What comes to mind when you hear the words, Chainsaw Man? Perhaps you believe it refers to a man who just enjoys using chainsaws. Perhaps it’s a person whose parents despised him and named him after a powerful instrument. The next major superhero may arrive to save the day. If you’re familiar with the forthcoming anime series, you’ll know that it’s about a young guy who develops a link with the adorable chainsaw demon pup Pochita (Shiori Izawa), which allows him to transform sections of his body into chainsaws. If this is new to you and you’re wondering, “What the heck are you talking about?!?” Let me tell you all you need to know about this crazy show that throws all orders out the window.
The narrative, created by the famed animation studio MAPPA, revolves around adolescent Denji (Kikunosuke Toya), a sadboi of epic proportions. He has been forced to subsist by doing odd jobs and selling off portions of his body due to the debt left to him by his deceased father (including one of his testicles). His lone company is the aforementioned Pochita, whom he encounters in a very dark flashback while mourning over his father’s grave in the pouring rain.
The two then resolve to assist each other out, spending their days hunting out what they call “devils” for any money they can acquire. It’s a difficult existence, but one he’s doing work for him, even as he laments the lack of a lady in his life to play video games with before falling asleep in each other’s arms (again, sadboi). However, not all is lost since he has an exceedingly attractive buddy who will prove to be his savior when he finds himself up against a wall with no one else to aid him.
Throughout the rest of the debut episode, he will be thrown into an unanticipated trap that will put the two of them to the test like never before. When the dust settles, Denji will undergo a metamorphosis that will change him into the titular Chainsaw Man. The moment shortly marks the opening of the floodgates of slaughter, a spitting picture of the character from the original manga series authored and drawn by Tatsuki Fujimoto.
Nothing compares to what happens when this new form bursts out in all its splendor. With a chainsaw on his head and one on each arm, he dispatches a swarm of mind-controlled opponents before dispatching the Zombie Devil who controls them.
It is a short interlude amid a ballet of savagery that approaches being hurried and relying on over-explaining via narrative what was previously made clear via a spectacular visual passage. It explains everything too well when we had already begun to grasp it.
Of course, all of this is intended to give the character an internal monologue in line with his melancholy demeanor. Thankfully, when we hear the chainsaw begin to barely crank up until reaching a pinnacle of sound and fury, all of these slightly needless asides fade into the background. This adds to the excitement of the unveiling since we can hear his metamorphosis before we see it. Denji’s wild character when he breaks free, laughing and murdering with ease, adds to the excitement of seeing him completely go loose. The juxtaposition of him becoming more silent and apprehensive once more delivers a wonderfully ludicrous punchline when all that remains of the dead are scattered about him.
It establishes, in a hilarious way, how, within the savage monster we just seen released, there is still an uncomfortable and nerdy child who isn’t sure what to do with himself. While there is plenty to love in this scene, it is also pleasant to see the show bring over the darker moments of comedy that were so common in the original material. It all adds up to a well-animated opening that is sure to captivate the imagination and attention of the legions of anime lovers looking for the next program to watch.
Having said that, this is only the first part of the series, and there is still a long road ahead. There are several individuals we have yet to meet, as well as complete narratives that will be revealed that will leave much of the narrative framework behind. It gives the impression that this is all just a prelude to the main course, which still needs to justify continuing with the macabre dinner. The episode provides provide a peek at Benji’s route to becoming a member of the Public Safety Devil Hunters and the numerous adventures that await him once he does so. As a result, despite this basic yet effective start, there is still a healthy degree of cynicism regarding the rest of the series.
This is simply the first act, and everything after that will have to lift the ante from what was only shown in the last few minutes of the first episode. The savagery we’ve witnessed has been effective, but it will quickly become dull if not elaborated upon from here on out. There is still a big need to expand on all of this if Chainsaw Man is to continue and have the same impact on audiences as its original material did. This, on the other hand, is a promising start.