Parasyte - Part 1 (Kiseijuu) (2014)

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Released 18-Nov-2015

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action / Horror Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-More from Eastern Eye x 4
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2014
Running Time 104:34
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Takashi Yamazaki
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Shota Sometani
Eri Fukatsu
Ai Hashimoto
Masahiro Higashide
Jun Kunimura



Case Amaray-Transparent-Dual
RPI ? Music Naoki Sato


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1
Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     Humans are destroying the Earth through overpopulation, environmental degradation and greed; would the world be better off with fewer humans or even no humans at all so that other species can survive? Somebody, or something, thinks so and small insect like creatures called Parasites have appeared in Japan. They crawl into a human’s ear and attack and destroy the human brain; they inhabit the human body and it looks normal, at least until the parasite emerges from the head looking like a large, red/purple plant like creature to kill and eat another human, for the parasite needs humans as food to survive. Mutilated bodies start turning up all over the city but the Police can find no explanation for what is happening.

     One tiny parasite enters the house of student Shinichi Izumi (Shota Sometani) but as he is listening to music with his earphones on the parasite cannot enter his ear; instead it burrows into his hand. Shinichi is not sure what has happening; next day at school he seems to have no control over his hand, which shoots out to grope the breast of his girlfriend Satomi (Ai Hashimoto) which is embarrassing, to say the least! That night at home the parasite embedded in Shinichi’s hand reveals itself; having failed to reach Shinichi’s brain the two must co-exist for the parasite cannot now kill Shinichi without itself dying and Shinichi is not willing to cut off his arm. Shinichi names the parasite Migi, and a wary friendship starts to develop; Migi has a voracious need to learn about human kind, human experiences and emotions and so Shinichi helps. Shinichi also believes that he alone knows what is happening until a new science teacher, Ryoko Tamiya (Eri Fukatsu), arrives at his school. Parasites can sense other parasites and Migi quickly identifies Ryoko as a parasite; she also becomes aware of Shinichi and Migi. Ryoko has indeed been taken over by a parasite, but her mind has not been totally consumed. Ryoko is, moreover, the leader of a network of parasites and she is experimenting to try to find a way for parasites and humans to co-exist on the planet; for example, she tries to eat human food instead of humans and has become pregnant after having sex with another parasite in human body to determine if the baby will be a normal human and what it will be like to be a mother. Ryoko sees in the dual Shinichi/Migi a good subject to study to see how parasites and humans may indeed co-exist.

     Other parasites in human bodies are not so sure that this is the right approach; they have infiltrated the Police and one tries to kill Shinichi, destroying his heart. However, Migi manages to burrow within Shinichi’s body and heals his heart with his own cells with the result that their cells become intermingled; Shinichi becomes stronger and pragmatic, Migi more human! The Police, especially Detective Hirama (Jun Kunimura), and the public have started to become aware of the existence of the parasites, if only vaguely. Ryoko introduces Hideo Shimada (Masahiro Higashide) into the school as a student to watch Shinichi, but when Shimada is accidentally exposed as a parasite he goes on a killing spree in the art class; 13 female students are killed before Shinichi manages to save Satomi and kill Shimada. As this first film ends, Shinichi has realised that humanity is in danger and resolves to hunt down and kill all parasite. As well, on both sides, human and parasite, the ante has been upped by the introduction of new, more deadly, characters making co-existence very unlikely indeed.

     Parasyte – Part 1 is the first film of two live action films by director Takashi Yamazaki that are based on the popular 1990s manga by Hitoshi Iwaaki. This film was released in 2014 around the same time as an anime based on the manga, Parasyte: The Maxim, started showing on Japanese TV. I am not familiar with either the manga or the anime, so I can only review Parasyte – Part 1 on its own as a film.

     Parasyte – Part 1 is fabulous, intelligent, funny, sad, moving and tragic as well as very bloody and gory. Clearly, the destruction of the Planet by humans and the subsequent dilemma of our right to do so, or the right of some other species to stop us, is a huge subject but for the most part this remains in the background as the story focuses upon one young, confused, teen. Shinichi is an interesting character and is well played by Shota Sometani. I enjoyed his performance when I reviewed writer / director Sono Sion’s Himizu (2011) on this site and Sometani is again very good in Parasyte as a confused teen coming to terms with the presence of Migi; indeed some of the interaction between the two is very funny indeed. Eri Fukatsu is also very good as the controlled Ryoko, who perhaps has more humanity than she realises. The CGI in Parasyte is a mixed bag; Migi is amusing and engaging but the parasites emerging out of human heads looking somewhat like carnivorous plants could be better, although one needs to remember that this is not a huge budget Hollywood production so at least it is passable.

     Parasyte – Part 1, as the first of two films, is not complete and ends with the introduction of some new characters who will escalate the conflict between human and parasite. This first part is quite bloody and gory, there is tragedy as those close to Shinichi are targeted, humour, action and mystery. This film wastes no time on exposition or where the parasites came from; Parasyte – Part 2 may provide some answers.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Parasyte is presented in the original 2.35:1 aspect ratio, in the PAL format and 16x9 enhanced.

     This is not the crispest print you will see. While close-ups of faces are sharp enough, backgrounds can be soft. The colours vary; some scenes look natural, others have a blue, yellow or brown tinge, and in most scenes the colours are dialled down and look somewhat muted, an exception being the red/purple of the parasites when they burst from human heads. Blacks are solid and shadow detail good, brightness and contrast does vary, with glare when the light source is behind the actor. Aliasing was also present on buildings in long shots and on Shinichi’s mother’s chequered shirt.

     Lip synchronisation was fine.

    The English subtitles are in a yellow font. They are not burnt in so can be removed for Japanese speakers. I did not notice any errors.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    Both Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448 Kbps and Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 at 224 Kbps are available.

     I listened to the 5.1. Dialogue is clear. The effects are good including squishy footsteps or the slushy sounds of the parasites eating humans. The surrounds and rears featured music plus screams, voices, thumps and the “whip” of parasite tentacles during the action. In other times there were directional effects such as doors closing and footsteps. The sub-woofer added appropriate depth to the music and rumble to the effects.

     The score by Naoki Sato, an experienced composer with music for both live action (Rurouni Kenshin trilogy (2012-14)) and anime (Assassination Classroom (2015-16)) on his CV, was in turns exciting, dramatic or poignant, nicely augmenting the visuals.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Theatrical Trailer (1:03)

More from Eastern Eye

    Trailers for Tokyo Tribe (1:47), Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends (2:55), Monsterz (1:51) and Shield of Straw (1:52).

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The Region 2 UK and Region 3 HK DVDs of Parasyte – Part 1 also seem to include only the trailer as an extra. There are Region 2 Japanese normal and deluxe editions which are not English friendly. There is not currently a listing for a Region 1 US release. Buy local.

Summary

     Obviously in condensing a multi-volume manga into two films running less than 4 hours (the amine of 24 episodes runs around 8 hours) parts of the original manga are omitted or changed. I know some fans of the manga have been unhappy with the film, labelling it “Parasyte for dummies” but, and apologies to those fans, I can say that you don’t need any knowledge of the manga to understand and enjoy Parasyte – Part 1. The world of humans and parasites is economically sketched, allowing the film to concentrate upon a few characters and their dilemmas. Although not complete, in its own right Parasyte – Part 1 is a tremendous film – thought-provoking, compelling, funny and tragic. I was not expecting to get so enthralled, but it hooked me and I cannot wait to see what happens in Parasyte – Part 2.

     The video has its moments, the audio is good. A trailer is the only extra.

     Parasyte – Part 1 and its companion Parasyte – Part 2 were released separately in theatres in Japan and individually on DVD in Australia by Madman. The two films have now been rereleased together by Madman as Parasyte: Movie Collection. If you did not purchase the individual titles, this rerelease is a chance to catch up with this tremendous film(s).

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Monday, July 17, 2017
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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