‘Parasyte: The Grey’ Review: A Satisfying Live-Action Adaptation

parasyte the grey review

Edited by Kim Won Hee
Translated by Kim Hoyeun

parasyte the grey review
Credit: Netflix

The famous Japanese manga Parasyte has been reborn as a Korean drama. Yeon Sang Ho, director of Train to Busan and Hellbound, took the helm for directing and screenwriting, with Ryu Yong Jae, the writer of Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area, co-penning the script. Parasyte: The Grey isn’t a direct adaptation; rather, it imagines what it would be like if parasites appeared in Korea. Despite concerns from the original’s extensive fanbase, the series ranks first worldwide since its release.

Jung Su In (Jeon So Nee) faces death when attacked by a man she had an altercation with at a market on her way home from work. At that moment, a parasitic larva targets Su In but fails to fully take over her body due to her severe injuries, leaving her half-human, half-parasite. Gang member Seol Kang Woo (Koo Kyo Hwan) hides from a rival gang in his hometown but senses something off upon visiting his long-unseen home. He discovers his sister has become a monster and encounters Su In in the process. Meanwhile, Choi Jun Kyung (Lee Jung Hyun), the team leader of the parasite task force, investigates mysterious incidents and becomes convinced that Su In is a parasite.

The charm of the drama lies in its ability to tell an original story within the world of the original work, as well as in discovering the differences from the manga. Unlike in the manga, where the parasites quietly and mysteriously snatch bodies and commit murders, the drama introduces a parasite causing a massacre at a crowded festival event from the get-go, prompting the government to secretly form a special team to hunt the parasites early on. The parasites, initially acting independently as in the original, quickly realize the need to band together and operate as a group.

>> Netflix Unveils ‘Parasyte: The Grey’ Trailer and Poster, Fans Rave About Disturbing Visuals

parasyte the grey review
Credit: Netflix

The acting is excellent. Jeon So Nee masterfully portrays the dual roles of the human Su In and the parasite Heidi, with distinct voice tones and expressions without being too revealing about her emotions. Koo Kyo Hwan grounds the surreal situations with his realistic acting. The action scenes are particularly impressive, including Kang Woo being chased by gang members, a car chase fleeing from a parasite, and dynamic fight scenes involving Su In and other parasites. The narrative progresses swiftly, avoiding drag and often veering off in unexpected directions. The finale presents a scene that any fan of the original would adore, akin to a gift.

However, the drama falls short in delving into the philosophical contemplations that were a significant allure of the original. As humans make monstrous decisions to drive out the parasites, and conversely, the parasites make choices seemingly human, it prompts reflection on what it truly means to be human. The drama lacks a deeper exploration of these themes, such as comparing the survival of humans and parasites, and contemplating the meaning and purpose of human existence.

Despite these minor flaws, Parasyte: The Grey is a satisfying live-action drama for fans of the original manga. The series concludes with the introduction of a character whose mere mention is a major spoiler. So the big question is, will we be getting a sequel? Continuing with its unique Korean narrative or expanding the scale to include more of the original story are both exciting prospects. I look forward to more tales of parasites in Korea. (7/10)


Edited by Kim Won Hee: I am a person who needs more than 24 hours in a day because there are so many things I love. I am amassing various genres in the jewelry box in my heart

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