I’m a big manga and anime fan, whether it be a fighting genre like Attack on Titan, fantasy like Moyashimon, or just plain cute like PoyoPoyo. However, I’m not usually a fan of the live action versions, as they never live up to the original (*cough* Death Note *cough*). Because of this I felt almost nervous settling down to watch Parasyte: Part 1, but for once I wasn’t disappointed.
Based on the previous manga and anime, Parasyte: Part 1, out now on Blu-Ray and DVD, is the first of two parts following Shinichi Izumi, who is a regular teenager until one evening when his hand is taken over by an unknown alien parasite that was aiming for his brain. Had it reached his brain he would have been completely taken over by it, but instead he finds himself with a parasite-controlled hand that calls itself Migi (“right” in Japanese). Mysterious murders are happening all over the country in parallel to this, and once Shinichi puts two and two together he realises that only himself and Migi can put a stop to it. The film itself is described as a “science fiction action horror film” and I think that sums it up very well – from the start it’s filled with action and gore as we see a parasite-controlled human kill his once wife and mutilate her corpse. Of all the actions scenes that’s probably the tamest, and so I don’t recommend watching this if the sight of blood and sliced-up bodies makes you feel ill. However, the graphics were surprisingly good for this sort of content, as it’s usually the strange effects that let down live-action films so much. It’s hard to make a human with a flower of flesh for head look realistic, but I must admit they did a pretty good job here.
Another thing that usually lets a live-action down is how far away it ends up from the original, but Parasyte: Part 1 sticks quite close. There’s a few differences, such as Shinichi’s father doesn’t feature in the film, and his relationship with Murano isn’t explored quite as much, but generally everything else is pretty similar. There’s a few parts which don’t quite make sense without previous knowledge of the manga (a couple of times we seem to go straight from A to C without ever touching on B) but overall the story is well-explained with enough going on to keep you engaged.
Shôta Sometani, who plays Shinichi, gives a brilliant performance – he’s completely believable and brings so much emotion to the film. They’re realistic emotions, too, so which I find is sometimes rare to find. Migi is a big part of the film, and he’s portrayed really well too – only out for himself, but also strangely endearing. My favourite parts of the film weren’t the action films but actually the small conversations between Shinichi and Migi as Migi learns more about the world. It’s these scenes that really convey the overriding message of the film, and also add some humour to alleviate the brutality of the action scenes.
Overall, Parasyte: Part 1 is a really good adaptation of an already really good manga and anime series. It’s beautifully shot in parts, with a really nice visual tone throughout. Despite the graphic content it’s also really emotionally charged, and some very tense scenes that will keep you gripped with suspense. It also sets the stage nicely for the second part, which I’m really looking forward to.
Parasyte: Part 1 was much better than I expected, and so I’m giving it 4/5.
Parasyte: Part 1 at CeX
Get your daily CeX at