Cyberpunk Review » Parasite Dolls

May 19, 2006

Parasite Dolls

Movie Review By: SFAM

Year: 2002

Directed by: Kazuto Nakazawa & Naoyuki Yoshinaga

Written by: Chiaki Konaka

IMDB Reference

Degree of Cyberpunk Visuals: High

Correlation to Cyberpunk Themes: Medium

Key Cast Members:

  • Basil: Kazuhiko Inoue
  • Reiko Michaelson: Akemi Okamura
  • Rod Kimball: Somei Uchida
  • Rating: 7 out of 10

    Parasite Dolls screen capture


    Overview: Parasite Dolls, another cyberpunk anime written by the prolific cyberpunk anime master, Chiaki Konaka (Serial Experiments Lain, Texhnolyze, Armitage III, Malice@Doll, and Bubblegum Crisis 2040), is a visually interesting, VERY adult OVA from the Bubblegum Crisis universe. The androids (called boomers) in this show are fully android (at least regarding their mental processes) unlike in other Bubblegum stories where they seem to be a combination of human and android. While this is a three part OVA, I really like that they are almost integrated like a movie, versus as separate episodes. Fair warning, you get gruesome deaths in the throws of sex, prostitution, lots and lots of gore.


    Parasite Dolls screen capture


    The Stories: There are three separate, interlinked stories on the Parasite Dolls OVA. At the start of the first story, set in the year 2034, where society has become a troubled mix of humans and androids called “Boomers.” The Genom Cooperation has created boomers to serve mankind in all aspects, from police support to sex dolls. Unfortunately, problems emerge, both with the boomers and with humanity’s reaction to their presence. A clandestine division of the Advanced Police (A.D Police) called “Branch” has been created to investigate human to boomer related crimes. The story follows “Buzz” Nikvest, a policeman with a troubled past, and his partners at the Branch division, which include a very helpful Boomer called Kimball and a stereotyped spunky, sexy, tough cop chick named Reiko Michaelson.


    Parasite Dolls screen capture


    In the first episode, rogue boomers start randomly attacking and killing innocent humans. Buzz and company are brought in to investigate. During the course of their investigation, they find that things at the Genom corporation are not all above board. This story has some pretty cool visuals of shot-up boomers, and a few interesting


    Parasite Dolls screen capture


    The second episode, which takes place a year later, involves a truly bizarre android monster called the “Boomer Crusher” and a very lifelike boomer prostitute who has feelings and has dreams. Unfortunately, the prostitute is being controlled in her dreams to cause some truly bizarre human deaths. We find out more in the third story of who probably created this monster, but it isn’t really stated in the narrative.


    Parasite Dolls screen capture


    In the third episode, which takes place 5 years later, Takahashi, the head of Branch Division is missing. In searching for their missing box, Buzz, Kimball and Reiko find a connection between Takahashi’s disappearance and the recent spate of anti-boomer activity that has grown in recent years. Worse, as explosions go off all over the city, Buzz is framed as the fall guy. As the story unfolds, the viewer is left with the idea that all three stories are related to the same larger plot.


    Parasite Dolls screen capture


    The Visuals: Parasite Dolls has a really nice diversity of looks, often emphasizing extreme shadows in single color light settings. Both blue and gray are used extensively for this, often yielding terrific visuals. In other cases, Parasite Dolls looks like a rather decent, but not spectacular anime. It does best when it strives for the edgy look. Had this been used throughout, Parasite Dolls could have come off as something bordering on special. As it stands, some parts really stand out, while others you almost wait to get through.


    Parasite Dolls screen capture


    Boomers – property or unique individuals: Nothing new here – Parasite Dolls explores the continually explored question of whether androids are merely property or something more unique. Unfortunately, no new ground is traversed. Instead, the interesting aspects of this come from the seedy visuals themselves. There are a few scenes in Parasite Dolls where the visuals make a far more interesting statement than the narrative. These usually involve truly gruesome Boomer deaths.


    Parasite Dolls screen capture


    The Seedy Underground: A seedy feeling pervades Parasite Dolls. We get nudie bars, slovenly side-walks, seedy corporate meetings, and absolutely base human behavior. We have hot chick boomers continually debased and abused. Even the weird creatures that appear have an icky feel to them. The constant theme we see here are fallen boomers. They had so much potential, but…


    Parasite Dolls screen capture


    The Bottom Line: The stories themselves are somewhat uneven and problematic, but the visuals are interesting enough to make this worth a watch. While the narrative is more straight forward than many of Chiaki Konaka’s stories, it does require a few minutes thought to put the overall picture together – otherwise, all three episodes almost seem disconnection. Even though Buzz is a pretty interesting character, the rest of the characters we encounter are pretty much the cookie-cutter variety. Worse, as the episodes take place over a six-year time period, you would really expect to see growth in the characters, or at least changes in the nature of their relationships. Instead, the characters we encounter at the beginning are the same ones six years later. Still, for a 3 part OVA, Parasite Dolls is worth a watch for the visuals alone.


    ~See movies similar to this one~


    May 19, 2006

    ETM said:

    Android “deaths” have a really interesting psychological impact in a film, if used properly. The “Rennaisance” short from the Animatrix used these to great effect.

    May 20, 2006

    SFAM said:

    Hi ETM, agreed. This is really the thing Parasite Dolls does well. The effort is rewarded as the visuals definitely deliver an emotional impact.

    June 28, 2006

    Parasite Dolls at P.C.P.A. said (pingback):

    […] Только что посмотрел анимэ Parasite Dolls. Напоминает графикой и фишками первый GITS, но до его уровня не дотягивает. Небольшой спойлер: как обычно главные герои являются членами спец подразделения, как обычно траблы возникают с искуственными человеками, как обычно куча трупов, как обычно заговор. Да ничего нового, но смотреть все равно рекомендую. Хотя фильмчик для 2003 года слабоват, раньше его надо было снимать. Из примечательного, сценарист тот же, что работал над S.E.Lain. Эпизодов всего три, живенькая развязочка. - Parasite Dolls Website - Parasite Dolls (OAV) - Anime News Network - Review on […]

    December 26, 2006

    Hugo said:

    Sort of torn between buying the extremely cut-down, movie-length version of this (as there’s nothing else available) or splurge on nine episodes of ‘BGC: Tokyo 2040′.

    Decisions, decisions…:P

    July 3, 2007

    project_2501 said:

    I loved the lighting, especially in the scene the 6th screenshot is taken from, the domino scene and the final scene. I did think Michaelson (screenshots 9 and 10) was developed almost as well as Buzz. At the start she was like an excitable teenager. By the end, she looked a lot older and (understandably) battle-weary.

    March 2, 2008

    MACC said:

    I thought this film was a very poor production… and the storyline was dull enough to get me struggling to stay awake. Worst part was that I actually paid money to watch this at a film festival.

    May 16, 2008

    sly said:

    you all suck this was so much shit i can not believe that i wasted my time watching this bull shit come on you could do better than this you are a disgrace to the anime society and most importantly a disgrace to hardcore otakus

    project_2501 said:

    Um, i never claimed to be a ‘hardcore otaku’. This is not an anime site, this is a cyberpunk site. If you’re going to criticise this film or any other, you might as well write something constructive instead of dismissing it without stating any of your reasons. You obvoiusly cared enough about the film to write a comment on it :P

    May 17, 2008

    karla said:

    incredible but im impacted xD

    October 1, 2008

    will said:

    aunque le falto mas no?

    December 22, 2008

    Anonymous said:


    March 1, 2009

    SNAKE said:


    August 19, 2009

    Marc McKenzie said:

    No cussing from me…as a fan of the original BUBBLEGUM CRISIS and BGC: TOKYO 2040, I watched this while doing anime reviews some years back. It is not crap. It isn’t BGC, either, but it is more adult and darker. This puts it more towards the original AD POLICE video series.

    I did like the fact that the characters were older–in their late 20’s and 30’s–than being teens. Also, yes, while the animation does slip at times, it is still solid. The third story is the best one, and I’ve been a fan of Naoyuki Onda (the character designer) for years. It isn’t perfect, but hey, it’s better than most stuff out there.

    ~All Related Entries Related This~


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