Within the year we were given the pleasure of receiving an Anime adaptation of the manga Parasyte. Reviews have glowed for the series and there are a number of reasons that could allure so many viewers. It had a theme song that was super cool and catchy, as well as the premise of these alien parasite creatures were creepy yet very interesting.
It could have been the internal struggles of the main character that tugged the heartstrings of viewers. As we discussed in our podcast: Parasyte Series Review, my favorite part of this anime is it seamlessly melded the themes of man vs nature and man vs self into one. Whatever your reason, there’s no doubt that Parasyte has a lot of originality. So you may be asking yourself, how did Hitoshi Iwaaki come up with such a strange concept? We may have the answer.
The image above is an artistic rendition of a Japanese mythological creature Futakuchi-onna. Created as a cautionary tale against extreme dieting it is said that those who do not provide themselves with proper nourishment will develop a second mouth in the back of their head! This second mouth is considered sentient and able to find food and feed itself. We can’t deny the similarities of this creature and the parasites: the parasites aim for the head for control of the body, ultimately changing the form of the head into a new mouth most often, and their basic instinct is to feed without thought of consequence.
Another little interesting creature are a certain form of Yokai. These Yokai are household objects that come to life after not being used for long periods of time, causing all sorts of mischief. There aren’t as many correlations to parasites here, but they are often depicted sprouting random eyeballs and appendages. This appearance seems somewhat comical and reminds of the personalities of the two parasites who attached to other parts of the body.
There is little doubt in my mind that there isn’t some relation to the Futakuchi-onna, not because Hitoshi Iwaaki lacks creativity, but cultural mythology is such a rich bounty inspiration that has birthed so many new incredible stories and characters, much more than you may think.
Tell us your thoughts on Parasyte or Futakuchi-onna, if you don’t believe that this is the Parasyte Origin I hope we at least sparked your interest a little more in mythology.