parasyte the grey
Image via Netflix

Parasyte: The Grey Works Best as a Standalone Experience

The original, legendary Parasyte manga from creator Hitoshi Iwaaki debuted in 1989 and ran for about five years. The long-awaited anime adaptation from Madhouse in 2014 still remains one of my favorite series of all time. The latest entry Parasyte: The Grey launched on Netflix, and it offers something unique and different.

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I would argue that Parasyte: The Grey works best as a standalone experience, separate from the source material. I didn’t know what to expect from this live-action, Korean Netflix series, as I initially thought it might be a reimagining of the story of Shinichi, but set in Korea. However, that isn’t the case.

Instead, as the series goes on, this show feels more like it is set in the same universe as the source material. We’re seeing the perspective of how the alien parasites arriving on Earth affected Korea. Later events in the series seem to hint towards this as well.

That said, Parasyte: The Grey is its most interesting when it separates itself from the source material and feels like its own separate experience. The story starts out so mysterious and intriguing, just like the original manga. Who is the protagonist? Who are the villains? Is there a Migi in this series? These were the questions that had me on the edge of my seat at first.

The Netflix live-action series even leans into this, doling out information a bit at a time. For example, part of this involves such as how the main character became infected in Parasyte: The Grey and why she still has control of her brain (at times). Once I separated this from the source material I adore, I stopped comparing them and was able to enjoy this show for what it is.

After all, it has a very different tone and feel to it, especially with the live-action effects. The sheer brutality of the manga comes off differently as a result. Couple that with the absence of weird, quirky characters like Migi, and Parasyte: The Grey has an even more serious tone than the already mature source.

It took some time to adjust to how the parasites act in this show, but I liked the maturity of it all in the end. It often feels like what the Resident Evil live-action series’ developers wish it could be. At least, that is in terms of action, intensity, and light horror factors.

If there is one gripe I still have with Parasyte: The Grey though, it comes down to its pacing. I am not a huge fan of hour-long episodes that don’t justify themselves. Sadly, that is the case with this series. Sure, a lot happens in most episodes of the Netflix series, but they go on for way too long. I would rather split the series into 12 half-hour episodes, rather than the six one-hour long ones we have now.

Regardless, Parasyte: The Grey is an enjoyable look at the classic normal human-turns-monster trope. Rarely do live-action adaptations of manga and anime work, but this one sticks the landing. It may not be perfect, but it works well enough and kept my attention the whole time. This was because it wasn’t afraid to show an original story set in the same universe as the source material. And this intriguing risk paid off well in the end.

Parastye: The Grey is available to stream right now on Netflix.

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Cody Perez
Cody is a writer who has been sharing his love for video games and anime since his high school days in 2012. When he isn’t writing about the latest JRPGs and anime series, he can be found in Final Fantasy XIV, occasionally playing some Call of Duty, or lurking on Twitter @SoulcapCody.