What is the “Parasyte Glare”? A look at Madhouse’s currently-airing anime

What does it mean for something to be faithful to the original work? Producing a faithful adaptation involves more than just copying the precise happenings of a story. It’s about capturing the spirit of the original work. And unfortunately, Madhouse does an injustice to Hitoshi Iwaaki’s original manga, transforming the story from a classic horror story to a new age science fiction action anime.

No, this is not a complaint about adding a 21st century flair to a manga from the 1980s. Nobody is complaining about iPads and search engines and computers in the world of Parasyte. The huge problem is in the look and feel of the show:

Want me to eat you?


This show is just too damned cheesy: the conspicuous CGI graphics, the fancy dubstep music — which I greatly enjoyed in episode one but has now seeped into scenes in which it clearly doesn’t belong — and these forced, artificial, non-scary and non-exciting attempts to replicate the Parasyte Glare. This scene looks like something you would put in a comedy anime to depict someone with a desire to kill; it’s a laughably pale shadow of what it could be. Iwaaki masterfully presented us in his original anime a glance at Shinichi’s animalistic and violent impulses, and he succeeded because he was able to blend these dark scenes seemlessly in areas where you wouldn’t expect to see them:

i wanna kill you guys


Iwaaki didn’t use any cheesy effects to show Shinichi’s rage. His drawings of the iconic Parasyte Glare were plain and simple with no frills. Madhouse’s version of the Glare looks like a generic drawing that you’d see in any anime — it has no style, and zero impact. Even Higurashi, an anime that is far and away from being good, is more stylish and has the visceral, spine-tingling glares that Madhouse’s Parasyte desperately needs:

The failings of Madhouse’s attempts to do the Parasyte Glare are symptomatic of a larger problem: the anime just isn’t directed by a passionate artist, and it is not even close to being as thrilling as the original black-and-white work of manga. The most recent Parasyte Glare attempt really sealed the deal for me. Take a look at the original, then the new version:

parasyte dont look 1 parasyte dont look 2 parasyte dont look 3

What is this? Is this meant to be scary? How are we supposed to be scared of something that you telegraph 30 seconds ahead of time? Why is the shot so zoomed out, preventing us from getting a close look at her face? And why are there stars in the foreground?

Something is missing from Madhouse’s Parasyte — and it’s a human soul. The anime simply doesn’t have the spirit and passion of the original work. If you were moved or genuinely frightened by the “scary” scenes in the Parasyte anime, then you probably would have ruined your pants reading the original manga. Mirroring the alien creatures it depicts, Madhouse’s Parasyte has burrowed itself into a once-vivid and breathtaking work of manga and resurrected its dead corpse. Like the parasite-infested men who wander the streets of Tokyo spewing gibberish Japanese, the Parasyte anime mindlessly copies scenes from the original manga without understanding why they were there in the first place.

2 thoughts on “What is the “Parasyte Glare”? A look at Madhouse’s currently-airing anime

  1. I totally disagree with this article. One of the reasons I like Parasyte is because of those glares. I actually didn’t like the style of glares in the manga compared to the anime. The way the noses were drawn in the manga look weird in my opinion. Even the example you used. I love the Parasyte glares the anime, especially the shining eyes.

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