BOOK REVIEW: Parasyte, Volume 1

Parasyte, Volume 1 by Hitoshi Iwaaki

I enjoyed this one entirely too much! The “Parasyte” of the title is a type of alien that infects human brains, turning the hosts into cannibals. “Migi” is one such creature that attacks his host–Shinichi, a teenage boy–through the hand rather than the brain. What’s left is a regular teenage boy whose hand has a mind of its own.

There are more than a few shades of the delightfully cheesy “Evil Dead” movie series here. The posessed human hand, obviously. In addition, the parasites enable their human hosts to mutate in fantastic ways. The grotesque ways in which the human form mutates throughout, as well as the over-the-top violence, also bring to mind the Bruce Campbell movies.

Of course, I was also attuned to the ethical dilemmas that managed to creep into the story. Migi sees nothing wrong with his species’ use of human beings as a food source. Shinichi obviously disagrees, but the presence of the sentient alien does seem to force the boy to consider the manner in which human beings use and abuse other beings without a thought. In a memorable scene, Shinichi and his love interest happen upon a group of boys tormenting and preparing to kill a kitten. The girl wants to wuss out and leave the scene, leaving the kitten to its fate, but Shinichi steps in and rescues the kitten, giving the youths a lesson they won’t soon forget in the process.

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(Review originally appeared at goodreads.com)

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