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Parasyte Collection 1 Blu-ray Anime Review

8 min read

Parasyte Collection 1 BD CoverWhen I took over this human’s brain, I received a directive. It said, “Devour this species.”

What They Say:
It’s the ultimate nightmare. One minute Shinichi Izumi is a normal teenager asleep in his bed. The next he’s been infected with a deadly parasitic organism determined to devour his brain and turn his body into the planet Earth’s new apex predator.

But Shinichi partially foils the attack and, instead of being consumed, finds that the creature known as Migi has taken the place of his right hand. Now forced to share the same body, the two must become unwilling allies. Migi isn’t the only one of his kind, and unless human and parasyte work together, they’ll both be killed as abominations. Prepare yourself for a horrifying new world where the survival of the fittest and the survival of the human race are no longer the same thing. Monsters lurk behind every corner and every face as the human race becomes prey in Parasyte ~ the maxim!

Contains episodes 1-12.

The Review:
The first collection of Parayste: The Maxim boasts an English dub of the series brought to you in DTS-HD Master 5.1 as well as the original Japanese dub in DTS-HD Master 2.0. Both the English and Japanese dubs come in crystal clear and equalized at all points throughout the series. There is no clipping, overmodulation, or anything of that sort. Even when jumping to the opening and ending portions of the episodes, the audio remains equalized so you don’t have to keep adjusting your volume every three seconds. Also, I just want to note that the OST of this series is phenomenal.

As expected, the video quality of this Blu-Ray home release is defined in 1080p HD with a default aspect ratio of 16×9. The video, which is uncensored on the Blu-Ray release, comes in smooth at all points throughout the series. Character outlining is well-defined and everything just looks flat out beautiful all-around. The show’s art style is reminiscent of older series from when Sci-Fi reigned supreme in the anime world but don’t let that fool you. It still has a modern day twist for all of those who are afraid to look back to a time when anime was less “anime.”

Do you like blood? I hope so. If you don’t, I honestly don’t know why you’d even bother watching this. The artwork on the case of Parasyte Collection 1 puts one of the first “Parasytes” against a backdrop of Shinichi’s school with blood splattered…well, pretty much everywhere. The color scheme is dark and hopeless, congruent to how the series feels overall. As if that wasn’t enough blood, the back of the case has even more carnage for you to enjoy. In fact, the summary of the series is literally inside a puddle of blood with the words “Kill. Eat. Repeat.” displayed above it alongside several thumbnails from the series. No humans were harmed in the making of this Blu-ray collection.

The menu for this collection loops the opening (Or the ending on Disc 2) of the series above a list of the episode titles that Migi appears next to when highlighted. The opening is clear on the menu, almost exactly the way it is in the episodes themselves. Thanks to Migi, episode highlighting is easily visible and puts no strain on your eyes whatsoever. One thing to note, though, is that this might get annoying if you become too lazy to turn off your TV and just leave the menu looping while you look for something else to do. I don’t know if I can rate menu screens like that, but I feel like that’s a good 50% of my relation to them. Either way, it’s definitely a step up from Sentai’s regular edition DVD releases and a pleasure to look at.

Special Features:
The first Blu-ray collection of Parasyte is a bit lacking in terms of special features, containing only the clean opening/ending songs as well as four aptly-chosen trailers for other Sentai releases (Akame Ga Kill, Vampire Hunter D, Brynhildr In The Darkness, and Black Bullet). There is nothing else to report on that aspect.

(Please note that the content portion of the review may contain spoilers)
What does it mean to be human? Is it our DNA that sets us apart from the other creatures that inhabit the earth? From a scientific standpoint, the answer to that question would be “yes”. However, we are not scientists, so we must answer that question in a different manner. For as long as we can remember, humans have been the champions of survival, conquering all obstacles in our path due to the sheer amount of knowledge that we’re able to possess. But what if humans were no longer the champions? What if some other species showed up one day with the likeness of human beings and treated us as their prey? Would it be us that really deserve to survive — or would it be the newer, more perfect human race? That is the common question brought up in the world of Parasyte: The Maxim.

Based on the 1989 manga by Hitoshi Iwaaki, Parasyte whisks viewers away to a world where a parasitic alien race is attempting to attach itself to and consume the life-force of human hosts. These parasites, however, are just acting on basic instinct. With that being said, it is no surprise that our main character (Shinichi Izumi) in Parasyte becomes infected by one right at the very start of the show. Shinichi, however, notices the parasite as it burrows into his arm and cuts off any path that said parasite has to make it to the brain. The result of this lies in the parasite (Who we will come to know as Migi) controlling his right arm instead of his entire body.

Initially, Shinichi and Migi wind up resenting each other. Shinichi blames Migi and the other parasytes for ruining not only his life but the lives of everyone else around. Migi, on the other hand, sees Shinichi as an extremely weak human — which in turn leads to him seeing himself as weak for not being able to properly infect him. Regardless, Migi needs to rely on Shinichi for sustenance in order to keep himself alive, while Shinichi must rely on Migi to protect him from other parasytes who want to eat him and steal his brains or something. Either way, the two wind up slowly forming a bond based on nothing but codependency at first. However, that bond transitions into something bigger as they continue to learn more and more about each other.

The main plot in Parasyte continuously advances depending on who and what close to Shinichi is being affected by the parasytes. No matter who he comes in contact with, terrible things wind up happening to them. This leads to Shinichi becoming sort of aloof and somber as he distances himself from everyone he was close to. Sometimes that distancing is a direct choice of his, sometimes it’s not. SPOILER TIME: Early on in the series, Shinichi’s mother is infected and taken over by a parasyte. This is ultimately what sends him spiraling down a road of uncertainty as he struggles to grasp the gravity of his new life. No matter how far he winds up going down that road, he still remains haunted by memories of his mother that go on to affect the way he treats…well, everyone. He winds up distancing himself from his girlfriend (Even though I guess she isn’t his girlfriend right away? Their relationship is dumb) and his friends. This is one of the key factors in growing his relationship with Migi — the one thing he can’t separate himself from.

As their bond strengthens, so does Shinichi. He learns to control his body in new, superhuman ways as the parasyte continues to fuse with his blood. This leads to him becoming a super masculine hunk that honestly just becomes even more annoyingly strong as the series progresses. I don’t like this guy, I really don’t. I’m not sure if you’re supposed to or not, but he just seemed like an overly static, boring character that only developed because he was literally forced to. Migi, on the other hand, is fantastic. Even though he’s just this weird alien hand thing, everything he says is packed with so much philosophy that he essentially becomes the voice of the author, constantly illustrating and spelling out each and every theme for the viewer. The most beautiful part of Parasyte is how quotable some of the exchanges between the parasytes and the humans are. They make you question right and wrong. In that aspect, the show is phenomenal.

Some of the scenarios Shinichi is tossed into wind up being just as hard-hitting as the dialogue itself. Another thing Parasyte does well is developing the characters surrounding Shinichi before grabbing them and saying, “Hey, remember how you were starting to like this person? Yeah, well, they’re dead now. Sorry.” Parayste goes through that cycle over and over again as things start becoming larger and larger not only thematically, but scale-wise. The mindsets of the parasytes begin changing — they figure out how to become more human; they start banding together. Just as the problem begins to spiral even more out of control, the first collection ends and we’re all left sitting here thinking, “Ugh, now what?”

In Summary:
Parasyte is a good show. It has its problems — most things do, but the good parts are really, really good. Like I’ve said before, the themes and the dialogue turn a show that would be otherwise pretty nifty into a show that you actually have to sit down and watch. Parasyte has become an essential for all types of anime fans since its airing in 2014. Thankfully, we have 24 episodes of it instead of just 12 — which is absolutely needed considering just how much happens within that timeframe. Fans of sci-fi, gore, horror, psychological, drama, and action — do yourself a favor and check this out. It’s a loyal adaptation of an old series that has been essentially beckoning to be adapted for decades now.

English DTS-HD Master 5.1 Audio, Japanese DTS-HD Master 2.0 Audio, English/English SDH subtitles, clean opening/ending songs, Sentai Filmworks trailers.

Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: A
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: A-
Menu Grade: B+
Extras Grade: C

Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: April 5, 2016
MSRP: $69.98
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p High Defition
Aspect Ratio: 16×9

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