Parasyte: The Maxim, Review: Are You Really Izumi Shinichi?

I remember when I first got into anime years ago and one of the shows I considered watching because of the praise it recieved was Parasyte: The Maxim.
I intended to watch it but I got so caught up watching other anime that I eventually forgot all about it, until it was chosen at the anime club I go to.
It was not long ago that we finished the final episode and I have a lot of thoughts about the whole series.
Parasyte: The Maxim is directed by Kenichi Shimizu, and is a modern adaptation of the manga Parasyte by Hitoshi Iwakka, which ran from 1988 to 1995.
The story follows high school student Izumi Shinichi (Nobunaga Shimazaki), who wakes up one night to discover a strange alien-like worm burrowing its way into his arm and moving towards his head.
In a panic, he cuts off the circulation in his arm, causing the worm to settle there and eat it, taking its place as the Parasite Shinichi names Migi (Arya Hirano).
However, Shinichi has very little time to deal with the new guest in his body before Migi makes him aware of other Parasites, ones who successfully took over their hosts’ brains and are now regularly feasting on humans.
Viewing the two as a threat, the Parasites go on the attack, forcing Shinichi and Migi to work togethor in a tense partnership that draws many of the people Shinichi cares about into the bloody crossfire.

Shinichi and Migi battle multiple Parasites across the series, each more dangerous than the last.

This reluctant alliance between the human and Parasite grows magnificently across the story, with both Shinichi and Migi getting some excellent development, as Migi becomes more human and Shinichi less so, much of which ties into the themes of the story about what being human is and the effect we have as a species on the planet.
It is not just Shinichi and Migi who are interesting though, because there are also a plethora of interesting supporting characters, like the Parasite Reiko Tamura (Atsuko Tanaka) who’s growing humanity was engaging to see progress.
Of course, with quite a few characters in such a bloody series, it is inevitable that many of them do end up meeting tragic ends, creating numerous emotional and gut wrenching scenes… unless the character is being stupid.
I say this because Parasite is a show where a few of its supporting cast make excellent candidates for receiving the Darwin Award.
Seriously, the decisions some of these characters make are the most idiotic I have seen in a show. 

Yes, I agree Shinichi. Yuko really is an idiot.

Thankfully, these instances of stupidity, although extreme when they do happen, are few and far between and it do not come from Shinichi or Migi.
No, these two remain consistent in their intelligence and development, as they take on their opposing Parasites in many well done fight scenes, accompanied by a good score and animation.
This quality extends to the OP as well, Let Me Hear by Fear, And Loathing in Las Vegas, which was such a great choice because the lyrics coincide perfectly with the events and themes of the show all the way to the end.
Speaking of that ending, there is one aspect of it I am still a bit unsure of and this is the resolution to Shinichi and Migi’s relationship.
It just felt a little abrupt to me and I think it could have used a bit more time.
Otherwise, I actually loved this ending.
The final conflict Shinichi has was one I did not expect but I think it made perfect sense with the story’s themes about human nature.

I don’t think the final conflict of the story could have been done better to be honest.

Overall, all of this adds up to anime which does live up to the hype behind it.
There are some issues, like characters occasionally making absurdly stupid decisions and part of the ending feeling a bit rushed. 
However, the rest of it more than makes up for these minor problems, presenting an anime that has intriguing themes and a compelling dynamic between its two main characters.

Ghost in the Shell Review: One of the Most Influencial Anime of All Time.

5 stars
When someone asks for an example of an anime that had an impact on genres in the film industry, it’s hard not to think of
Ghost in the Shell’s influence on sci-fi.
It is constantly referenced whenever this topic comes up and, after finally watching it, I understand why.
Based off the manga by Masamune Shirow, and directed by Mamoru Oshii, the film takes places in a cyberpunk future where the lines between what constitutes as human have begun to blur, due to so many people being augmented with technology.
It seems that the only feature that it takes for one to be recognized as a person in this world is the human consciousness known as a ghost, with the outer body merely being a shell, hence the title.
Our main character is Major Motoko Kusanagi (Atsuko Tanaka), who has become so augmented that it appears only her ghost remains.
As she and her team track down a cyber terrorist known as the Puppet Master, we see how Kusanagi is struggling with her own questions about her humanity, leading to an ending that feels like a new beginning. 

There are many great scenes that build into this ending, like the diving scene.

This is achieved not so much through words but rather through the visuals, as we see Kusanagi traveling the city, her almost robotic gaze raising questions about the perception she has of herself, with the terrific score playing in the background accompanying the likewise terrific animation.
It is through means like this that Ghost in the Shell raises interesting questions about what it means to be alive and evolve… which it never really answers.
Although, this is not not a bad thing because rather than it feeling like a copout, it feels like the writer is trying to raise genuine discussion on this subject.
This clearly worked too with how many films and shows took inspiration from the film, from shortly after it was released all the way up to now.
For example, I saw features that would influence both The Matrix and Westworld in the opening credits alone.

The opening scene itself where Kasanagi’s cyborg body is created is practically projecting its influence on sci-fi as a whole.

It achieves all of this in a pretty short runtime too, which is surprising and really shows how good its messaging is.
Along with this, the film has a surpisingly positive outlook on the future of technology, and I say “surprising” because so many other sci-fi films seem to focus solely on the negative consequences of these advancements.
I get the feeling that Ghost in the Shell is a film that will take me multiple rewatches to fully appreciate all of its questions and implications, yet I still feel like I experienced something after watching it for the first time.
Ghost in the Shell is definitely a masterpiece anime, one where its influences can be seen in movies to this day.