Biggest changes from the anime in Parasyte: The Grey

Gabriela Silva
Parasyte: The Grey Episode 1 music festival

Parasyte: The Grey is the newest rendition of Hitoshi Iwaaki’s popular manga series, but this time in a K-drama that deviates a bit from the popular anime based on the storyline.

Netflix’s take on Parasyte: The Grey had anime fans excited to see a new fresh take on the beloved story. It’s not the first time, as there has been a live-action version before, but it stuck closely to the original. For the K-drama, there are some clear differences like the main character being female instead of a male teenager, but we’ll get into that later.

The K-drama follows the same idea as alien parasites falling to Earth with one goal: to infect and inhabit humans. Infecting them leads to a ravenous and bloodthirsty desire to murder. The human race is under attack, with Jeong Su-in being a possible hero. She coexists with her parasite and helps fight back.

Parasyte: The Grey will have some key differences compared to the anime, with a key character in the ending making things clearer. Warning: Spoilers ahead!

Su-in is not a male teenager

The biggest change in Parasyte: The Grey is the leading character being Su-in, a female grocery worker, compared to high school senior Shinichi Izumi from the anime.

There’s no denying that the most obvious difference between anime and K-drama is Su-in. The original storyline focuses on Shinichi, a 17-year-old male who lives in Japan. He gets infected by a parasite while he’s sleeping.

In the K-drama, things are a bit different. Su-in is an adult working at a grocery store. One day, she angers a customer who later follows her home and tries to kill her. While injured, a parasite lands near her and takes over her brain. Wanting to protect its new host body, it kills the customer.

The parasite’s story also differs. In the anime, Shinichi wakes up before the parasite can get to his brain and instead burrows into his right arm. Therefore, the parasite can co-exist with Shinichi. For Su-in, the parasite does enter her brain.

However, due to Su-in being stabbed multiple times by the customer and on the brink of death, the parasite uses its energy to heal her. It was unable to fully take over her brain because of it.

How the parasite manifests

Instead of the right arm, the parasite in the K-drama appears from the right side of Su-in’s head.

This difference is another obvious one, but one that needs to be discussed. Shinichi’s parasite, named Migi, appears in this separate form with an eyeball from his right hand. But the K-drama’s version isn’t as cute. The K-drama’s version of the parasite, Heidi, appears as this long, gnarly, arm-like extension from the right side of Su-in’s head.

Heidi can also morph herself into a deadly and sharp weapon like the anime. Another key difference is that Heidi can take over Su-in’s body for brief periods, and speak at her own will. In the anime, Migi exists as his own being like a mini sidekick.

But the K-drama does keep to how the anime portrays parasites: grotesque creatures that split open into teeth and tentacles from an infected human’s head.

The K-drama has an entirely different storyline

It’s hard to compare the K-drama to the anime for one main reason — it’s a separate storyline within the same universe as the anime/manga.

Parasyte: The Grey had a surprise cameo during its finale that changes how fans of the original anime see the K-drama. One of the main reasons why it’s hard to compare both is because the storyline exists within the same universe.

At the end of the K-drama, it’s revealed that Shinichi exists as he goes to visit Jun-kyung. He’s described as a journalist who is an expert in parasites. This proves that Su-in’s storyline in South Korea exists as its own, while Shinichi’s, from the manga/anime, has already occurred.

Therefore, the differences seen in Parasyte: The Grey are there for a reason as Su-in’s storyline exists on its own outside of Shinichi’s. The cameo is likely a homage to the original, or teases a bigger cinematic universe.

Parasyte: The Grey is available to stream on Netflix, and you can keep tabs on all of Netflix’s K-drama releasing in 2024.