Saturday, February 25, 2017

Neo Parasyte Complete Manga Review

May this Earth be a world that blesses all those who are new.

Creative Staff:
Art/Story: Various Artists
Translation: Kumar Sivasubramanian
Lettering: Steve Wands
Editing: Lauren Scanlan
Cover Design: Phil Balsman

What They Say:
A parasite keeps a house of mysteries that is full of twisted exhibits. Another kills an entire family, only to get stuck infecting a teenage daughter obsessed with fairy tale romance manga. These and 13 more stories, from some of the greatest shojo manga artists alive today, together make up a chilling, funny, and entertaining tribute to one of manga’s horror classics!

The Review:
Content: (Please note that the content portion of the review may contain spoilers)
Ahh, Parasyte -- one of the most intricate and complicated stories of our generation. With themes as heavy as mortality and the meaning of life, it's no wonder the series has been critically acclaimed since its conception in the 90's. But thanks to the recent anime adaptation, Parayste has seen yet another surge in popularity. And what better way to milk that popularity than by creating a compilation manga with short stories from fifteen different artists? Oh, but do you know what would be fun? If we limited that to only shoujo manga artists!

Yup. That's right.

Neo Parasyte features short stories from fifteen different established shoujo mangaka, giving each one less than twenty pages to get their vision and take on the series across. This idea, which seemed incredibly logical and interesting on paper, had serious potential. But here's the catch -- none of them are good! In fact, most of them come across as forced, subpar fan fiction from artists who seemed like they never intended to write something like this in the first place. It gets so bad at points that you can literally envision the planners for this manga going up to the compilation writers and begging them to be a part of it. And to add insult to injury, some of those artists even leave comments after their work exemplifying just that. With that in mind, however, a couple of them (And I really mean only two or three max) are at least average -- which is a feat in itself for stories of their size.

The problem you're going to encounter when throwing together a compilation for a series as huge as Parasyte is simple -- you don't have enough time to get anything across. These artists aren't bad. If they were, they wouldn't have been approached for a compilation in the first place. But the fact that each of them was so limited in the amount of time and space allotted to leave their mark comes across as nothing more than boring, meaningless drivel. I can't even evaluate half of the stories considering they ended so quickly that I couldn't even remember the characters' names. In revisiting the book to try and gain more headway for this review, I discovered that most of the stories had already found a way to sneak out of my memory. That is how small the impression they leave on you is. Hell, Kodansha even throws reviews for the original Parasyte onto the back of this book just to try and coerce you into buying this nonsense.

To those who are utterly obsessed with Parasyte, however, you may still gain solace in knowing that something like this exists -- even if it's borderline unreadable at points. I'm not against compilation volumes. In fact, I think a Parasyte compilation is a great idea. Its universe is limitless when it comes to thematic exploration. But when you're putting something like this together, it's probably best to make sure the writers of the short stories- I don't know, care? What we have here is a book with fifteen different stories and maybe three or four different themes in total with the other seventy-five percent of it screaming, "Hey, look at this Parasyte fanart I drew!"

But hey, at least there's only one of these, right?

In Summary:
Kodansha Comics finds a way to milk the popularity of Parasyte by throwing together forced fanfiction from established shoujo mangaka. With maybe two or three of these stories actually being readable, it's safe to say that this compilation volume is designated for consumption by only the most dedicated Parasyte fans, leaving much to be desired by anyone else. Even those dedicated fans, however, will most likely be let down when they discover that each of these stories can in no way, shape, or form, live up to its source material.

Content Grade: D+
Art Grade: C
Packaging Grade: C
Text/Translation Grade: B+

Age Rating: 16+
Released By: Kodansha Comics
Release Date: November 8, 2016
MSRP: $13.99

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