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Manga / Parasyte

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Parasyte (Japanese: 寄生獣, Kiseijuu) is a Science Fiction seinen manga by Hitoshi Iwaaki. It ran from 1988 to 1995 and is particularly famous for its usage of Body Horror. It's kind of like Devilman meets The Thing (1982).

One night, strange spores fall from the sky onto the earth. Out of them hatch weird little worms that quickly infiltrate human neighborhoods, looking for host bodies. The worms 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. These parasites have a ravenous appetite for the flesh of the species they take over—in this case, humans.

But one specific worm goofs it up - because its intended target, an Ordinary High-School Student named Shinichi Izumi, was wearing headphones, the parasite can't get to his brain, and instead ends up stuck inside Shinichi's right arm. Because of this unique situation, Shinichi and the parasite he nicknames Migi (meaning "right") 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. Thus, 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 Ryoko Tamiya a.k.a. 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 Tokyopop), which Americanized every character by changing their names (Reiko Tamura was renamed Tamara Rockford, while Migi was "Lefty" because the pages were reversed, for example), censored some sexual elements (though the graphic violence was left untouched), and did away with many Japanese cultural signifiers in the story. Publishing rights were later obtained by Del Rey, who re-released it, reverting the changes Mixx made and using a more accurate translation.

A 24-episode anime adaptation by Madhouse titled Parasyte -the maxim- (Japanese: 寄生獣 セイの格率, Kiseijū Sei no Kakuritsu) aired from October 9, 2014 to March 26, 2015. The anime modernizes the manga, using the same premise and main cast but also integrating things that were not commonplace during the manga's original run, like smartphones and the internet.


The manga was also adapted into two live-action films in Japan in 2014 and 2015. The films also modernize the setting and are more condensed compared to the anime.

Two collections of short stories set in the world of Parasyte, Neo Parasyte f and Neo Parasyte m, were published in 2016 and 2017. These stories occur during and after the events of Parasyte, showing what became of Shinichi, Satomi, Migi and the parasites.

Sentai Filmworks has announced home video license and distribution for the anime in five territories (North America, South America, United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand). Parasyte is one of the most requested titles to air on Adult Swim Toonami (even long before Sentai Filmworks made their announcement for home video rights), and eventually aired on the block beginning in October 2015.

Tropes in this manga include:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade:
  • A Date with Rosie Palms:
    • Played with when Migi tries to stimulate Shinichi's erection. It is Shinichi's right hand that's doing it, but he's not necessarily masturbating.
    • Becomes an assumed excuse for a situation where Shinichi's mother barges into his room without knocking and he has to hide Migi.
  • Adaptation Title Change: The anime adaptation was titled Parasyte -the maxim-.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: The manga is filled with these. The moral and ethical standards we humans built for ourselves are put to question when a third party enters our paradigm as a mirror to our inhumanity and savagery.
    Migi: Parasites can change their appearance easily. Humans won't be able to catch them.
    Shinichi: That's why we will chase them down-
    Migi: And kill them?
    Migi: Shinichi! I don't have human feelings. I don't feel anything when I kill my own species. But what about you? Will you be able to kill them?
  • Asteroids Monster: The Shapeshifting Blob Monsteresque parasites can separate into fairly small fragments.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Shinichi loses his right arm when Migi seemingly sacrifices himself to stop Gotou from killing them both, but he gets better.
  • Arc Words: "Are you really Izumi-kun?" Satomi asks this when Shinichi starts acting strangely. At first, it's a joke, but it becomes an increasingly real question over the course of the series, as Shinichi's secret struggle to survive changes him mentally and physically.
  • Ax-Crazy: Uragami, who is shown remembering how he got captured, which includes visuals of some of his victims, one of whom he raped after he decapitated her.
  • Bio-Augmentation: Shinichi gains superhuman powers after Migi heals his heart using his own blood.
  • Badass Bookworm:
    • Migi spends a lot of time reading and studying when Shinichi is relaxing in his bedroom.
    • Shinichi averts this due to having to spend so much time fighting or fleeing from the Parasites and it comes back to bite him big time; see Bittersweet Ending.
  • Bad Powers, Good People: Shinichi is one of the kindest people in the entire series, but he has a Lovecraftian Superpower and has to share his body with a sapient creature with Blue-and-Orange Morality.
  • Bare-Handed Blade Block: The first time that Migi speaks to him, Shinichi tries to stab the thing with a kitchen knife. Migi catches the point by clapping it between two of his miniature hands, and uses a third appendage to slice the blade in half.
  • Battle Amongst the Flames: The climatic battle takes place in a nuclear waste incinerator in the movie adaptation.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Earlier Shinichi wishes that Migi would fall asleep forever and when he finally does so by the end of the series Shinichi is visibly distraught.
  • Betty and Veronica: Shinichi gets into something of a Love Triangle with his current girlfriend, Satomi Murano (Betty), and the rebellious girl Kana (Veronica). Kanna sadly ends up dying, and Shinichi ends up with Murano for the long term.
  • Big "NO!": Shinichi has one when Uragami is about to cut Satomi's throat, and again when she's falling from a building.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • The Parasites' organization is broken, Hirokawa and Gotou are dead, and the Parasite race is apparently on the decline. Once again without a "natural predator", it's left unclear if humanity will indeed render Earth completely uninhabitable one day.
    • Shinichi and Satomi are happily together, and she is now in college. However, because of all the school he missed fighting the Parasites, Shinichi can't get into college right away and will take another year to catch up with Satomi.
    • Migi allows himself to be absorbed into Shinichi, having apparently come to finally understand and admire the human empathy and curiosity he once disdained.
    • Jaw and Mamoru Uda continue to coexist peacefully, to the point Jaw is going a bit senile.
    • Reiko is killed by the police, but she ultimately sacrificed her life to save her baby, which allows Shinichi to feel emotions again. Detective Hirama assures Shinichi that if the boy is fully human, he will see that the baby is adopted by a loving family.
  • Blood Knight: Gotou claims he only lives to fight.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality:
    • Parasites eat humans because that's how they survive as a species, and they feel no more guilt about killing the sapient lifeforms who serve as their prey than humans do about eating livestock such as pigs and cows. They are mostly incapable of emotion, so whenever they explain the reasons behind their actions it's very cold-blooded and matter-of-fact. Furthermore, each individual of their species will do anything to ensure its own survival, and they do not understand the human concept of altruism. Migi is frequently baffled by what he sees as irrational behavior and thoughts from his host Shinichi, and considers Shinichi's objection to plans he suggests—like using his classmates as human shields in order to defeat a hostile parasite, or even just pickpocketing money to purchase a cab ride to safety—to be a misguided case of Honor Before Reason.
    • Shinichi very briefly goes into Blue and Orange Insanity when he decides that humans have no right to kill an organism just because it's harmful to humans and no right to impose human values on Parasites. He changes his mind after coming to the conclusion that all he can do is act as a human and protect humans, though at this point in his Character Development, he holds no malice against the monster he has to kill.
  • Body Horror: To put it mildly, it's the page image on the trope page for a reason.
  • Bowdlerise: The scene where Migi transforms into a phallus is edited into a snake in the Tokyopop version of the Manga.
  • But Now I Must Go: Migi decides to fall asleep permanently at the end of the series.
  • Cannibal Larder: Horribly mangled body parts are found all over the world. Unusual in that the culprits are not cannibalistic humans, but alien bodysnatchers who eat people as a source for food.
  • Car Fu: Migi tries it on Gotou.
  • Catch and Return: Gotou to the soldiers.
  • Central Theme: What makes a human, human, and what makes a monster, monster? Can a human become monster, and can a monster become human?
  • Character Development: The series looks into how a human can establish a mind of a monster (Shinichi), while a monster can become more humane (Migi and Tamura).
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • So, you remember Uragami, the Serial Killer the police brought in to help identify parasites? The one who disappeared during the big police raid? He comes back in the last chapter.
    • Earlier in the story where Migi meets another parasite that had succeeded in its invasion, it mentions that Migi should move away from Shinichi and into his right hand. Migi asks if it is even possible. Later on, the Big Bad turns out to be a mass of parasites in a body, with two capable of controlling them all as the head.
    • When Gotou escapes from city hall, he is shown to have two bullet wounds where Yamagishi and his troops shot him. It's the same spot where Shinichi will later stab him with the toxic metal rod, leading to Gotou's defeat.
  • Chick Magnet: The Protagonist is depicted as one. Murano, his girlfriend(-to-be), obviously likes him. On a trip, he meets a girl on a boat who, later on, keeps following him around. Kana is also continuously stalking him with help of her special powers and has some sort of white-knight wet dream about him. TWICE.
  • The Chikan: Tamura is introduced dealing with one on a subway ride and tossing him off the train at a stop.
  • Chucking Chalk: Shinichi's teacher does this twice to him early on. The first time, Migi instinctively catches and crushes it without Shinichi even noticing; the second time, the chalk hits him because Migi had fallen asleep.
  • Combat Tentacles: Parasites fight by twisting into long whiplike stalks with razor-sharp blades on the end.
  • Composite Character: In the live-action adaptation, the parasite known as "A" survives his first fight with Shinichi and Migi so he can take the role of the nameless parasite who killed Shinichi's mother and took over her body.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Shinichi's parents just so happen to be finishing a holiday in the immediate vicinity of a parasite who, thanks to a series of accidents, needs a new body. The result is that Shinichi's mother is beheaded so her body can be taken over.
  • Cool Old Lady: Mitsuyo.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: Invoked. When Migi and Shinichi split up to deceive Gotou, Migi thinks that "this is an extremely reckless strategy. But that means even Gotou is unlikely to anticipate our strategy."
  • Creepy Monotone: How all the parasites talk (except for Uda's). When a human starts speaking this way, it's a tipoff that they've been possessed.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: The parasite who killed Shinichi's mother always goes for a One-Hit Kill by stabbing its enemies in the heart. When Uda's parasite realizes this, he's quick to protect Uda's heart in anticipation and behead the enemy parasite from behind after being left for dead.
  • Death Glare: Being host to Migi gives Shinichi the ability to unleash awesomely powerful glares, representative of people being able to sense how deadly the pair of them are (the series supposes that animals are able to instinctively tell when another animal is more powerful than them and Shinichi and Migi are FAR deadlier than any human).
  • Deliver Us from Evil: After giving birth, Reiko starts to take on increasingly human traits, eventually becoming driven to protect her child at any cost, even sacrificing her own life to do so.
  • Diagonal Cut: A parasite's organic Absurdly Sharp Blade can cut through a human so cleanly and fast that they'll have time to get scared before they realize they are already dead.
    • In Chapter 3, a parasite performs a Clean Cut all around him which causes the humans in front of him to fall to pieces right away, but the woman behind him is seemingly left standing. She raises her hands to her head and screams, only for her head and hands to belatedly separate from the rest of her.
    • In Chapter 6, Tamaya kills The Chikan who came back to get revenge on her with a single cut. At first his hand comes off and the sight of it makes him freak out, then he turns his head to see the wound opening in his neck, and as his head falls off his eyes are transfixed on the bleeding stump of his neck as if he can't believe what hit him.
  • Discard and Draw: In a successful effort by Migi to save Shinichi's life, Migi sacrifices part of himself and now has to go into hibernation for a few hours each day, during which time Migi cannot wake up at all and is useless. On the plus side, this incident left Shinichi with superhuman physical capabilities at all times.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: How did Shinichi prevent Migi from reaching his brain? By tying his earphones' wires into a tourniquet around his own arm. Lampshaded—his parents walk in soon after and ask if he's abusing drugs.
  • Double-Meaning Title: Parasyte is titled 寄生獣 (Kiseijū) in the original Japanese, literally meaning "Parasitic Beasts". On the face of it, this refers to the Puppeteer Parasite alien species which appears among humanity and begins to prey on humans. At the same time, however, it refers to the theme of humans being a threat to themselves and the earth through overpopulation and environmental destruction. Toward the end, the leader of the parasite conspiracy Takeshi Hirokawa accuses humanity of being the real parasites destroying the Earth, performing a Title Drop by calling humans "parasitic beasts".
  • Dwindling Party: What happens to Yamagishi's unit when they go up against Gotou.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Shinichi is forced to go through a lot as well as witness the death of many people close to him but in the end the mince meat murders have stopped and he finally gets to be with Murano.
  • Enemy Civil War: How Gotou is defeated.
  • Evil Hand: Subverted; Migi can do a lot of nasty things, but isn't really evil, just focused on self-preservation to the point that he'll let innocent people die, or even try to kill a human if they discover his existence.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Shinichi has one after he kills the Parasite responsible for his mother's death. He goes back to his first in the end.
  • Faking the Dead: That's how Jaw/Parasite manages to survive the attack from Sinichi's mother parasite. After realizing that its opponent was going for a One-Hit Kill by trying solely to pierce its host's heart, it changed the locations of the organs and let itself be hit. Afterwards, it just needed to wait for the perfect occasion to do a sneak attack, and its plan worked without a hitch.
  • Fan Disservice: Panty Shot on a woman chopped in half. Later there's a necrophiliac and a humanitarian moment. At the same time. And then there's also the scene of Uragami polishing his rocket when seeing a pretty girl.
  • Feel No Pain: The Parasites are connected to the host body's nervous system so they can sense injuries and negative stimuli but they have no psychological or physiological attachment to the discomfort they feel. As such, they can't be psychologically distressed by the sensations from injuries nor can these sensations affect them physiologically (a large amount of pain can do all kinds of nasty things to a person like shut them down entirely). This becomes evident when Yamagishi blows away a parasite's hand, where people would normally scream in agony if it happens to them.
  • Five-Finger Fillet: When Shinichi first tries to confirm whether his right hand has been taken over by an alien, he places his palm on the table and prepares to stab a knife between his fingers, reasoning that it will dodge of its own volition if it isn't his.
  • Five Rounds Rapid: Played straight, as most Parasites can ignore bullets. Subverted when it actually works on Reiko, and after the humans start using high-powered shotgun ammunition. Double Subverted when THIS doesn't work on Gotou.
  • For the Evulz: Most Parasites only commit atrocities when they have to, only a few of them revel in doing it. Played straight with Uragami, a normal human who enjoys murdering people just because he wants to.
  • Gag Penis: After discussing with Shinichi regarding his attraction to Satomi, Migi shapeshifts into a giant erection while the two are at a restaurant. She doesn't notice.
  • Gaia's Vengeance: Reiko Tamura and the totally human Takeshi Hirokawa believe 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 is by their emotionless gaze. Subverted a few times - some humans have the same look in their eyes as the parasites do. There's also Miki, a parasite who learned how to look and act genuinely human.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Used exactly once: Shinichi's mother's death.
  • Green Aesop: Actually subverted towards the end. Shinichi comes to the realization that no matter how much humans want to empathize with other creatures and understand nature, at the end of the day they're just humans and can only live as humans, for better or worse.
    You can't care about the planet without caring about mankind as well.
  • 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.
  • Handicapped Badass: While separated from Migi and thus having a stump for his right arm, Shinichi manages to catch six mosquitoes in less than a second.
  • Happily Married: Shinichi and Satomi, in the Neo Parasyte story Migi's travels.
  • Heroic Host: When the Parasites don't kill you by absorbing your head.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Migi, in a very touching scene
  • Hope Spot: Migi finally agrees to allow Shinichi to let Kana in on the loop about the nature of Parasytes. She dies before he's ever able to do so.
  • Horror Hunger:
    • Every Parasyte is driven to eat humans by nature, even though Tamiya Ryoko proves that they can survive by eating a diet similar to that of humans.
      Tamiya: “Flies know how to fly without being taught. Spiders know how to spin webs without being taught. Why is that? Here’s what I think: Flies and spiders are simply following an order. I believe all lives on Earth have received orders of some kind. Don’t humans have any directive? When I took over this human’s brain, I received a directive. It said, Devour this species.”
    • Migi and Jaw are the sole known exceptions of their species as they never took over a human brain nor do they need to eat for sustenance. They get all the nutrition they need directly from their hosts' bloodstreams.
  • Horseback Heroism: Shinichi, in Kana's dream.
  • Humanity Is Infectious: Ultimately the case with the surviving Parasites. After enough time passing as humans, they stop thinking of themselves as nonhuman.
  • Humans Are Flawed: Going hand-in-hand with the subverted Green Aesop, this is Shinichi's view at the end.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Sort of touched on. The Parasites at least 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, since the Parasites can make themselves look human from the outside but don't actually have skulls. Before that a simpler method was devised in plucking hairs since, in the case of a parasite, the ambulatory but non-sentient cells would writhe before dying.
  • It Can Think: The first few parasites seen are slow-witted and kinda dumb, but as the story goes on, the parasites quickly display the ability to learn and adapt to their circumstances, and prioritize their actions. This is particularly the case with Reiko Tamura, whose scientific bent allows her to anaylze situations and perform experiments such as Gotou, and even sacrifice other parasites to ensure her own well-being.
  • 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 Gotou, and the pieces are trying desperately to reunite, which Migi estimates only has a 50% chance of succeeding. He's about to leave him like that and let luck decide his fate, 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.
  • Killing Intent: Comes up a few times, aside from humans giving a Death Glare, parasites can send out a powerful killing intent that animals can sense keenly to the point where birds will suddenly fly away and even a lion is intimidated. When the parasites do it there's an image of some kind of bug behind them like a mantis or a tarantula. Fitting in that bugs are way more terrifying hunters and killers than mammals as, unlike mammals, they feel no emotion and are biologically programmed to be effective killers where mammals can feel emotions and hunting skills are usually taught to offspring by parents.
  • 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. After Gotou has proven nigh-invulnerable to the weapons that Yamagishi and his troops had been using to great effect against other parasites, Yamagishi's last thoughts are that maybe a flamethrower would have done the trick. The one time it's used (Shinichi's plan to hit Gotou with a flaming spear while Migi takes off his head) fails.
  • Kill the Cutie: Poor Kana.
  • Lack of Empathy: All of the Parasytes. Shinichi goes through this for a while after he's partially merged with Migi. Migi and Tamura eventually get a little better about this as well.
  • Last Stand: The battle at city hall is this for Hirokawa's parasites. Ironically, Yamagishi and his troops - the men who eliminated the aforementioned parasites - end up in a last stand of their own against Gotou.
  • Laughing Mad: Tamura, upon discovering she's starting to take on human traits.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall : When a report on the parasites is given as "In a way that everyone will be able to understand", and a page later when some "Obvious" information is delivered; one character negates by thinking "I did not know that"
  • Life-or-Limb Decision: Invoked. Shinichi tourniquets his own arm and prevent Migi from reaching his brain — and it's just the first chapter.
  • Lighter and Softer: Has a one-shot crossover with Fairy Tail where Migi is less terrifying and there's a lot less blood.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: While the Parasites are ruthless mass murderers that want to take over humanity, they are definitely much better in comparison to Uragami. In fact, some of the Parasites even develop a human conscience over the course of the series.
  • Losing Your Head: Shinichi to Gotou'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.
  • Masquerade: The Parasites try to maintain one, but it breaks down very early. The government, meanwhile, is less about "Masquerade" and more about "information control," releasing information to the public as needed to avert panic.
  • More Dakka: About ten men shoot Gotou with assault rifles, shotguns and a grenade launcher at the same time. Then even more later, 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.
    • Also Mitsuo, another bully and Kana's ex-boyfriend. After Kana dumps him, he tries to beat up Shinichi again in revenge. It ends about as well as one would expect.
  • 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.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: At first Kuramori refuses to help Shinichi fight the Parasites out of fear for his family. However, the Parasites associated with Tamura decide to eliminate him because of his knowledge. The attempt fails, with Kuramori's wife and daughter ending up murdered, turning Kuramori into a grieving, vengeful father and widower with nothing left to lose. Tamura chews out the Parasites responsible because of this.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: Gotou.
  • 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.
  • Oh, Crap!: The Parasite who took over Shinichi's mother's body has several during its fight against Shinichi, who is able to follow its movements, something that should not be possible.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Normally averted by the Parasites, but Mamoru's Parasite attempts this by giving him a ridiculous jawline when he and Shinichi have to kidnap somebody.
  • Paranoia Fuel: invoked 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.
  • Parasites Are Evil: Plays with this trope extensively:
    • The titular parasites may be sapient creatures who see their human hosts as nothing more than livestock to kill, devour, and impersonate. But they are not Always Chaotic Evil for it, nor are they treated as such by the story; instead, they operate under Blue-and-Orange Morality, at best being logical, ruthlessly pragmatic beings who only do what they do because it is how they survive as a species in the first place. Some chose to engage in symbiosis with ther hosts, but only when they are forced to do so in order to survive, and some even learn human emotions and empathy over time. In fact, the only outright evil characters seen throughout the series are a handful of ordinary humans.
    • Shinichi, the protagonist of the series, even goes as far as to call this trope into question, deciding at one point that humans have no right to kill or impose their values on the parasites because of the above facts. Though he later grows out of this mindset, he still doesn't hold any malice against the parasites he fights and protects people from.
  • Parasite Zombie: The Parasites infest a host's brain and proceed to Kill and Replace them. They're not obviously nonhuman unless they're feeding or fighting, in which case their heads turn into Combat Tentacles and mouths with More Teeth than the Osmond Family.
  • Playing Possum: Jaw/Parasite made Shinichi's mother's parasite think it was dead, and bid its time before finishing it off when it was distracted by Shinichi.
  • Police Are Useless: Played straight early on, when the cops are just as clueless about what's going on as the rest of the country. By the end of the series, however, they've learned all about Parasites, come up with a method of testing to reveal their presence, and developed completely ruthless tactics to kill them.
  • 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).
  • Precision F-Strike: A grand total of one in the anime, dropped by Migi of all people.
    • This actually emphasises two important things. Firstly, how desperately the fight against Gotou is going, and secondly that Migi is becoming increasingly human in their mannerisms, including possibly expressing emotions like frustration and fear.
  • 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.
  • Radiograph of Doom: A large x-ray is used to spot the parasites near the end.
  • Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain: Subverted - taking the head clean off should kill a Parasite, but they can regenerate from most partial injury. Going for the vital organs tends to work better.
  • Repeat Cut: When Hideo is hit by the rock thrown by Shinichi.
  • Revival: In 2014, as both an anime and Live-Action Adaptation after over 20 years!
  • Riddle for the Ages: It's never revealed what the parasites are, where they came from or why Kana and Uragami could sense them.
  • Rōnin: Shinichi fails the university entrance exams due to missing so much school, and has to study and catch up in the epilogue. Fortunately, Satomi is there to help.
  • 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 Gotou.
  • 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.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: The task force commander figures out very quickly that a shotgun blast to the heart will destroy a human heart, and thus kill the Parasite near-instantly. A load of buckshot is also much harder for them to deflect than slugs fired individually.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: The soldiers 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.
  • The Symbiote: The parasites can be categorized as either the parasite type (those that harm their hosts while benifitting) or the mutualist type (those that co-exist with their hosts to mutual benefit). The parasites that take over humans are obviously the first and can also be parasitoids if they have to find new hosts (parasatoids are different from normal parasites in that they specifically end up killing hosts) which entails them lopping off the heads of a human and quickly taking the head's place before the body dies. Migi, Jaw, and any parasite that only takes on a portion of the host's body are mutualists that protect their hosts from harm, while giving them enhanced abilities and while they feed off their host's blood for nutrition, it only results in their hosts needing to take in more calories (eat more) and doesn't cause any serious health conditions.
  • 10-Minute Retirement: Kanamori decides to opt out of further investigation after witnessing a Parasite battle firsthand. He's just an ordinary human, not a monstrous superhuman like Shinichi, he has a wife and child, and the whole thing is just not his fight. Little late for that. The Call Knows Where He Lives and his wife and child are eaten, causing him to go to the police.
  • Theme Naming: "Migi" (Japanese for right) and "Jaw" are named for the parts they're inhabiting in their respective hosts - the right hand and jaw.
  • They Look Like Us Now: As time goes on, the Parasytes become more and more human, until finally there's no real difference between them and ordinary people.
  • Tin Man: The Parasites all claim to have no emotions; in truth it's actually more complicated. They seem to lack empathy and are generally cold and expressionless, but seem to have something like bloodlust. As for human emotions, they seem to have some that they may feel in different degrees, but they apparently can (with time) develop complex personalities and emotions, like Tamura protecting her son and Migi valuing Shinichi's friendship and sacrificing selflessly for him. See They Look Like Us Now for the final results.
  • Title Drop: When Hirokawa gives his final speech, calling humans "worms - or Parasytes. "In the original Japanese he calls them parasitic insects (kiseichuu) and corrects himself to parasitic beasts (kiseijuu AKA the Japanese kanji). Unfortunately it's not present in the well-known free scanlation.
  • 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.
  • To Serve Man: The Parasites have a subconscious desire to hunt and consume the species they parasitize, and their preferred hosts are humans (we do see one Parasite which took over a dog eating another dog). The kicker is that they don't actually need to eat humans to survive and can eat normal food, but Parasites don't feel empathy and so don't see humans as different from food.
  • Tranquil Fury: "Migi... handle the defense."
  • Truth in Television: Whenever the Parasites attempt to do something like punch a hole in a wall, they will sustain serious injuries. Migi is the only exception because he's the hand itself.
  • Unable to Cry: Shinichi finds himself unable to shed any tears after he is turned partly parasite by Migi, even when he is forced to kill his own mother, or when Kana is killed by a parasite. He is finally able to cry again when Tamura's sacrifice for her child reminds him of his own mother.
  • The Unreveal: As was the case in "The Thing," We never find out where the Parasites really come from (aside from outer space), why they have such an innate killing intent for their host species, or what purpose they serve considering that they can't reproduce to spread their numbers. Some individual Parasites do start to ponder these things, but most don't really care since it doesn't matter to them either way.
  • Visual Pun: Since Parasytes only feed on the same species they take over, the first Parasyte-dog is seen eating another dog. Which would make it literally a dog-eat-dog world out there.
  • Vomiting Cop: "Don't puke in the crime scene."
  • Wainscot Society: Hirokawa's group of parasites function a lot like a mafia. Hirokawa serves as the mundane mayor of a city and establishes feeding areas for the safety of all of them where dead humans can safely be disposed of. When a parasite kills Kana out of town and Shinichi kills him, they let it go because the guy was clearly a dangerous fuckup who was operating on Shinichi's "turf," but when Shinichi kills one of their own in the dining garage, it's an act of war and even Tamura has to reluctantly give the go-ahead to wax him.
  • Weirdness Censor: It takes a while before people other than Shinichi realizes aliens are invading, despite the fact on multiple occasions the parasites shapeshift right in front of many witnesses (such as the incidence when a pouncing lion is turned to mincemeat in a parasitized man's face, and witnesses concoct the explanation he somehow managed to hit the lion with an explosive weapon in mid-flight... despite never moving his arms), because everyone always excuse it as a dream, their imagination, or their eyes playing tricks on them. The sudden massive spike in grisly murders around the world is initially believed to be the work of a secret international cult.
  • Wham Episode: Chapter 11 contains horrifying amounts of wham.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Characters such as Mitsuo, Detective Hirama and Miki just disappear from the story without mention.
    • Happens in-universe to all the parasites after the raid on City Hall and their existence becoming public knowledge as attacks and sightings of them all but disappear. It's possible that they were all killed off after the police raid Hirokawa's compound. It's possible that they realized that open attacks and attempts to organize against humanity is dangerous for their survival and that they adjusted their diet to eat regular human food. It's also possible that the parasites adapted to disguise their feedings as more conventional murders.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: When Shinichi detects a puppy that got hit by a car, Migi determines that it would be dead within ten minutes. Sure enough, the puppy dies, but Shinichi doesn't show any emotional attachment or respect to it, and just throws it into the trash bin. Satomi calls him out on it, and the wake up call makes him realize how much he's changed. He gives the puppy a proper burial afterward.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Shinichi and Murano. They will.
  • The Worm That Walks: Gotou is made of several Parasites, with each controlling a limb.
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: Parasyte, Mixx's Market-Based Title for Kiseijuu; Mixx used it to refer to the Parasites; Del Rey used the normal spelling to refer to the creatures, but kept Mixx's title.
    • The interesting thing in the original version is that there are two Japanese words for "parasite" that are used in the series. The less common one is used when referring to the creatures, but the common one is used only once - when Tamura refers to Humans themselves as the parasites of planet Earth.
    • And then there's the last one when Hirokawa gives his final speech, calling humans "worms - or Parasytes". Unfortunately it's not present in the well-known free scanlation.
  • You Are Already Dead: Many humans hit by a Parasite's blade don't realize they've already been decapitated or cut to pieces, which might give them enough time to scream before they fall apart.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: Shinichi can tell he's not acting normally when Migi tells him that what he's doing is normal for his species.

Further tropes in the anime include:

  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: The office workers when talked to in the lobby in episode 19 and 20.
  • Accent Adaptation: Mitsuyo is given a Southern Accent in the dub.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: In Episode 21, Commander Yamagishi of the SAT fires his AA-12 from the hip with one hand. If this was any other shotgun, it would be ridiculous. But the AA-12's recoil actually is low enough that it can be fired one-handed.
  • Ascended Extra: One of Shinichi's classmates, a girl with glasses named Yuko who briefly appears in the manga, appears as a friend of his in the first episode where she even has more lines than Satomi and her role is expanded more later in the anime.
  • Award-Bait Song: The ending theme, It's The Right Time by Daichi Miura.
  • Dubstep: Sometimes used for action scenes.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The first episode of the anime shows Uragami the Serial Killer at the end, long before said character's first appearance in the manga.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each episode is given the title of a famous book.
  • Nerd Glasses: Shinichi has these from the start. When Shinichi wakes up after Migi heals his heart, Shinichi tries putting his glasses on and realizes he now has perfect vision without them. This is the first hint that Shinichi's physiology has changed dramatically.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Used for upcoming episode previews and sometimes in dramatic scenes.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The anime is taking some liberties with the story since the original manga took place in the late 1980s and early 1990s, but the overall premise, story, and tone remain unchanged.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: How did the flatfoots finally bring in Serial Killer Uragami? They caught him fiddling around with the Gorn left by actual parasites.
  • Setting Update: The anime is set in 2014 or at least the 2010s. The manga was written before cellphones and the internet became commonplace, which naturally affects the plot. The update also extends to adjusting the character design from Iwaaki's 1980s style to a more contemporary one, as seen in elements like Satomi's new hairstyle and a completely different design for Kana's jerk boyfriend who no longer looks like a classic Japanese Delinquent in a military-style uniform.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Spoiler Opening: The opening theme sequence shows most important characters in the story like Reiko, Kana and Gotou, most of whom didn't appear in the first episode. It also shows that Shinichi will lose the glasses and change his hairstyle, and hints at the death of Shinichi's mother in episode 5, as well as Shinichi's Relationship Upgrade with Murano in episode 21.


How well does it match the trope?

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