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VERSUS SHOWDOWN - Parasyte The Maxim (Anime) VS Parasyte The Grey (Korean Adaption)

One of my goals for 2024 was to watch more Anime. I have always liked Anime. I used to watch more anime but then when I got more into Asian dramas, Anime took a back seat. I figured one way I could watch more anime is if I know that a live adaption is coming and/or is out already, I can watch the live adaption and the anime and then compare the two. I think this will get me to watch more Anime but also check out more live adaptions. I honestly don't think I have watched many live adaptions either. Now, in the future, the VERSUS SHOWDOWN might not just be Anime VERSUS Live Adaption. It might be 2 dramas put against each other. Like a country remade a drama from a different country. That sort of thing - but the format will be the same.

So, how this post is going to go is that I am going to do a mini review of both the anime and the live adaption. Then, I will go into the VERSUS portion of the blogpost. This is where I will compare and contrast both the anime/live adaptions. I will talk about the differences I saw between the two as well as the things that stood out to me that were similar and/or the exact same. Now, I am almost positive that I will not name EVERY difference and EVERY similarity so, if you want to play along - give me that I might have missed. That all being said - THERE WILL BE SPOILERS IN THIS BLOGPOST FOR BOTH THE ANIME AND THE LIVE ADAPTION! I can't go into depth about these similarities and differences without revealing spoilers of both the anime and live adaption.

FIRST OFF: THE MINI REVIEWS - I watched the Anime before the live adaption so, I could have a better idea of the world and context that the live adaption was using.

PARASYTE: THE MAXIM - When I watched the Anime originally, I gave the Anime a 7/10. I thought the anime was unique and different from any other Anime I had watched before. It definitely is more in the horror genre. It definitely needs a trigger warning for gore and violence even if it was an anime and not live action. I was not expecting the message of humans impacting the earth in a negative way and the motivation of the parasites' of getting rid of the humans (which I will explain more in the comparison section of the blogpost.) I REALLY disliked both romantic interests and thought that romance WAS NOT NEEDED AT ALL in the anime. I also felt like the anime did not answer some of the lingering questions I had at the end of the anime like where the parasites came from. I ended up still needing some answers. I will say I think Parasyte: The Grey allowed me to appreciate the anime more after the fact. If I had watched the Anime after the Korean Drama, I think I would have rated it higher.

PARASYTE: THE GREY - I rated this live adaption 9.5/10. I ABSOLUTELY ADORED THIS DRAMA! I am SO GLAD I watched the anime before this live adaption. I think it gave me more context to build off of and I clicked play on this drama with already an understanding of the world and story that this drama was building off of. I will explain this more when we get to the comparisons section but I am SO HAPPY that this story was a spin-off and not a scene-by-scene remake. The acting was great. The CGI was good. The fighting/action scenes were awesome! SPOILER - THE CAMEO AT THE END OF WAS SO GOOD! I think the live action adaption still suffered from one of the negative points I made with the anime, it still did not answer some questions I had at the end like where these parasites came from. Now, did that happen because the Anime never answered it - MAYBE?

Overall, I liked the live adaption more than the anime but I think I liked the live adaption so much BECAUSE I watched the anime first. I think I appreciated what the live adaption did with its story within the world that Parasyte: The Maxim had already built and explained.

NOW THE VERSUS SECTION - I am first going to discuss the similarities and then dive into the differences between this anime and the Korean Live Adaption.


  • Set in the Same Universe - So very early on in Parasyte the Grey, it is apparent that Parasyte the Grey is a spin off and not a scene-by-scene remake of Parasyte: The Maxim. Even though, Parasyte: The Grey is a spin-off, the drama is still set in the same universe as the anime which the producers of the drama made clear with the story, how the parasites acted and with some cameos at the end of the drama.

  • Both had horror elements and action scenes - Both the Korean drama and anime were of the horror genre. Both also had action scenes. There might have been differences in those action scenes, which is described below but both still had action scenes.

  • Same monsters/parasites - Because Parasyte: The Grey was set in the same universe as Parasyte: The Maxim, the parasites looked the same and acted the same (for the most part). There were some differences which I explain in the differences. Looking at both the anime and the Korean drama, the parasites did have the same appearance. Also, the parasites from both the anime and Korean drama appeared the same way (fell from the sky) and took over their hosts in the same way. How to detect if a human was taken over by a parasite was the same in both the Anime and the Kdrama.

  • Some of the same take away message from the anime/drama - One of the unexpected messages that was the take away from both the anime and Korean drama was that humans were destroying the world and the parasites needed to exterminate the human race to save the planet. (at least that is how I interpreted this message). Both the anime and Korean drama had an environmental/save the earth underlying message which was unexpected.

  • Both are violent and gory - Due to the fact that the entire concept of the anime and Korean drama was parasites were falling to Earth and either eating/killing humans and/or taking over the humans' bodies, the anime/drama is very violent and gory. We have scenes of parasites eating humans. We have scenes of parasites unfolding different parts of their hosts' bodies to fight another parasite or consume another human. We have humans fighting parasites. Both the anime and the Korean drama do not shy away from showing the violence or gore that goes hand in hand with these types of scenes.

  • Both have a storyline where the parasites want to take over or have taken over a politician/leader to the humans - In both the Anime and Korean drama, as the story unfolds, it is revealed that parasites have a larger idea. In the Anime, the parasites actually succeed in taking over a politician and starting to have a presence in government. That is discovered eventually. In the Korean Drama, the plot to infect a politician is revealed but it is not successful by the end.

  • Both had leftover questions by the end - So, as I said in my review for the anime, it ended with me still having questions. I had questions about where the parasites came from. I had questions of where the parasites were by the end because it was unclear if they were all exterminated. I had questions about if the parasites in the leads were 100% gone or just dormant. I think I had these same questions at the end of the Korean drama as well. Maybe I had the same questions because the Anime never answered those questions so, Korea did not have those answers when the drama was made.

  • Both leads are recruited by government entities - Another story plow that were in both the anime and Korean drama was the main lead who was special and was infected by the parasite was recruited to work with a government entity to fight against these parasites taking over Japan/Korea. In the Kdrama, this happened a lot sooner than it did in the Anime. A lot of the Anime, the main lead was trying to hide the fact he was infected from everyone - his family, his friends and the government. I also think it was more of a major plot point in the Kdrama than it was in the Anime overall. Both were used as a way to detect other parasites so that is similar as well. The lead in the anime was not kept captive and sort of forced into the scenario though.

  • Both had someone personal taken from them, by the parasites - This may just be a trope in this sort of genre but both leads in the anime and the Korean drama had someone personal and special to them killed/taken from them by the parasites. In the Anime, it was the male lead's mother. In the Korean Drama, it was a cop that she knew from childhood who was sort of a father figure to her growing up. Both scenes were heartbreaking to watch. Both scenes resulted in a story on how the main leads processed this action and what they did next.

  • Both had the parasites hunting down the main lead because they were different - One common thing with the leads in the Anime and Korean drama was the parasite was unsuccessful in taking over the leads' bodies entirely. So, the human lead and the parasite had to live in a co-habitation scenario in one body. This allowed the main leads to be able to detect other parasites. This also caused the other parasites to hunt them down because they also could detect the leads. When the other parasites discovered that the leads were living in this co-habitation scenario, they viewed them as threat and decided they needed to get rid of them. I think there are some differences in this but I will explain that in the differences section of this blogpost.

  • Both main parasites with the main leads sort of leave the same way - In both the anime and the Korean drama, the parasites living in the main leads say their goodbyes to the lead and sort of walk off into the sunset. It is unknown 100% if they are gone entirely or just dormant. In my opinion, they are dormant, just waiting for a reason to come out again.


  • Main Leads - A big difference are the leads in the Anime and the Korean drama. The anime's lead is a male named Shinichi Izumi and he is 17 years old when he is first infected with the parasite. This also makes his parasite male or I at least interpreted it that way. In the Korean drama, the lead is a female named Jeong Su-In who looks to be mid-20s, maybe early 30s. This also makes her parasite female.

  • Placement of Parasites in leads and other characters - Another difference is where the parasites end up in our main leads but also show within other characters in the anime and the drama. In the Anime, Shinichi Izumi has his hand/arm taken over by a parasite. So, his hand and arm transform (eventually his chest does as well). In the Korean drama, Su-In's parasite reached her head but could not take over her brain entirely. So, one side of her face transforms when her parasite takes over. Another major difference is with the other characters and parasites. In the Korean drama, most of the transformations (if not all) with the parasites are with the heads of the humans. Some of the parasites within the Korean drama, you see other transformations like wings but mostly you only see the heads transform. In the anime, you still mostly see a lot of the heads of the hosts transform but there is also more use of the other limbs or in some cases the entire body transforms eventually.

  • Main 2 Parasites work differently with hosts - Now since the parasites took over the main lead hosts differently, how the parasites communicate and act with the main leads are completely different. In the Anime, his parasite can talk to him in real time. He has a mouth and eye that comes out of the hand every time he wants to speak with his human. He can also use the arm as he likes. He can eventually detach from the body all together for short periods of time. In the Korean drama, the female lead can't talk to her parasite in real time. The parasite has to use technology to communicate such as recordings of her in Su-In's body talking to her human side or through notes. Eventually both parasites talk to their hosts in dreams though. Su-In's parasite can only also only take over her body for short periods of time. Both parasites do need to sleep to recharge eventually though.

  • Parasite Attitudes - Another difference is the parasites in the leads themselves. The parasite in the Anime, who goes by the name Migi, treated his host and the world differently than Heidi, the parasite's name in the female lead in the Korean drama did. Migi fought with Shinichi all the time on whether to kill another person or parasite. Heidi always sided with Su-In and did not even threaten to kill Su-In's family and friends. Heidi never wanted to work with the other parasites from the very beginning while Migi wanted to side with the other parasites a lot of them time. Heidi helped out her host a lot faster than Migi did. Migi's main goal was the survive and at first in the anime, HATED having to co-habitat with Shinichi. He even threatened to cut off more of Shinichi's limbs just so Shinichi would not expose him to the world. He did not care about Shinichi until much later in the Anime. That was a major plot point of the anime and a big component of the story.

  • Romance Versus No Romance - There were 2 separate romance options in the Anime. One played out better than the other. The Korean drama had no romance options and didn't even hint towards a romance.

  • Spin-Off - The Korean drama was a spin-off which I loved. It allowed the Korean drama to be similar to the Anime but create its' own story and identity. Due to the Kdrama being a spinoff and not a direct adaption, none of the anime characters showed up in the Kdrama except for the cameo at the end of the drama when Shinichi made an appearance. This caused for me to hope that there will be a season 2 with Shinichi playing a bigger role.

  • Story Concentration - I mentioned this a little bit above but the anime concentrated its story more on Shinichi and his struggle. You got him dealing with having his world turned upside down with his mother dying and father becoming a shell of himself. He had to deal with living with Migi in a co-habitation situation. The story concentration was really on Shinichi and his personal story. The Anime was all from Shinichi's perspective. The Korean drama I think concentrated on broader topics. You still got Su-In's struggle but it concentrated a lot more on Korean society and how they dealt with the parasites. The Korean drama was told from many characters' perspectives.

  • Action Sequences - Both the Anime and the Korean drama had a lot of action sequences. The anime seemed to have more parasite versus parasite fight scenes because Shinichi was fighting a lot of parasites. The Korean drama had a lot more humans versus parasite action scenes. I think there are more action scenes in the Korean drama though. Su-In also has to fight some parasites as well. A lot of the Anime is Shinichi trying to hide the fact that he is infected with a parasite.

  • Character Dilemmas - The anime explored the idea of moral dilemma. Most of the major parasites that had a story in the anime asked these philosophical questions. They debated the meaning of life and why life forms existed in the universe. What was the role these life forms had. Could parasites exist at the same time as humans live together in society. Were human lives more important that parasite lives, especially when both humans and parasites essentially do the same thing - find food and survive. In the Korean drama, there was really none of this discussion.

  • Discovery of Parasites - In the Anime, it is unclear when the first parasites came into earth but overall, the public did not learn about the parasites for quite some time. Most of the parasites were living in the shadows and trying to hunt/live/survive without the humans finding out about their existence. The government hid the parasites until they had to warn the public about them. In the Korean Drama, the humans learned about the parasites' existence right away due to one of the parasites infecting a human and attacking a bunch of people at a music festival immediately. The attack made the rounds on social media right away and could not be hidden or contained.

  • Different themes in the story discussed - I mentioned this a little bit above but I wanted elaborate on this more. The anime was from Shinichi's perspective and discussed themes more on the individualistic side of things. As mentioned above, the meaning of life and why something/someone exists in the universe. Parasyte the Grey used its platform to explore themes on a broader scale. It discussed the importance of communities to a society and for people. How communities can help people in many ways. Also, it explored corruption from both an authority perspective but also parasites taking over authority figures in human society. Common themes you see discussed in Kdramas as well.

Overall, I am really glad I watched both of these series. It allowed me to appreciate both more because I had that background already. I NEED A SEASON 2 FOR THE KDRAMA! I still think I liked the Kdrama more but the Anime is still a great anime to watch.



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