A good number of you readers probably saw the 2014 anime series of Kiseijuu, or Parasyte, or the live action movies that came out around that same time. But did you know that the original manga was published between 1988 – 1995? As to why it took 20 years to make an anime adaptation, that’s still a mystery but considering how society and the industry has changed between the end of the manga and the debut of the anime, it’s only natural that changes would be made to accommodate to modern audiences. So, how do the original manga and the 2014 anime of Kiseijuu compare? Read this edition to Anime Vs. Manga to find out!
For the most part, the story of the anime and manga are pretty much the same though certain aspects are slightly altered. As opposed to having the Kiseijuu anime take place in the time of the original manga’s publication (as the JoJo anime adaptations tends to do), the anime takes place in modern times. People in the anime have cell phones and tablets, which were non-existent during the publication of the original manga (unless you count Zack Morris phones from Saved by the Bell or palm pilots like the Apple Newton, which nobody had in the original manga anyway). This addition doesn’t at all alter the outcome of any plot points, it just makes it more relating to modern viewers.
One notable aspect that is toned down is when Shinichi has to fight other teenagers. Upon its debut, delinquent manga such as Rokudenashi Blue, Bebop High School, and Shounen Junai Gumi were pretty popular in Japan and the original Kiseijuu manga largely borrows from that. In the anime, though those fights exist, they aren’t really that much emphasized as a spoof of that respective genre, and are just treated more like generic fights.
Modern Upgrades to the Designs
One major significant difference is the art style between the two versions. When you compare them side by side, just about anyone can conclude that they are products of their respective times and this may be a source of controversy to some fans who are purists. Beyond adding phones and tablets, the fashion of the school uniforms are also updated as well. For Shinichi, as opposed to wearing the summer version to the Gakuran uniform (with just a white dress shirt and black pants), he wears a suit and tie, and tends to wear his glasses more often, which seems to be popular with present day anime. In the manga, he adapts a bad boy look with his Johnny Cash inspired outfit, but this isn’t really at all too much emphasized in the anime. Plus, his upper body progressively gets muscular in the manga while he stays skinny in the anime.
As seen through Satomi, Shinichi’s best friend, as opposed to wearing a Sailor uniform, which were more common twenty to thirty years ago, she wears a blazer uniform with a ribbon on her collar, which is also becoming more common with modern day school uniforms for girls in real life Japan as well. Despite these cosmetic changes, certain scenes in the anime with how they are framed and panned are still largely faithful to the manga. However, some of the carnage and guts is toned down for TV, and we understand this can be a source of controversy for long-time fans as well. Other than that, you’re getting the same content.
Parasyte is certainly another property that was long overdue for an anime adaptation. It lives up to the manga in its own distinguishing way. A lot of remakes such as Hunter X Hunter, JoJo and Ushio to Tora tend to stylistically stay faithful to the original style of the manga, but Kiseijuu takes it to a different approach due to how the style of the manga is now considered outdated. It’s easy to assume that Studio Madhouse modernized the anime for people who probably haven’t had any prior exposure to the manga and that’s understandable. The original manga also had a unique look to it and we can also understand that the changes to some of the designs may turn purists off, and we can’t argue that they have a right to be outrage, but we do plea with them to at least be open minded.
It is very important to make an anime relatable and in some aspects, keeping a certain series in context to its original timeline works such as JoJo, but in some instances, the time it takes place in doesn’t matter. Anime and manga starring high school students as a superhero are always going to be around so the fact that Kiseijuu falls into that trope helps justify such changes. It may not be the anime some longtime fans hoped for, but it should serve as a foundation to see that even when society changes, the nature of the same story can still be effectively told.