‘Parasyte’ Anime Recap & Ending Explained (In-Detail): Did Migi Return To Shinichi?

The concept of a hostile alien parasite bonding with a human host and eventually proceeding to live in a symbiotic relationship with them, ignoring its baser violent instincts, is rather familiar to the majority of pop culture fanatics thanks to the popularity of Marvel’s famous anti-hero, Venom. However, during the late 1980s, when the character made its first appearance in comics, a Japanese counterpart of the same concept was taking shape through Hitoshi Iwaaki’s manga Parasyte. Bringing in visceral elements of body horror and classic Ukiyo-e supernatural art together, the mangaka fleshed out the concept further than its more popular American counterpart, delving deep into questioning identity conflict, the extent of human morality, empathy and their hypocritical nature, and the true essence of life itself. 


Madhouse Studio’s anime adaptation of the manga, titled Parasyte: The Maxim, was able to capture the perfect combination of graphic horror and philosophical resonance, which was the USP of the source material itself. Aside from gaining unanimous praise from fans and critics alike for the visuals, music, and adept handling of the narrative, the series became a benchmark for similar modernized manga adaptations.

Spoilers Ahead 


How Did Shinichi Retain Control Despite Getting Infected By Parasites?

Although the manga is set in Hiroshima, the anime adaptation changed the setting to Tokyo in order to connect with a new generation global audience. As the series begins, a form of alien parasite is shown to be spreading across Tokyo, taking over the bodies of human hosts by replacing their brains. The parasites turn their hosts cannibalistic, as they consume the species their hosts belong to, and in order to do so, they hunt others by morphing the host bodies into various forms of vicious organic constructs. 

We meet a mild-mannered high schooler, Shinichi Izumi, as a parasite tries to infect his brains but fails to do so and finds refuge by entering his right hand. The parasite matures inside Shinichi’s hand and sustains itself through the nutrients in his body. Unaware of the incident, Shinji continues to go through awkward situations involving his right hand throughout the next day, until he discovers the horrifying truth. At once taken aback, Shinichi decides to cut off his hand to get rid of the parasite, but the sentient parasite pleads with him not to do so, as it would be detrimental for both of them. Shinichi disgruntledly agrees, and the parasite eventually learns all about Earth within a brief span of time by studying. Eventually, as per the parasite’s suggestion, Shinichi names him Migi (which means ‘right’ in Japanese).


Who Is Ryoko Tamiya? What Is Her Endgame?

Meanwhile, Tokyo gets plagued by cases of ‘mincemeat murders’ as parasite-ridden humans leave a bloody mess of their victims. Migi and Shinichi come across a parasite-controlled man named Mr. B, who gets fascinated to see Migi partially dependent on his host instead of fully taking over. Mr. B offers Migi to join his side and kill Shinichi, but Migi chooses to stay and annihilates the other parasite. Although Migi states the reason to be his uncertainty regarding survival after host change, Shinichi is amazed to see him kill his own kind to save his host’s life. 

Parasite-controlled humans mingle effortlessly with the normal ones, which makes it difficult for the authorities to detect them. At Shinichi’s school, Migi detects their new mathematics teacher, Ryoko Tamiya, to be a parasite, and Shinichi gets detected by her at the same time. Ryoko decides to privately meet with Shinichi and informs him that she has no intention to get involved in a conflict with him. She lets Shinichi know that she has partnered up with another parasite-controlled man, Mr. A, and that she is pregnant with his child, on whom she wants to experiment to learn more about human and parasite symbiosis while fulfilling their hunger by killing as many humans as they like. Ryoko admires the symbiotic relationship Migi and Shinichi have established but warns them not to interfere with her plans. Later, Mr. A attacks Shinichi’s school, and secretively, Shinichi and Migi manage to take him out. An enraged Ryoko meets Shinichi and plans to attack him, but changes her mind at the last moment as she leaves.


How Did Shinichi And Migi’s Consciousness Get Affected?

Shinichi’s parents decide to go on a trip, where his mother, Nobuko, gets killed and taken over by a parasite, injuring Shinichi’s father, Kazuyuki, in the process. A controlled Nobuko returns home and stabs Shinichi through his heart, and Migi operates on Shinichi’s body to revive him. The connection between Shinichi and Migi grows stronger, and slowly, Shinichi starts to lose bits of his humanity. This affects his relationship with Satomi Murano, one of his batchmates who is in love with him. 

Shinichi decides to bring his mother’s killer to justice, and with the help of a kind-hearted guy named Mamoru Uda, who shares a similar fate of having a symbiotic relationship with a parasite as well, he ultimately kills the parasite-controlled Nobuko. Kazuyuki gradually slips into a depressed state, and Shinichi, who himself is losing touch with his emotional self, is unable to help him. Shinichi gets himself entangled in a love triangle situation with Murano and a gang member named Kana Kimishima, whose heightened perception makes her suspect Shinichi’s possible connection with parasites. At school, Ryoko is forced to leave her duties due to her pregnancy but sends a parasite-controlled transfer student, Hideo Shimada, to keep a close watch on Shinichi. The psychotic and ruthless parasite eventually blows his cover, which results in a bloodbath in school, prompting Migi and Shinichi to kill him. As a parasite, Migi’s cold, calculative rationale for survival contrasts with Shinichi’s humanistic instincts, and he goes to certain lengths to protect him from emotional harm by suppressing his feelings. But eventually, Migi himself becomes ‘infected’ by the emotional tribulations of human beings, even though he isn’t able to fully understand it. 


How Did The Parasite Plan To Take Over Humanity?

Meanwhile, a mayoral candidate named Hirakawa forms a squad filled with parasite-controlled politicians, and Ryoko seems to be involved with them as well, as they plan to overthrow humanity by taking over the administrative system from within. Kana’s heightened perception and inquisitive nature about Shinichi increase her risk of getting into trouble with other parasites, which leads Shinichi to confess everything to her, only for Kana to shrug his claims off in disbelief as she thinks it to be a ploy by Shinichi to cover Murano. Eventually, Kana falls prey to one of the parasite-controlled humans and breathes her last in Shinichi’s arms. An enraged Shinichi kills the attacker violently, and his association with the case puts him on the radar of Hirokawa, who has been recently elected as mayor. As Hirokawa shares his suspicion with Ryuko, who has finally become a mother recently, she decides to enlist the help of a private detective named Shiro Kuramori to keep tabs on Shinichi. A mysterious parasite-controlled human named Gotou gradually rises through the ranks of the underworld by killing hordes of Yakuza and becoming Hirokawa’s enforcer. 

Kuramori finds evidence of Shinichi being a parasite, and when he presents it to Ryoko, who is already aware of the fact, she decides to drop the investigation. Shinichi and Uda confront Kuramori and let him know that his former employer is a parasite as well, much to his disbelief. Later, Shinichi confronts Reiko, who mocks his gradual loss of humanity by pointing out his significantly calmer behavior after his mother’s death, which results in a panic attack in Shinichi as he hurriedly escapes. Later, Shiro takes Shinichi to one of Hirokawa’s human-feasting gatherings, where a parasite named Kawada annihilates a girl, resulting in Shinichi attacking him right away. Kuramori records their battle but has a change of mind about revealing the information and eventually abandons the investigation altogether. However, Hirokawa is aware of Shinichi and Kuramori’s involvement and decides to send his war dogs after them. His three chief politicians burn Kuramori’s office and murder his family, while Gotou chases Shinichi to a forest but eventually loses his track. 


Motherhood slowly starts to get to Ryoko, even in her parasite form, and as her ideology turns to a respectful stance towards humans, the three chief politicians of Hirokawa start suspecting her allegiance and eventually round her up. A devastated Kuramori decides to approach Ryoko to take revenge and watches as she brutally dispatches all three members of Hirokawa’s upper echelon of parasites. Kuramori abducts Ryoko’s infant, and eventually both Ryoko and Shinichi confront him. As the detective threatens to kill her infant son, Ryoko attacks and eventually kills him to rescue her son, thereby revealing her identity as a parasite to the authorities gathered at the place. Ryoko refuses to defend herself as the authorities unload their firearms to kill her—just to save her son, whom she entrusts to Shinichi with her dying breath. The parasite’s act of self-sacrifice bemuses Migi as well, and seeing his mother dying, Ryoko Shinichi gets emotionally overwhelmed and eventually manages to connect with Murano, who is concerned about his fading humanity. 

Did Migi Return To Shinichi At The End?

Detective Hirama, who had closely observed Kuramori’s last few days, suspects Shinichi big time and brings in a notorious serial killer named Uragami, whose supposedly heightened perception, like Kana, allows him to detect parasites. Uragami suspects Shinichi but doesn’t deem him a killer. Eventually, Hirama and police officer Yamagishi take both Uragami and Shinichi’s help to crack down on the hierarchies of the parasites, beginning by raiding town hall to eliminate Hirokawa and his associates. As authorities surround the town hall and begin their operation, Hirokawa turns out to be a human who despises humanity itself for its double standard nature—the fact that they exploit other life forms but perceive parasites’ survival instincts as evil—pretending human life as sanctimonious and what not. Hirokawa is killed along with his other associates, while Uragami escapes and Gotou slaughters his way through the armed forces, killing Yamagishi in the process as well. 


Later, Shinichi and Migi try to ambush Gotou in the forest but get easily overwhelmed, as strengthened by five parasites, Gotou easily overpowers them. In order to save Shinichi, Migi sacrifices himself and attaches himself to Gotou, thereby subduing him for long enough to let Shinichi escape. Separated from Migi, having lost his right arm, a weakened, crestfallen Shinichi finds refuge in the cottage of an elderly woman by the side of the forest, where he recuperates for a few days. Eventually, Shinichi learns about Gotou’s threat persisting in the forest and decides to take him on by himself. A powerless Shinichi manages to infect the hulking parasite, by hitting at a vulnerable spot, and Gotou retaliates right back at him. Migi finds his way back to Shinichi’s body and obliterates Gotou by decimating his internal organs. As remnants of Gotou still try to join and resuscitate, Shinichi decides to let nature take its course to decide his fate, as he recognizes the anthropocentric fallacy of morality. However, Migi asks him to destroy Gotou for the sake of mankind, and Shinichi eventually agrees to do so. 

A year passes after the incident, and instances of ‘mincemeat murder’ have ceased to exist. Parasites still exist, this time not preying on humans, but rather in harmony, seeking nourishment from human food sources. Migi decides to go into a prolonged, or permanent, hibernation and visits Shinichi for the last time in his dream. As he sees Shinichi’s consciousness projecting the memories of the people close to him—whom he had lost during the entire ordeal—Migi sees himself as well and, for the first time, realizes how Shinichi sees him. After Migi leaves, Shinichi tries to rekindle his relationship with Murano once again, and he eventually comes to the realization that he never saw Migi from his perspective to begin with. He comes to the conclusion that human love for everything else stems from self-gratification, but he refuses to denounce this selfishness, deeming it something necessary. 


Later that day, the formerly mentioned escaped serial killer Uragami captures Murano and takes her to a rooftop as he tries to force Shinichi (whom he now considers to be part parasite) to accept that both of them are similarly guided by a lust for killing. However, Murano emphatically denounces Uragami’s opinion, putting her trust in Shinichi’s nature, which strengthens Shinichi’s resolve. An enraged Uragami proceeds to throw Murano off the roof, and in the blink of an eye, Shinichi hurls himself to knock the deranged killer out and catch Murano. However, he fails to catch her, and Murano seems to be falling to her death, much to Shinichi’s horror. A vision of Migi in his subconscious calms Shinichi’s mind, which asks him to take hold of his life, and Shinichi is elated to see that he has been able to catch Murano after all. Bringing her to safety, Shinichi thanks Migi for returning, and even though Migi is nowhere to be seen, viewers observe Shinichi’s right hand as being responsible for the rescue. 

As the anime comes to a close, any chance for continuation seems unlikely to happen, as the author has decided to end the series. Migi’s existence remains a mystery, as the nature of the ending is ambiguous. Whether it was Migi who helped him once again or was it his resolve that guided his hand remains unknown, which makes the affair all the more intriguing. 


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Siddhartha Das
Siddhartha Das
An avid fan and voracious reader of comic book literature, Siddhartha thinks the ideals accentuated in the superhero genre should be taken as lessons in real life also. A sucker for everything horror and different art styles, Siddhartha likes to spend his time reading subjects. He's always eager to learn more about world fauna, history, geography, crime fiction, sports, and cultures. He also wishes to abolish human egocentrism, which can make the world a better place.

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