Monday, August 10, 2009

Parasyte, Volume 08

It's characteristic of anime and manga to fumble their endings in some way. Even if ultimately pleasing, some aspect of the ending -- not properly clarifying on a narrative point that really needs to be addressed; prolonging the story and losing authorial purpose and motivation; overstuffing plotlines and ideas to only dull the impact of the main story point; realizing that The End is Nigh and rushing to pull everything together; et cetera -- frequently shows up to remind us of both the limited creative capabilities of most human beings and the production deadlines that animation studios and manga-ka alike contend with. Fans accept this, and as long as an ending delivers on their interests, they couldn't care less about the series' shortcomings.

Yet there are such things as finite stories, and Hitoshi Iwaaki's Parasyte is one such example. In spite of its rather straightforward beginning, giving the distinct impression that this is Shinichi's story alone, Iwaaki illustrates other characters' growth. Some, such as Shinichi and Reiko, take longer than others to respect what and who they are, and what sort of value we should place on life. Others, like Murano, seem to have unconsciously grasped What's Important from near the beginning. Some, as we see with many of the parasites and Uragami, never come to terms with them. All of these paths allow Iwaaki to create multifaceted and believable individuals, each with their own philosophies and quirks, to come into the story for however long is needed.

Also, as if to further emphasize the importance of each characters' developments, as well as the nature of Parasyte's story, there are multiple Q&A letters and Iwaaki's humorous and insightful reflections printed at the end of this volume. These anecdotes give a further sense of finality, driving home how the outlook of the manga has matured to a more balanced, stoic-like position by the end. Somewhat surprisingly, this change is a result from Iwaaki being dissatisfied with humanity's self-loathing that was becoming more common as environmental awareness set in, which he himself had shared early in the series' serialization. Creating a more nuanced viewpoint, he manages to go beyond self-defeating ideology to recognize the humanity of the monsters within us. There is no more fitting resolution to this deeply human work.

No comments:

Post a Comment