Manga Talk: Chainsaw Man

Welcome back the Manga Talk, which I guess is going to be the name of this series of posts now.

The next manga that I’ll be talking about was one that I had heard about on a podcast. I had heard it was good and that it will be getting an anime adaptation soon, so I figure that it’s better to get in early.

That manga is called Chainsaw Man.

There will of course be MAJOR SPOILERS for Chainsaw Man Volume 1, so if you do not want to be spoiled, please read the manga. If you don’t care for spoilers then read on.

It’s bloody, it’s gory, it’s Chainsaw Man, let’s go!

Synopsis

We begin the manga with a man talking about various things that has earned him some money, like manual labor and selling body parts.

Despite doing some drastic measures, he still owes just over 38 million yen in debt. This man talks to his dog named Pochita, who just so happens to have a chainsaw for a nose, and decides to kill a devil for some money.

We learn his name is Denji and that he earned a four hundred thousand yen…before chunks of his payment are taken out to pay off his debt and other expenditures leaving him with a measly one thousand eight hundred yen.

Denji’s life turns out to be miserable, barely having enough food for him and Pochita, never enjoying something as simple as jam on toast or even having any sort of social life because of the debt.

It turns out that the debt that Denji has comes from his dad, who had committed suicide just to get out of paying his debt, which left Denji in charge of paying it off instead.

During a flashback we see a kid Denji at his father’s grave as a guy from the yakuza says that if Denji doesn’t come up with a payment, then Denji will be killed.

From out of the bushes comes Pochita, who we learn is also a devil and is badly injured. Denji offers his blood to Pochita, in exchange for the two working together to kill devils to pay off the debt.

Denji cannot sleep because of his hunger, and talks to Pochita about his dreams of living a normal life, eating jam on toast, having a girlfriend, playing video games, and not having a worry.

Unfortunately reality comes crashing in as Denji coughs up blood, stating that his mother had a heart condition before she died, and coincidentally he gets chosen to go on another job.

They go to an abandoned building, and as the yakuza guy talks, saying how Denji has done well, but they are looking to downsize their operation, which leads to Denji getting killed.

It turns out that the yakuza wanted to make a deal with a devil to make themselves stronger, only to be made the zombie servants of the Zombie Devil.

The zombies tear Denji and Pochita to pieces and toss them in the dumpster, where some of Denji’s blood gets into Pochita’s mouth.

This leads to a flashback of Denji saying that if anything were to happen to him for Pochita to take over his body and live a normal life.

Pochita then merges with Denji, making a contract for Pochita to give up his heart in exchange for Denji to show his dream.

I need a plush of Pochita, stat.

Denji emerges from the dumpster, alive with a pull string on his chest. The Zombie Devil realizes that Denji is alive and commands his zombies to kill him.

Denji, now royally pissed off, pulls the string on his chest and sprouts a chainsaw on either hand and on his head, going on a full on heavy metal murder fest.

Soon after, a group of Devil Hunters come in and see a total carnage fest, with Denji still transformed. Denji mutters out a “Hold me”, to which the woman Devil Hunter complies, which reverts Denji back to human form.

She smells that he is a combination of devil and human and proceeds to give him two options; be killed by her or work for her. With the option of having actual food, Denji accepts.

The woman shows kindness to him by offering to pay for food and giving him a jacket, which makes Denji immediately fall for her. However, just before they get food, a man asks for help looking for his daughter who was taken by a devil.

The woman asks Denji to do kill the devil, under threat of death, which he succeeds in doing, albeit passing out after transforming.

The woman, finally being named Makima, reassures Denji in that Pochita isn’t gone, but he is in Deni’s heart…literally as Denji is giving off the scent of being a human and a devil.

After some more nice interactions with Denji and Makima, the two head over to the Devil Hunter Tokyo HQ, as Makima explains the intricacies of the job while Denji fantasizes about being in a romantic relationship with Makima.

Denji gets a button down shirt and tie, and is introduced to his new partner, Hayakawa Aki, which disappoints Denji because he isn’t going to be working with Makima. Hayakawa then says that Makima is out of Denji’s league, but Makima assures Denji that if he works hard, then the two can work together.

Hayakawa takes Denji to a back alleyway and proceeds to beat up Denji because Hayakawa doesn’t want to deal with a Devil Hunter who is in the business for selfish reasons. After a fight that involves punches and kicking of the groin, the two are reluctantly assigned to live together, with a conversation about Makima being a good person being discussed.

Denji enjoys many tasty foods when he and Hayakawa are assigned to deal with a fiend, which is a devil that takes over a human’s corpse. The fiend is easily dispatched without Denji needing to transform, mostly because Denji wanted to give the guy who was transformed into a fiend a painless death.

Hayakawa then gives a spiel on how fiends are devils too and how they and local police are risking their lives by fighting devils and that Denji should take the job seriously because Hayakawa has a backstory involving a devil killing his whole family and that devils should die a painful death.

Denji doesn’t seem to really agree, picks up some porn magazines and heads on home. Denji is reminded of Pochita wanting Denji to show his dreams and he ponders what his dreams really are, if it wasn’t food, shelter, a job, and a woman who has been relatively kind to him.

Denji then ponders on what everyone else’s dreams are, later on realizing that his next goal is to touch some boobs.

The next day, as he ponders how to accomplish this goal, he gets paired up with a fiend named Power, who is loud and brash. Denji only really puts up with her because Makima asks him to and for the potential prospect of touching her chest.

The two go on patrol, with Power going out of line, which leads to Power and Denji to get reprimanded by Makima. After some bickering, Makima has the two go back on patrol which is when Denji learns that Power gets along swell with cats.

Power doesn’t like humans but she especially doesn’t like devils because a devil took her pet cat away. Denji doesn’t really like cats, but mentions that he would do anything if he could touch some boobs. Power suggests that if he can kill the devil and rescue her pet cat Meowy, then he can touch her chest.

Denji wholeheartedly accepts and the two go off to save the cat.

Makima is presenting in front of some business men and explains that she has some interesting individuals working for her, while the business men tell her to not get attached.

While Makima and Hayakawa are driving back, we learn that devils are born with a name that denotes their abilities. If their name is more feared, then the devil is more powerful, and that Denji can transform into the Chainsaw Devil.

Power and Denji get to where Meowy is, only for it to be revealed to be a trap. Power made a deal with the Bat Devil to deliver a human in exchange for Meowy, however since Denji tastes bad, Meowy is eaten as punishment.

Power laments at the loss of Meowy and is subsequently eaten as well. The Bat Devil gets stronger and is about to set off on a food run, when Denji interferes.

The Bat Devil grabs Denji, intending to kill him when Denji transforms and goes on the attack, ending the first volume.

Bloody Good

The artwork for this manga is amazing.

The graphic and gory details are what I would want out of a manga called Chainsaw Man. I could almost hear the heavy metal soundtrack playing when Denji was killing the zombies.

Characters are well designed and the variety of devils are extremely detailed and cool looking, with my favorite enemy design being the fiend that Hayakawa and Denji took care of, being a bug like human hybrid.

Needless to say, the design of Denji when he is Chainsaw Man is awesome, and not overly used which makes the times we see the transformation that more amazing.

I also really like that there was so much going on.

As you can tell, this post was massive since a lot of things were going on. Everything flowed from one thing to the next without there being too much plot whiplash. Trying to condense the synopsis was difficult since there was so much going on.

Your mileage will vary on that, but I felt that it was very jammed packed with interesting things to keep me interested.

What especially interested me was the side characters. Power, being my least favorite of the side characters, was still interesting because of her dynamic with Meowy. She is a corpse being possessed by the Blood Devil, yet she grew attached to a regular cat and was willing to sacrifice a human to get her cat back.

Hayakawa seems to be going down the rabbit hole of having a tragic past, hating the main character only to accept them later on sort of arc going on, but I still see him as an interesting character.

The one that blows every character out of the water however is Makima. She is incredibly fascinating in how she seems to go from kind and caring for the most part with a cold heartless personality shining through in an instant. She definitely is a character with a mystery about her, and I really want to know what her deal is.

Bloody Bad

What I really wasn’t a fan of was the main character, Denji.

He is simple, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but for me he seems fairly one note and kind of boring.

There isn’t much interesting about him, aside from the fact that he can become Chainsaw Man. His personality ranges from lamenting how poor he was, how happy he is having actual food, and wanting to touch boobs. There really isn’t much there for me to like about him, and I hope that changes for the future.

Speaking of, there really isn’t so much of a plot to speak of. Granted this is still the first volume so there is plenty of plot to come around in the meantime, but right now the story feels pretty aimless.

While there are comedic elements to the story, I feel that the comedic parts don’t land all that often.

I am aware that comedy is subjective, but there was about a 50/50 split of things I thought were funny to things I thought were not as funny.

In Conclusion

I would recommend Chainsaw Man to those who would enjoy the gory artwork, like interesting side characters, and want a story that flows nicely.

I am personally going to buy the next volume and continue on with the story, despite some of my reservations, and prepare to be amazed by the eventual release of the anime.

On Friday we go from a Shonen Jump property that is going to have an anime adaptation to a Shonen Jump manga that has a very successful anime adaptation.

Let’s go from devils to demons as we will be talking about Demon Slayer!

So until then,

Heiwa to sayonara!

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