I’m going to be diving deep into spoilers from here on out so watch out if that kind of thing is important to you
Hilariously, I managed to spoil myself to all the plot details through the wiki and still enjoy a fresh, unspoiled experience of watching the show proper. The emotional impact of each major moment was so much more than the intellectual fact of knowing that x character dies here, etc. (Or maybe it’s just the low writing quality of the average wiki. I remember Killer 7 was *much* easier to follow watching it in an LP proper than trying to read the Wikipedia plot summary.)
That being said, I’m going to spoil one of the major emotional moments of the series, so major that everyone and their grandma uploads clips and pieces of it and parodies thereof on YouTube. Turn away if you want to keep this one fresh.
One of my favorite moments from Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is when Roy is relentlessly chasing down Envy towards the end. (Of course it is, it’s everyone’s favorite.) And when he finally catches Envy, and starts mercilessly burning him to death, and exclaiming all the rage and anger he’s felt over losing his best friend to this monster.
That final scream is *just* *so* *satisfying*! And frightening. It’s just such a perfect expression of rage, it’s great to revisit every now and again just to feel the satisfaction of revenge. (In the English dub, anyway. FMA:B is one of the times I far prefer the English dub to the original Japanese dub.)
Parasyte has a similar scream of rage, one that took me by surprise when I was trawling through clips of the series on YouTube, and the entire scene was just well-crafted enough to sell me on watching the whole series through.
There’s just so damn much going on in this scene
- The other major theme, Next to You. It’s kind of a cheat mode button for the series to turn up the wetworks on demand, but I mean, it’s just a *really* well-composed piece of music and much of the emotional content builds up from the scenes it’s used in, which get much of their emotional punch from having this tune playing, etc. I’ll take it.
- I love how completely self-contained this scene is. You don’t even have to know anything about the series, and you know just from the way the scene is cut, what’s at stake and why he cares so much to rip the beast’s heart out with his bare hand.
- “Migi. Handle the defense.” Augh! So good! You can tell from his cold tone of voice that he wants his super-powerful parasite-hand to step aside and let him personally have vengeance; and you can tell from Migi’s surprise that this is the first time that he’s taken such direct action.
Only a couple little things require context from the rest of the series. One, Kana isn’t actually his girlfriend, just an unrequited lover. ( 😦 ) Two, the execution method here parallels their first encounter with a parasite. There, our hero Shinichi is entirely too petrified by his first real encounter with a life or death situation, and the parasite Migi takes the initiative of snatching out the possessed dog’s heart and crushing it without mercy.
Here, Shinichi is tearing out the enemy heart himself, throwing the enemy through some walls, and dropping the heart to the ground whole, uncrushed. I like to take this as a sign of Shinichi’s humanity.
He doesn’t instinctively destroy the meat, like a carnivore would. One staunch advocate of a vegan diet points to the stark difference in behavior between humans and carnivores, the similarity between humans and herbivores, as part of the proof that we are meant to eat a meat-free diet:
“The next person you meet head-on who claims meat is “tasty,” stop him in his tracts [sic] and insist that he eat a large plate of plain, unseasoned, boiled beef or boiled chicken in front of you – note their displeasure. Then offer that same meal to the dog or cat and note how eagerly this critter devours the meat. You would be hard-pressed to find a person who did not enjoy a bowl of perfect, ripe bananas – but try to get your cat to eat this sweet food.”
Along the same lines is the human natural aversion to killing. You might think that absurd with how freely we go to war or shoot each other, but consider. Our first reaction to a bug, especially as children, is to recoil in horror; our first reaction to stepping on a worm — especially with our bare feet — is to cringe in disgust at having committed an accidental disgusting murder. A corgi’s first response to seeing a bug is to roll on it, playfully. Murder is genuine play for a carnivore. A corgi can gleefully — *warm* heartedly murder many, many bugs in a lifetime, without ever becoming one bit less gregarious and loving and happy dappy (wappy corgi).
For a human? We have to force ourselves violently to the task of murder. We can’t commit serial murder without doing violence to our ability to be as chipper as a corgi. Similarly, Shinichi is pushed to the breaking point, he kills the parasite with his own hand, but once vengeance is taken there’s no more fight left in him to crush the heart or eat it like a parasite or a dog would. It’s almost like he’s experiencing the crash after vengeance, the empty feeling afterward when he feels how pointless it is. Look at his face! It’s like, “What the hell good did that accomplish, when Kana is still going to die?”
And of course that raw scream of anger. ERRRRAAAAAAHHHHH! It’s one of those that remains fresh no matter how many times I rewatch it. I watched the clip a couple times before I sat down to the anime proper, and it was still fresh when it rolled right around. This is the kind of anime this is, fierce and unrefined. I fucking love it.