Parasyte: The Maxim Character Analysis: Shinichi Izumi
By: Prince Lammy
Shinichi Izumi is the main character of the Parasyte: The Maxim anime series. He is the son of Kazuyuki Izumi and Nobuko, and also boyfriend to Satomi Murano. He used to be very timid and even scared of spiders until a parasite, Migi, drilled into his arm, ate it and replaced it. Shinichi’s life took an entirely different turn at that point, where he became a vigilante who protected humanity against those who would see to its extinction.
While working on his heroism, he fell in love with Satomi Murano, a girl from his school, and got tangled in the plots of other parasites and the special police force set up to see to their eradication. However, after he was nearly killed by a parasite and brought back to life by Migi, he acquired superhuman strength and skills, which further aided him in his fight against the parasites.
- Name: Shinichi Izumi
- Date of Birth: 17th May, 1998
- Gender: Male
- Status: Alive
- Anime Debut: Episode 1
Flashbacks of Shinichi’s past only give certain explanations as to how his mother received the burn on her right hand. A burn which she got from hot oil that careless little Shinichi mistakenly spilled while trying to reach an aluminum plate while standing on an unbalanced stool. She placed her hand in the way of the hot oil and Shinichi’s head, trying to protect him.
Another piece of his past tells of how he first met Murano at a gathering of students standing in front of the school’s notice board, checking the results of an entrance exam they’d earlier written to various schools. Little and nervous as he was back then, he nearly jumped when Murano approached him and made inquiries about the school he intends to go to. He then left after seeing her beam with smiles that they both would attend the same school.
Shinichi is a high school student, and as such, is most often seen in his school uniform, which consists of a white shirt, red tie, a V-necked sweater, blue blazer grey pants, long black socks and a black shoe. Whenever he’s not on his uniform he then wears t-shirts with either descriptions or designs on them. One of such t-shirts was the white shirt he wore to bed the night Migi drilled into his hand, which had a caution inscription at the back.
Physically, he’s a young man with a small build, and an average height to complement his age. He has brown eyes, brown hair, wears square-rimmed glasses and usually wears a tired forlorn look on his face.
However, after he was killed by the parasite who took over his mother’s head, and brought back to life by Migi, there was a big scar right in the middle of his chest, right above his sternum.
Shinichi is initially a kind and compassionate young man who genuinely cares for the people around him. Widespread opinion is that he is a pushover and a coward owing to the fact that he is socially inept and has a paralyzing fear of insects. Despite the initial shock he had when he was introduced to Migi and began to learn more about him, this begins to change as they spend more time together. Shinichi was then able to become more conscious of his surroundings, which contributed to his sudden basketball prowess. To the complete amazement of his mother, he also overcomes his phobia of insects.
He initially resists Migi's recommendation that they work together by "cooperating and coexisting." Both the possibility of working with an extraterrestrial symbiote and the idea of needing to murder another human to survive terrify him. Migi believes that this is because his species is being consumed, and he reminds him that humans must consume a variety of lifeforms to survive, which in a sense makes them worse than parasites. Shinichi greatly values human life and is angered by the Parasites' senseless slaughter of humans. Despite this, it has been demonstrated that the two are capable of working together in a crisis and are excellent in combating hostile parasites.
Shinichi acquires a strong will and resilience following the death of his mother, Nobuko Izumi, and his subsequent reconstruction by Migi. He is prepared to risk his own life to defend his friends, family, and the general public. In stark contrast to his earlier character, which may be defined as awkward and reticent, he becomes exceptionally composed and level-headed, accepting horrifying circumstances without flinching. His father pursues the matter by directly asking him whether he is made of steel. However, he is not immune to getting angry, and he is extremely vengeful when he seeks out and kills the parasite that killed his mother and took over her body. He also remarked that the thought of such a beast roaming freely makes his blood boil and that he would not rest until he achieves this objective.
The process of Shinichi's fusion with Migi causes him to become rather aloof and insensitive. Sometimes he begins to think like a parasite, such as when he referred to a deceased dog's body as "a ball of flesh in the shape of a dog" (Migi even notes that that sounds exactly like something he would say). People around him, notably Satomi Murano, are alarmed by this change in his demeanor. Satomi Murano constantly questions if it is indeed him or someone else, but he couldn’t reveal the truth about what happened to him since Migi continuously threatens to murder everyone who discovers its existence. As a result, Shinichi couldn’t tell others the truth about what has transpired.
Later on, Shinichi is eventually unable to feel empathy or cry. This is evident when he sees his father in the hospital and is overcome with sorrow yet unable to cry despite the circumstances. Even though he felt he was responsible for Kana Kimishima's death and the subsequent burial, he is unable to drop a tear for her, much to Mitsuo's distress, who feels he does not even care that she has died. This conversation causes Shinichi to really rethink who he is becoming. He then reverts to his previous emotional state after Reiko Tamura's death, one in which he has reconciled the loss of his mother and Kana Kimishima and recovered the ability to weep over their deaths.
Shinichi's perspective on parasites undergoes a dramatic metamorphosis during the series. Following the successful rescue of a dog from a bunch of crooks, he begins to question Migi's assertion that humans are worse. As a result of their involvement in the 'Mincemeat Murders,' he first views them as terrible monsters, and he disagrees with Migi's claim that humans are even more wicked. After the deaths of his mother and Kana, he concludes that parasites are horrible beings and grows increasingly annoyed by Migi's inability to work with him.
After being rescued by Reiko and confronting the crazy Uragami, he confesses to Migi that he no longer knows what's what and begins to question who the true monster is. This transpires when he is forced to confront the insane Uragami. Ultimately, he realizes that other people aspire to spend their lives similarly to his and that he can only defend his modest family.
Before the advent of Migi in Shinichi’s life, he was an ordinary boy with considerably less than average strength and speed, amidst other physical qualities, but his precision in throwing objects increased when Migi became his right hand. However, his real transformation came when he was resuscitated by Migi, and became an entirely different person. Notable physical enhancements he had then are:
Clearer eyesight: Shinichi has always been wearing a square big rimmed glass, to help with his eyesight, but apparently since his rebirth, he no longer used the glasses, as his eyesight had invariably improved.
Appearance: Shinichi’s appearance changed from the usual meek and nervous look and gait to a more composed, more confident and more manly approach.
Amplified Reflexes: Shinichi gained the ability to accurately read, and even respond to a parasite’s attack patterns in time, a skill which helped him in proper coordination with Migi when facing off against another opponent.
Courage: Shinichi who couldn’t stand the sight of spiders, then became someone who was brave enough to walk through a puddle of blood, and even carry someone through it, to the surprise of some other students.
Speed and Stamina: Fusing with Migi actually helped give Shinichi more agility and speed than he ever had. Now he runs faster than anyone, can jump from any building without any fear, perform stunts without batting an eye, and do things that average people can only dream of.
Mental Resilience: becoming more alert of his surroundings, and also being able to rationally make deductions and take decisions in time became one of his skills too.
Superhuman Strength: now he doesn’t even have to rely on Migi for strength, as he can now exert force greater than normal human capability.
His major weakness stems from the fact that he’s unable to even tell anyone what’s going on with him and that he is infested by a parasite. His dad and Murano both noticed the drastic changes in him, and begin to start having an iota of distrust in whether he truly was the Shinichi they knew, or he’s another person.
Also, his inability to cry, show empathy, and him even speaking like someone who has little or zero regard for life often puts people around him on edge as to how quickly and badly he could’ve changed.
In episode 1, when Shinichi mistakenly grabbed Murano’s chest, that definitely seemed like Migi’s attempt to initiate a sexual activity between both of them. Apparently Migi got it wrong, as its host had to face the consequences, which included a quick slap, and getting snubbed by his crush.
On another note, Shinichi’s transition after the fusion with Migi, brings to mind that of Peter Parker when he woke up the day after he got bit by the spider and realized his eyesight had improved, and he’d gained other abilities.
As a closing note, his character profile and development are pretty okay, but it somehow still feels rushed, especially owing to how short the series itself is.