The Pastor In ‘Parasyte: The Grey’ Explained: Why Did The Body Snatcher Want To Become The President?


Much like the anime and the manga, Parasyte: The Grey didn’t explain the origin of the parasites. They appeared out of nowhere with the singular goal of eating all humans. They burrowed into the brains of humans and then transformed in weird and disgusting ways to eat other humans. They had the ability to telepathically detect each other. They could learn how to speak and act like humans while wielding their superpowers in various ways. Some acquired the ability to fly; others turned their tentacles into ax-like weapons. And while the body snatcher that inhabited Pastor Kwon’s body had the ability to fight with his tentacles, he also perfected the ability to switch from one host to another without taking too much time to adapt to the human body. Armed with this superpower, the pastor wanted to become the most powerful person in South Korea.

Spoiler Alert

Key Differences Between the Parasites and the Body Snatchers

The manga, the anime, and Parasyte: The Grey made sure that there was a clear distinction between the mutants (Migi, Jaw, and Heidi) and the body snatchers. I think that the body snatchers in the manga and the anime were a little more evolved than the ones in the Netflix series. Most of the body snatchers in the manga and the anime were able to morph their faces pretty seamlessly, while the ones in the show didn’t exhibit that particular ability. Reiko Tamura was the only body snatcher who managed to develop humane feelings and even give birth to a baby by having intercourse with another body snatcher. Apparently, even though the parasite took away the host’s autonomy, its curiosity allowed it to discover that the host’s ability to reproduce wasn’t gone. Kyung-hee was the only body snatcher who found herself becoming humane. She did say that the body snatchers in the show didn’t have the ability to reproduce. But I think if they got more curious and weren’t betrayed by the pastor, much like their Japanese counterparts, they would find out about the beauty of fornication, too.

How is the pastor different from Gotou?

Well, that brings us to the great body snatcher betrayal. As mentioned before, the manga didn’t explain why the parasites came into existence. They were programmed to kill humans, and that was it. But Gotou, the leader of the body snatchers, along with Hirokawa (a parasite sympathizer), came up with the theory that they were there to “fix Earth.” Humans had messed things up royally. So, they had two choices to make Earth habitable: kill all humans or become their leader and show them the right direction. The body snatchers started with the first option. Then, they went for the second option by trying to gain some level of political power. When that didn’t work out, Gotou became a horrific monster and then died horribly because he had way too many parasites inside him who were individually trying to save themselves, which ended up killing him entirely. That said, until Gotou reached his fateful end, he was taking his parasitic kin towards a better future. The pastor, though, realized that he didn’t need to take care of his kin. He used them to gain power and prominence. And then he got them killed to lull the humans into a false sense of comfort and paved the way for a solo reign by taking over the body of the mayor, who was poised to be the next president of South Korea.

Why Did the Body Snatcher Want to Become President?

Gotou, Hirokawa, the pastor, and Kang Won-seok (the parasite sympathizer in the Netflix series) didn’t succeed. But what was interesting about the pastor was that he didn’t take a straightforward route to gaining political power; he used religious politics. Yes, the show literally portrayed an entity going from a religious figure to a law enforcer and then aiming to become the most powerful man in a country to experience true strength. However, isn’t our reality as strange as this fictional narrative? So many religious gurus are turning to politics to gain power. They are writing laws to appease the majority community while squashing the rights of minorities. Official policy-making posts are being inhabited by the friends of these religious politicians, who don’t really care about people and want to make truckloads of money. And since humanity is going through such harsh times, it’s easy to convince people to subscribe to a certain religion and then motivate them to follow it blindly. By the time they realize that they were following a false prophet, it’s too late to make amends. While the pastor in Parasyte: The Grey was killed by the heroes, his real-life counterparts continue to thrive, and that’s more horrifying than anything that can be conjured by the sci-fi-horror subgenre.

What Is The Meaning Of The Pastor’s Act Of Betrayal?

The pastor’s betrayal of his own kind in Parasyte: The Grey was fascinating because his perspective was polluted by the ideology of humans. You see, despite being a soulless monster, Gotou cared about his kin. As far as I can remember, while other parasites fought amongst themselves, Gotou wanted his kin to prosper. He learned about humans but never acted like one. Meanwhile, the pastor not only gained knowledge about how humanity and society functioned, but he also acquired the species’ worst traits, i.e., killing one’s own to climb up the proverbial ladder. In a way, the Netflix series showed that between the manga’s original run and now, humanity had devolved so much that if a parasite (which had come from some unknown corner of the galaxy or was formulated by a human to curb the population of the planet) tried to learn anything from us, they’d deviate from their course and get corrupted. It was a very startling twist, especially if you have read the manga and watched the anime, and the twist wasn’t shocking for the sake of being different. It served a narrative purpose and imbued the pastor’s arc with so much meaning.

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Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit loves to write about movies, television shows, short films, and basically anything that emerges from the world of entertainment. He occasionally talks to people, and judges them on the basis of their love for Edgar Wright, Ryan Gosling, Keanu Reeves, and the best television series ever made, Dark.

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