are VERY hit-or-miss. I’ve read about people on forums being put off by it’s deadpan humor and the shortage of background music-which I found rather appealing, because the anime quickly sets the tone for itself within the first half of the episode. Unlike the manga, which is rather episodic in nature as all 4koma tend to be, the anime manages to keep itself from appearing too episodic, smoothly transitioning between one deadpan comedy sequence to the next. So in that sense, I was relatively pleased; the episode is largely consistent in it’s humor. Really, the only faults I can find is that it is rather boring at times, and the jokes are occasionally under delivered, leaving these uncomfortable moments when I’m trying to figure out if I was supposed to have laughed or not . For what it is worth though, the episode is fairly solid, and it might turn out to be a relatively strong comedy…But I do worry about the jokes drying up, although that’s likely an unnecessary concern, seeing how there are much more characters yet to be introduced.

ED: Bit annoying, actually.

Potential: 70%

 

Cross Ange

Short Synopsis: Our lead character is yet another Princess.
Impressions: Of course, what a great impression to make, starting off your main character’s introduction with fan service. The episode starts off with a terrible cg battle, then takes a few steps back in the timeline to fully introduce our heroine, who is yet another princess. Frankly, after the Martian princess from Aldnoah Zero, I don’t think I can stomach yet another heroine who’s a princess. Basically, the main character is painfully uninteresting, and the “twist” is so damn stereotypical that I cannot take it seriously. Who are these people? How does Ange not figure out she cannot use magic until she’s f*king 16 years old?! The entire episode’s climax revolves around the fact that Ange realizes that she cannot use magic and is therefore a Norma (a person who cannot use magic), which is why a coupe even occurs. So for the last 16 years, she herself does not figure out that she cannot use magic, while a goddamn baby gets discovered to be a Norma in the middle of the street? The only positive aspect I can squeeze out this episode is that it had dragons in it for a few seconds. Nothing else.

OP: Embarrassingly bad

ED: Generic, nothing worth noting.

Potential: 20%

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