Neo-Parasyte f (Manga Anthology)

Written & Illustrated byNeo-Parasyte f Asumiko Nakamura, Ema Toyama, Miki Rinno, Lalako Kojima, Kaori Yuki, Banko Kuze, Yuuki Obata, Kashio, Yui Kuroe, Asia Watanabe, Mikimaki, Hikaru Suruga, Hajime Shinjo, Renjuro Kindaichi, and Yuri Narushima

Based on Parasyte by Hitoshi Iwaaki

Published by Kodansha Comics

Suitable for ages 16+

Before I start talking about what we’re all here for—Neo-Parasyte f—I want to share a story. I’ve been a voracious reader my entire memorable life. When eating breakfast, I read every single side of the cereal box (including the ingredient list). Do I care about the hundred different kinds of sugar that’s in there? Of course not. I just love to read. So when I read Neo-Parasyte f for a second time, I was not perturbed in the slightest by having to sit down with it again. When I finished reading it that second time, and still had trouble remembering what in the hell happened during the course of the volume? That’s what really started to trouble me.

Neo-Parasyte f is an anthology published by Kodansha Comics that brings together a multitude of talented artists, giving each a chapter to tell a new story in the Parasyte world. Some of the stories are entertaining, some of them are sad, and others are just plain weird. As I said though, they were mostly forgettable.

What made the entirety of Neo-Parasyte f memory-altering in a bad way was the sense that these stories will not withstand the test of time. That taken apart from their inspiration, they are inconsequential. Sure, there has to be a place for books that are not capable of standing alone. But without the Parasyte world to back it up, Neo-Parasyte f sort of flops. In even a few years it wouldn’t be surprising if the amount of people who have heard of Parasyte dwindles. And Neo-Parasyte f will disappear along with that drop in recognition.

This is a really discouraging fact since Neo-Parasyte f is a very well balanced anthology. There are some chapters, like “The Lost Prince,” by Miki Rinno that are extremely well rounded. In this chapter, a young girl named Yuki is infected with a parasite while in the hospital. She immediately recovers from whatever her ailment is and runs home. She dubs the parasite a prince when he saves her from a deadly fall. While Yuki sleeps, the parasite reads her shojo manga (series marketed towards teen girls that focus on romance) and adapts his personality to better please her. As the chapter continues, Yuki eventually finds out that her best friend (Riko) is also parasitized, and has been stalking her. Riko killed Yuki’s entire family, and also kills her crush. This drives Yuki to the edge of her sanity, at which point she allows her parasite to take over her brain completely. What starts as a light-hearted comedy of a chapter ends in brutal revelation and sorrow. The rest of the stories in Neo-Parasyte f balance out the book as a whole in a similar fashion. Some are light-hearted, like the chapter where two parasites cook a recipe from a cookbook and have an epiphany about the human race. Others are dark and brooding like the story involving a selfish girl who ruthlessly pursues her love interest and is eventually killed for it by a parasite.

The art in Neo-Parasyte f is equally balanced. All 15 artists in the anthology have slightly differing styles, which meant my eyes never got bored. The size of the volume is also a great benefit. For $13.99 there are almost 300 pages of material. The height and width of the book are slightly larger than the average manga, which is an enjoyable change. And the color artwork on the cover is a semi-watercolor style with a matte feel to it, so from the exterior it looks and feels expensive.

One other negative about Neo-Parasyte f that I need to mention however, is that the book is slightly less enjoyable if you aren’t already familiar with Parasyte. I have never read the original manga, or watched the anime series. It didn’t prevent me from having a good time reading the anthology, since most of the canon you can pick up pretty easily in the stories. Because of this, I won’t deduct any points from my score, but I still wanted to point it out since there are some inside jokes and references that went over my head.

I went into reading Neo-Parasyte f with a positive attitude. Even though I knew next to nothing about Parasyte, the anthology still piqued my interest. And I wanted to cover it for the Parasyte fans we might have lurking around here at Dread Central. However, after doing my due diligence and reading Neo-Parasyte f a second time, I’m just left feeling disheartened. While categorically, Neo-Parasyte f is a very successfully executed anthology, it fell a little flat in the area of longevity. After two reads, I still struggled to remember specific examples of chapters, and had to flip back through the book just to explain the good ones. Even still, for the price, Neo-Parasyte f is well worth it. Fans of the existing Parasyte universe will especially love the chance to delve back into the terrifying—yet hilarious—world of hosts and their parasites.

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