Blu-ray Review: Parasyte: The Maxim – Collection 1
27/06/2016 Leave a comment
We find ourselves overtaken by a parasite as we shed all emotion for Animatsu’s Blu-ray release of Parasyte: The Maxim – Collection 1 but with this aside what can one expect to receive from this set? Well read on to find out!
They arrived in silence and darkness, descending from the skies with a hunger for human flesh. Parasites – alien creatures who must invade and take control of a human host to survive – have come to Earth.
No one knows their secret except high school student, Shinichi Izumi, who’s right hand has been invaded by an alien parasite. Shinichi and Migi, the parasite in his hand, begrudgingly form a friendship and find themselves caught in the middle of a war between humans and parasites.
I get the feeling that I must be infected by a parasite to not fully grasp and enjoy what Parasyte: The Maxim – Collection 1 had to offer as while the concept, storyline and pacing was pretty much spot on I can’t help but feel dissatisfied with the overall result. An infectious plot with a storyline that evolves through each episode is what’s on offer here; but with no objective –or end goal – in sight it’s hard to fully grasp the situation and enjoy what’s being presented to you.
The first twelve episodes contained within this first half of Parasyte: The Maxim introduce us into a world that is ever-changing and evolving; whereby an unknown species, simply known as Parasite, lands across the country and starts taking over humans. The objective of these parasites isn’t clear; but in order to take control of their victim these parasites need to infiltrate the brain; additionally in order to survive other humans must be consumed. Are these parasites an alien race, a biological weapon or just another unknown anomaly; at this point in time no-one knows but when one Parasite tries to infiltrate 17-year-old student Shinichi Izumi and ultimately fails a new bond is formed which sees the two working together in order to keep each other alive.
This bond sees Shinichi’s right hand be overtaken by the parasite and after some frightful encounters both the human and parasite work alongside each other to keep their secret out of the public eye. It’s here where the Parasyte: The Maxim – Collection 1, for me at least, tends to drop-off and manages to lose some of my interest and annoyingly I am not entirely sure why but I assume it has something to do with the lack of an objective or goal. Shinichi and his parasite, which is later named Migi, are not out to protect the world from other parasites and nor are their attempting to rally-up with other parasites to take over the world; it’s just daily antics of keeping their secret safe from others. Of course this routine of trying to act normal changes when other parasites appear, such as pretend school teacher Reiko Tamura, and while these other some adrenaline fuelled moments – especially in the later half of this set – they feel very short-lived and end before they really get going.
Ironically enough the episodes within this set do contain a few interesting turning points (of course I won’t spoil them here); but a few surprise deaths and a near death experience result in Shinichi becoming beyond human and beyond parasite; a hybrid if you prefer. Once again this element is hardly explored within this first half of the series – so it will be interesting how the second half follows it up. Parasyte: The Maxim isn’t just a story that highlights the arrival and infestation of an unknown creature as while Shinichi and Migi live and work in harmony with one another a developing love-story between Shinichi and childhood friend Satomi Murano can be seen; with Murano constantly pointing out changes in Shinichi’s lifestyle. Furthermore a love-triangle is created when local bad-guy Kana Kimishima, who has a skill of tracking down the wave-lengths parasites emit, enters the scene. It’s an interesting element to add to the series and in some cases I found myself enjoying this storyline aspect more than the actual parasites; but once again the events feel short-lived and incomplete. An interesting story is afoot and it will be interesting to see where the remaining episodes included in Collection 2 take us.
When it comes to bonus materials then Parasyte: The Maxim – Collection 1 does not really offer much; as other than textless songs and a selection of trailers, one of which appears before the main menu on Disc 1, nothing else is included.
It’s worth noting that three of the trailers, majority of which uses the opening theme songs with clips of the anime, are licensed by Animatsu Entertainment for release within the UK; so at least the bonus content this time matches up with the distributor. As you can imagine it’s a pretty disappointing set of bonus content; but by now it’s pretty much what you can expect from a Sentai Filmworks / Animatsu Entertainment release.
Media: BD 50 x1, BD 25 x1
Region: A & B
Running Time: 3:25:48 (Disc 1), 1:08:36 (Disc 2)
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (English) DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (Japanese)
Subtitles: English (Yellow)
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps
Parasyte: The Maxim – Collection 1 features twelve episodes that introduce us to the twisted and chaotic world of a parasite infested planet; whereby an unknown creature appears and starts taking over humans for their own selfish gain. What exactly their objective is is unclear but when one parasite attempts to take over Shinichi then it leads into an amusing situation of fear, lies and secrets. Shinichi was your average school student, unpopular and occasionally picked on; but when his right hand gets infected with the parasite, later named Migi, he takes it upon himself to protect the people he cares about from other parasites lurking in the area; of course that’s the conclusion I have come across.
Throughout the twelve epiosodes included within this set we see Shinichi and Migi attempt to coexist with each other while protecting themselves from other parasites (as those unable to occupy the brain are considered failures) and in doing so they encounter a fake school teacher, who then later develops a keen interest in Shinichi due to his unique parasite, and numerous one-hit-wonder parasites wanting to cause chaos. Elsewhere of course we have the developing relationship with Shinichi and Murano while bad-girl, but love at first sight, Kana attempting to get in between their feelings. Parasyte: The Maxim does offer that surprise factor one might expect from an anime such as this, with a selection of important characters killed off, but while it does provide that shock factor it didn’t give me that lasting impression of sorrow you may expect from other shows.
The episodes contained within Parasyte: The Maxim – Colleciton 1 are difficult for me to put into words; as while I did not seem to dislike it but I did not fully enjoy it either – it just feels like something is missing like a proper progressive story with an end objective or maybe I just have no emotion like the infected in this series. When it comes to Blu-ray releases then Animatsu Entertainment, who are using discs authored by Sentai Filmworks, are pretty much carrying on their success as no issues or technicalities can be seen however. The only technical issue to report is that audio and subtitle options can only be changed via the pop-up or disc menu; a feature which exist in some Blu-rays authored by Sentai Filmworks. It’s also worth mentioning that the Blu-ray discs feature a half-decent English Dub, although i still found myself switching back to the Japanese audio track, and as a bonus English ‘Hard of Hearing’ subtitles are included for the English Dub while another ‘Japanese translated English subtitles’ for the Japanese audio is included; all of which are presented in that yellow font we enjoy so much. Basically you can choose to watch it in English, with only song translations and text/signs appearing, English Dub with English Hard of Hearing subtitles or Japanese audio with English subtitles.
Overall Parasyte: The Maxim – Collection 1 is a decent product and is a great release by Animatsu Entertainment, minus the lack of bonus content of course; It’s good, and it’s some interesting merits, but at the moment I personally can not see the appeal (and it’s not like i dislike it either); but hopefully all my doubts on the series will be removed in the second half.
Parasyte: The Maxim – Collection 1 is now available on Blu-ray, DVD and Limited Edition Combo Pack Set.