Parasite Eve - Let's Learn About Wigglies
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We finally wanted to tackle a video game film which is considered an outlier; one which doesn't seem to be that well known outside of the Venn diagram of people who like video games, people who like Japanese horror, and people who have watched the Parasite Eve movie. That's right, we decided to watch the movie version of Parasite Eve from 1997.
The following is a reduced version of the full show notes, which you can find here.
Due to the nature of the movie we talk about in this episode, we'd recommend that you don't listen to this one with little ones around. Whilst we don't go into the detail, this movie does hit you in the feels hard. So be prepared for that, as we talk about the movie.
There's also talk about nudity-without-any-actual-nudity (you'll understand why when we get to it) towards the end of the discussion on the film; just to prepare you for that.
Please listen responsibly
We're backAND WITH A SPECIAL INTRODUCTION FROM ME: RUSSELL COMPUTECH RODRIGUEZ GENERATION SIX POINT FOUR
And this time we wanted to cover the movie version of Parasite Eve. One thing to note about this movie is that the relationship it has with the games - as of right now: Parasite Eve, Parasite Eve II, and The 3rd Birthday.
The relationship is has is that it's based on a book by Hideaki Sena, and so are the games. Except that the games are more of a "what if" continuation from about the halfway point of the book. And that the movie only has the basic plot from the book.
So all three things (book, movie, and games) can be thought of as three separate universes.
In fact, we've already covered the book on this website way back in 2017. So we'd recommend giving that post a quick look-see, too.
Thoughts Going In
Squidge is a big fan of the action RPG PlayStation title which was made, based on the book. The movie and the game entered pre-production at roughly the same time, and the teams behind both were unaware of each other. Indeed, Hideaki Sena was unaware of the game series until the early 2000s.
The production company behind the movie (Fuji TV) started production of the movie in January 1997, and was done 8 weeks later. The entire movie had a total cost of (in 1997 money) $900,000 - for context, Titanic had a budge of $200 million (again in 1997 money).
Interestingly, considering that it had a sizable budget, it was only released to Japanese theatres for one week. After which it went to VHS, and was exported to the West - starting the J-Horror craze of the late 90s and early 2000s - alongside Ringu and Ju-On: The Grudge.
And it was just under a year after the movie came out that the first game was released. 1998's Parasite Eve for PlayStation must have been in development from shortly before the movie started pre-production, which bears out quite well because a demo was shown off at E3 in 1997.
As mentioned above, the movie and the games take two slightly different paths: where the movie is an attempt at retelling the story.
The video game was a direct sequel to the book, with the main character (Aya Brea) being the daughter of Mariko Anzai - who is a junior high schooler in both the book and the movie.
And Hidekai Sena - the author of the book - didn't know about the games until the early 2000s.
Because it might prove difficult to keep tabs on who is who, here is a list of the most important characters:
- Dr. Toshiaki Nagashima; he is the protagonist
- Kiyomi Nagashima; this is Toshiaki's wife
- Sachiko Asakura; Toshiaki's lab assistant
- Mariko Anzai; a junior high school girl who needs a kidney transplant
- Takatsugu Yoshizumi (aka Dr. Curtains) is the surgeon who will perform the kidney transplant
- Whilst not a character, per se, Mitochondrial Eve will feature heavily in this movie
Here's a 10,000 ft view of the "plot", as we see it:
- A strange collage and a console boot sound
- Bad CGI bird, is bad
- Some science in the form of a lecture, all about Mitochondria
- Meanwhile it's laundry day
- A lesson on bacteria, for children who think that bacteria are yucky
- But they love snails, which are equally as yucky
- And Mariko flings herself into a swimming pool
- Dark synth and snail beheading
- Playboy style candid images of Mitochondria
- Kiyomi plays "chase me" and a faraway kiss because reasons
- And Toshiaki forgets their first anniversary
- Ominous line is ominous
- Meanwhile there is science happening in the Bat Cave
- But that's not how you use a microscope
- Kiyomi drives home
- "Do you think the Mitochondria have their own agenda"
- Something terrible happens
- There's a Bunsen burner and everything
- Kiyomi has a horrific traffic accident, and it hits you in the feels
- The transplant committee break every rule in the book
- "I'll give you the kidney, if you give me her liver"
- Hollywood cliche 437: it only rains when it's sad
- Flashback: it's Christmas, yo!
- "Kiyomi" can be read "Christmas eve", and they meet on Christmas Eve!
See the full show notes for a description of how this is possible.
- Dr. Curtains gets the kidney
- There's an awful tie
- Toshiaki goes full mad scientist
- Resident Evil-like music
- Mariko is uphappy
- A bloodied handprint
- We are the snails
- There's so much water around in this hospital
- Tummy bulges
- "Simba!" in the samples
- Asakura is possessed by the Mitochondrial goop
- Shenanigans are afoot
- Eve is all over the floor
- Suddenly Kiyomi is back... from the dead
- Tea and cake... and revelations!
- Asakura gives a TED talk
- Western actors with AMAZING. ACTING. TALENT.
- It starts raining on the stage
- An old man is set on fire
- Mariko is flung about by some unspoken force
- Everyone rushes to the hospital
- Is it The Blob or is it Eve?
- Nurse flambé and Morticia Addams'ing their way through a hospital
- A security system from the 1960s
- Roof party!
- Divergence from the book
- Love saves the day
Make sure to check out the full show notes for more discussion on the points we raise, some extra meta-analysis, some out-of-context screen grabs from the movie, and some links to related things.
Are you a fan of the Parasite Eve games? Have you read the book that they're based on? Had you seen this film before? If so, what did you think to it? If not, are you likely to watch it now?
psst. we've actually done a bunch of these "goes to the movies" episodes. Check this page to see all of the released specials.
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