The story of Tamura Reiko comes to a close this week as Parasyte closes off this arc, and starts a new one.
Reiko reveals that parasites are capable of surviving on human food. With this, they’re technically able to fully blend in with society. They’re even capable of developing emotions. The only thing preventing them from blending in is their own egos and selfish desires. As we saw with Hirokawa’s group last week, instead of listening to Reiko’s plan, they took offense and wanted to exterminate her.
She was the only one who really tried to understand both sides. Even though she’s a parasite, she had an interest in learning about humans, and studying life. She seemed genuinely saddened when she asked Shinichi to stop bullying them. Parasites can’t survive without a human host. Like all living creatures, they just want to survive. Shinichi has been killing parasites indiscriminately, treating their lives like nothing, which is exactly what parasites were doing to humans.
Before the cops arrive, she reveals some crucial information that helps fill in some of the gaps in the timeline. Since changing her identity, she had been conducting various experiments, including the creation of Gotou. On top of that, there’s a secret about Hirokawa that has yet to be revealed.
Before she can finish revealing his secret, the cops interrupt and begin to open fire. It was a dangerous situation, given how human like Reiko seemed, begging for her life. Ultimately, she sacrifices her own life in order to protect her child, like any mother would. She could have easily retaliated, but that probably would have endangered her child’s life.
All this time, Reiko just wanted to find some meaning in her life. She had no control over how she came into existence, and had been struggling to find her reason for being alive. Since raising her child, she began finding some fulfillment in her life, and is completely satisfied with dying so her child can live a normal life.
Through this whole incident, Shinichi also finally gets closure. Maybe it was seeing his mother’s face one more time, or seeing Reiko’s selfless act, but he managed to finally shed some tears. The last time he saw his “mother”, he was filled with rage, vowing to kill the monster that took his mom. Seeing her face one more time, thanks to Reiko, he was in a calm state, and was able to resolve his emotions.
Murano felt a bit out of place there. There’s a pretty grotesque scene in front of her, and all she can say is “you’re back”.
Since that incident, Shinichi seems a lot happier than before. He’s filled with emotion again, and starting to seem like a normal kid. He’s not out of the woods yet though, as Hirama is still suspicious of him. They end up bringing in a crazy serial killer, who’s known for detecting parasites, and end off on a cliffhanger where he comes face to face with Shinichi.
Overall, it was a great episode that breezed by so quickly. Reiko’s character development was astounding. Going from a generic parasite, into a “human”. With Reiko’s chapter coming to a close, we begin a new chapter with this crazy parasite detector, and Gotou still at large.
On a side note, it was nice to see the ending change to reflect Shinichi finally returning “home”.
You can watch Parasyte Episode 18 on Crunchyroll