Ajin: Anime/Manga Comparison – Episode 13
Ajin – Anime to Manga Comparison:
Episode 13/Chapters 22-22.5
With less than 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 thirteen 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 13/Chapters 22-22.5:
Episode 13 is another major departure from the manga, that eventually wraps around to line up again with the source material. Nagai’s escape from his village life is entirely different between the two, making for perhaps some of the most substantial changes yet.
The anime opens with Mr. Kita calling in his information on Nagai. This is a huge change from the manga. Manga Mr. Kita instead keeps that information to himself, choosing to pursue Nagai himself with a shotgun at hand. Anime Mr. Kita remains a more inactive character, waiting for his government payout. Mr. Kita’s character is also introduced in the manga for the first time during this sequence, with no prior set up, or explanation for his motivation. That comes later. It’s because of this sudden inclusion of the character that the manga, perhaps, feels a tad sloppy or sudden in these revelations. Mr. Kita pops basically out of no where to force Nagai back into the story, where as the anime has been building to this for almost half the season.
The manga also doesn’t open with this scene. Instead the manga opens with Nagai’s sister, still in the hospital, overhearing nurses talk about how they’re afraid a massacre might happen at the hospital, since they have an Ajin’s sibling. This scene is cut entirely from the anime, probably because Nagai’s sister has no bearing on the immediate plot. I wouldn’t be surprised if this scene pops up again somewhere in Season 2.
The anime moves onto Tosaki, explaining to the committee how they have no leads on Satou’s whereabouts. As things come to a head Shimomura gets a call, with a lead on Nagai’s location, sending her and Tosaki into action. This is followed by shots of the police immediately blocking off all road way entrances and exits to the village. None of this is in the Manga and Tosaki in no way plays a role during the manga’s version of Nagai’s escape. These scenes instead replace a recurring sequence in the manga, of a psychology professor spouting Anti-Ajin rhetoric that dehumanizes them.
We then snap to Ms. Yamanaka calling Nagai out into the fields to help her pluck weeds. Again, anime only. We then switch to the police detective we met earlier in the series, Araki, arriving to aid the local authorities. Mr. Kita appears to demand his reward, but is brushed off.
The anime very briefly alligns with the manga as Nagai and Yamanaka pluck weeds from the field. The manga’s scene ends shortly, leading into Nagai realizing that the villagers may believe he’s an Ajin. This ties into a scene the anime moved up much earlier, with Nagai having to convince the villagers he is, in fact, Yamanaka’s grandson Ryota with a sob story and liquor as a bribe. We’ll get to discussing that in a moment, however.
The anime instead has police fire on Nagai, killing him. Once he revives he takes Ms. Yamanaka as a hostage, although she doesn’t mind, she’s having too much fun. The police are unable to get a shot on Nagai before he breaks through their ranks with his Ghost. He then makes a run for the woods. Again, all anime only content.
Back to the manga, Nagai’s scene where he bribes the villagers ends badly. Mr. Kita appears and shoots Nagai with a shotgun, proving to everyone he is, in fact, an Ajin. Nagai escapes as the villagers rally with Mr. Kita to hunt him down. This forms the end of Chapter 22. I don’t then know why the next chapter is 22.5. The last .5 chapter in Ajin was a side story, additional content for the Volumes, at least I think. Was 22.5 not originally published monthly and only included in the volume edition? If so that’s weird, seeing as it feels kinda integral to the story.
Anyway the manga resumes with Nagai reaching Yamanaka’s house and packing to leave. The villagers storm the house and Ms. Yamanaka talks with them while Nagai sneaks out the back, only to find an elderly man waiting for him. The villagers eventually decide to go hunting for Nagai as Yamanaka assures them he never returned home, although Mr. Kita suspects Ms. Yamanaka might actually be covering for him. It’s much more unclear in the manga if Ms. Yamanaka was aware that Nagai wasn’t really her grandchild. The manga makes little effort to solidfy that one way or the other.
Back with the anime Nagai evades the police by tricking them into chasing his Ghost instead of him. We snap to Tosaki arriving and discussing strategy with the police for how to hunt down and trap Nagai. We then return to Nagai as he remembers Kou and having taken his cell phone. The anime then finally includes content much earlier from the manga, showing us Kou’s efforts to climb up the trailer he’s trapped in and escape.
We then snap to a scene with Tosaki and Shimo at Yamanaka’s house when they get a call from Sokabe, noting that Kou’s cell phone was used. Tosaki however, isn’t so sure that sending the police to surround its location is a good idea, as Nagai didn’t leave a single sign he lived in the house. This means Nagai knew this day was coming. This is a huge departure from Nagai’s character in the manga. Manga Nagai seems caught unaware that his quaint life could fall apart, much more content to live it up. Anime Nagai however appears to be a far more calculating individual, probably to go along with his cold nature.
Meanwhile the manga has Nagai escaping via truck with the old man. However the old man reveals he’s going to hand Nagai over to the government, failing to realize the truth of the situation. Nagai crashes the truck and escapes.
Back in the anime the police surround Kou’s cell phone, only to find no Nagai. Instead Nagai opens up the trailer and frees Kou. This scene is in the manga, with a bit more dialogue and annoyance from Nagai that it’s come to this.
In the manga the villagers give up their search through the woods, causing Mr. Kita to take drastic measures. He kidnaps Ms. Yamanaka and calls Nagai’s cell phone, telling him if he doesn’t come back he’ll kill her. Nagai parts with Kou, and in a somewhat confusing sequence, is implied to kill Mr. Kita offscreen, before returning to escape with Kou. It’s as Mr. Kita is threatening Ms. Yamanaka’s life that the manga bothers to explain what his motivation is.
In the anime Nagai and Kou rush through the woods, only to come out onto a road blocked off by police. Tosaki appears and tranqs both Nagai and Kou. As Nagai passes out he remembers the horrid experiences of his experimentation and summons his Ghost. This culminates in a battle between Nagai, Kou, Tosaki, Shimomura, her Ghost, and Police, erupting in a solid action sequence to cap off the series.
The anime wraps itself up with scenes of Tosaki, Shimomura, and news crews detailing the aftermath of their failure and Mr. Kita learning that there never was a reward to begin with. Tosaki also makes the note that Nagai is totally different from any of the other Ajin.
The show finally returns to Manga content, with both Nagai and Kou jumping from the cliff side and out into the ocean. However, the anime not only cuts some dialogue, but adds in an affirmation from Nagai that he’ll fight Satou.
The anime then concludes on just a bit of content from Chapter 23, as Satou sits down for another terrorist video, warning everyone he’s beginning Wave 2 of his plan. This involves killing 15 officials, bumped up from 11 in the Manga, and if people don’t take his side after that, then he promises to enact Wave 3– Where he takes over the country. Manga Satou seems less convinced that people will believe him however.
Overall I think the anime greatly improves on Nagai’s original escape. The manga’s version makes use of a bunch of previously unintroduced characters, making the whole thing feel a bit out of the blue and sudden. The anime builds to their version of events through set up stretching back across previous episodes, allowing this narrative to build organically. It also makes for a solid season cap off, as Tosaki and Nagai come face to face, Nagai asserts his need to confront the villain of the piece, Satou, and offers a climatic conclusion to go out on.
Throughout this 13 part comparison series we’ve seen that Ajin is a solid manga. There’s been a handful of changes where really good content was lost in adapting it into an anime. There shouldn’t be any doubt that Ajin is a top tier series. That said, many of the anime’s changes are for the better and allow the story more weight, set up, and even pay off. It speaks to how talented the writers are at Polygon Pictures, able to touch up an already solid work. I have high hopes for Ajin Season 2 that they’ll continue with this incredible quality.
That’s all for this series! Expect an Ajin Season 2 comparison over the next season. Please feel free to comment with your thoughts on Ajin and how Episode 13 compares with the manga’s twenty-second and twenty-second and a half chapters.