Ajin: Anime/Manga Comparison – Episode 7
Ajin – Anime to Manga Comparison:
Episode 7/Chapters 13-14
With just under three 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 seven 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 7/Chapters 13-14:
Up to this point Ajin’s adaptation has been pretty straight. The only time scenes really got heavily rearranged were for all of Nagai’s Sister’s flashbacks, to help flesh out Nagai’s character and, as I understand it, make up for a shift in Nagai’s personality in the manga as the original writer had left the project, leaving the artist to retool the story as he saw fit. But Episode 7 rearranges the two chapters it adapts entirely. It’s probably for the best, as Chapters 13 and 14 basically occur over the same period of time, but follow Satou and later what Tosaki was doing during everything else. The anime chooses to simply combine both chapters and tell the story while flipping back and forth between the two events.
For starters the manga opens with Tanaka and Satou meeting after the assault on the lab and getting ready to implement their main plan. The anime instead starts with Tosaki trying to locate the Hat via security video feed and, after failing, gets a call from his superiors, who are not happy with him. In fact, a few scenes involving Tosaki and Shimomura from the last episode were also ripped from Chapter 14 and put into their proper place within the narrative.
The anime returns to Chapter 13 content as it depicts Tanaka and Satou meeting in a parking garage after the assault. The preparations and dialogue are the same, save for a change in location. The anime includes a scene with Tosaki recovering from the bad news phone call in a bathroom, which is what triggers his flashback that depicts how he found himself involved in all these events. There’s no such trigger in Chapter 14 of the manga.
During Tosaki’s flashback we learn that the government is secretly utilizing Ajin for experiments with other companies and military groups for weapon research. In the manga Tosaki instead discovers Ajin are being lent out to automotive companies for crash tests. The anime’s example, military experiments, feels a bit more realistic, as with a limited supply of Ajin they’d more likely be used by the more lucrative industry/highest bidder. The anime continues on from the flashback with more Chapter 14 content as Tosaki stumbles upon Satou’s gun. This plays out near one for one.
The anime returns to Chapter 13 with Tanaka and Satou on their way to meet the crowd of reporters outside the lab. The rest of Chapter 13’s preparation sequence occurs here, the dialogue near identical. The anime then cuts to Chapter 14 as Tosaki assault Dr. Ogura. In the anime Dr. Ogura’s body guard briefly warns about going against them before Tosaki kills him. In the manga Tosaki shoots the guard in the back without warning. It’s only after the guard is on the floor and dying that he warns Tosaki of how foolish his actions are.
We cut again back to Chapter 13 content as Satou wheels Tanaka out in front of the crowd. When the colonel comments on Satou approaching the media, he sounds concerned for their safety. In the manga the colonel comes off more as fearing media exposure. Satou’s speech to the media is quite similar, at times one for one, or with minor changes that get the same point across.
The flashback into Tanaka’s past is slightly shortened, cutting a few lines here or there, but otherwise gets the overall point across. When we return from that flashback Satou’s speech is a bit more truncated, cutting off a few lines criticizing the media. Also of note the anime focuses mainly on a single female reporter as the mouth piece of the media. In the manga her dialogue is split with another, male, reporter.
After Satou reveals that he’s uploaded footage of Ajin torture online, the manga snaps back to an earlier panel of Satou sitting in front of a laptop, from a few chapters back. The anime, having cut the scene, doesn’t flash to anything. Conversely the anime contains a lot more dialogue as the reporters murmur amongst themselves to the authenticity of the footage.
Finishing the scene the anime adds in a series of explosions from the complex that distract the media long enough for Satou to disappear within the chaos. The manga offers no such explanation for how Satou and Tanaka slipped away unnoticed. The manga also shows us skyrocketing viewership for the footage online.
The anime skips ahead to two days later, as does the manga. This scene is a mix of Chapter 13’s final scenes, and an early Chapter 14 scene as Tosaki listens to TV footage denouncing Satou’s claims of Ajin torture and abuse, and lets Shimomura know that nothing bad will happen to her. Shimomura also looks a bit less worried in the anime about current events over her manga counterpart.
As the protest Satou spoke of nears the anime offers a slimmed down version of the general public tuning into the event. The anime also offers a clip of Satou from a previous episode, talking of dramatic change in Japan. No such flashback is offered in the manga. The anime also shows Shimomura accompanying Tosaki as he rushes off.
The secret Ajin public meeting is depicted slightly different. The anime spends more time showing Tanaka controlling his Ajin Ghost before revealing all the Ajin Ghosts meeting in secret in public. Also, The anime offers less diverse Ajin Ghosts. Many look similar, if not carbon copies. The manga’s version of events offers Ghosts that look each a bit more unique.
Satou’s explanation for their plan is similar, yet slimmed down and occurs in their hideout while he plays games, rather than simply as narrative dialogue in the manga.
When the anime has Tosaki visits his captive, Dr. Ogura, Shimomura is with him and startled by this revelation. Tosaki doesn’t bring her along in the manga. Also Dr. Ogura is a tad more obsessed with his cigarettes in the anime. When we flash back to learn that Tosaki is driven by his desire to save his dying fiance, Tosaki mentions he’s known her for ten years in the manga. The anime cuts this line.
Also, when we return to find Nagai alive and somewhere off the coast a few of his lines are cut from the anime, and he’s also shown climbing a rock face to safety.
Finally the anime decides Nagai’s resurfacing isn’t a good enough ending. Instead choosing to adapt the first few pages of Chapter 15 as Satou greets his fellow Ajin at the real meeting place.
Overall I think the anime does a solid job of reintegrating both plot strands and letting them play side by side for dramatic effect. I think the manga did the best it could, and it would’ve been difficult to try and get both to line up without the page count ballooning all in one chapter. Outside of that, many of the other changes are minor and neither seem to take anything away or really add much. The only major improvement I feel the anime has accomplished here, outside of inter cutting between Tosaki’s plot and Satou’s, is making it so the military is utilizing the Ajin for experiments, rather than the automotive industry. It makes more sense to me that the military would be who got to use the Ajin the most as there’s a lot more money in the military than the automotive industry. It also, from a narrative stand point, feels more threatening than using Ajin as crash test dummies. That’s not to say the Manga’s depiction was bad, but I do think the anime’s version is an improvement.
That’s all for today! Please feel free to comment with your thoughts on Ajin and how Episode 7 compares with the manga’s thirteenth and fourteenth chapters.