Parasyte (WideBan) Vol. #08 - Mania.com



Manga Review

Mania Grade: B

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Info:

  • Art Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translation Rating: A
  • Age Rating: 16 and Up
  • Released By: Del Rey
  • MSRP: 12.99
  • Pages: 208
  • ISBN: 978-0345500366
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: Parasyte (WideBan)

Parasyte (WideBan) Vol. #08

Parasyte (WideBan) Vol. #08 Manga Review

By Thomas Zoth     July 20, 2010
Release Date: July 28, 2009


Parasyte (WideBan) Vol. #08
© Del Rey

It's the final volume of Parasyte, and Iwaaki's last chance to kill your favorite sympathetic characters! Who will live and who dies in the final showdown with Parasyte Goto?

Creative Staff
Writer/Artist: Hitoshi Iwaaki
Translation: Andrew Cunningham
Adaptation: Andrew Cunningham

What They Say
Shinichi vows to destroy Goto, one of the deadliest of the alien parasites that have invaded Earth - and people's bodies. But at the moment of truth, Shinichi discovers something unexpected in his heart: sympathy for the monster. Soon Shinichi, who harbors his own alien parasite, will come to a stunning realization about the dark side of human nature... and his own soul.

This is the final volume of Parasyte.

The Review!

There's really no way to review the last volume of a series without talking about how the series concludes, so this review will be filled with spoilers. If you've come this far in the series, there's really no reason not to buy or read the last volume, despite the fact that I think it's somewhat of a mixed bag. So go ahead, finish the series, and come back. I have no problem waiting.
 
Now then: The problem with creating a series about an invasion of alien creatures is that unless it's a pure, unhappy apocalypse story, you're eventually going to have to find some way to un-invade. This can be very tricky, especially since you've spent so much time describing how clever and dangerous the alien menace is. Since Shinichi's story has always just been a minor part of the larger invasion, Iwaaki essentially gives us two related but separate endings: One for Shinichi's specific story, and one for the Parasyte invasion in general. One of the endings is quite brilliant, and wraps everything up in a satisfying way that reinforces the themes Iwaaki has been exploring all along. The other is overly sentimental, cliched, and heavy handed. Unfortunately, Shinichi's ending is the weaker of the two.
 
In order to give an epic, exciting conclusion to Shinichi's tale, Iwaaki sets him up versus last boss alien Goto, who has the power of 5 lesser Parasytes. Shinichi starts to flee, but his car is wrecked by Goto, and a chase through the woods begins. In order to catch Goto off-guard, Migi detaches from Shinichi's body, leaving him with one arm. They attempt to strike at Goto from two directions, but Goto proves far too resilient a foe. Disconnected from Shinichi's blood stream for much too long, Migi appears to die.
 
Now almost completely helpless, Shinichi wanders into a small, cozy Japanese "furusato" or hometown. Those familiar with Ghibli's My Neighbor Totoro, Pom Poko, or Only Yesterday will know that the Japanese small town is an ideologically loaded symbol representing pure, unspoiled, pre-modern Japan. Here, Shinichi befriends an old woman, and discovers that the city nearby is dumping toxic waste in the town. Upon hearing that some townsfolk have been attacked by Goto, Shinichi decides he can't run, and will kill Goto or die trying. Seeing one-armed, mostly human Shinichi fighting Goto is thrilling, but soon things start to fall apart. After being stabbed by some junk in a landfill, Goto starts to lose control of his body. The toxic waste from the landfill has entered Goto's bloodstream, and this causes the connection between the five Parasytes within Goto to break down. Pollution, you see, is the one weapon that the Parasytes can't withstand. Goto's collapse gives Migi, who's alive and was just hiding inside Goto all along, a chance to break free and re-attach to Shinichi. In a somewhat forced moral dilemma, Shinichi appears to question whether or not he has the right to finish Goto off for good. While I appreciate Shinichi's conscientiousness, his ability to step back in the middle of a duel to the death and rationally consider the right of beings to live seems simply inhuman. Fortunately for the sake of the story, Shinichi does end up killing Goto, so the human drama is not sacrificed to make an abstract moral point. Migi discloses that within Goto he was meditating, and tells Shinichi that he's going to shut himself off from the world in attempt to reach a Parasyte version of satori. So, Migi says, Shinichi will appear to have a normal hand again. It appears to be a return to somewhat normal for Shinichi.
 
I am much more impressed with how Iwaaki decides to rid Japan and the world of Parasytes: He decides not to. He simply has the Parasytes go underground and "pass" as humans. Some were terrified after the city hall massacre in volume 7, and decide to just eat human food. Some continue to kill and eat humans, but do so in clever, methodical ways. The line between what makes a human "human" and a Parasyte "alien" are further blurred. Are Parasytes inherently evil, or is a Parasyte who refuses to eat humans more moral than a human serial killer?
 
Speaking of which, just as everything appears to return to normal, Iwaaki has the escaped killer from volume 7 return to meet Shinichi and Satomi at college. It's one last chance for some cruel, pointless bloodshed, and it leads up to an ending that's hard to forget.
 
In Summary:
As much as a Parasyte fanboy as I am, I can't help but admit that the series falls apart somewhat in the final volume. The "last boss" fight between Goto and Shinichi in a small Japanese town is much too cliched and heavy handed. However, Iwaaki does tie up all of the loose ends in a way that is consistent with the story, and it's hard not to appreciate the tear-jerker ending. Thanks to Del Rey for re-releasing this series for new fans to enjoy.

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