January OWLS Post: Accepting Being Rebuilt

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Welcome back to a new year and a new OWLS blog tour. This month we are looking at the theme of metamorphosis.

A brand new year means new beginnings and opportunities. We have a tendency to embrace the new year because it’s a time when we can start fresh. For this month’s topic, we will be exploring our favourite dynamic characters who undergo changes for better or for worse. We will analyze these characters’ transformations and how these transformations benefited or minimized these characters’ potential in becoming “great people/beings.” We will also use these characters as a way for us to reflect on our own lives and who we want to become.

We all know that life is about continuous growth and change. Our bodies and minds are transformed every day, sometimes in small ways and other times in ways we could not have imagined. Not all of these changes are good but whatever changes come our way we need to find a way to cope with them and to deal with them.

Admittedly, for most of us these changes are not as drastic as the ones that Shinichi faced in Parasyte.

For Shinichi in between going to sleep one night as a normal high schooler and then waking up after a bad nights sleep and terrible dreams, his whole world and his body had changed. Though technically only half of that statement is true.

The world had already changed with parasytes already being fairly embedded within the population and murders already occurring. What changed for Shinichi was he gained an awareness of a reality he’d previously been either oblivious too or disconnected from.

And that happens a lot in our own lives. We learn something or experience something that makes us feel like the entire world has suddenly shifted. But really, the only thing that has changed is we are now aware of the situation. But that awareness brings new possibilities for action (or even the choice to close the door on it and now wilfully ignore something). In Shinichi’s case, becoming aware of the threat to humans gave him choices and while at first it seemed he was overwhelmed by the new reality he adjusted.

What took him longer to adjust to were the specific changes to his body. His right hand was eaten and taken from him. In its place was Migi, a parasyte with a mind of its own that didn’t always do as Shinichi wanted. Sometimes that worked in his favour when Migi would react to external threats faster than Shinichi could and other times it worked against him when Migi decided not to cooperate. However, Shinichi was faced with a situation where he had to learn to cooperate. Ignoring the reality of Migi was not an option. And while Migi certainly came with perks and enhancements, for Shinichi his body seemed no longer under his own control and at first that left him feeling quite despondent and helpless. But overtime, he found a way to accept Migi and even ended up feeling quite sad when Migi’s consciousness bid him farewell.

It’s a feeling anyone who has suffered an injury knows well. When you’ve broken a bone or torn tendons or ligaments (or worse though hopefully not), limbs suddenly don’t response the way they are supposed to. Even after they heal, they are never quite the same and sometimes you need to relearn skills or ways around basic activities that never used to give you problems. It can be tiring and frustrating and a feeling that somehow you aren’t in command of your own body. However, overtime while it might never be the same, it may get significantly better or easier to accept.

Though that is just looking at the physical changes. Shinichi’s metamorphosis went significantly further, particularly after Migi saved his life by repairing damage to his heart and chest meaning parts of Migi became spread throughout Shinichi. Shinichi became colder and less emotional and this pushed distance between him and his human friends.

Again, most of us haven’t had an alien parasyte fuse with our bodies but the idea of feeling removed from people you used to be close to and unable to connect with those around us is one most people can understand. Whether because of anxiety, depression, or just growing apart, it is a feeling a lot of us have experienced and can relate to.

Arguing whether Shinichi was a better person before or after his transformation is kind of pointless. Shinichi was fine as he was. The kind of shy high schooler with his crush on the girl. He may not have been about to change the world but he was living his life the best way he could. Shinichi after the transformation looked and acted differently, but that shy boy was still a part of him, as was his crush on the girl. With the knowledge he’d gained about the threat to the world and the strength he’d acquired he was set on a different path, but it wasn’t better or worse than where he’d started. Just different.

For me, Shinichi kind of demonstrates something that is worth remembering. Some changes you choose yourself and others happen to you, but the most important thing is what you do after the change has happened and how you react to it. In 2019, life is going to happen. Things will change. Big things and small. The question is how will you react when these changes affect you?

Thanks for reading
Karandi James
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PARASYTE: THE MAXIM [LIMITED EDITION]
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