Ajin: Anime/Manga Comparison – Episode 6
Ajin – Anime to Manga Comparison:
Episode 6/Chapters 10-12
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 six 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 6/Chapters 10-12:
Before we delve into the comparison it should be noted that Ajin’s anime again skips another chapter, this time entirely. The Manga’s 9.5 chapter flashes away from Nagai’s story and to an incident often mentioned in passing throughout the anime and the manga proper. It’s a really interesting side story, but it was likely cut due to time and perhaps confusing the audience on a point brought up later on in this episode. It’s definitely worth a read though and should be easily understandable for anime only audiences even if you’ve never touched the manga. It can be found on Crunchyroll’s website along with the rest of Ajin’s manga.
Nagai and Satou’s hallway chat as Satou leads Nagai to freedom is near one for one. The anime decides to cut away early to Ogura’s IBM explanation however, instead of going straight into killing the hiding Doctors. This scene is also, otherwise, one for one. The anime only truly cuts away from the doctor’s execution sequence after Nagai betrays Satou and shoots him, with Satou promising to kill Nagai too.
When it comes to Ogura’s IBM explanation he doesn’t use his middle finger to address the Colonel. Otherwise this scene is largely the same, save for Shimomura not commenting about how Demi-Humans are able to see IBMs anyway. The anime also instead includes a brief sequence where Shimomura privately asks Tosaki if she should be out there fighting, perhaps trying to address why Shimomura hasn’t taken action as another Ajin. Tosaki wants her to protect him. This is all absent from the manga.
When we return to Nagai we find the anime has cut some internal dialogue for Nagai. In fact, large cuts from this episode involve trimming down Nagai’s internal thoughts, many of which are generally unnecessary to the story, and don’t provide enough insight into his character to warrant their inclusion. Also cut is the doctors trying to get Nagai to Tranquilize Satou before he revives.
The entire sequence with Satou hunting Nagai and the Doctors down is largely the same minus a handful of changes. One, the Doctors and Nagai are standing while hiding, rather than crouched. Also Nagai leaves a shoe behind to distract Satou, where as in the manga he slices off his fingers. This sequence is also probably why 9.5 was cut, other than for time’s sake. Chapter 9.5 muddies the discussion of what happens when Ajin’s loses their head and while it doesn’t contradict anything said here, it does perhaps offer an avenue of confusion for the audience. That said, 9.5 has actually been animated as an OVA, but hasn’t been released in the U.S. unfortunately. Chapter 10 of the manga ends her as Nagai goes to attack Satou.
As Nagai fights Satou, the anime Doctor picks up a marker. This shot is absent from the manga. More of Nagai’s internal dialogue is cut and there’s also no comment made noting that Nagai’s Ghost is affected by a nearby vent, which sucks in some of its particles. Also Satou’s line from the manga about Nagai’s ghost being interesting in how it behaves is also cut.
The anime inter cuts Dr. Ogura’s continued Ajin explanations with Nagai’s escape. Both scenes otherwise are near identical. The subsequent hallway sequence and murder of the rude Doctor that wanted to get Nagai back on the cutting table is also similar, but has a couple important changes. Firstly, when Satou’s ghost comes for him, it’s not carrying a gun as it does in the manga. Second Satou’s Ghost in the manga actually opens its mouth, as if its a monster rather than an aberration, and consumes the doctor. In the anime he’s merely slashed to death off screen.
The subsequent rooftop scene is also very similar, although the anime is a tad less on the nose about Nagai’s self-centered true cold nature. Chapter 11 ends here as Satou aims at Nagai, unnoticed.
Chapter 12 opens with a flashback to Satou and Tanaka interviewing Nagai’s sister, this time set outside rather than in their secret hideout. It’s largely the same scene from earlier in the anime. It was probably moved forward for a couple reasons. One, to give the audience a greater sense of who Kei is earlier on. Also, to avoid the flashback within a flashback scenario that ultimately ends up occurring here. It’s generally seen as a faux pas to do flashbacks within flashbacks in visual media for fear it’ll confuse the audience. The anime gets around revisiting this scene by having Eriko now interviewed by the police about her abduction. She reiterates similar sentiment from those previous scenes.
This is all inter cut with the rooftop fight, which is largely the same. Also Anime Eriko describes her brother as Cold and Calculating, compared to the manga mentioning how he’s good at learning. The manga flashbacks to praise Nagai received when he was in middle school for his exceptional grades and later his visit to Eriko in the hospital. She notes his bluster about finding a cure for her was little more than talk. She mentions believing him to be smug, which I feel is a poor description for the attitude Nagai displays: I think apathetic or disconnected are better descriptors and I think it’s little wonder there’s no mention of Nagai being ‘smug’ in the anime. The manga then finally goes back to the Kai friendship flashback where Nagai is told by his mother not to hang out with him anymore. Again, this was included earlier in the anime’s run.
I personally think the anime made a good call moving all this forward, as it allowed for a bit more emotional play as Kai was still a large part of the story. Here it really just serves to illustrate Eriko’s perception of her brother. While it keeps Kai in mind with the story, Kai has little part to play now, making this feel almost superfluous to what’s currently going on.
The anime avoids both these flashbacks within flashbacks however, and merely continues the roof top fight. Again more Nagai internal musings are cut. Also in the anime Satou notes how it’s raining, allowing the audience a bit more clue into a weakness for the Black Ghosts. All of this is inter cut with Tosaki and Shimomura pushing for the Anti-Ajin Special Forces to get involved. Also Tosaki points out that the IBM couldn’t be used today, helping to solidify him as a bit smarter a villain here than in the manga. He may not have figured everything out, but this shows he’s on the right track.
When Satou’s ghost and Nagai’s collide heads, Satou’s flashback is different, showing off a different character than in the manga. Also neither flashback has dialogue.
In the anime the Colonel agrees to bring in special forces if Dr. Ogura agrees with Tosaki’s theories, but Dr. Ogura is informed by his handlers not to divulge anymore Ajin secrets. To conclude Chapter 12 ends with the Sister’s flashback where she tells Kai that her brother won’t be coming out to play. The anime instead concludes with the Eriko watching Nagai’s escape from her hospital bed.
I think it’s real unfortunate there’s no way to experience the anime version of Chapter 9.5 in the U.S. Legally anyway. And currently that makes me feel like the manga is the better way to go for this portion of the story. It’s an incredibly fun chapter. Otherwise this episode, despite its cuts, is so similar to the manga that I again think neither outshines the other. The manga has a bunch of unnecessary internal dialogue for Nagai, but even if its not needed it doesn’t harm the story. I also think the anime does get a few points for eliminating the need for flashbacks within flashbacks, but I’m not someone who believes audiences are that easily confused.
That’s all for today! Please feel free to comment with your thoughts on Ajin and how Episode 6 compares with the manga’s tenth, eleventh and twelfth chapters.