Neo Parasyte f

Neo Parasyte F

This is a new one on me. When I heard of Neo Parasyte f, a tribute volume to Hitoshi Iwaaki’s Parasyte manga series with stories by other manga creators, I thought it would bring back fond memories of the original. Although it’s horror, I liked it a lot when I read it almost ten years ago.

With such a collection of works by fans, I would have hoped to get a feeling of communal enjoyment, of readers coming together to share what they liked about the series and how it inspired them. Instead, Neo Parasyte f left me feeling “well, I don’t ever need to read any of that again”, so I decided to get rid of the whole series. That wasn’t at all the reaction I expected.

Neo Parasyte f

I’m not sure why. Perhaps I would have liked the whole thing more if I knew the works of more of the contributors. That’s helped by each piece being followed by a short list of their main works, as well as an artist’s comment about their inspiration, although several of the contributors haven’t been translated over here.

I think it might be because with a short space to work in, many of the creators focus on the horror aspects, with the parasites killing. That was never what I liked about the series. There’s no room for deep characterization, and several of the creators figuratively shrug and do what they usually do, whether yaoi or dating stories or comedy.

While I expected to have my Parasyte memories refreshed, I was so disappointed at this mixed bag that it tainted them instead. It’s similar to the way a poorly done TV reunion special overlays how much you enjoyed the original, pointing out flaws you may not have previously noticed.

A second volume, Neo Parasyte m, is out now. The letters signify the genres — the “f” volume has shojo (female-targeted) artists, while the “m” volume is by creators of shonen/seinen manga (male-focused). (Although I have no idea why Moto Hagio is in the m book.) (The publisher provided a review copy.)

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