Two lonely individuals, who prefer to keep the world around them far away from themselves, fall in love. In “Parasite in Love,” we are introduced to Kengo Kosaka, who suffers from extreme mysophobia, and Hijiri Sanagi, who suffers from scopophobia, the fear induced by staring eyes. Kosaka’s parents committed suicide when he was eight. He stayed alone most of his life; his phobia did not allow him to come into close contact with others. His hands were red and scrappy from the thousands of times he washed them to keep the germs away. Kosaka and Sanagi met each other coincidentally. Sanagi saw Kosaka collapse and lose consciousness on the road. She helped him recover by admitting him to a hospital, which marked the beginning of their journey together.
Major Spoilers Ahead
The Kosaka And Sanagi Love Story
After his release from the hospital, Kosaka was contacted by Izumi, whose identity is revealed by the end of “Parasite in Love.” Kosaka panicked when he found Izumi in his room. Izumi threatened him with persecution if he denied the offer to keep an eye on Sanagi. Izumi had gone through Kosaka’s computer and was aware of the virus he was building to disrupt everyone’s life. Kosaka feared the consequences and agreed to work for him.
The first day spent with Sanagi was chaotic. He could not comprehend the existence of another human being inside his flat. He feared the germs she dispersed inside the apartment and wanted her gone. He disclosed his condition to Sanagi and described how it had affected his life. After leaving his apartment, she could feel her heart beating fast and her nose starting to bleed.
The two gradually found comfort in each other. They were rejected by society and did not have a chance at a normal life. Kosaka had never looked at Sanagi as an object of desire, and that helped her to not get affected by his presence. Their companionship was meditative, and they started what they called “rehabilitation,” where they tried to overcome their fears together.
How Did The Parasite Affect Their Romance?
At the beginning of “Parasite in Love,” Sanagi talked about a worm inside her head. The worm was behind her phobia and controlled her to an extent. Her mother, Maya, had the worm as well, and it is said that she committed suicide as a result of the worm’s control. Sanagi’s family wanted to cure her of the condition.
When Kosaka was treated at the hospital, Izumi had studied his blood sample and had discovered that he had the same worm that Sanagi had. After knowing the situation, Sanagi’s grandfather and doctor, Yuichi, had advised Izumi to bring Kosaka and Sanagi close. The parasites inside their heads would grow as a result of their proximity, which would make it easier for them to remove them from Sanagi and Kosaka’s bodies.
Yuichi’s theory was that the parasite was the reason for the host body’s feeling a certain attraction when they met someone else with a similar parasite. This was not love, but rather a way for the parasites to mate and produce eggs. After the eggs are produced, the parasite will make the host suicidal by making them mentally unstable. Basing his research on this mating theory, Yuichi was determined to save his granddaughter from committing suicide. Even though Sanagi was not against getting treated, she refused to get Kosaka involved in the process. Since her grandfather said that would be impossible, she refused to be treated. The treatment would cause their romance to fade, and Sanagi was not ready to let go of her love.
‘Parasite In Love’ Ending Explained: What Does The End Symbolize?
Sanagi vanished before the treatment, and Kosaka was able to find her. She took him to the lake, where her mother had committed suicide. She confessed that she would prefer death over losing the feeling of being loved by someone. Even if her feelings were caused by a parasite, she had found comfort in Kosaka, and their life together was happy. Sanagi would often mention a story of a man who loved cats but was later found to be affected by toxoplasma, a virus that conditioned him to love cats. Getting treated would have caused him to lose the one thing he had loved the most. Would that treatment truly solve his problem? After all, he had conditioned his life according to his affection. Even if affection is a result of a parasite in action, does that mean that one must get rid of it and lose the one they love?
Kosaka was ready to be a part of Sanagi’s journey, even if that would lead to death. He embraced her, and the two kissed, causing the parasites to unite as well. After the screen goes black, we find Kosaka and Sanagi at the hospital bed. They were forcefully treated by Yuichi. After being released, Kosaka started living a normal life. He worked at an office and had become quite popular for his work. But his life was disrupted when he received a call from Izumi; he was informed about Sanagi’s disappearance. He searched for any contact from Sanagi and found a letter she had written to him. She wrote it at the hospital, reminiscing about their joyful days and fearing how those memories would eventually get blurry. Kosaka had planned to launch a virus on Christmas Eve; the virus would affect every individual’s phone and would cause a communication gap leading to many heartbreaks and pain. This was his way of leaving a mark and giving back to society for never truly understanding him. Sanagi knew his plan and had promised to meet in front of the Christmas tree when there would be chaos all around.
Kosaka launched his virus even though there was a bug. His virus was imperfect, just like him, and he did not care. He waited in front of the Christmas tree, and even though the clock turned 7, there was no visible effect of his virus. Sanagi stood by his side. She had decided to keep her promise. Just when the two were sharing pleasantries, the world around them went into a state of chaos. While people around them ran, they promised to be with each other no matter what.
Meanwhile, Izumi found that Kosaka’s blood had an egg. He concluded that the parasites had mated and Sanagi had an egg as well. Yuichi was shocked to learn the truth, but Izumi commented that human beings and parasites can exist at the same time. He was Sanagi’s father. When Maya committed suicide, Yuichi chose to not treat him to see what the death of a potential parasite would do to another. Izumi said that he was proof that coexistence is possible, and that he still loved Maya and never truly searched for another potential mate or tried to commit suicide.
“Parasite in Love” is an unusual love story with elements of science and drama. By the end of the film, it conveys the message that people turn suicidal when they are forced to fall out of love. It was not the parasite that caused death, but rather the loneliness that one felt when one lost the feeling of being loved. Blaming the parasite for the rising number of deaths caused by suicide is an easier way than addressing the deep-rooted cause of the same. The extremely problematic treatment of mental health issues by society at large is what the film arrives at the end.
“Parasite in Love” is a 2021 Japanese Drama Romance directed by Kensaku Kakimoto.