Part of me needs to open this properly without jumping in too fast. The other just wants to take Hitoshi Iwaaki by the collar and shake him hard.
Parasyte (or 「寄生獣」Kiseijuu in Japan) is set in a world where an alien species insidiously infiltrate and seek world domination/human annihilation, at first as worm-like creatures before infecting their hosts and consuming their brains. Like wasp larvae are to caterpillars, these literal parasites live off their hosts and control them like machines. Fortunately (or unfortunately?) during this highly disturbing and disgusting process, their hosts die right at the start to minimize any struggle, leaving behind nothing but empty shells to be manipulated by these creatures as their disguise to blend into human society. Shinichi Izumi is our series protagonist, who only gets his arm consumed by a parasyte (thereafter named “Migi”) and learns to work with his new host to navigate an increasingly hostile world.
Parasyte is a fantastic show. I really enjoyed watching Shinichi’s character develop as the series progressed, the emotional impact from the death of his mother, his personal “metamorphosis” into a different person, and the changing dynamics with the people around him since.
And then there’s Kana Kimishima.
Kana is introduced awkwardly as an ex-girlfriend of a gang leader who targeted one of Shinichi’s classmates before they met. Soon after, she realizes she can “sense” something about Shinichi, which at first shocks her and rouses her suspicion against him. One would think that she would be smart about the people she senses. But instead, she completely misinterprets it as a unique way of identifying Shinichi as her white knight in shining armor, going so far as to fantasize him coming to her rescue from a group of anthropomorphic parasytes.
With the growing number of parasytes hosting their humans, she could’ve been able to sense them when they’re right in front of her – which she has. It’s not as if she always bumps into Shinichi whenever her telepathy picks up these signals. She has also misidentified other hosts before on more than one occasion. But does she question her “sensing” abilities? Would it hurt to consider the possibility that the signals she was picking up could remotely be emitted from these alien beings?
Of course not. She’s only 16/17. Clearly instead of being the savvy, street-smart girl she’s supposed to be portrayed, her daydreams get the better of her. Not only does she outright ignore Shinichi’s warnings – even after he directly tells her the truth behind her telepathic abilities – she plays with it by emitting her own telepathic signals for other parasytes to pick up – like a fawn flaunting itself in an open field and drawing the attention of the entire predatory population.
I honestly expected much more from this character. She could’ve been a strong ally for Shinichi. She could’ve been one of the few people aware of his condition, and be his confidante. If she was smart, I imagine she could’ve even gained Migi’s trust despite his weariness. She’s hung out with gangs, and they respect her enough to not mess with her. She had confidence. She displayed independence and strength. She picked up nuances and knows when the party’s over.
But what do we see instead?
Such. A. Huge. Disappointment.
I wonder about the extent of Shinichi’s sorrow for losing such a person. It’s nothing like the impact his mother’s death had on him. I imagine he’d merely shake his head at this misfortune. And so would I. Who would be that dumb to ignore so many direct warnings about such obvious danger? There’s nothing even remotely moe about her, and she’s not exactly an Eponine either. She didn’t lay her life down for her friend. Her ignorance and stupidity and overtly naive stubbornness cost her. And serves her right.
Honestly I’m not quite sure what was the point of this episode. I waited two weeks (the show skipped a week) only for it to be a waste of time. Perhaps Iwaaki-san saw her irrelevant as well?
Good riddance, girl.