‘Chainsaw Man’ follows the titular teenager Denji, as he goes from a pitiful life to a pitiful death, only to be revived by his pet devil dog and rebirthed into a human-devil hybrid.
Denji is an orphan teenager who lives on scraps inside a decrepit shed with his little dog Pochita, who’s a chainsaw devil. He works under the yakuza mafia and hunts devils for money and livelihood.
However, he can’t make nearly enough to pay off his debt, before he can even buy something better than the few lousy loaves of bread he mostly has around. To pay off his debt, he sells off his body parts but even that hasn’t made a dent so far.
His already miserable life meets an even more grim turn when his yakuza employer reveals he was only hired to be fed to a devil as part of a deal. As a result, Denji is mutilated into pieces, along with Pochita.
Dumped inside a trash can, the surreal occurs and Pochita merges with his heart to rev it back to beating. Additionally, he stitches his owner back up in one piece and gives him devil powers.
The new and improved Denji sports a rip cord dangling from his chest, pulling which can rev his engines up, transforming him into the ‘Chainsaw Man’. A chainsaw protrudes outward from where his face should be, with his arms turning into chainsaws as well.
With these new powers, Denji kills the yakuza old man, as well as the Zombie devil and his zombie minions. As he stands up amid a godown full of bloody corpses, exhausted into semi-unconsciousness, some devil hunters arrive.
They are led by a powerful, beautiful, and hauntingly calm-demeanour Makima, who takes Denji under her wing and promises a new life that provides him with all he could only dream of earlier on. In exchange, he’d become a devil hunter working for the Public Safety Devil Hunters.
Denji meets Aki, his superior, as well as Power, who’s a Fiend (when a devil takes over a corpse). After initial hiccups, the trio becomes close, with Denji fighting with Aki; Power baiting Denji and later getting saved by him; and Aki later taking a bullet for Denji.
Denji’s new dream perversely hinges on his libido, he wants to feel Power’s breasts, and he does get to do that, only to end up being let down massively when the experience is nowhere near what he expected from it.
New members of Division 4 meet Denji and Himeno, who used to be Aki’s mentor, gives Denji his first kiss after he successfully defeats the Eternity Devil. However, this kiss also comes with a gross load of Himeno’s barf, straight into his mouth.
Later on, while the minor Denji is delirious, Himeno also tries sleeping with him, against his consent. However, while he manages to prevent that, he can’t prevent himself from feeling utterly defeated as his sexual goals keep getting marred by horrible or disappointing experiences.
His stale heart is rejuvenated and new goals are set after Makima — who he’s obsessed with — seduces him and proffers to do anything if he kills the Gun Devil for her. Denji accepts in a heartbeat.
The Gun Devil makes his move before him or the other hunters, however, releasing his henchmen to carry out a brutal coordinated attack on the hunters that leaves many dead.
Denji is defeated and decapitated by the Katana Man, Aki is left extremely injured and hospitalised, and Himeno is killed in her quest to save Aki. Kobeni helps make the heads of the villains retreat while Makima deals a heavy blow to them.
Denji and Power get trained by the formidable devil hunter Kishibe while Aki makes a new deal with the Future Devil. The rematch arrives and the Chainsaw Man and the Katana Man duke it out, with the former emerging victorious.
The Katana Man is detained while his partner Akane Sawatari is killed because of her deal with the Gun Devil before she could give anything away about him and his goals to the hunters.
‘Chainsaw Man’ season 1 ends with a bittersweet finale that teases the oncoming battle with the Gun Devil, a cryptic new character, and a sinister secret related to Pochita.
The voice cast is having a lot of fun in ‘Chainsaw Man’ but while the caricaturish vocal exaggerations are abundant, there are also moments where the words carry absolutely devastating emotions, and the cast is just as great at delivering those as well.
The animation, while janky at first, gets significantly better later on in the season, with the perspectives and action sequences exhibiting tremendous creativity at times.
There are many instances where the hype around the anime is justified in how the action is directed and the frenetic pace at which it is delivered, not to mention the true-spirit adaptation of the diabolical gory panels of the manga.
The initial bunch of episodes is just stale and gross, with the supposedly only redeeming parts — the action scenes — not really living up to the expectations.
For source material so beloved and anticipated, ‘Chainsaw Man’ season 1 severely lacks in a remarkable standout, besides Himeno’s death which also doesn’t do much other than imbibe the show with a morose tone and give one character some motivation.
While no trailblazer or genre-defining drop of the season, ‘Chainsaw Man’ season 1 has just enough decent pleasantries of action and gore, that a possibly better sophomore instalment is worth being hyped for.
Chainsaw Man season 1
Director: Ryū Nakayama, Tōko Yatabe, Hironori Tanaka, Tatsuya Yoshihara, Yōsuke Takada, Shun Enokido, Masato Nakazono, Shōta Goshozono, Takahiro Kaneko, Takeshi Satō
Date Created: 2022-10-11 22:30
Also Read: What is a Fiend in Chainsaw Man?