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"Parasyte: Because Invasion of the Body Snatchers was for pussies."

Parasyte is a Seinen Manga written by Hitoshi Iwaaki, and is particularly famous for its usage of Body Horror.

One night, strange spores fall from the sky onto the earth. They spawn out weird little worms that quickly infiltrate human infrastructure, looking for host bodies. The worms (their parasites) crawl or burrow their way into the head of a human host, transforming it and the brain inside. This effectively kills the victim, replacing the host's personality and intellect with that of the Parasite. The Parasites have a ravenous appetite for the flesh of the species they take over - in this case, human flesh.

But one specific worm goofs it up - instead of ending up in the brain of the intended target, an Ordinary High School Student named Shinichi, the parasite instead ends up living in Shinichi's right arm. The little guy is called Migi (Japanese for right), and because of this unique situation, Shinichi and Migi are sharing the same body, but still possess their own individual intellects. This gives them an edge in battling the other Parasites, who see Shinichi's ability to think independently as a threat. Shinichi also feels compelled to fight other Parasites, who kill and eat humans as a source of food, whereas Migi, like other Parasites, is incapable of emotion and only fights to preserve his own life. And so, Shinichi is forced to deal with all kinds of teenage issues while keeping a horrifying secret and having to battle against hordes of other Parasites who want to use him (like Reiko Tamura, a scientist and Shinichi's teacher), kill him (just about everyone else) or worse.

Parasyte was first published in North America by Mixx (now better known as Tokyo Pop) where every character was Americanized by changing their names (for example: Reiko Tamura was renamed Tamara Rockford, while Migi was "Lefty" because the pages were reversed); mild censorship of sexual elements (though the gratuitous violence was left untouched); and many cultural differences being waved away. Later, Del Rey got publishing rights to the series and re-released it, reverting the changes Mixx made and using a more accurate translation. There's also a Live Action Adaptation supposedly in the works.

Tropes used in Parasyte include:


Shinichi: OH, JESUS!

  • Gaia's Vengeance: Reiko Tamura and the totally human Takeshi Hirokawa believes the Parasites were created to cull the human population to preserve the earth.
  • Good Eyes, Evil Eyes: A good way to tell who's a Parasite (see Uncanny Valley below).
  • Gorn: Dear GOD the Gorn.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Used exactly once: Shinichi's mother's death.
  • Green Aesop: Actually kinda averted towards the end. Shinichi comes to the realization that no matter how much humans want to empathize with other creatures & understand nature, at the end of the day they're just humans & can only live as humans, for better or worse.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Shinichi becomes one when Migi uses some of his body mass to repair the stab wound caused by the Parasite that took over Shinichi's mother. This results in advanced strength and reflexes, and also in Shinichi seemingly becoming more emotionless for a time.
  • Heroic Host: When the Parasites don't kill you by absorbing your head.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Migi,in a very touching scene
  • Horseback Heroism: Shinichi, in Kana's dream.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Sort of touched on. The Parasites believe this is the case.
  • Impostor Exposing Test: The military figures out a way to use an x-ray machine to separate a group of mixed humans and Parasites.
  • It's Personal: After a Parasite took over Shinichi's mother and came very close to killing him, Shinichi becomes a bit more ruthless in his pursuit.
    • Averted when he's beaten Gotoh, and the pieces are trying desperately to reunite, probably in vain. He's about to leave him like that, but instead makes it clear that it's Nothing Personal before dispatching him, thereby also nicely averting Once Is Not Enough, because he makes sure that he's dead.
  • Kill It with Fire: Strangely averted here, as practically everything else gets used - dismemberment, impaling, gunfire from bullets to shotguns, and on one occasion, a rock. Flamethrowers are briefly considered, but rejected. The one time it's used (Shinichi's plan to hit Gotoh with a flaming spear while Migi takes off his head) fails.
  • Kill the Cutie: Poor Kana.
  • Life or Limb Decision: Invoked. Shinichi is just Genre Savvy enough to tourniquet his own arm and prevent Migi from reaching his brain—and it's just the first chapter.
  • Losing Your Head: Shinichi to Gotoh's head in their first fight. Of course, he doesn't really care.
  • Lovecraftian Superpower: Guess who?
  • Mama Bear: Tamura of all people managed to pull this one on the detective when he threatened her child.
  • More Dakka: About ten men shooting Gotoh with assault rifles, shotguns and a grenade launcher at the same time. Even more after, up to 53 people. He doesn't care. See also Catch and Return.
  • Mugging the Monster: A bully and rival for Murano's affections tries to beat up Shinichi. Shinichi tries to avoid the fight at first, but the bully is having none of that. It doesn't end well.
  • Mundane Utility: Shinichi using Migi to deliver the ultimate Fastball Special in chapter 24 counts as this.
  • My Sensors Indicate You Want to Tap That: Migi. He even shapeshifts into a gargantuan penis, in public, because of this.
  • Off with His Head: Parasites tend to go for the head, whether they're infecting (X-rays of the host bodies reveal they have no skulls) or just feeding.
  • Nigh Invulnerable: Gotoh
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Normally averted by the Parasites, but Mori's Parasite attempts this by giving him a ridiculous jawline when he and Shinichi have to kidnap somebody.
  • Paranoia Fuel: The police's efforts to keep a full-scale public panic from happening should the Parasites' existence become known are a minor but recurring plot point.
  • Played for Laughs: Shinichi and Migi's interactions.
    • Crosses the Line Twice: Shinichi and Migi meet Mori Uda, part of a second human-Parasite pair much like themselves, only this one inhabits the lower half of Mori's face. Mori is depicted as going from The Woobie to the Parasite's personal Butt Monkey from the get-go.
  • Power Perversion Potential: Averted, Migi's ability to turn Shinichi's hand into a giant penis or mass of writhing tentacles never comes up (as by the time our hero's in a relationship, Migi's asleep for good.
  • Primal Fear: Shinichi can unconsciously cause people to experience this, especially when he's being threatened.
  • Product Placement: Unintentional, but the appearance of an undisguised McDonald's in chapter 2 is a fairly rare sighting in manga.
  • The Quisling: The mayor was a human all along.
  • Rule of Cool: The Parasites' ability to distort bodies is pretty damn awesome.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Reiko holding her baby and shielding it from bullets while the cops are shooting her to death starts to resemble a certain Virgin....
  • Scars Are Forever: Shinichi picks up large scars on his chest and back as a result of Migi saving his life, and a scar through his right eyebrow thanks to Gotoh.
  • Shapeshifter Weapon: Parasites can transform the parts of their hosts' bodies that they've taken over (usually just the head) into...things that can shred human flesh faster than the eye can see.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shut UP, Hannibal: The militaries don't wait to the end of Takeshi Hirokawa's speech to shoot.
  • Surprise Jump: A nervous Shinichi is tugged at from behind by a young girl. Because of his newfound powers, he jumps a good 20 feet or so.
  • Theme Naming: Migi. Shaba. (Right hand and chin.)
  • Tin Man: The Parasites all claim to have no emotions, despite them clearly possessing several, just not all of them (chiefly they're missing disgust and romantic love, but seem to be capable of everything else).
  • Took a Level in Badass: After recovering from the stab wound that pierced his heart, Shinichi can run at what looks like more than thirty miles per hour, jump more than twelve feet high without a running start, and has reflexes that allow him to actually dodge and turn aside Parasite attacks, which are faster than the human eye can see. He definitely leveled up.
  • Vomiting Cop: "Don't puke in the crime scene."
  • Victimized Bystander: One of the parasites turned a boy's right arm into a giant penis after he offered to show her an animal.
  • Wham Chapter: Chapter 11 contains horrifying amounts of wham.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Shinichi and Murano. They will.
  • The Worm That Walks: Gotoh is made of several Parasites, with each controlling a limb.
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: Parasyte, Mixx's Market-Based Title for Kiseiju; Mixx used it to refer to the Parasites; Del Rey used the normal spelling to refer to the creatures, but kept Mixx's title.