Gyeongseong Creature: Is the Onseong Monster Dead or Alive?

In ‘Gyeongseong Creature,’ the lethal monster, as referenced in the title, is a creation born from the wrongdoings of the Japanese officials within Onseong Hospital at Gyeongseong. In the period setting of the 1940s, when Joseon citizens are firmly under Japan’s rule and occupation, Lieutenant Kato carries out a covert experiment after abducting local Joseon residents. The operation remains hidden long enough for Kato to successfully witness a Najin-caused mutation within a prisoner, Seong-Sim, better known as Seishin. Still, the horrors conducted in the hospital come out in the open after Tae-sang and Chae-ok infiltrate the premises, searching for missing people.

Consequently, as people on the outside learn about the inhumane treatment of Joseon citizens, it’s only a matter of time before the Onseong Hospital earns a target on its back. Tae-sang, the wealthy Joseon businessman, and Chae-ok, a Manchurian Sleuth, and Seishin’s daughter, lead the contained battle against the hospital, with the latter carrying a specific vendetta against Kato. As such, viewers are bound to wonder how Seishin fares in this battle, as neither the instigator nor a complete innocent. SPOILERS AHEAD!

The Tragedy of Seong-Sim/Seishin

Seishin is introduced to the plot as a nameless prisoner, among hundreds of others, and her predicament remains a tragic affair from the start. Kato discovered a specific parasite species, Najin, while he conducted human experiments in Manchuria. However, the experiment ended disastrously, requiring his men to burn the lab down alongside all the prisoners— dead and alive.

Nonetheless, the failure doesn’t stop Kato from giving up his inhuman quest for human evolution. Instead, he simply moves his operations to Gyeongseong, where Lady Maeda, an influential Japanese official, funds his covert experiments carried out in the Onseong Hospital’s military wards. Furthermore, the woman also brings a prisoner to the Lieutenant. Kato’s men have been abducting local Joseon citizens, especially women, to hold as prisoners for Kato’s Najin experiment.

As such, Seishin becomes an addition to the same bunch after Maeda turns her in as petty revenge for an altercation that happened between the women in their childhoods. Eventually, Seishin becomes the subject of the experiment batch. As a result, after the woman’s body surprisingly accepts the Najin parasite without much of a fight, Kato administers an Anthrax serum to her. The serum, mixed with the Najin, turns Seishin into a bloodthirsty, mindless monster with piercing additional limbs, deadly teeth, and an aversion to Nitrogen.

A Surprising Sensitivity to Chae-ok

Since the Najin is a parasitic being, it works by taking hold of its host’s brain to take control of the body. For the same reason, most prisoners lose their minds in a violent haze after being exposed to the parasite. For Seishin, the same means that the Najin parasite takes complete control over her being after her mutation, leaving no trace of humanity behind. Instead, all that’s left behind is a beast with increased survival instincts that manifest as a perpetual inclination to violence.

However, while Kato and Ichiro believe that the human inside the monster is dead, the same isn’t exactly true. Even though Seishin is no longer a human and has mutated into a creature, some part of the woman still lives inside her monstrous being. Kato recognizes the same when he attempts to get Seishin to kill Chae-ok after capturing the Sleuth. However, instead of attacking Chae-ok, Seishin ends up protecting the woman.

Some part of Seishin still remembers her daughter, and her parental instincts to keep her child safe trump her need for survival. Therefore, the creature puts herself in the line of fire to protect her daughter. Nevertheless, the instance, though monumental, fails to make up for the destruction the monster will cause simply with her existence. Even though some part of Chae-ok’s mother is still alive inside the monster, there’s hardly much hope left for her.

Consequently, after Chae-ok escapes from the hospital, she knows better than to seek redemption and reversal for her mother. Instead, she settles for revenge. As a result, Chae-ok ends up back inside the hospital after assassinating Dr. Ichiro. Nevertheless, this time, Tae-sang infiltrated the hospital with plans to defeat the building alongside its monster. Yet, ultimately, Chae-ok’s father, Jung-won, convinces the man to let him deliver the fatal blow to his wife.

Jung-won has been looking for Seishin for ten years, aided in his quest by his loyal daughter, Chae-ok. Thus, when the man learns about his wife’s predicament from his daughter, he makes the decision to fulfill his marital duty to Seishin, even in death. Therefore, armed with rebel-supplied dynamite bombs, Jung-won rigs the building and lures Seishin to the epicenter. Through a teary goodbye, Jung-won sacrifices his life in an attempt to destroy Seishin and the building that forged his wife into a monster.

Nevertheless, despite Seishin’s fatality to fire, she manages to escape the bombing with her life, if not all her limbs. Afterward, her senses take her to a clearing, where her daughter is under attack by Maeda’s warriors in an attempt to foil her escape from the town. While Seishin rescues Chae-ok from her enemies, the monster fails to bestow the same generosity to Tae-sang as she does to her daughter.

Since Seishin has no emotional connection to Tae-sang, her bloodthirst compels her to attack the man. Yet, Chae-ok shields the man with her body, falling victim to her mother’s impalement. As Seishin’s daughter dies, she convinces her mother to spare Tae-sang, whom Chae-ok loves deeply. In the end, Seishin’s love for Chae-ok prevents her from killing Tae-sang. Moreover, it also prevents her from accepting her daughter’s death.

Due to her love for Chae-ok, Seishin managed to overpower Najin’s influence over her mind. Therefore, she becomes the one in control of the parasite. Thus, after dragging her daughter’s body away into the sea, Seinshin forces the Najin out of her own body and into Chae-ok. While the Najin ends up bringing Chae-ok back from the dead, albeit with yet undiscovered complications, it weakens Seishin’s monstrous body.

The last we see of Seishin as the monster created within Onseong’s walls— she’s drowning in the water after handing over the parasite that keeps her alive to her daughter. Ultimately, the Onseong Monster dies, not due to the constant violence rained upon her, but rather in a beautiful moment of parental love.

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