Ajin: Anime/Manga Comparison – Episode 8
Ajin – Anime to Manga Comparison:
Episode 8/Chapters 15-16
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 eight 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 8/Chapters 15-16:
The anime rejoins the manga as Satou greets all the new Ajin. In the manga Satou’s Ghost greets them on ground level, where as the anime goes for a more dynamic look as Satou’s ghost speaks to them from up above from the warehouse’s second level.
The anime flashes away from this to Nagai making his way through the woods and his encounter with an old lady on a bike. He startles her and she accidentally crashes. This sequence is not in the manga, meaning we never learn exactly how Nagai met the old woman and why he’s staying with her. The anime offers here the origins of this particularly plot line.
The anime also cuts out a short sequence when the new Ajins are heading up to meet Satou, where the Firefighter Ajin warns the new kid, Kou, who goes unnamed for quite some time, that he shouldn’t trust Satou. He’s got a hunch this guy might be bad news.
Their meeting with Satou is virtually the same however, with some minor trims in dialogue. The subsequent escape from Satou is also similar, although doesn’t use the manga’s visual as a storyboard, meaning it looks and plays a bit different. Kou and the Firefighter don’t stick around to listen to Satou’s plans for them, instead the Firefighter merely guesses that Satou plans to imprison them. Also In the anime Satou gives his new recruits handguns to subdue the Firefighter and Kou with. In the manga it’s harpoon/spear guns.
When Tanaka and Co. catch up with our heroes, the Firefighter is shot through with the harpoon guns, and defends Kou using his Ajin ghost in the manga. The anime foregoes any use of Ajins and merely has the firefighter defend Kou by blocking the Tranq gun shots with his body.
The anime skips to a scene from Chapter 16, played near one for one, where Tanaka analyzes footage of the supposed public protest from before, noting that Kou, in the footage, could see the hidden Ajin Ghosts.
Returning to Tanaka and the Firefighter, their conversation is similar, with different/truncated dialogue, but gets the same overall message across. Also Anime Tanaka looks more freaked out by the firefighter’s assertions that Satou’s plans with bring down nothing but chaos.
The Anime then joins the manga as Nagai sits down in the old ladies house. These two scenes are markedly different. In the manga Nagai is seemingly relaxed in his new life and there’s no mention of how he came to know the old lady or his relationship with her. It’s an odd sequence and leaves the reader with a lot of questions that undermine the flow of the narrative. The anime, I feel, fixes this. The scene here spends a lot of time discussing how the old women feels she is in Nagai’s debt. Afterwards the two catch a news report about Nagai, and the old lady reveals that she doesn’t care about any of this Ajin stuff, seeing Nagai almost as a replacement for the grandchild she has who never visits her.
The anime even takes it further as Nagai leaves the house to go out to the forest and test his Ajin Ghost forming ability. This isn’t made apparent in the manga until a couple chapters later.
Chapter 16 opens with the Tosaki video scanning scene from earlier in the episode. The anime then rejoins the manga as Kou, still unnamed, is aboard a train, fleeing back to the city. This sequence is quite similar, save him noticing the beam of Ajin dust emanating in the distance. The anime makes a bigger deal of this, with Kou already noting that it’s clearly from an Ajin ghost. The manga downplays what exactly this beam of black dust jutting in the sky means.
The anime flashes back to more of Nagai experimenting with his Ajin Ghost ability. None of this is in the manga. We then rejoin Kou at his apartment complex. The lady he meets, who notices his bleeding, is much more fervent in her fear for him in the anime than the manga.
When the agents start chasing Kou this sequence is similar, save a few minor differences. When Kou finally falls from the building he slams into a metal roofing, rather than straight to the ground. Agents aren’t waiting for him, nor is there fear of electrocution via the electrical wires he hit while falling.
Tosaki running Kou over, and the ambulance afterward are near one for one. The anime diverges again however in the portrayal of Kou’s revival. In the manga he actually makes it to the hospital, where he dies on the operating table in front of a doctor and nurses. His resurrection leads to an amusing moment where the Doctor declares that they’ll continue trying to save him, thinking that Kou merely revived and that he’s not an Ajin. It doesn’t make too much sense in a Post-Ajin Aware world though. So the anime instead has Kou expire in the ambulance, and his medical technicians leave to get a stretcher, thus no one is around to witness his revival.
The anime again snaps back to Nagai’s Ajin research, again, not featured in the manga. Instead, the manga snaps forward to Kou searching for and encountering Nagai in the woods, experimenting with his Ajin Ghost. The anime saves these scenes for another episode.
Instead, the anime lifts content from Chapter 17, as Satou checks in with his new allies, one of which is uploading Satou’s newest announcement video, promising violence and a certain building to be destroyed on a certain day at a certain time. This scene differs from the manga slightly. Satou meets with this member of his team not in person, but through his Ajin. Also Satou’s video is shot on a rooftop in the manga, rather than the nondescript terrorist seeming warehouse backdrop of the anime.
Overall I think the show actually fixes a number of faults in the manga. Understanding how Nagai and the Old lady came to live together, and seeing that in the immediate is important and helps keep the viewer engaged, rather than halted by lingering questions. Removing the rather forced comedy from Kou’s hospital resurrection scene is helpful, and seeing Nagai already flexing his Ajin ghost abilities helps to keep him at the stories center, especially since the season ends before Nagai rejoins the main plot. I think this time the Anime comes out on top as the better version between the two.
That’s all for today! Please feel free to comment with your thoughts on Ajin and how Episode 8 compares with the manga’s fifteenth and sixteenth chapters.