Chainsaw Man

Vol: 11; Ch: 97
2018 - 2020
4.638 out of 5 from 4,821 votes
Rank #101
Chainsaw Man

Denji's life of poverty is changed forever when he merges with his pet chainsaw dog, Pochita! Now he's living in the big city and an official Devil Hunter. But he's got a lot to learn about his new job and chainsaw powers!

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This Manga will Break You The manga "Chainsaw Man" by Tatsuki Fujimoto (also known for Fire Punch) had been publishing in Weekly Shounen Jump magazine from 2018, the final chapter was published on December 14, 2020. The second part of the manga has also been announced. Usually battle shounen manga is intended for a specific audience: young men from 12 to 18 years old. The protagonists of such manga often pursue some noble goals, find great friends and upgrade their already overpowered skills from chapter to chapter. Chainsaw Man is a completely different story. The characters here are cynical, the world of the manga is gloomy, and there is no particular censorship to be found: there are enough murders and dubious jokes. Quite an atypical example for this genre. This manga can be compared to Dorohedoro, as it also has a lot of black humor and charismatic characters, who are not afraid to get their hands dirty over and over again; yet, while there are some similarities, Chainsaw Man is a story that cannot be fully compared to any of the manga. Despite all the gore and dirty jokes, "Chainsaw Man" is a high-quality shounen, in which some non-standard techniques coexist with the classics and it turns out to be an amazing combination that will blow your mind. Ignorance is Bliss Please try to understand that it makes no sense to start reading this manga if you are a silly penguin chick, who hopes that their parent will catch its food and partially digest it, which will take a few hours and when the parent reaches you, and the food has been digested enough, it will cough the mixture back up, allowing you to eat it directly from the parent’s bill. No, no one is going to do that for you, you are to hunt for yourself already, or die of hunger. If you watch anime and read manga / novels for some mindless entertainment, which I also can understand, but, you need to be able to combine a food for your brain with some mindless pleasure. And this manga is good for your mind! To begin with, every scene, every dialogue, every joke, every comparison, contrast, every oxymoron, or any other technique carries some meaning in them. And if you prefer to read manga, skipping dialogues and only paying attention to battles and action, then this manga is simply not for you. You will miss one detail, you will lose the understanding of the story, or some character, even one will be enough, who then will play an important role in the story and, as a result, you will not like the manga, you will waste your time for nothing. Therefore, think about it, are you ready for Chainsaw Man? Chainsaw Man will Surprise You And it will do it from the very first chapters. The main character of the manga, Denji, has been in a difficult situation since his very childhood - he must pay the huge debt of his deceased father. For this, the guy is ready for anything: from killing monsters to eating cigarettes for some fun of yakuza. Such a hard everyday life, however, is brightened up by Denji’s buddy, who looks like a demon dog, Pochita. Long ago, Denji saved him from the imminent death and they became best buddies. Unfortunately, having any business with yakuza is not the best idea for anyone to have. One day, Denji dies and Pochita, after many years of Denji’s kindness, repays the debt by sacrificing himself and being turned into a heart for the dying Denji, thus saving his life. Now Denji can also turn into a chainsaw monstrosity - the dog gave him some great demonic powers. It seems that the plot of the manga is quite cliché: the protagonist is different from the others, he suffers some hardships from childhood, and as a result, receives unique abilities. The same can be found in most of the shounen. But here it is all about accents: the author of "Chainsaw Man" shows a familiar story that is much harsher than in any ordinary shounen. In the first chapter, Denji is dismembered, and later he ruthlessly slaughters the enemies. Fujimoto has a "dirty" style of drawing, so ugly demons and bloody battles look especially impressive. Sometimes it is even hard to believe that you are reading a shounen and not a seinen. Chainsaw Man with its ideas, references, messages, heroes, story, and so on, looks more like a mix of a shounen and a seinen and this mix works amazingly well. By the way, the author also approached the ideological components of his manga rather creatively. Usually in 90% of shounen, the protagonist sets for themselves some noble and maximalist goals: 'to save people you do not even know and be ready to give up your life for this when some evil voodoo spirit dwells within you, and all that you do in your life makes no sense, because you are too dumb to follow your own path. Therefore, you follow the admonition of your dying grandfather, whom you do not even remember afterwards. ‘Hah, these allies of justice.’ Be that as it may, all this is nothing but a stupid fairy tale, which everyone watches only because this cannot be applied to our world, where the main law reads as follows, 'a man is a wolf to another man.' (Bonus points, if you know who said it. More bonus points if you know how to say it in Latin.) Our protagonist Denji is a completely different example: he behaves like an ordinary teenager: he is amorous, anxious and impulsive. His hormones are constantly raging, so the goal of his whole life is to touch some boobs of a girl (any will do.) He is not interested in saving the world. He would rather get a kiss from some cutie then give up his life for something like that. Fujimoto just adores making fun of boring and overused clichés. It seems that Denji has dreams, and for the sake of them he is ready for any feat, as befits a shounen hero. However, Denji changes his beliefs way too often, and sometimes he goes 180. Despite the fact that Denji's character is very exaggerated, this image of a 16-year-old teenager is more realistic than any shounen protagonist, who hypocritically thinks only about saving the others. Chainsaw Man’s protagonist, however, does not seem to have any morals. In the romantic line, the author also managed to avoid clichés. Usually, in shounen, the love of the protagonist is pushed into the background: the character is aware of his feelings only in the last chapters, or, in some cases, remains faithful to the one and only. Of course, a special girl appears in Denji's life, too: the beautiful and confident Makima hires him to join the organization of devil hunters. The guy immediately falls in love - for the first time, he sees a person who is friendly to him. If this part can still be called trivial, then the author again allows himself to deviate from the standard tropes. First, Denji seeks intimacy with just every woman he meets. Although Makima's presence embarrasses him, it does not really stop him. Moreover, he can even get seriously carried away by another girl. A love triangle instead of the protagonist's imaginary asexuality is an infrequent sight to see in shounen. Secondly, the relationship between Denji and Makima is also quite unusual - in the manga there are clear hints of the "pet-play" in BDSM style. When Makima communicates with her subordinate, this does not deviate from a BDSM role-playing game: she calls Denji his little dog, makes him answer only "yes" or "woof", in case of disobedience she threatens to euthanize the disobedient dog, but at the same time takes care of Denji. Despite the fact that the guy does not seem to like such a treatment, his affection only intensifies. You, as a reader, look at Denji with disgust at first, even though he is a very realistic character. However, when you read the manga and learn more about him, one day you get all the information about him and an explanation of his behavior. (Only if you do not skip chapters and generally have at least some ability to analyze the text that you are reading.) After this moment, you will change and you will be ashamed of this mistake. I was ashamed of my neglect of Denji as the main character of the manga, but no spoilers. Although Denji is the most important figure in Chainsaw Man, the author's attention to all the characters is more than obvious. In this manga there are no favorites of the author, or, on the contrary, some characters, who just need more attention to be added, because your editor says so. (There are a lot of such cases, even among the manga that you love so much.) Not here, here every character is a necessary piece of the puzzle. Take it away, and then Denji will cease to be who he is. Of course, some characters got more time, some less, but none of them matter less for the plot. They are all equal and this is again something that can be very rarely seen in this type of manga. Most often, you will see manga, where all the attention and love of the author is given to only one/two characters. It just ruins the whole enjoyment, right? Shounen with no Censorship As mentioned already, Chainsaw Man constantly balances between shounen and seinen, simultaneously breaking the mold and following some clichés, but there are still more non-trivial moves. For example, in shounen, it is mostly villains who have extremely negative qualities and, for the most part, other characters are written in such a way as to evoke sympathy from the reader. But not in Chainsaw Man: here no one thinks about morality, all the heroes are cynical, they rarely shed tears for their fallen comrades and, in general, they just try to survive. In some cases, this is affected by demonic abilities. If Denji is a half human, half devil, then his partner Power is a "fiend." She has a high intellect and looks like a person, if you do not take into account horns and fangs, but her true nature is demonic. Power follows instincts: she is bloodthirsty, ignores hygiene, does not bow to anyone, is not shy about anything, always behaves defiantly and does not control her actions. And for the sake of her only reason to exist, the cat Meowy, she is ready to betray anyone. The manga is just based on such heroes as Power - they are unpredictable, and many comic situations are associated with their cynical view of the world. Another cliché that the author of the manga is interestingly handling is revenge. In most of the shounen manga, it usually plays a rather important role: often either the protagonist themselves, or one of the secondary characters takes revenge on someone for some injustice. Only here in Chainsaw Man almost everyone just… does not care. And when such a character is introduced, who cares about revenge, it works perfectly for a comparison. Fans of black humor will appreciate the jokes and those who longed to see a protagonist, who has more than one brain cell, will get one hell of a protagonist.   Humor is a very important part of Chainsaw Man and somewhere it is similar to Dorohedoro. The author of the manga is merciless to his characters: for example, everyone tries to kill Denji and his first kiss turned out to be one hell of a French kiss (but no spoilers), and all these examples are while not the important part of the story, they still play its role for it. In the world of "Chainsaw Man", some terrible and bloody things happen all the time, but it is served in such a way that it becomes hilarious for the reader. This approach will be especially appreciated by fans of South Park and Dorohedoro. Of course, it was not without some excesses, but to see this in a shounen is truly amazingly weird. However, the benefits of manga are not limited to a good satire, broken templates and charismatic characters. The author invented a very rich demonic world, endowing each creature with unique properties. Our protagonists and his buddies have met all kinds of demons: a gigantic disgusting bat, some creepy apparitions, or even cute-looking creatures that can suddenly turn into a monstrosity. Country Mouse vs City Mouse? Remember what I said at the beginning of the review? In this manga, you need to be able to think in order to understand the main idea, the message(s) of the author to the reader, every metaphor and absolutely everything. And no, I am not trying to offend the fans of poorly written battle-shounen, which are hyped up to incredible popularity just because they have good art, and all the heroes are not smarter than a bloody tomato. No, I get tired sometimes too and like to read/watch horribly-written stories. But please, take care of your free time. Chainsaw Man is the kind of a manga, where everything makes sense and has some role. Its author is a person, who is well versed in history, psychology, art, religion, literature, and so on. Some examples of that would be: Kabbalah, Gnosticism and Christianity that play an important role in the structure of the world of Chainsaw Man. In addition to this, there is a huge number of small details that have nothing to do with religion at all. But if I analyze them for you, then your reading of the manga will not bring you any pleasure. Feel yourself a scientist, or a detective who has to answer many questions and these answers, believe me, are not that easy to find. Can you do it? You will not know, until you try. Are you ready to try? Maybe your area of interests is a little different from mine and it will be difficult for you to make out the meaning of the manga. If you are not ready for this little research, you can always find some kind of a youTuber who will analyze everything for you, however, I, to my big regret, cannot do the analysis for you, but everything is in your hands. Woof All in all, I have a challenge for you and this challenge is called Chainsaw Man. Your brain will work non-stop, if you have a good attention-span and to understand absolutely everything about this manga, without looking for all the references on the internet, this requires some great wit. If you manage to do that, then you can be proud of yourself. If you are not ready for a challenge and want some mindless pleasure, this manga is not for you at all, you will not like it and will only waste your time. Honestly, I cannot say that this manga is flawless, but I can say that its creator is a genius and I adore manga that makes its reader think. Depending how good Chainsaw Man 2 turns out, I might change my overall score. But for now it is a 9.9/10. Thank you for that ride, Fujimoto Tatsuki.

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