Parasites are entities in Skullgirls, defined as creatures that bond to a person's body, providing augments to their "host". Despite the name, they appear to form a symbiotic relationship with their host, drawing nutrients from their bodies in exchange for giving their hosts supernatural abilities. Some Parasites can operate independently of their host's body; these are classified as "Remote Parasites". A remote parasite needs a part of the host body in order to be bound to the host, for example, Taliesin's hands, Annie's eye, or Eliza's blood.
In the past, they were known as Theons and their hosts as "avatars", until Eliza, then known as Neferu, and Sekhmet caused the world to fear such beings, leading to the negative stigma and discrimination that many of them and their hosts face in the present.
Parasites take on a variety of forms, but can be classified as one of two groups: "regular" Parasites, sentient beings that appeared naturally (and appear to predate the Skull Heart itself) and "Synthetic" Parasites, being mechanical, man-made parasites mainly functioning as weapons for the Anti-Skullgirl labs. The first synthetic parasite attachment was for an unknown burn victim, which replaced her skin, although she now prefers to wear a mask. Synthetic Parasites are non-sentient.
Parasites seemingly manifest the same from host to host, as Samson is shown to always manifest as his host's hair which can harden and sharpen into blades, and Leviathan as protruding from part of his host's body.
Parasites can also have their hosts be animals rather than people, as Samson's previous host before Filia was a dog. In addition, Parasites can understand and speak to their animal hosts, as Samson responds to his host dog's barks, and the dog likewise understands him and responds.
Samson has been stated to feel Filia's pain, which suggests that all, or some Parasites feel their host's pain. Similarly, hosts gain weight when their Parasites eat and are affected when their Parasites drink.
Parasites can greatly vary in age, some are ancient while others are relatively new. New ones can be created. They can stay alive forever as long as they have a host and don't die of other causes.
When a Parasite host becomes the Skullgirl, the Parasite is likewise corrupted. They could lose their individuality as well. This process also depends on the wish of the host as well.
Creative director, Alex Ahad, stated that all the Parasites and Living Weapons have a related, unrevealed, origin. It is confirmed that the mysterious element Theonite is the source of both their powers.
Soul Contamination is a mental corruption that occurs in people possessing multiple (synthetic or natural) parasites. It could potentially kill the person and is very dangerous. In Peacock's story mode Hive notes that it must have taken great difficulty for both of her parasites to be implemented without causing soul contamination. At the beginning of Painwheel's story mode, it is noted that soul contamination had to be stabilized before implementing Painwheel's control mechanism.
Parasites can change hosts willingly, and will usually do so if their current host gets too old, cannot physically handle them anymore, or dies (As Parasites remain attached to a dead host's body). The act of changing hosts would kill the former one, however, in Fillia's Skullgirl Mobile's origin story, Samson states that Parasites take the process of changing hosts seriously, and won't leave their hosts unless it is a matter of life and death. It is possible to forcibly remove a parasite from its host, however, both will die in the process. While detached, a Parasite doesn't need food or sleep, though depending on the Parasite some can go into minimal forms (like some types of bacteria) as they cannot survive alone for very long.
Alex Ahad has stated that some artificial Parasites can be removed, depending on how they are attached to the body. 'The point of attachment can’t be removed without massive surgeries, but unlike normal parasites, artificial parasites can have removable parts.
List of Parasites
Note: Some of the below Parasites may be synthetic, but will be considered natural until official information states otherwise.
|Samson||Filia||A parasite that manifests itself as living black hair on Filia's head. Easily distinguishable by his bright yellow eyes, nightmarish teeth, and brutish voice, complete with an equally intimidating appetite. While his primary concerns appear to solely encompass eating and dragging his host into peril, he has expressed care for Filia and serves as her primary means of defending herself. It is hinted that Filia was not Samson's first or only host, and that he has a natural reputation of putting his hosts in danger.|
|Leviathan||Squigly||A serpentine parasite that coils itself around Squigly's body (as well as through her head). As with Samson, Leviathan also has bright yellow eyes, but is otherwise his complete antithesis. Where Samson is crude in nature, Leviathan behaves like a gentleman, complete with a posh English accent. Leviathan also appears to be "living" independently from Squigly, making their bond closer to mutualism than parasitism. Before having Squigly as a host, he was 'attached' to her father and resided in his arm or shoulder area (also externally). It is able to extend its body, breathe purple fire, as well as blast it from his tail. It can also sharpen its tail and turn it into other shapes.|
|Sekhmet||Eliza||A skeletal bloodthirsty parasite replacing Eliza's skeleton. Sekhmet is responsible for keeping Eliza eternally young by absorbing the blood of others. It also enables Eliza to control her own blood, which replaces her body. She can wield her blood as a weapon, turn it into clothes, and shapeshift, since it replaces her body. It is also capable of operating outside of Eliza's body.|
|Shamone||Fukua||A parasite manifesting itself as a dark green head of living hair on Fukua's head. Shamone is seemingly a clone of Samson, created by Brain Drain along with Fukua. Shamone takes the exact appearance of Samson aside from being a dark green color instead of black. While Shamone shares many abilities with Samson, Shamone also has abilities of his own that Samson does not have, such as shooting projectiles.|
|Muse||Taliesin||The remote parasite owned by Taliesin. Muse has replaced Taliesin's arms with her own as the price for remote operation. The arms she has given him allows him to play any instrument as well as curses Taliesin's touch to turn people into instruments. She cares deeply for him and becomes very jealous of his womanizing tendencies. However, she either cannot or refuses to speak and thus, never voices her disdain. When her legs fold inward, she somewhat takes the appearance of a viola.|
|Sagan||Annie||The Parasite of Annie, Girl of the Stars. It is a remote parasite that resembles a stuffed rabbit housing Annie's right eye in his mouth. Based off sketches by Alex, Sagan can be ridden as somewhat of a flying scooter, with his ears extending into long handlebars.|
|Khronos||Aeon||Aeon's Parasite, resembling a golden snake wrapped around her waist. It presumably has a hand in Aeon's time-based powers, but it is unclear how much of Aeon's powers are derived from Khronos and how much are her own.|
|Abaddon||Venus||The Parasite(s) controlled by Venus. While not much is known about them, they appear as snakelike, insectoid monsters that extends out of Venus' body. Its true size, along with Venus', is much larger than it appears, going beyond even human comprehension.|
|Argus System||Peacock||A Synthetic Parasite created in ASG Lab 8 that replaces Peacock's arms and eyes which provides her namesake. Appears as two slender metallic "arms" with metallic "eyes" placed at intervals on each arm. In addition to providing 360-degree sight, the "eyes" are able to fire Z-rays fine-tuned to combat the Skullgirl. Peacock is able to remove this parasite, akin to an action figure.|
Peacock's other Synthetic Parasite capable of manipulating physics. The Avery Unit is a Parasite attached somewhere to Peacock's body, although its appearance and location are yet to be seen. Its primary purpose is to provide a spacial link between Peacock and Lab 8's vast underground weapons cache for her usage. However, its capabilities have grown beyond Avian's greatest expectations, as it has begun to manipulate and defy space and physics, summoning objects and turning Peacock's imagination into reality, creating sentient beings that became Peacock's "gang", such as Andy Anvil and Avery, the blue Peacock which shares its name with the Parasite. As Peacock's skill increases, the Avery unit may be able to summon more items.
|Gae Bolga Matrix||Painwheel||A Synthetic Parasite developed in ASG Lab Zero for Painwheel's use. Its true form is unknown, but it resides in Painwheel's bloodstream and enables her to release large, organic needle-like projections from various parts of her body. This occurs as the parasite takes the form of a metal when it leaves her body. While doing this would normally kill the user, Painwheel's extensive training and Skullgirl blood in her allows her to use it quite extensively.|
|Buer Drive||Painwheel's second Synthetic Parasite is a segmented spine-like cord which commands the helicopter blades mounted on Painwheel's back. Through it, she controls the motions of her blades as like a limb, enabling flight with it or selectively clash down its individual blades. It is grafted into the center of her spine, and is branched off from the blade by an appendage made up of eight segments connected by fibers underneath. This appendage is flexible and somewhat stretchable. Buer Drive has removable parts that can be kept in a cello case, although this along been implied in-game.|
|Taranis Generator||Leduc||Leduc's Synthetic Parasite. It assists Leduc by generating and channeling electricity through his body to defeat opponents as well as magnetically repulse or attract targets.|
|Beezle Bomb||Hive||Hive's Synthetic Parasite. It is stated to be a combination of an implanted modifier and her suit, which could be removed so she could appear normal, while still having access to her powers, which can be seen in both Big Band's/Peacock's story mode, where she has no visible Parasite around her arms. This suit/Parasite's default shape is a set of interlocking hexagons wrapped around her arms but can be shifted into various configurations such as a lance or shield. She’d also be able to launch them as bee-shaped missiles and bombs.|
|Salamander Shell||Ileum||A Synthetic Parasite grafted to Ileum. It is presumedly the intestine like material that replaces her skin. It can stretch and squeeze through tight spaces, as well as secrete acid powerful enough to damage humans. It is also equipped with functional drills.|