First Impression: Chainsaw Man

As suggested by the title of the first episode, Chainsaw Man is a story about a boy and his dog. Nothing too strange there, except that the dog looks more like a bean with a chainsaw spouting out of its face where the snout should be. Meanwhile, the boy remains tens of millions of yen in debt to the yakuza after his dad’s sudden death, despite selling off organs (including an eye) and hunting down “devils” to pay them back. Oh, and these devils? Well, killing them can lead to big rewards, although Denji, the boy, cheats a little because his “dog,” Pochita, is a devil itself. But honest to goodness, Denji doesn’t want to hunt devils. As he explains to Pochita, his dream is to eat bread with jam on it, flirt with a girl, play games with her, and hug her until they fall asleep. Too bad he’s about to be double-crossed and face a devil greater than his ability to kill. Or could this course of events lead to something terrifying, but better?

Yes, it’s here, guys! Chainsaw Man has arrived, and episode one is no letdown in the slightest. In fact, even knowing that MAPPA had taken the reins, I was still stunned by how good episode one looked, how fluid everything was, how the colors were dark but vibrant, and how the excitement built from scene to scene. I remember the opening chapters of the manga pretty well, so nothing here was new to me, but I could sit back and appreciate how the story plays out. This premiere is so heartfelt, for one. While I may have been a little sarcastic with my description of the series as being about a boy and his dog, I’d forgotten what a “good boy” Denji is, and what a special relationship he and Pochita have. That connection is deepened further by A+ voice performances from Kikunosuke Toya, who provides warmth and sadness in addition to horrifying screams in the later zombie scene, and Shiori Izawa, who is absolutely precious as Pochita. Add to that, a mixture of horror and yakuza elements, and episode one is magnetic and rich. It also foreshadowed how complex the series is, drawing from multiple genres (you can see a bit more of that from the kickin’ OP) and weaving together diverse influences. And it’s going to get crazier from here, because above all else, Chainsaw Man is a spectacle—and I can’t wait to see it play out (though be warned, episode one provides a sampling of the series’ blood and gore, with heavy doses of sexuality to come, too). Denji and Pochita, welcome! Now, on to Makima, who gets a short intro as the action closes, and episode two!

Chainsaw Man can be streamed on Crunchyroll.


6 thoughts on “First Impression: Chainsaw Man

  1. I’m having a hard time with this series. Aside from Power’s humor, there isn’t very much I like about this series at all. It took until episode 4 for me to find anything positive about it. Seems to me to just be a bloodier version of Tokyo Ghoul (which I didn’t like). But I don’t want to drop it because of FOMO since it’s so popular. What am I not getting?

    1. Chainsaw Man is frenetic and bonkers, with unsettling humor and crazy twists and turns. It’s kind of both fearless and incredibly engaging. I would say episodes seven and eight kind of begin to capture what the entire ride is like.

      But it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. The mangaka is a genius, but he’s also made quieter series that are thoughtful and not as gross and violent. CSM is a turn-off for many for a variety of reasons. And MAPPA’s adaptation is beautiful, but not as offbeat as the manga is.

      Don’t worry about the FOMO though. I think some of it is based on all the money and promotion being poured into the series. Not everyone is gonna like it or think it’s special. Life’s too short to spend on anime you don’t like!

    2. Just to add to the discussion here, I for one have zero interest in this series, despite loving MAPPA and Kensuke Ushio who does the OST. I read a couple dozen chapters of the manga quite a while back and got a bad vibe off it, so haven’t tuned in on the anime. There’s too much really great stuff out there that I find inspiring and edifying to keep investing in something I find to be the opposite, though I’m glad if others are getting something meaningful out of it. That’s the beauty of culture: it speaks to us in different ways and God can use all of it! But for me, this one’s a no.

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