Chainsaw Man Ep. 1 Review
A few years ago, I went to an anime convention and came across the strangest thing: there was a guy cosplaying as some character with chainsaws coming out of his arms and head. That ended up being my introduction to Chainsaw Man, the newest in the long line of hits from the house of Shonen Jump. I learned more about it in bits and pieces as time went on, but I never found the time to read it. However, that may have changed, with the highly-anticipated premiere of the Chainsaw Man anime on Crunchyroll. It’s rare for me to watch a Shonen anime without so much as a passing understanding, but if this is what Chainsaw Man is like, then I think I need to get to reading.
In a World Filled With Devils…
In the world of Chainsaw Man, Devils are a fact of life. They rise from Hell and feed on the fears of mankind to gain power, then return to Hell when they die. It’s up to Devil Hunters to slay them and protect people, and among them is the likes of Denji.
Denji is unlike many Shonen protagonists I’ve seen. He’s not insanely strong (yet), driven by incredible life goals, and he’s not a living meme. He’s, for all intents and purposes, a loser, being worked like a dog by the Yakuza to pay off the impossible debt his dead Dad owes them. When we first meet him, his major dreams consist of living a normal life and scoring with a girl at least once before he dies. If it weren’t for the fact that his best friend is a Devil dog with a chainsaw coming out of its head, he’d pass for any other down-on-his-luck teenager.
Then we have Pochita, the series mascot and one of the most adorable things since Chopper from One Piece. Pochita’s a Devil, but also a very loyal dog who wholeheartedly loves Denji. Together, this odd take on a boy and his dog make for effective Devil Hunters for the Yakuza. Too effective, it would seem. In the end, the Yakuza make a pact with another Devil to kill Denji, ending his life before he even gets a chance to live.
Except this is a Shonen Jump series, and the protagonist of a Shonen Jump series won’t die so soon into their story. The two form a pact as Denji lies dismembered in a dumpster alongside Pochita. Pochita fuses with Denji to repair his body in exchange for letting the Devil see his dreams of living a normal life. And what comes out of this fusion is a complete and utter badass.
…Chainsaw Man Reigns Supreme.
In its first major fight of the series, Chainsaw Man sets itself as a cut above a lot of Shonen anime. It’s incredibly violent and bloody, befitting the unhinged and psychotic nature Denji posseses as the Chainsaw Man. Given how the Yakuza screwed him over his entire life, though, it makes his rampage very cathartic to watch. As for the fight itself, it’s a visually impressive fusion of traditional 2D and 3D animation. It’s a testament to how far the medium’s come that it’s becoming harder to tell the two apart when combined.
By the time the dust settles, Denji’s put the Yakuza in their place just in time to meet this cute Devil Hunter that works for the Government. She gives him the choice: he can die, or come work for the other Devil Hunters and get room and board. Denji, eager to live his dream of a normal life, doesn’t hesitate to say yes.
Overall, it looks like the hype surrounding Chainsaw Man was the real deal. I’m very intrigued with the premise of the series, and will likely add it to the list of manga I’ll read every week. As for the anime, I’m looking forward to watching it for the next three months. Rev it up, people. This is going to be good!