Graphic Content – Parasyte

List Item:  Read half of the 1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die
38/501Title: Parasyte
Creator: Hitoshi Iwaaki
Years: 1988-1995
Country: Japan

I like to think that the comic choices that myself and the hub make say something about us. For example, he picked out Mopsy for us to read (make of that what you will) and I opted for Parasyte. I mean, it helped that this was also on my anime list… but I enjoyed this incredible contrast too much to not draw attention to it.

So what is Parasyte all about? Well, think of it as a sci-fi horror manga about parasites that are taking over human bodies and trying to take over the world. These parasites, once inside the human, have a hunger for human meat and are able to attack by turning parts of their body into fast moving knives.

At the centre of this is high-schooler Shinichi who, thanks to a freak accident, is infected by a parasite… but the infection stops at his right elbow. This leads to the main dynamic of the manga as the shy high school student interacts with the parasite infecting his right hand (later named Migi) and is forced to take part in the human battle against the parasites.

What really made this manga an enjoyable read for me was the body horror angle. You have heads unfurling into teeth, blades and other weapons, people being sliced into pieces… it’s a glorious gorefest that I can appreciate as a manga or an anime but would turn my stomach if it was done as a live-action.

Over the course of 64 chapters I was utterly absorbed in this battle between human and parasite to the point that it felt like it ended too soon. I ended up reaching the latter chapters and it began to see that this was wrapping up, if I’m honest, a bit too easily for the humans. Would it have been good to see the parasites spreading outside of Japan and the world being on the verge of destruction? Probably, but then again this wold have lost some of the charm of keeping this very much a local phenomenon with Shinichi as the emotional core of the piece.

I paint it this manga as being just a gorefest (and it has a lot of gore), but there are flashes of humour and real emotion. The deathcount in a manga like this is high and the cost that it takes on Shinichi becomes an interesting measure of how much he is being effected by the (rather friendly) parasite that he has been stuck with.

Of course, I am now interested in how this translated onto the small screen. But I think I’ll have to first make my way through some of the sports animes before I get to that. At least I’ll have something to look forward to.

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