Dog and Chainsaw -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Arrival In Tokyo -| Review Score – 4/5
Meowy’s Whereabouts -| Review Score – 4/5
Rescue -| Review Score – 4/5
Gun Devil -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Kill Denji -| Review Score – 4/5
The Taste of a Kiss -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Gunfire -| Review Score – 4/5
From Kyoto -| Review Score – 4/5
Bruised & Battered -| Review Score – 4/5
Mission Start -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Katana Vs Chainsaw -| Review Score – 4/5
Chainsaw Man was one of the most anticipated anime of Fall 2022. Many were excited to see characters like Denji and Makima receive the animated treatment. It’s a show that contains some raunchy humor and brutal fights, split across 12 episodes with a runtime of about 24 minutes each. The anime was directed by Ryu Nakayama, Tatsuya Yoshihara, and Shingo Yamashita.
Studio Mappa worked on the animation for this project too. Many will remember that they also had a hand in animating Attack On Titan’s fourth season and Jujutsu Kaisen. As mentioned earlier, this series had a lot going for it with its strong fanbase, excellent source material, and highly credited studio. Although Chainsaw Man doesn’t slash its way toward a flawless victory, it was an enjoyable time.
Chainsaw Man follows Denji and his Chainsaw Devil companion Pochita. They hope to obtain enough funds to pay off a massive debt Denji’s father left for his son to pay. One day, Denji and Pochita follow a yakuza boss to a warehouse to slay a devil for cash. However, Denji and Pochita get ambushed, betrayed, and murdered by the yakuza who are in cahoots with the Zombie Devil.
Pochita makes an honorable sacrifice and gives Denji his powers. Denji becomes Chainsaw Man and defeats the Zombie Devil and the yakuza. The next day, Makima and some Public Safety officials arrive and offer Denji an opportunity to work for them in exchange for a life of luxuries. The storyline moves as you’d expect after that. Denji will meet new Devil Hunters and defeat several menacing devils.
Not only will Denji encounter devils, but he’ll encounter rogue devil hunters and more yakuza aiming to defeat him. These situations always feel intense, giving viewers solid pressure for each battle. Denji and his allies leave nobody unharmed. You’ll be greeted with a lot of nightmarish visuals and gore. On that note, this show adores leaving small breadcrumbs for its viewers.
There are many oddities to contemplate about before a new season arrives. Some include the Gun Devil’s appearance and abilities to what lies behind the door in Denji’s dreamland. The show contains other mysteries worth contemplating, making it a satisfying season to rewatch to formulate ideas for what lies ahead. This anime contains some essence of plot convenience and retreads topics.
On par with the storyline, the characters had their highs and minor lows. Denji’s character starts as this likable naive goofball. Many can relate to his sorrowful predicament involving his poor lifestyle and repaying a debt left behind by his cruel father. However, his transition to becoming a delinquent who pursues sexual fantasies may not resonate with the people who cherished his wholesomeness.
Granted, Denji shows signs early on of wanting a girlfriend. However, his desires to fondle chests, have intercourse, and do other raunchy things to girls makes him out to be nothing but a deviant. Underneath his lust for sexual activities, lies a character with a huge heart. Even if he doesn’t admit it, Denji performs various heroic acts of saving lives and caring for his friends.
The other characters serve their roles respectfully. Unfortunately, some characters that didn’t receive as much development as they should have. However, they all played a substantial role in the plot. If there was one character that stood toe to toe with Denji, it’d be Makima. From her wicked powers to her mystifying demeanor, she has a lot of peculiarities that help her stand out. It’d be intruiging to see the anime gradually reveal more details about her concerning her past, possible devil contracts, and reasons for pursuing Denji.
If the characters were the highlight of this show, the animation would be its lowest point. That’s not to say everything looked uncanny or jarring. Studio Mappa did an excellent job of capturing realism in the movements of our characters, conversations, and interactions with the world they inhabited. However, when the series leans into its fantastical nature issues start developing.
Many fights stood out like a sore thumb. From Chainsaw Man’s rough CGI character models to seeing its characters talk in said format, it all looked unappealing and awkward. The fights that looked the best tended to retain classic 2D animation or better use of the show’s CGI elements. Denji’s battle with the Eternity Devil comes to mind for the former.
As for the soundtrack though, Chainsaw Man doesn’t disappoint. The music elevates each fight, even the ones that weren’t the best from an animation perspective.
We’re greeted by many moments where sound plays a role in making situations feel more lively. Some scenes include Hayakawa cleaning up his apartment to Denji and Power shopping for sodas at vending machines. These carry a level of realism that I didn’t expect to come from an action-centric anime like this one. It was a wonderful change of pace compared to other works.
The voice acting plays a role in making this a fun show to watch too. The voice actors and actresses gave their best in these roles. From Denji to Kobeni, no voice sounded degrading or distasteful. While I didn’t care for the show’s multiple ending themes, the opening theme “Kick Back” by Kenshi Yonezu captured the chaotic nature of the show extremely well.
Overall, Chainsaw Man was a fun thrill ride to follow every week. It didn’t have perfect animation nor does it have a solid narrative. Its characters can feel like a mixed bag too. However, the show crafts a remarkable set-up for future events and leaves viewers with multiple questions. Chainsaw Man shredded through many fans’ expectations and created a memorable first season for itself.
Verdict - 8/10