Kang-Woo In ‘Parasyte: The Grey’ Explained: What To Expect Next?

Based on the manga Parasyte, this Netflix adaptation brings forth its own plot and a diverse array of characters who play a key role in progressing the narrative. In the form of a K-drama, Netflix brings us its own rendition of the anime, which centers around Jeong Su-in, a supermarket receptionist who becomes a mutant after a Parasite fails to merge with her completely. What follows is Su-in being pursued by both human authorities and fellow Parasites targeting her. Though reluctant, Su-in is accompanied by Kang-woo through thick and thin. Kang-woo’s own story is brought to light as the story progresses. 


A gangster working for Mangnani, a local gang operating in the Namil-gun region, Seol Kang-woo is being targeted by a rival gang after a failed assassination attempt. Kang-woo himself has had a tough childhood and started mingling with the wrong crowd so that he could earn some money for his sisters. Like Su-in, even he is ostracized by society for being a disgrace to his family. Laying low from the rival gang, he seeks shelter at his family house, where he finds his little sister Jin-hee missing and her elder sister Kyung-hee acting strangely. Turns out Kyung-hee had already been infected by a Parasite and was working with the Pastor to wage war on humanity. Kang-woo finds out about her being a Parasite when he follows her to the scrapyard, where she’s meeting with Heidi to recruit her to their organization. 

Spoilers Ahead


Why Does Kang-Woo Join The Battle Against The Parasites?

Kang-woo begins his journey as a self-centered person, who only prefers to work for his own benefit. However, it can be seen in multiple instances that he’s driven by the guilt of his past actions. Kang-woo’s guilt for not being there for his family peaks particularly when, in search of Jin-hee, he visits the Jinsae church, a base for the Parasites’ Organization, only to find Jin-see’s corpse in a freezer. The revelation that he has lost both of his family members weighs heavily on him. Eventually, he makes friends with Su-in, and in her, he finds a companion who has lost her family as well. Even though Kang-woo is reluctant to involve himself with Su-in’s predicament, he helps her because he feels somewhere that it will bring justice to his sisters’ deaths. 

In fact, it is Kang-woo who suggests that they inform the authorities about what’s going on. Of course, he wants to ensure his own safety as well in all of this, and whenever Su-in is caught by the authorities or finds herself in danger, perhaps, as a force of habit, Kang-woo tells himself that he has done enough. Kang-woo tends to give up early as he is scared that he will never be able to make an impact. It is only after Detective Cheol-min convinces him to help rescue Su-in from being transferred to Team Grey’s HQ that he begins to take accountability. He realizes that his actions will be decisive in not just protecting himself or Su-in but the entirety of humanity when it comes to it. After Cheol-min is killed and replaced by the Pastor, he takes responsibility for looking out for Su-in. He was a cunning yet lowly gangster, but the skills he learned as a criminal he used against the Parasites. In fact, it is he who figures out that the Pastor will be targeting the Mayor during the Korean Folk Music Festival. When his parasitized sister, Kyung-hee, offers to join forces with Heidi, Kang-woo, without fearing for his life, lunges at Kyung-hee to avenge his sisters, proving that he no longer cares about what happened to him. He has come to terms with the fact that he is in a war he cannot avoid. After being convinced by Heidi and Su-in to cast aside his differences with his sister’s killer, he hatches a plan with Su-in and Kyung-hee to apprehend the Pastor before he kills the mayor. 


What Is Expected Of Kang-Woo In The Future?

By the end of the season, Kang-woo is a reinvented man. He performs valiantly against the Pastor’s conspiracy against the Mayor, because of which, they are cleared of any suspicions by Jung-kyung, the leader of Team Grey. Su-in and Kang-woo briefly part ways, and while Su-in goes back to work at the supermarket, Kang-woo joins Team Grey for his expertise with the Parasites. He visits Su-in on orders from his boss, Jung-kyung, to recruit Su-in to work for Team Grey as well. 

Becoming a formal member of humanity’s defense against the Parasites, Kang-woo has been served a new purpose to live for. He has given up his criminal ways, and now his contributions will be important for humanity’s survival. Throughout the series itself, even though he is a coward, Kang-woo displays excellent detective skills while looking for his sister. He is quite resourceful as well, which will come in handy in uncovering other Parasite conspiracies. However, we must remember that Parasyte is not about humanity being good and the Parasites being bad. Even Kang-woo is an empathetic man, and he recognizes suffering. It is likely that when Parasites realize that they can no longer wage war against humanity, they will take a stand with Su-in against humanity’s purging of the Parasites as well. 


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Shrey Ashley Philip
Shrey Ashley Philip
A teacher, photographer, linguist, and songwriter, Shrey started out as a Biotechnology graduate, but shifted to studying Japanese. Now he talks about movies, advocates for ADHD awareness, and embraces Albert Camus.

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