Ajin: Anime/Manga Comparison – Episode 5
Ajin – Anime to Manga Comparison:
Episode 5/Chapters 7-9
With just under a month 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 five 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 5/Chapters 7-9:
The anime opens in a much different way, in part to satisfy some of the content cut from the previous episode. Here the police arrive at the temple and find the dead priest, revealed in the manga by Satou himself. Tosaki arrives to survey the police’s efforts, but then gets a call informing him that Nagai was already found and captured, leaving Tosaki confused as to why Satou abandoned him.
We then flash to another anime only scene of Satou and Tanaka in a car. Tanaka apologizes for his poor aim, finally calling back to Chapter 6’s reveal that Tanaka had been sniping with his Ajin Ghost. Tanaka questions Satou as to his methods for converting Nagai. None of this is in the manga, nor is needed since this content was in a previous chapter.
The anime rejoins the manga as Nagai wakes up in captivity. Nagai seems a tad more panicked in the anime at this reveal. The manga briefly flashes away from this to show Tosaki watching the news, providing much of the same information the earlier scenes in the anime provided, although Tosaki seems less bothered in the manga over why the Hat abandoned Nagai.
The manga returns to Nagai’s experimentation. The anime plays these scenes very similar with only minimal differences: The anime shoots around the gore a bit more, shows Nagai’s Black Ghost actually forming, and some minor dialogue has been removed. Tosaki’s attitude to Shimomura is ever so slightly less rude, but mostly thanks to a different choice of words. Another minor difference is the anime never has characters refer to Nagai as an “it” where as the researchers never call Nagai a “he” in the manga. The manga works to try and sell the dehumanization a bit more than the anime. I don’t think it makes too much of a difference either way though.
When its time to reset Nagai by killing him, Kei’s internal nightmare/hallucination is a bit different. Tanaka appears to him clothed, or in bandages, but never naked and bleeding. Nagai also never refers to the researcher as Monsters in the anime, but rather questions why he’s being made to suffer so. The dialogue for Tanaka’s confrontation with Nagai is a tad different, but ultimately serves the same message. The anime snaps over to round two of Nagai’s experimentation, where as the manga lingers a bit on Nagai’s nightmare.
The manga also has the doctors briefly question their experiments and purpose before shoving those thoughts aside. The anime makes no such point. Chapter 7 of the manga concludes here.
Chapter 8 remains largely unadapted by the anime. The majority of Chapter 8’s content focuses on a mostly unexplored character, Keisuke, one of Nagai’s classmates, the taller one that seemed to regret Kai being revealed as an Ajin. The chapter follows his growing commitment to Nagai and his blight, looking to help, but at the cost of his relationship with his girlfriend, Yuki. He ultimately gives up his efforts, but we learn that he’s now on a list Tosaki has been developing, using data obtained through spying to find potential Ajin sympathizers. It’s unfortunate this was all cut, especially as there was a wonderful flashback to Keisuke’s first meeting with Nagai and we learn that Nagai’s heavy study efforts were to try and become a doctor so he could cure his sister, (which the anime might actually touch on in episode one? At the very least that idea isn’t really as hammered home as it is here). Otherwise while much of this content is interesting, it’s sadly unimportant to the main narrative. Also Nagai’s flashback/reasoning for becoming a doctor could be viewed as cliched.
The anime rejoins the manga with a scene between Satou and some arms suppliers who he pays in organs. This sequence is virtually the same, save for a slight change in the number of organs Satou hands over (only one heart as opposed to ten.) The anime cuts out the next scene between Satou and Tanaka as he brings back the weapons and they discuss the benefits of saving Nagai. Satou reveals here that they have a different main objective. None of this is in the anime, retaining the surprise for later. Chapter 8 ends here.
The anime rejoins the manga with chapter 9’s opening as Dr. Ogura arrives at the lab’s complex with news crews reporting. Tanaka and Satou then break in. Both sequences are near identical.
Flipping to the scientists watching the news there’s a few minor differences. The scene occurs in a conference style room, rather than the lab break room, and some dialogue additions, like from the news reporter on the TV. When the bomb goes off security refers to Satou as “The Man In the Hat” rather than simply “Man wearing a hat” allowing it to act as more of a title then some lame description. Satou’s appearance on security camera and subsequent aftermath are much the same.
The infamous Satou hallway battle is largely the same, ever so slightly fleshed out with additional dialogue and a few new shots. Otherwise it’s an exceedingly faithful and cool adaptation.
The conference room scene afterwards is a tad different. There’s no questioning from the colonel if Satou is immortal, but instead he focuses on securing the complex and their immediate safety.
Tanaka’s scene where he discovers he missed nabbing Ogura from the parking lot is shorter, cutting right to the chase. Returning to Ogura this scene plays out very similar, save for a more detailed explanation of IBMs as well as what the acronym stands for.
Finally the episode concludes with Satou rescuing Nagai, which is near a one for one recreation of the manga.
This time around the anime cut a lot of stuff. But ultimately I think what they cut wasn’t necessary to the story, and while it sucks to lose the Nagai flashback with Keisuke, I don’t think it was required to keep Ajin feeling as a strong a story as it is. The anime tightens up a few things the manga could’ve done better, but even those improvements are minor. I think both are solid ways to the experience the story and there’s no clear ‘victor’ for which did it better.
That’s all for today! Please feel free to comment with your thoughts on Ajin and how Episode 5 compares with the manga’s seventh, eighth and ninth chapters.