Parasyte

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Parasyte
ParasyteVol4Cover.jpg
Cover of the Mixx edition of volume 4
寄生獣
(Kiseijū)
Genre Horror, Science fiction
Manga
Written by Hitoshi Iwaaki
Published by Kodansha
English publisher
Demographic Seinen
Magazine Afternoon
Original run 19901995
Volumes 10
Anime television series
Directed by Kenichi Shimizu
Written by Shōji Yonemura
Music by Ken Arai
Studio Madhouse
Network NTV
Original run October 2014scheduled
Live-action film
Directed by Takashi Yamazaki
Written by Ryūta Kosawa
Released December 2014 (2014-12)
Live-action film
Directed by Takashi Yamazaki
Written by Ryūta Kosawa
Released November 29, 2014 (November 29, 2014)
Portal icon Anime and Manga portal

Parasyte (Japanese: 寄生獣 Hepburn: Kiseijū?, lit. "Parasitic Beasts") is a manga series written and illustrated by Hitoshi Iwaaki, and published in Kodansha's Afternoon magazine from 1990 to 1995. The manga was published in North America by first Tokyopop, then Del Rey, and finally Kodansha Comics USA. The manga will be adapted into two live-action films in Japan in 2014 and 2015. An anime television series adaptation has also been announced.[1]

Plot[edit]

A parasite attacking

Parasyte centers around a 17-year-old teen named Shinichi Izumi, who lives with his mother and father in a quiet neighborhood in Tokyo. One night, worm-like aliens called Parasites invade Earth, taking over the brains of human hosts by entering through their ears or noses. One Parasite attempts to crawl into Shinichi's ear while he sleeps, but fails as Shinichi is wearing headphones, and enters his body by burrowing into his arm instead. In the Japanese version, it takes over his right hand and is named Migi (ミギー?), after the Japanese word for 'right'; Tokyopop's version, in which the images are flipped horizontally, has the Parasite take over Shinichi's left hand and it is named Lefty.

Because Shinichi was able to prevent Migi from travelling further up into his brain, both beings retain their separate intellect and personality. As the duo encounter other Parasites, they capitalize on their strange situation and gradually form a strong bond, working together to survive. This gives them an edge in battling other Parasites who frequently attack the pair upon realization that Shinichi's human brain is still intact. Shinichi feels compelled to fight other Parasites, who devour humans as food, while enlisting Migi's help.

Characters[edit]

Shinichi Izumi (泉 新一 Izumi Shin'ichi?)
Voiced by: Nobunaga Shimazaki
Shinichi is the protagonist of the manga, a thoughtful, compassionate high-school boy whose hand is infected with a Parasite. Shinichi is repeatedly put into difficult positions. He must find a way to peacefully coexist with Migi, the Parasite which has taken over his hand, and reconcile his desire to protect humanity from the Parasites with his desire to keep his own Parasite a secret in order to avoid being killed or used as a laboratory specimen. Like a superhero with a secret identity, he must also find a way to explain away his Parasite-fighting activities, as well as the stress and grief they cause him, to his friends and family. Shinichi's retention of a human mind, emotion, and sensibilities causes other Parasites to see him as a threat. He and his Parasite must defend themselves from attacks by other Parasites, and their ability to think and act independently, and as a team, gives them a tactical edge over normal Parasites.
Masanori Harada, a 20-year old student, wrote to the editor of the Monthly Afternoon noted that Shinichi acts calm when he is threatened and that he is "not human anymore!" Iwaaki responded, stating that Shinichi is accustomed to "close calls" partly because Migi calms Shinichi down during battle. The statement and response were printed in the April 1993 Afternoon.[2] Played by Shota Sometani.
Kazuyuki Izumi (泉 一之 Izumi Kazuyuki?)
Kazuyuki is Shinichi's father. Shortly after his wife was killed by a parasite, he had some suspicions as to whether or not Shinichi was infected (although he never said so outright).
Nobuko Izumi (泉 信子 Izumi Nobuko?)
Nobuko is Shinichi's mother. She 'dies' early on when she is taken over by a Parasite, and stabs Shinichi through the heart when he refuses to accept it; she is then killed later on by a tag team of Shinichi and Uda.
Migi (ミギー Migī?, also called "Righty")
Migi is the Parasite which lives in Shinichi's hand. Unlike 'successful' Parasites, Migi has no desire to kill humans for sustenance, and is nourished by the food Shinichi eats. Migi is, like other Parasites, completely without emotion. His primary consideration is survival, and he has threatened (and in some cases attempted) to kill other humans who pose a threat to his and Shinichi's secrecy. When he and Shinichi were first coming to terms, he even threatened to remove Shinichi's other limbs in order to render him unable to place the two of them in danger. Migi can be reasoned with, however, and has just as much reason to be mistrustful of other Parasites as does Shinichi. On the other hand, unlike Shinichi, Migi has no inclination to place himself at risk in order to protect other humans from Parasites. As the series goes along however, he becomes more human, whereas the reverse happens to Shinichi, up until an event involving a baby occurs.
Iwaaki explained that while Migi appears to be Shinichi's weapon, in fact Migi is in control of the battle and orders around Shinichi. Iwaaki explained that Migi is easily able to order Shinichi since Shinichi is young and 'needs guidance', while Migi would find difficulty if he became a part of a politician or a president of a company since in that scenario Migi and his host would argue a lot.[2]
An 18-year old from Saitama Prefecture named 'Midari' asked in the letters to the editor that if Migi took Shinichi's left hand, if he would have been named 'Hidari'. Iwaaki answered that it would be Hidari, but Iwaaki felt that the name would be similar to those of Bokuzen Hidari or Tenpei Hidari and the name would 'bring to mind a doddering old man, so that wouldn't have been a good idea'. Iwaaki then said that the first man to climb Mount Everest 'had a name an awful lot like that...'[3]
Satomi Murano (村野 里美 Murano Satomi?)
Shinichi's best friend and sometime companion. Shinichi and Satomi develop a romantic relationship over the course of the series, but their attraction to and fondness for one another is hampered by Shinichi's fear of his own monstrous nature, and Satomi's fear of Shinichi's secretive behavior and the mood swings that result from the trials and tribulations in his life. Up until the last volume, she has no idea about Migi, until a near-death experience may have driven him to use his abilities without Shinichi's realization. Played by Ai Hashimoto.
Reiko Tamura (田村 玲子 Tamura Reiko?)
A Parasite who, coincidentally, infected Ryōko Tamiya (田宮 良子 Tamiya Ryōko?), one of Shinichi's high-school teachers. After the Parasite took over Ryōko Tamiya's body, the Parasite took the name 'Reiko Tamura'. Reiko has scientific inclinations, and is driven to discover the biology, origin, and purpose of Parasites. Reiko discovers - by becoming impregnated by another Parasite named Mr. A - that a pregnant Parasite will bear a normal, human child, and that Parasites have no apparent means of reproduction. Reiko is more logical and reasonable than many other Parasites, and allows Shinichi to live unmolested largely because she finds him an interesting anomaly worthy of study. She eventually gives birth to Mr. A's baby; after betraying her fellow Parasites and killing quite a few of them, the police brutally kill her. The baby survives because of her decision not to fight back against the police. Played by Eri Fukatsu.
Kana (加奈?)
Kana is a disobedient 'bad girl' who develops a crush on Shinichi. She is attracted to him because of his sensitive personality, and because she can sense something 'different' about him. In reality, Kana has an unexplained psychic ability to sense Parasites. However, her senses are not as fine-tuned as those of the Parasites themselves, and she cannot tell whether she is sensing the presence of Shinichi or of a normal Parasite, putting her in considerable danger. This ability is eventually what leads to her death when she is told about the Parasites, and a total breakdown of Shinichi for a good volume or so, until he recovers from it; the after-effects of this lead to estranging him from his friends and get police to keep an eye on him, all of which last until near the final volume.
Mamoru Uda (宇田 守 Uda Mamoru?)
Uda is, like Shinichi, a human who had a Parasite merge with a part of his body other than his brain. In Uda's case, the Parasite lodged in the lower part of his head. Uda's Parasite originally does not have a name, but is later renamed Jaw (ジョー ?). It is brash and crude-it even seems to have a sense of humour-and sometimes assumes control of Uda's mouth, distorting it into odd shapes and forcing Uda to say strange or inappropriate things. The pair befriend Shinichi and Migi, but prefer to simply avoid Parasites. Because Uda is slightly overweight and his Parasite is located in the jaw area, fights with other Parasites tend to leave him out of breath. However, because it is located in the lower part of the head, his Parasite can extend itself downward into his chest, protecting his heart (a popular target in Parasite duels). Uda is normally a peaceful, easygoing man, but is nervous under pressure and cries easily. He works as a hotel employee.
Hideo Shimada (島田 秀雄 Shimada Hideo?)
Hideo is a Parasite with a teenager's body who decides to integrate with human society. Hideo enrolls in Shinichi's high school and expresses a desire to become friends with Shinichi, who does not trust him. Although Hideo is a relatively peaceful Parasite, he has no qualms about brutalizing or even killing bullies who try to start fights with him, and he continues to hunt humans (although he claims that he is learning to eat normal food instead). He is killed by Shinichi and Migi after another student discovers his secret and confronts him about it, causing him to go on a killing spree.
Mr. A
Mr. A is a Parasite who considers Shinichi a threat. Reiko calls him a fool while Migi describes him as 'not one of our smart ones'. Mr. A has no capacity for subtlety or deception, and no qualms about using his shapeshifting abilities in view of the public, reasoning that he can always get out of trouble by fighting, running away, and changing into a different face. Mr. A (or rather, his host body) is the father of Reiko's child. Shinichi is forced to battle Mr. A when he attempts to hunt Shinichi down and kill him at school. Though Shinichi and Migi badly wound him, they are forced to flee before he can be completely destroyed. He is killed after their battle by Reiko Tamura for endangering her undercover lifestyle.
Gotō (後藤?)
Gotō is an 'experimental' Parasite created by Reiko. He is actually a combination of several Parasites, whose shapeshifting ability has advanced to the point where they can switch positions, each forming a different limb as the situation requires. Gotō is the most intelligent and skilled, and is the de facto leader of the composite body. Because his head and all of his limbs are made of Parasite cells, Gotō is much faster, stronger, and more dangerous than standard Parasites, and nearly impossible to injure. Gotō is able to use the Parasites in his legs to change the shape of his feet and ankles to give him an advantage in mobility, or speed, when fighting. Gotō is the last Parasite that Shinichi and Migi take down; Gotō actually ends up causing the temporary death of Migi, and absorbs Migi into his body for a small period of time. Shinichi is left with only one arm during this period, but manages to recover Migi and secures victory. The name 'Gotō' is a pun on a word '五 Go' meaning number 5, implying he can control 5 Parasites,[4] whereas the other Parasite in the same body called Miki (三木?, lit. Three trees) can control only 3. In Japanese miki is made up of the characters of 'three' and 'tree'. The name has a double meaning, also referring to the hand. The name Miki sounds like Migī.[4]
Takeshi Hirokawa (広川 剛志 Hirokawa Takeshi?)
Hirokawa is the leader of a cabal of Parasites which counts Reiko and Goto among its members. The group attempts to accrue political power in order to set up safehouses where they can take their victims, killing and eating them in secret. Hirokawa gains election to the office of mayor in East Fukuyama City, a small town (by Japanese standards) of 500,000 people close to Shinichi's hometown. Hirokawa wins by running on a campaign centered around locally-based environmentalism. Secretly, Hirokawa is a radical environmentalist who believes that the Parasites' purpose is to cull the human population, standing one step above them on the food chain. The police force kills Hirokawa and discovers that he was 100% human and a Parasite sympathizer.

Names in Tokyopop publication[edit]

In the Tokyopop publication the main character's name was Shin and his hand was called 'Lefty', as the image had been flipped to read left to right.[5] Satomi Murano is Sara. Jaw, Uda's parasite is referred to as Jaws, in reference to the film Jaws by Peter Benchley. Tamura is known as Tamara Rockford in the Tokyopop version.[6] Gotō's name was written without a macron.

Development[edit]

Iwaaki chose a high school setting due to a scene he had thought of. When considering a scene where Migi turns his shape into a penis in front of Satomi Murano, Iwaaki believed that the scene would work best in a high school setting, so Iwaaki gave Parasyte a high school setting.[7]

Media[edit]

Manga[edit]

Parasyte was originally serialized in Japan in Morning or Morning Special,[8] and switched to Afternoon after a few issues.[8] It was collected into ten tankōbon volumes by Kodansha, and was later republished in eight kanzenban volumes. It was originally licensed for English translation and North American distribution by Tokyopop, which published the series over 12 volumes. The Tokyopop version ran in Mixxzine.[citation needed] Daily pages from the Tokyopop version ran in the Japanimation Station, a service accessible to users of America Online.[9] The Tokyopop English-language manga went out of print on May 2, 2005.[10] Del Rey Manga later acquired the rights to the series,[11] and published eight volumes following the kanzenban release. Kodansha Comics USA later republished the volumes in North America between 2011 and 2012.

Live-action films[edit]

A Hollywood film adaptation was reported to be in the works in 2005, with Jim Henson Studios and Don Murphy allegedly in charge of production.[12] Parasyte will be adapted into a two-part Japanese live-action film series by Toho. The first part will be released in 2014 and the second part is scheduled for release in 2015.[13]

Anime[edit]

An anime adaptation by Madhouse titled Parasyte: Probability of Survival (寄生獣 セイの格率 Kiseijū Sei no Kakuritsu?) will begin airing in Japan in October 2014. It will feature the vocal talents of Aya Hirano as Migi, Nobunaga Shimazaki as Shinichi Izumi, and Kana Hanazawa as Satomi Murano.[14]

Reception[edit]

The series won the Kodansha Manga Award for general manga in 1993.

It also won the Seiun Award for being the best manga of the year in 1996.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Hitoshi Iwaaki's Parasyte Sci-Fi Manga Also Gets TV Anime". Anime News Network. November 19, 2013. Retrieved November 19, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Iwaaki, Hitoshi (translated by Andrew Cunningham). Parasyte Volume 5. Del Rey Manga. P. 181
  3. ^ Iwaaki, Hitoshi (translated by Andrew Cunningham). Parasyte Volume 5. Del Rey Manga. P. 42
  4. ^ a b Iwaaki, Hitoshi (translated by Andrew Cunningham). Parasyte Volume 5. Del Rey Manga. P. 290
  5. ^ "Parasyte: Character Info." Tokyopop. February 26, 2003. Retrieved on June 6, 2009.
  6. ^ "Parasyte: Volume 9". Tokyopop. Archived from the original on February 26, 2003. Retrieved June 6, 2009. 
  7. ^ Iwaaki, Hitoshi (translated by Andrew Cunningham). Parasyte Volume 5. Del Rey Manga. P. 288
  8. ^ a b Iwaaki, Hitoshi (May 2007). Parasyte Vol. 1. Del Rey Manga. p. 275. ISBN 978-0-345-49624-9. 
  9. ^ "Mixx Entertainment Collaborations with Central Park Media to Publisher Sailor Moon and Parasyte Comics in the Japanimation Station Section of America Online (AOL)". Mixx Entertainment. October 22, 1999. Archived from the original on October 29, 2000. Retrieved August 21, 2011. 
  10. ^ "Tokyopop Inc. Out of Print Title". Tokyopop. Archived from the original on May 12, 2009. Retrieved June 27, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Comic-Con News Wrap". Anime News Network. July 24, 2006. Retrieved December 18, 2007. 
  12. ^ "Jim Henson Studios to produce Parasyte". Anime News Network. September 20, 2005. Retrieved November 19, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Hitoshi Iwaaki's Parasyte Sci-Fi Manga Gets 2 Live-Action Films in 2014-2015". Anime News Network. November 19, 2013. Retrieved November 19, 2013. 
  14. ^ "寄生獣:アニメ版「セイの格率」は10月から 新一は島崎信長、ミギーを平野綾 - MANTANWEB(まんたんウェブ)" (in (Japanese)). Mantan-web.jp. Retrieved 2014-07-29. 

External links[edit]