Monday, December 03, 2007

Manga Monday 54: Parasyte

Parasyte (Volume 1)
Hitoshi Iwaaki

A fan-favorite series, Del Ray is releasing new editions of Parasyte for audiences that may not have caught it nearly a decade ago when it was first translated into English and published by Tokyopop in 1998. It's a fun science fiction series about an alien invasion. Where these aliens come from hasn't been explored by the end of the first volume. All we know is that one night a bunch of pods silently descend from the sky, releasing snake-like creatures on Earth, who seek out human hosts to bond with to survive. Typically, the creatures "eat" the host's brain and thus, control the entire body, able to shape the head any way they please, often whipping sword-like appendages out at humans to kill them before eating them. One quick-witted boy, Shin, has become an anomaly however. When he caught the creature attempting to crawl up his nose, he was able to thwart it and fend it off for awhile until the creature burrowed itself into Shin's skin and crawled up his arm. Shin quickly created a tourniquet to cut the creature off, killing it without leaving a scar. It turns out that while the alien failed to take over the body and eat Shin's brain, it did manage to take over his arm, where it resides, feeding off of Shin like a true parasite, but also protecting the both of them from the alien creatures able to sense them, who wish to destroy them. Like the aliens, Shin's arm, with a personality its own (dubbed Migi meaning "Right"), can change its shape and becomes a dagger or whatever it needs to survive, and studies books on its own to better understand its host species.
Yes, it's all very silly and over-the-top, but it's good gory fun, and the suspense and action throughout is pretty thrilling. I'm just beginning volume two, and already there's been what I would call a really chilling panel. The characters are flat as cardboard and there's really not much meat to it, but it's nicely illustrated and it's a great straight-forward story. C+

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