Ajin: Anime/Manga Comparison – Episode 11
Ajin – Anime to Manga Comparison:
Episode 11/Chapters 19-20
With just two weeks until Netflix releases Ajin’s 2nd season, now seems like as good a time as any to compare Ajin’s Anime and Manga forms. The series is one highly polarized by the Anime’s usage of CGI, rather than traditional 2D animation the medium is often known for. But let’s look beneath that, beneath the stylistic choice and at the actual content. How does Ajin’s anime live up to the original source material? What changes were made? Were any for the better, or is Ajin’s anime the inferior way to experience the story? This is part eleven of a thirteen part comparison of Ajin’s first season to the Manga’s content. To see which comes out as the ‘truly better’ way to experience Nagai’s epic tale of self discovery.
Ajin Episode 11/Chapters 19-20:
Episode eleven continues the big departure from the manga’s content, eventually wrapping around to line up with Satou’s terrorist attack in the aftermath. There’s a wealth of content here not in the manga, continuing to flesh out the days leading up to Satou’s big plan, filling in more of Nagai’s relationship with the old lady, Kou’s imprisonment, etc.
To start the anime opens with Nagai and the old lady, Ms. Yamanaka, watching TV with a news report reminding us it’s two days to go till Satou’s big attack on the Pharma company headquarters. During this scene Nagai asks Ms. Yamanaka for a phone. Again, this is all anime only.
We snap over to another exclusive sequence as Satou’s Ajin gang pose as a repair crew and head into a building under false pretenses. None of this is in the manga as Satou’s terrorist attack there involves hijacking a plane instead. They make it past security with false credentials and a hacked schedule.
In another scene Tosaki lays out his counter Ajin measures for the upcoming battle. There’s a nice little sequence here as the lead officer questions these tactics as perhaps, inhumane, adding a bit of humanity to these more minor characters.
We return briefly to more of Satou’s prep before moving onto another new scene as Kou exercises while still in confinement. Nagai arrives to deliver Kou more goods, including the mini TV he uses later to watch the terrorist attack. This scene also includes a great conversational argument between Nagai and Kou over their differing ideals. Kou tries again to convince Nagai to help fight against Satou, with unwavering heroic and naive optimism which is met in turn with Nagai’s reluctant, overly realistic pessimism. It really helps to solidify how different these two are, and based on the conclusion of season one, how strained their relationship will end up next season.
Continuing the anime only content Nagai returns home to find that Ms. Yamanaka has bought him a phone, as he asked. Nagai then uses it to look up some information, although what he looks up isn’t really clarified on. This scene also helps to service the friendly nature that’s grown between Nagai and Yamanaka, who urges him not to leave yet, fearing his request for a phone means he’ll be disappearing again soon.
We’re treated to another anime only scene as Satou’s team leaves, having finished their prep for the attack. During this Satou admits to playing games on the hardest level of difficulty, speaking to his enjoyment of meeting adversaries on uneven ground, only adding to the challenge he faces.
Finally the anime swings back around to the manga’s content, as a police officer warns the Pharma company head to let the employees go home. The head refuses as money is more important than lives. This scene is similar even as they activate the big water fall screen for the building, although they use industrial size hoses rather than wimpy firefighter ones. A few lines are cut as well, but nothing major.
The anime then cuts to Satou, in his repair man’s outfit, as he heads toward another building. We also watch as the rest of his crew get into position. This is probably a good time to discuss what the manga offers instead. In the manga Satou heads through airport security, using an Ajin ghost to smuggle a bag past the guards. There’s a brief comment here about how Satou’s wishes the Ajin with the flying ghost had joined them, presumably Kou based on some of Season 2’s promotional material.
Satou the boards the plane, which contains a lot of background dialogue, helping to make it clear just how many innocent people are on board. It adds a foreboding sense of dread. In the manga there’s another scene cut from the anime, as Tanaka warns a group of girls to stay away from the police blockade. They don’t listen to him, but decide to go home anyway.
Anime Satou gets into an elevator and finishes changing into his classic look. When it reaches the floor he steps out and shoots a couple unsuspecting men before continuing on his way.
The manga returns to the plane as Satou gets up from his seat and ventures to the cabin door, using an electric power saw to cut his way through. This scene plays a little funny, as it takes an awfully long time for the flight attendant or anyone else to notice what Satou is doing. It’s all speculation, but perhaps the logistics of animating this scene, and keeping it believable, aided in its cut from the anime?
The anime and manga briefly realign as two of Satou’s men discuss their excitement in a deserted stairwell. This scene is virtually one for one.
The manga returns to Satou as he breaks into the cabin and uses a nail gun to kill the pilots and then nail the door shut again before the flight attendant can stop him. He then grabs the controls and steers the plane back around.
The anime and manga realign again as the police check the time and report that there’s nothing amiss. Virtually a one for one sequence.
We flash back to Satou climbing stairs leading to the roof. He shoots the lock on the door and steps out into the daylight and over to the edge of the building. It’s here the anime wraps back into the manga, as we watch the Pharma head at his desk as the clock strikes the appointed time. The anime again diverges as the company head hears explosions and the skyscraper outside tumbles down on top of the defenseless Pharma building.
The manga conversely has Satou guide the airplane down into the Pharma Company with an ensuing explosion. The damage done and wafting smoke are exceedingly different thanks to the varying devastation between the two attacks, but all of Satou’s men’s reaction shots are fairly similar. Satou’s rise from the debris is a bit different, but the dialogue is similar. This is also where Chapter 19 of the manga ends.
The anime then skips to Tosaki and Co’s reaction from a bit later in Chapter 20, which is mostly a one for one scene. We move onto Kou’s reaction, who is far more visibly upset in the anime. The TV reporter has more dialogue describing the aftermath of the attack. Also Anime Nagai’s comments differ heavily. He seems more questioning of Satou’s actions, asking if he’d really go so far. Manga Nagai almost comes off as praising Satou.
When the drone arrives to deliver Satou’s gun and a new hat (he only gets a new hat in the anime) it’s raining in the manga, but not the anime.
Tosaki’s subsequent scene is virtually the same, minus a few dialogue edits. The following police recovery sequence is more chaotic as Satou walks out to great everyone. In the anime he walks forward, menacingly. In the manga he merely is standing amongst the debris.
And finally the introduction of the SAT team is generally one for one. The anime chooses to end things in the middle of Chapter 20, with new dialogue for Satou as he cocks his shotgun, declaring that it’s “Show time.”
Overall I think the anime does a remarkable job reworking the manga’s content. Was it necessary to cut the plane hijacking and go with a bombing instead? I don’t know. I’m unaware of any detailed information as to why the change was made. Was it due to fear of censorship? The original content hitting too close to home with reality? I don’t think anyone knows the answer. It could be as simple as them wanting to offer a bit more mystery into Satou’s actions. The bombing set up takes a long time to pay off, and keeps the audiences truly in the dark until the skyscraper comes tumbling down. It’s, I think, more effective in hitting the audience with surprise, as the second you see Satou go through airport security in the manga the rest is expected. Either way I think both versions do a solid job and this is a case where one really isn’t better than the other.
That’s all for today! Please feel free to comment with your thoughts on Ajin and how Episode 11 compares with the manga’s nineteenth and twentieth chapters.