If you want your fair share of bizarre and violent anime series, Parasyte and Tokyo Ghoul are among the best and most popular ones you’ll encounter. They’re also easily available, which will make the whole process easier. Parasyte is a show about an alien Parasite that comes to Earth, while Tokyo Ghoul is a show about the ghoul community of Tokyo.
While Parasyte might be more consistent in its quality and far less chaotic, Tokyo Ghoul is a show that has a lot of emotion, depth and is overall the better show of the two. While they might be similar, they’re not completely identical and there is enough material for Tokyo Ghoul to be declared the winner.
The rest of this article is going to explore and explain the reasons behind this decision. You’re going to find out about the two shows and how and when they were originally broadcast. You’re also going to see the main similarities and differences between the two shows, after which we are going to further elaborate on which of them is the better show.
Parasyte: An Overview
Parasyte is a seinen manga by Hitoshi Iwaaki. It was published between November 1988 and December 1994 in Morning Open Shūkan and then Afternoon by publisher Kōdansha, and is compiled in a total of ten volumes.
An animated television series produced by Madhouse was broadcast between October 2014 and March 2015 under the title Parasyte -the maxim-, and two live-action films were released in November 2014 and April 2015 respectively. The series has also appeared on Netflix since April 1, 2018.
In Japan, the release of the animated series and the two films in 2014-2015 created a resurgence in popularity for the manga, which had sold over 11 million copies at the end of 2014.
A spin-off series titled Parasyte Reversi, written and drawn by Moare Ohta, was published in Kōdansha’s Comic Days magazine between March 2018 and May 2021.
As for the plot, one night, tennis ball-sized spheres containing snake-like creatures fell in numbers unknown all over the world. They are programmed to take the place of human brains. One of these attacks a young man, Shin’ichi, during his sleep, trying to enter through his ear but cannot reach him, the latter having kept his headphones for the night.
Awakened with a start as the parasite tries to enter through his nose, he tries to defend himself but ends up having his right hand punctured. The high school student then takes his headphones and wraps them around his arm, preventing the parasite from climbing to the brain.
Unable to leave his arm, the latter finally merges with his right hand. Meanwhile, other parasites, having successfully taken possession of their host’s brain, begin to feed on humans, while the creature and Shin’ichi are forced to cohabitate.
Tokyo Ghoul: An Overview
Tokyo Ghoul is a shōnen manga by Sui Ishida published in Weekly Young Jump magazine by publisher Shūeisha. The first part, Tokyo Ghoul, appeared from 2011 to 2014 and has been compiled in 14 bound volumes. The second part, Tokyo Ghoul:re was released between 2014 and 2018 in Japan.
An anime adaptation produced by the Pierrot studio is broadcast between July and September 2014 on Tokyo MX. A second season titled Tokyo Ghoul √A aired between January and March 2015. The first part of the Tokyo Ghoul:re adaptation aired in Japan between April 3 and June 19, 2018. The second aired between October 9 and December 25, 2018.
A special issue, Tokyo Ghoul: Jack, recounting the meeting of the two inspectors Kisho Arima and Taishi Fura against the ghoul Jack then still high school students, appeared between August and September 2013 in the digital publication magazine Jump Live and was published in a digital book in October 2013.
An original video animation adaptation was released in September 2015. A film adaptation of the original series was released on July 29, 2017 in Japan. A second film titled Tokyo Ghoul S was released on July 19, 2019.
The plot is set in the city of Tokyo, where creatures called ghouls have appeared that feed on human flesh to survive. One day, Ken Kaneki, a young student, was attacked by one of them and suffered a serious injury. To stay alive, he receives a transplant from the ghoul that attacked him and becomes a hybrid, half-human, half-ghoul (artificial one-eyed).
Quickly, he realizes that he cannot eat the same foods as before. He then entered the service of the “L’Antique” café, a haunt of ghouls, where he learned to eat without harming humans.
But he will soon find himself at the heart of a bloody war between the CCG (Center for Ghoul Control), determined to find and exterminate them to the last, and the Aogiri Tree, an organization of merciless ghouls.
He discovers that ghouls are not that different from humans, and little by little he will start to adapt. In :re, two years have passed since the CCG’s raid on Anteiku.
Although the atmosphere in Tokyo has changed drastically due to the increased influence of the CCG, ghouls continue to pose a problem as they have begun taking caution, especially the terrorist organization Aogiri Tree, which acknowledges the CCG’s growing threat to their existence.
The creation of a special team, known as the Quinx Squad, may provide the CCG with the push they need to exterminate Tokyo’s unwanted residents. As humans who have undergone surgery in order to make use of the special abilities of ghouls, they participate in operations to eradicate the dangerous creatures.
The leader of this group, Haise Sasaki, is a half-ghoul, half-human who has been trained by the famed special class investigator, Kishō Arima. However, there’s more to this young man than meets the eye, as unknown memories claw at his mind, slowly reminding him of the person he used to be.
After the conclusion of the Tsukiyama Family Extermination Operation, the members of the Commission of Counter Ghouls (CCG) have grown exponentially in power and continue to pursue their goal of exterminating every ghoul in Japan.
Having resigned from Quinx Squad, the now seemingly emotionless Haise Sasaki begins taking on more and more tasks from the CCG with no regard to the difficulty. Despite his vacant expressions, Ken Kaneki’s memories are resurfacing in Haise, leaving him in a state of internal conflict.
Meanwhile, his new coldhearted behavior is affecting the people around him. Quinx Squad are left in shambles, having to cope with the death of one of their members without the support of their former mentor. Amidst this turmoil, both Quinx Squad and Haise must continue to fulfill their duties to the CCG, whether willingly or not.
However, the presence of a mysterious group behind the CCG has been made known to Haise, and certain whispers of corruption have not gone unheard by the Quinx Squad as well.
Differences and Similarities Between Parasyte and Tokyo Ghoul
In many aspects, which is why this article was written in the first place, Parasyte and Tokyo Ghoul are very similar, which is what we are going to explore in this section of our article.
In both shows, we have the protagonist infected with a “foreign body” that transforms him into a strange human/monster hybrid; in Parayste, it is the alien parasite, while in Tokyo Ghoul, it’s the ghouls. The shows have a different approach to these “bodies”, as Parasyte shows them being public knowledge, while in Tokyo Ghoul, the civilians aren’t aware of the ghouls’ existence.
The main characters in both shows have become more monstrous, and both shows have also introduced special hybrid creatures. Cannibalism is also an important aspect of both shows. The creatures also have very specific powers, which is yet another common element between the two shows.
Last but not least, there is a significant difference in how the shows treat their monsters. While in Parasyte, there is absolutely no sympathy for these monsters, Tokyo Ghoul did everything to portray the majority of the ghouls with sympathy, opting to sensibilize the audience for their plights, rather than ending up hating them.
Parasyte vs Tokyo Ghoul: Which Anime Is Better?
Now that we’ve given you all the necessary information, we can also give our final verdict. For us, the decision wasn’t all that difficult, as one show has several clear advantages when compared to the other.
In terms of story and characters, Tokyo Ghoul is the winner, especially when the characters are concerned. In Sui Ishida’s world, the characters are far more diverse and interesting than in Parasyte, and while the anime story of Tokyo Ghoul might be a tad chaotic, it still has more depth and emotion than Parasyte.
The latter show takes the points in terms of production, as its high level of quality was consistently maintained throughout its run, which cannot be said about the chaotic adaptation of Tokyo Ghoul. On the other hand, Tokyo Ghoul also wins when animation is concerned, as the quality is simply better.
And with this, our article comes to an end. If you haven’t deduced it already, the better show is Tokyo Ghoul, simply because it is deeper and more complex than Parasyte, which is a great show with a great story, but it lacks the emotion of Sui Ishida’s work.