Ajin: Anime/Manga Comparison – Episode 2
Ajin – Anime to Manga Comparison:
Episode 2/Chapter 2
With just a couple months 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 two 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 2/Chapter 2:
Ajin’s second episode is a tad more faithful to the manga, cutting less, but still adding and rearranging content in an effort to allow for a better flow to the story. Starting off we do have another cut however. The manga opens again with Tanaka suffering through experiments as a mysterious individual, presumably Satou, watches the footage through a laptop. This sequence is cut from the anime entirely. Instead the series jumps right to Kai and Nagai on motorcycle, with Nagai wondering why all this is happening to him.
Parts of this scene are saved for later, like Kai asking Nagai how many total Ajin across the world there are. Also, Nagai’s fears of being experimented on are depicted differently between the two. Because manga Nagai never saw Ajin experiments, his fears remain more abstract and existential, rather than visually founded. The anime, of course, uses Nagai’s previous youtube viewings of Ajin expirements to influence the depiction of his fears.
Also, random small change, Kai is wearing a helmet for his safety in the anime! Always drive safely folks! It’s also here that parts of the dialogue they’d had in chapter one, about Kai not carrying if Nagai is an Ajin or not, are finally included.
News coverage outside Nagai’s house is trimmed down, excluding a brief interview with Nagai’s former friend. When Tosaki arrives on the scene he’s on the phone, presumably reporting to a superior, where as in the manga there’s no call.
One of the bigger changes is the talk between Tosaki and the police about the use of non-lethal tranquilizers. In the manga Tosaki has apparently already briefed the police off-page, where as in the anime this is their first conversation on the subject. Also, Tosaki is pro-tranquilizer in the anime, where as the manga paints him a more sadistic individual who seems to take pleasure in the idea of actively hunting the Ajin down. It’s probably to try and sell the idea that Ajin are treated like animals. The anime tries to retain this notion while subduing the, possibly hammy evil nature of manga Tosaki, by pointing out that we tend to tranquilize wild animals and not normally hunt people down in such a fashion.
Following that the anime again turns attention back to the sister as she’s interviewed by the police. It helps to set her up better for a certain sequence later on, even if she’s not all that big a part of the story afterwards. But it keeps her in the audiences’ mind and allows the narrative a more natural flow.
The manga then flashes to a sequence where Nagai and Kai stop to take a leak and are attacked by kidnappers looking to get the reward money on Nagai. But the anime chooses to hold out on that development for a bit, instead gradually setting up that encounter through a few extra scenes. Namely Nagai and Kai first stop at a gas station. Nagai expresses concern for Kai’s safety here, and at this point the anime includes the ’47-Ajin’ conversation again. It’s then our two would-be villains arrive, with better set up for the girl they have kidnapped in the back of their van. In the manga her appearance feels sudden and awkward, something the anime alleviates by building to the manga’s original scene with some extra details that flesh the whole thing out.
The two bad guys spot Nagai and follow after. The anime then cuts away for another new scene featuring Nagai’s ‘former’ friends, two of which are reveling in sadistic pleasure over Nagai turning out to be an Ajin, where as one seems to be suffering regret and disappointment for these turn of events. The scene offers little narrative point, and instead exists as atmosphere, perhaps trying to provide a bit of nuance to the depiction of Ajin’s world and society. Another somewhat new scene follows as Tosaki comments to his aid, Shimomura, on how he believes the police are about at the end of their usefulness.
The anime finally returns to the manga’s content with the ‘pee scene’ although Nagai’s internal dialogue about Ajin’s and if you’re born one, remains absent. The hoodlums appear and the scene mostly plays out the same, aside from a few minor differences: Kai takes longer to rush to Nagai’s help, Nagai doesn’t cry out for help, the girl isn’t already partially undressed, etc. After Nagai is killed by one of the two assailants the anime spends a bit more time hinting/showcasing the Ajin Ghost, and specifically making a more obvious, visual tie between Nagai and its existence.
After Nagai revives the manga flashes to Tosaki’s explanation of the Ajin’s scream, although the anime waits to provide that explanation until after Nagai has showcased that ability a second time. As Nagai and Kai rush away, the spotting of the Ajin Ghost is a bit different, and the whole chase goes on quite a bit longer before ending in much the same way.
The final button on the episode is also different, while both the manga and anime end with a shot of Nagai’s Ajin ghost the dialogue is different. The manga ends with the ghost repeating Nagai’s earlier line in reaction to the van’s explosion, “What was that?” Where as the anime goes for a darkly comical line of, “I need to pee.” It’s a fun choice, but seems to damage the rules/depiction of Nagai’s Ajin ghost being ‘slightly behind.’
Outside of a few scenes that act to set up future events, or ‘pad for time’, Episode 2 feels a tad more faithful than the first episode, with no major dialogue changes or reworking of minor characters. What changes are here feel less necessary, and I think the conclusion I’m drawing from comparing Episode 2 and Chapter 2 is that they feel a lot more equal, with neither really doing more justice to the story over the other. I do feel however that the show does a better job of setting up the Sister’s involvement, specifically building towards an important scene coming up later on. Without that build up that scene feels a bit shoe-horned into the narrative.
That’s all for today! Please feel free to comment with your thoughts on Ajin and how Episode 2 compares with the manga’s second chapter.