Pop Culture Based on Novels Part 2: Parasite Eve

The second week of November has come to a close, which means that everyone participating in National Novel Writing Month has made it halfway through their NaNo challenge. The idea of the challenge is to pump out a novel by the end of November, or to at least to have a higher page count than your friends.

In solidarity with those of you taking on this monumental challenge this year, we’re taking a look at pop culture narratives based on novels. Last week, we talked about The Heroic Legend of Arslan. This week, settle in for another fine example of Japanese literature, and a favorite of survival horror gaming, Parasite Eve.

Gaming: The Sequel

The popular action survival horror game Parasite Eve (1998) takes place in New York (Manhattan specifically). The narrative follows NYPD officer Aya Brea as she chases after a creature called Eve. If Aya fails, Eve will eliminate human life, causing humanity to spontaneously combust by manipulating their mitochondria.

From: http://planetabiologia.com/mitocondrias-funcao-e-estrutura-o-que-e/

The game came out as a sequel to the novel Parasite Eve written by Dr. Hideaki Sena (who, time of publication, had not yet completed his Ph.D.) and released in 1995. Despite being a sequel to his work, Dr. Sena didn’t know much about the game’s plot until after its release. The novel came out during a time when horror titles were gaining popularity in Japan, and may have had strong influence in the genre’s popularity enjoying rapid growth.

Dr. Sena’s novel follows the story of a scientist who, following a car accident, tries to save his brain-dead wife using technology. He soon finds that his efforts to modify mitochondria in order to save the woman he loves are not his to control. His efforts quickly take a bad turn when a super-powerful being named Eve, hosted inside of his wife’s mitochondria, makes an appearance.


Eve’s mitochondria-based powers come as no surprise when considering the author’s background in science. Dr. Sena has a Ph.D. in Pharmacology and is an award-winning novelist. He has written many works since his successful debut with Parasite Eve, including Brain Valley, The Heart’s Time Machine!, and Descartes’ Sealed Room. Today, he gives lectures on both microbiology and genre fiction (Randomhouse).

Other Adaptations

The novel sparked not only the popular game sequel (which itself had two game sequels: Parasite Eve II and The Third Birthday), but also a movie and two manga adaptations. One of the manga is based on the novel, while the other came out as an adaptation of the game.


Fans of the game series might enjoy taking a look at not only the original novel, but also the manga and film adaptations. Each retelling of the story offers something new.



Do you have a favorite novel that you’d love to see adapted into another medium, or know of any that have already received adaptations? Last week, Jonathan of Cantrip gave a shout-out to another Japanese novel when talking about Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds, which “could be seen as an adaptation of the film Battle Royale, which is adapted from the novel of the same title.”

If you have one you’d like to share, leave a shout-out in the comments! You can also connect on Twitter at @Popliterary, or send a message on the “contact me” page.

And as always, if you have a literary device you want to know more about, or a game, comic, show, or movie that you want to see make an appearance on the blog, leave a shout-out in the comments!


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