Parasite Eve - I Got Science In My Fiction Header Image

The header image for this post was created by Unsplash user Joel Filipe, the original version is available here

This week’s post is a little break from the norm.

of all that hardcore dance that has gotten to be a little bit out of control?

Djstump is preparing a few posts on the Parasite Eve series, so I thought I’d write a quick intro post about the non-video game entries in this series. Namely, the book and the movie.

But first…

The Game

Parasite Eve was a Horror RPG game for the Sony Playstation and was developed and published by Square, originally released in 1998. It was later re-released on the Playstation Network in 2010.

The Book

Parasite Eve is a Science Fiction Horror novel by Sena Hideaki, originally released in Japan in 1994. It was later translated to English by Tyran Grillo in 2005. The 1998 Playstation game acts as a direct sequel to the book.

The Movie

Parasite Eve is a 1997 Japanese Science Fiction film directed by Ochiai Masayuki. It is based on the novel of the same name, but has significant changes in it’s plot and ending.

Back in my university days

Class of ’08, yo

I was studying Japanese language and wanted to learn as much about Japanese culture as I could.

The day that I figured out that the RPG with one of the most violent intro sequences I’d ever seen

at that point anyway

was based on a book, and a Japanese one at that, I decided that I needed to read it. This started a bit of a fascination with Japanese horror literature

have you ever read Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things?

which included my reading of the Ring series of books (there are five in the series, as of 2012) by Koji Suzuki

and noting the MANY things which made no sense in the OG Japaense movie (at least the one everyone knows of, because there was one released before that one)

I still read some Japanese literature these days, but it’s more along the lines of historical fiction

give me something from the Kamakura to Meiji periods and I’m a happy Jay, for sure

… er all of that reads as big headed. I’ve read this books in English

my Japanese isn’t that good… yet

I’m about to drop some science on you

and I’m going to mess it up, because I’m not a scientist

but it’s needed so that you understand the plot of this book.

In each of our cells we have mitochondria, these help us to break down fat and sugar and turn it into energy for our cells. Because of this, we have built up a symbiotic relationship with our mitochondria.

they take some energy from the process and we provide them with relative safety

That’s about where my knowledge of mitochondria ends, but that’s about all you need to know.

The Plot

psst: spoilers ahoy

Parasite Eve tells the story of Nagashima Toshiaki who discovers that the mitochondria in our cells are part of a greater consciousness and have been waiting for the right situation in order to oust humanity and take control of the world.

At the beginning of the story, Toshiaki’s wife (Kiyomi) is killed in a car crash. It is later revealed that the cause of the crash was the mitochondrial greater consciousness (named Eve, in the story) which took control of Kiyomi’s body and drove her car into a telephone pole.

Toshiaki ends up taking a sample of Kiyomi’s liver cells and grows them in his lab

he’s an expert in mitochondria, don’t you know

He ends up growing enough mitochondrial cells in his lab for Eve to take on a physical form. Eve eventually rapes Toshiaki and uses his sperm to fertilise one of her eggs. She then implants this into the body of a young girl who was the recipient of one of Kiyomi’s kidneys (Mariko).

The baby is carried to term but it ends up dying and killing Toshiaki and Eve in the process.

At the end of the book it is revealed that some of the original cells that Toshiaki was working on in the lab are still viable and alive.

What Does This Have To Do With Video Games?

Parasite Eve Cover Art

Without the book, we wouldn’t have the PlayStation game

Djstump: which is a direct sequel to the book

or any of it’s three sequels.

We also wouldn’t have the movie – which is a retelling of the book, but with romantic aspects replacing the horror aspects.

also the opening scenes and effects are pretty bad – but it was a J-Horror TV movie made in the 90s

There Was a Movie?!

Yes, but it’s not related to the video game series. In that the video game series are direct sequels to the book. Whereas the movie version

much like the movie version of Ringu

takes a few different turns and has a different ending.

It also played up a bunch of romantic elements and, effectively, removed the horror elements.

especially anything related to Eve raping Toshiaki

It was a made for TV movie after all.

So Parasite Eve (The Game)…

Is the sequel to a book, yeah. I’m not too sure that there are any other games which are direct sequels to books.

Also, it was developed without the involvement or knowledge of Sena Hideaki. In fact, the game was developed by Square

now Square-Enix

and the book publisher – which meant that Sena had no idea it was being made until it was finished.

There are plenty of games based on books or movies, though – it’s a bit of a staple in an industry which was once seen as a way to make a quick few dollars.

I’m sure that Djstump will go into more detail in his upcoming article series on the Parasite Eve games, so I’ll finish this here.

Have you ever read Parasite Eve or seen the movie it was based on? If so, did it change your ideas about the games?

Are there any other games which are direct sequels to books or other media (which are accepted canon, I mean)?

Jamie is one of the Waffling Taylors. He spends a lot of time blogging about things sometimes related to programming and sometimes not.