Chainsaw Man – Season 1 Episode 1 “Dog and Chainsaw” Recap & Review

Dog and Chainsaw

Episode 1 of Chainsaw Man begins with Denji waking up from a dream where he’s exploring a nearby alleyway and opening a mysterious door.

On his way to work, Denji recounts the money he made while cutting trees and selling some of his body parts and organs. Even after selling everything, he’s still short on cash. Pochita senses something nearby, and Denji assumes that it’s another devil.

This is where we learn that outside his usual lumber work, Denji’s also a devil hunter. Denji acknowledges that devil hunting pays the best and prepares to slay the incoming Tomato Devil using Pochita as a chainsaw. He slays it! An old man arrives and greets Denji. He plans to pay Denji 400,000 yen, more than Denji expected. After fees and interest, Denji will only receive 70,000 yen. After paying off his bills and other things he owes, Denji ends up with 1,800 yen.

As Denji wallows over his shortened pay, we see the old man communicating with his driver about Denji. The old man confirms that Denji is working for them to pay back his deadbeat father’s debt to them. Denji follows orders well, unlike other devil hunters who won’t give them devil corpses, according to the old man. To test his theory, the driver offers Denji 100 yen if he eats his cigarette, and Denji accepts his offer.

In his home, Denji tells Pochita what it would be like to put jam on their bread, which reflects how unfortunate their lives are at the moment. Denji reveals that he wants to live a mundane life, but something like that may never happen due to his father’s debt. He feels he’ll pass away before paying it off and may never get a girlfriend. Denji recalls when he was a child standing in front of his father’s grave.

The old man drives by, informing Denji that his father hung himself to escape from paying his first month’s installment. He tells Denji that the debt’s now on him, and if he doesn’t pay him by the next day, he’ll chop him to pieces and sell his bits. After the man departs, Denji is ambushed by Pochita, as we can assume this is how they met. Although Denji’s startled by Pochita’s appearance, he doesn’t fear death and is all for Pochita ending his life.

He notices Pochita’s flesh wounds and offers himself over to Pochita. This is because devils can heal themselves by drinking blood. After Pochita bites him, Denji states that Pochita needs to return the favor and help him clear his debt. Denji uses Pochita’s chainsaw abilities to murder a devil. He brings the corpse to the old man and asks him to hire him as a devil hunter.

In the present, Denji finds it difficult to sleep because he’s hungry. He reiterates how he’d love to live a better life that involves bread with jam and a tight relationship. He said this is what he’ll dream about when he attains the energy necessary to sleep. Denji coughs up blood and is startled by the sight of it on his hand. He remembers hearing that his mother died from a heart disease that made her cough up blood. The old man arrives at Denji’s home, alerting him that he has more devils for him and Pochita to slay.

The old man drives Denji to an abandoned factory, but Denji’s suspicious about the situation. The old man stops and informs Denji that he’s happy that he’s as loyal as a dog and works for a small price. Suddenly, a man stabs Denji and Pochita from behind with a sword. The old man explains that they double-crossed him and forged a new contract with a devil. The devil offered them a chance to gain demonic power in exchange for dead devil hunters.

The old man’s new boss emerges and reveals his zombie-like form. The Zombie Devil says he finds these men dumb for wanting a taste of his power as the yakuza begin transforming into zombies. He reiterates how much he despises devil hunters and plans to have his new slaves take him out. Denji attempts to flee with Pochita in his arms, but the zombies stab him to the ground and chop him up.

Denji and Pochita end up in a dumpster, and it appears Denji has passed away. Blood drips from Denji’s forehead and reaches Pochita’s mouth, awakening him. Pochita remembers a moment when Denji and were cutting trees. As they’re eating bread, Denji tells him that there may come a time when he dies fighting a devil and that he’ll regret leaving Pochita alone, hungry, or at the mercy of another devil.

Denji remembers hearing from someone that some devils can take over dead bodies and asks Pochita if he’s capable of doing so. If he can, Denji wants Pochita to take over his body, so he can live a mundane life and attain a die naturally. After recalling Denji’s offer, Pochita fuses with Denji and heals him while connecting his body parts back together. Denji wakes up in another area of existence and wonders if Pochita took over his dead body.

Pochita speaks, letting Denji know he loved hearing him talk about his dreams. Pochita forms a new deal with Denji. In exchange for Pochita’s heart, he wants Denji to show him his dreams. Denji awakens and exits the dumpster. When he looks at his body, he realizes that all his wounds have vanished and Pochita’s tail is sticking out of his chest. The Zombie Devil is surprised to see him alive and orders his zombies to eat him.

As the zombies rush toward him, Denji questions if he and the yakuza have anything in common. Since they all weren’t satisfied with their lives and wanted more, Denji states he doesn’t blame them. However, if they’re willing to stand in the way of his chance at happiness, he’ll have no regrets about murdering them. As Denji pulls the cord from his chest–the zombies jump on him.

Seconds later, Denji bursts out from the zombie dogpile, revealing that he’s become Chainsaw Man, a warrior with a chainsaw for a head who wields chainsaw-like arm blades. The Zombie Devil’s bewildered by what he sees as Denji starts his assault. He wonders if Pochita took over his body. Denji slaughters many enemies in his way and deals a heavy blow to the Zombie Devil. The Zombie Devil pushes Denji back and starts pelting his men at him.

Denji cuts every zombie he throws at him and manages to land on the Zombie Devil’s body, cutting him in half. Denji looks at the remaining zombies and notes how it’s humorous that they became devils and hired him as a devil hunter. He cuts them all to pieces, stating he’ll finally be free from his debt. In the morning, a group of people arrives in a car in front of the abandoned factory.

The group consists of a woman followed by two men. They enter the building, and they see the corpses of all the devils Denji murdered. The woman approaches Denji, stating that he wreaks of a weird scent that’s neither human nor devil. She assumes he’s responsible for the murders, as Denji asks for her to hug him and the woman does so. As she hugs him, Denji returns to normal as the woman claims he isn’t possessed.

She tells Denji that she came to kill the Zombie Devil as she’s a devil hunter who works with Public Safety. The two options she offers Denji are to die by her hands or keep him as a human. She promises he’ll be well-fed and taken care of while listing what he can expect for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The scene ends with Denji laying on the woman’s lap in bewilderment by her offerings as he finds it all fascinating and awesome.


The Episode Review

Chainsaw Man episode one has finally arrived. Fans have been waiting for its anime adaptation to come out since its official trailer was released a couple of months ago. While the series’ first episode did a phenomenal job establishing our protagonist’s character, predicament, and abilities, there are a few issues with this episode.

There’s mixed feelings regarding this episode’s animation and visuals. This episode looked its best whenever scenes weren’t too action-centric. I adore the minor details, from character walking animations to seeing water drip from leaves.

Unfortunately, the animation and visuals plummet as soon as Denji undergoes his Chainsaw Man transformation and starts slaughtering the Zombie Devil and his men. While some zombies look decent, some of Denji and the others’ movements look jarring and off-putting. From Denji’s sluggish attacks to his lackluster dodges, it felt like I was watching a stop-motion fight scene. Chainsaw Man’s CGI design didn’t do much for me, either.

I’m also curious about the devils’ origins in this world. While it may get touched upon in later episodes, I’m disappointed this one didn’t give us a short and sweet explanation.

Besides those issues, this episode was certainly fun, and I’m excited to learn more about Chainsaw Man’s world and other characters. Denji’s character feels semi-relatable to those who’ve encountered poor living situations or bad luck in the past. Pochita is an adorable character who won me over as soon as he appeared on the screen.

Hopefully, the upcoming episodes will give that adrenaline-pumping atmosphere we expected the first episode to deliver.

Next Episode

Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!

 

  • Episode Rating -
    (3.5)
3.5

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