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Ichi the Killer Review: Differences Between the Manga and the Movie

Ichi the killer

Two people are always divided between reading manga and watching a movie. Ichi the Killer is one such anime that will have you hooked right from the start. Ichi the Killer is one of the most disturbing manga that you will ever read, but the Takashi Miike movie has done some of the major changes, few things which you can just point out directly.

Ichi the Killer comes off with a warning for all the first-time viewers and readers out there. It was first featured in the gore section for all the obvious reasons, and this comic has taken a lot of fans right by storm. The Takashi remake of the manga happened in 2001, and this movie was mainly centered around the life of a young masochist from the Yakuza group named Masao Kakihara. It even revolves or has a background story for a Jiji man who recently had plastic surgery to recount his facial features. Ichi the Killer manga even centers around the same plot, but there are some major differences that you can check out happening both in the movie and the manga simultaneously.

Jii san has a personal vendetta among all the people, and he is using Ichi as his killer weapon. You will see some of the most violent and gore-filled seasons from this comic. It is filled with a lot of grotesque pictography, making it not so suitable for the young audience to give a read. However, when Kakihara finds out that Jii san is set out for revenge, he lusts for the blood thrust. He soon sets out his goon to get to the man behind all the plan, and things go pretty much gross right from there.

If you have ever seen or heard a demented story, then the first name which will come to your mind is Ichi, the Killer. Hideo Yamamoto’s manga follows the same cover, and it revolves around the part and the center life of all the gangs mentioned. It is more like a connected tale that later readers will find out all the subtle connections given throughout the story. The film starts from a promising perspective, but the manga fan cannot overlook a lot of things once it is being shown on the big screen.

The Manga Vs. The Film

Ichi the killer

In most of the other animes out there, you will find out the overlook of the story is being copied from the manga. But when film adaptations occur, it becomes difficult for the producer to take every single from the manga and put it to work into a film. The same goes with Ichi, the Killer. Plot-wise, both the manga and the film follow the same pattern, and all you can see are your favorite characters from the manga taking a major turn of twists and events.

But the main difference out here is how both of them are framed together. So, Ichi the Killer manga comes out as a deep story and from a killer’s perspective, but the movie does not show the same. It is psychologically centered towards drawing the readers’ attention right from the manga so that they can understand that there is an internal case happening with the characters. But in the film, this part differs.

The film has the plot to share with the audience, but you won’t find yourself grasping the plot as soon as you did with the manga. This is the main difference that the readers can bring out for you. This is how it goes. For example, the manga’s first plot shows that Ichi is shown as a ‘violent’ or ‘pervert.’ This has happened because a lot of times, Ichi has shown some of the characteristics of a violent and both a pervert.

But at the beginning of the film, you will get a completely different tone. It shows that Ichi is masturbating to a scene of a pimp being raped on TV as they are playing. It shows right from the start that the film shows Ichi as the main villain, and there is no plot surrounding him. It is more like making the audience know the character of Ichi right from the start. This is a slow kill for the audience because, if you have not read the manga, you might think about what is happening with Ichi and how the scene has turned into something so violent right from the start.

So here is the main plot where our antagonist is shown as the villain of the series, just like this. If you are reading a book for the first time, then there are many things you can grasp. For example, it might sound like when you are reading a book, you are trying to get into the characters’ minds and then understand the motive behind their action. The manga spends a lot of time meditating on the roles of the character and then developing them right from the start. But the film has an abrupt start. It is more like a B-grade film where viewers might never know the background story of the antagonist.

The Film Switches The Main Character

Ichi the killer

One of the main things or the most frustrating thing that the film does is that it switches the main character. Right from Ichi to Kakihara, you won’t understand whom you are rooting for. Unlike the manga, there was a plot that only favored the story of Ichi. On the other hand, Kakihara was mostly shown as the side of the background story in the manga. The one thing that viewers and readers can argue is to understand both the characters’ motives on screen.

Right from the start, if you have read the manga, then you will understand the motive of Ichi and why he is doing so. Ichi is most probably shown as the bad guy of the series with a lot of other stories to tell to the audience. On the other hand, Kakihara is our hero here. He is shown to be someone you will worship and idolize. And we are talking about the film. Kakihara in the manga comes off as a rude person.

He wants to be the boss of Ichi, where there are several tortures done on him. On the other hand, it is shown to be a plot hole for a premise that will grapple you right from the start. If you start watching the movie before reading the manga, then you will be extremely confused. The constant switch between Ichi and Kakihara is really off-putting.

So, as an audience of the film, you might be asking one thing. What drives the plot forward, right? Well, the drive of Kakihara to kill Ichi is something that drives the plot forward. It happens for a lot of reasons. One is to understand that both these characters are taken off and compared against each other. Kakihara and Ichi, which one would you rather choose, right? Well, the film is something that you can watch if you are feeling bored with the manga. It consists of an action sequence, eventually.

Talk About The Conclusion

Ichi the killer

Lastly, let us talk about the conclusion. The manga has a different ending to what is shown in the film. If you have read(spoiler alert) in the manga, Kakihara kills off himself by just jumping off from the building. His death is caused due to the lack of injury happening straight to the skull. Ichi is then killed by Takashi, who, despite idolizing the methods of Ichi and telling him to the hero, later realizes his true intent.

Later you can check out in the manga that Jijii will always hang himself because of the humiliation that he had to face from the deaths which had happened. In the film, this thing comes off as quite different from the manga plot. To know that Ichi will never serve Kakihara through his innermost desires, he rips off his ears so that he can block the sound of Ichi incessantly crying.

The film is discussed to have a far better and more iconic ending. There is no meaning added to the ending to what is shown in the film. But if you have read the manga, then you know that the manga’s ending is quite disturbing and sadistic. It is not meant for those who are fishing out for a good part out of everything. Both the film and the manga have their own preferences, and we guess that the directors have been able to bring that out plainly to the audience. The film is a commercial run that had to cut off some of the scenes which were depicted in the manga.

Read More: Anime To Watch For The Horror and Thriller Genre Enthusiasts

Written By

Nathan Hale is part of the core OtakuKart team and publishes news articles, mainly related to dating and gossip. Sometimes anime & manga. You can reach out to him at

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