Blu-ray Review: Parasyte: The Maxim – Collection 2
24/07/2016 Leave a comment
We once again return to the parasite infected universe found only within Parasyte: The Maxim; but what can one expect to receive from this second collection? Well let’s take a closer look… that is if we can survive it.
They seem like the perfect killing machines: taking the form of their latest victim as they move on to hunt their next meal, blending invisibly into chaos of human civilization. But as the human race becomes aware of the invaders, the rules unexpectedly change. Because, while the predators may be far more deadly individually, human beings hunt in packs… and no species in the universe has spent more time perfecting new ways to kill than man.
As the military secretly mobilizes and a shadow war erupts, Shinichi and Migi find themselves trapped in the escalating purge. Born from a merging of both sides and yet belonging to neither, the best they can do is merely hope to survive as the lines between friend and foe cease to exist.
The initial release of Parasyte: The Maxim offered an interesting, eventful but rather uncompelling story that excited some and bored others (me included); so what hope does the human civilization have with this second instalment into the franchise? For me it provided a rather entertaining experience that managed to captivate me until the end; but unfortunately due to its relatively pointless ending, filler-styled-episodes and a sex scene which feels oddly placed then it does nothing but annoy me. Parasyte: The Maxim is a show I should have enjoyed, it has violence, gore and interesting characters and yet it failed to fully immerse me in this world and I believe it’s all due to the undeceive nature of our protagonists and the lack of an end goal or objective; that is until the very end.
Following on from the first half of the series, which saw one of the more ‘notable’ female characters die at the hands of a Parasite, Shinichi once again starts to begin questioning himself and the parasitic nature that he finds himself in however before Shinichi has time to mourn the death of this friend he discovers that someone is keeping an extremely close eye on him. It’s later revealed that Shinichi is being watched by a private inspector known as Shirou Kuramori who has been hired by the mysterious Reiko Tamura in a bid to monitor Shinichi’s progress and adaptation with the Parasyte in his right hand; however when a league of Parasites, lead by Goto himself, discovers this constant obsession they opt to put a stop to it. The result, as one could imagine, is one of bloodshed and with losses on both sides it soon leads the secret police directly into Shinichi’s sight with Detective Hirama leading the charge.
Within a few short episodes this direction of speculation soon changes to coldblooded brutality as following on from an intense interrogation session from the police, and an oddly bizarre ‘parasite screening process’ from mass murder Uragami, we now see the police begin an operation in which they attempt to weed out the parasites that have infiltrated the government. It’s actually quite an adrenaline pumped few episodes as while you may think the police are there to protect the public from parasites they are actually there to kill anything that disobeys them; which of course sees me bloodshed. This interesting, albeit short, aspect of brute force also brings out the arrival of Goto and his super destructive parasite abilities to which he presents a warning to shinichi; and it’s here where you realise the final show down will begin. Unfortunately however this ‘showdown’ opts to stall itself and as a result Shinichi runs away fearing for his life, that is not before engaging in sex with a beloved friend – which seems oddly placed given that they hardly shared any feelings with one another throughout the series; but when the final confrontation does take place between Goto and Shinichi it’s not the fight you would be expecting and instead it’s all over within a matter of minutes.
In some aspects the episodes contained within this Collection 2 release of Parasyte create three different story arcs; the Private Investigator arc, which sees a PI monitor Shinichi’s actions to Rekio Tamura while Parasites under Gotos order begin to question her motives, the Investigation and Infiltration arc, which sees the police interrogated anyone they suspect to be a parasite before storming a government building, and finally the mix-mashed ending that could’ve been handled better. Ever arc, if you could call them that, offers a different approach to the story being told but while a nice progressive story is on offer I can’t help but feel that character development and relationships between characters could’ve been handled better; especially when Shinichi shows his emotion for Migi but not entirely for Maurno the girl we know Shinichi likes but never openly admits too…well that is until it matters most at the very end with a life or death situation but even this felt un-needed.
When it comes to supplementary content then do not get your hopes up as while the ‘Deluxe Collectors Edition’ contains a variety of physical content the disc content contains only a handful of trailers and some textless songs.
It’s pretty much exactly what you would expect to receive from any Sentai Filmwork authored release so no surprises/disappointments should be had for those who have bought Sentai Filmwork authored titles in the past. In any event the textless opening and closing songs are the same songs/animations used on Disc 1 and Disc main menu respectfully while the trailers themselves will see trailers for other Sentai Filmwork releases being shown; most of which are random clips with the opening song placed on top.
It’s also worth nothing that the first Blu-ray Disc even has a trailer (or music video styled trailer if you prefer) for Akame Ga Kill – Collection 1 before you get to the disc menu; a trait which was previously seen on Parasyte: The Maxim – Collection 1.
Media: BD 50 x1, BD 25 x1
Region: A & B
Running Time: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (English), DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (Japanese)
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: 3:25:42 (Disc 1), 1:07:43 (Disc 2)
Subtitles: English (Yellow)
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps
As a series Parasyte: The Maxim is something I should have enjoyed, due to its secretive nature and constant violence, but in the end it did very little to peak my interest and get me emotionally involved with the characters on screen. I assume this has to do with the progressive nature of the story as while Parasyte does feature a story it’s not entirely a good one – instead it just follows the events of Shinichi and his parasite infected right-hand known as Migi. This aside the events which took place in Parasyte: The Maxim – Collection 2 did get me interested; the motives of Reiko Tamura, Goto and The Police during the government raid all kept me wondering what would happen next to these characters and the people involved; but while this may be the case the ending left a bitter after taste in my mouth. In my eyes it is an ok series at best but it’s not one I plan on re-watching anytime soon.
The events of this second half continue the build-upon the elements that appeared within the first half, such as the emotional turmoil the Parasite infestation is having on Shinichi and the actions he is taking against the Parasites. Some character building is found, especially between Shinichi and Maruno, but it feels so half-hearted it doesn’t give you the impression that they like each other – that is until a rather unexpected sex scene appears. In my eyes the events which see Reiko Tamura show her ‘humane’ side and Goto’s plan of eradicating human life which really steal the show but even these can feel rushed. A lot manages to happen in a rather short period of episodes and yet who created the Parasites and for what purpose (other than to reduce the number of humans living within the world) still remain a mysery but when its all said and done a conclusion is brought about; even if its not the one anyone would have exactly wanted. Do parasites still exist within the world? Who knows but personally I’m just glad its over so we can move onto something a bit more progressive and entertaining with its characters.
While Parasyte once again fails to entertain me on the levels I had hoped the quality of this release is pretty much on par with the previous release and thats mostly due to the fact that everything is laid out exactly the same. The Blu-ray menu, of which features all of the episodes listed individually alongside the audio setup options, is the same as the previous collection 1 release and while I prefer the Japanese Audio track (with Yellow Subtitles) the English 5.1 DTS Surround Sound audio is a notable addition for that cinematic experience. Credit must also be given to the ‘English Audio with English Hard of Hearing subtitles’ which means that more anime fans will be able to enjoy the experience; an option something which is often forgotten in most anime releases. Basically everything works as expected and while it does utilize the same menu design (with the textless opening and closing song playing the background) it does work and provide ease of access to the content you desire.
Parasyte: The Maxim – Collection 2 on Blu-ray is as follows; a release which continues the series in superb High Definition quality and brings that ever desired conclusion to the your eyes in either Japanese or English audio with a minimal amount of bonus features. It’s an interesting series and it’s worth checking out and this Blu-ray release (especially the Deluxe Limited Edition bundle) by Animatsu Entertainment is about the best you will ever get from it.
Parasyte: The Maxim – Collection 2 will be available on DVD, Blu-ray and Deluxe Collectors Edition from the 1st August 2016.