Here goes with my super-belated reviews of Chainsaw Man. I’ve never gotten in on the ground floor with a manga before. Actually, I’ve only ever read I think one other manga, Death Note, and that was after having watched the television series first. I’d avoided manga and anime (unless you count the likes of Dragon Ball Z and Sailor Moon when I was a child) for much of high school due to knowing too well the type who traded in them from my time taking Japanese. They weren’t all the poster boys/girls of the word “otaku,” or “weeaboo” as my fiancee prefers to put it, but enough were to make it a bias I had to fight against for some time.
I’m still very new to the field of both anime and manga, having only watched a couple of anime, but I can at least consume them both without feeling like a loser, despite my fiancee still wishing for me to not become a “weeaboo” and doing everything in her power to stand against this new interest. No matter how many times I tell her it’s literally just Japanese animation/comics, she won’t budge. My small victory is getting her to at least keep her thoughts on the matter to herself. That’s probably as far as I’m going to come anytime soon.
Chainsaw Man in particular is a slippery slope in her eyes, as I was catching up entirely because the anime begins in October. For once, I could join the excitement around a new anime. I’d tried and failed to get into the likes of Demon Slayer, My Hero Academia, and Ranking of Kings, some of the more recent favorites of the community, so I’d been looking to find a popular anime to finally buzz about with everyone else. Looking at all the merch for the first two of the shows I listed, I often find myself thinking “man, I wish I actually liked those shows,” because I’m a sucker for cool merch, and there’s no shortage for them. And I’m not gonna lie and say that part of my excitement surrounding Chainsaw Man is that there’s sure to be some sweet merch in its future as well.
Anywho, onto the books themselves, this chunk of volumes is when things start to really get weird and when relationships really start to blossom. We’re treated to multiple devils that up the ante considerably, testing the limits of Denji and the others, and in them being taken so close to the brink, their bonds only grow stronger. Almost immediately, I grew to love the friendship between Power and Denji. Maybe that’s because it’s possibly the only relationship Denji has throughout the entire series thus far that his brain allows him to keep to just friends, or maybe it’s because their energy is so chaotic, especially when combined. With their level of maturity, they might as well be kids, and they have that sort of pure friendship you tend to see only in childhood. Their childishness also manifests in some less ideal ways, like Denji’s obsession with women, or Power’s refusal to eat vegetables, but I still wanna protect both with my all.
Onto the devils, I’ll say that this is when I got excited for the anime. Admittedly, following the action in the manga hasn’t been super easy, although I appreciate the sweet, gory visuals nonetheless. Because of this, I can’t wait to see what the artist(s) intended when these fights happen in the anime. It could just be me and my issues with visualizing things, though (aphantasia crew checking in). Regardless, there’s an inventiveness to the enemies in Chainsaw Man that I greatly appreciate. When they revealed the Gun Devil as the big-bad, I was a little concerned, as that seemed a little too on-the-nose, but the other villains in this cast of characters have been nothing if not unique. Sometimes they may fall back on well-worn ideas, like zombies, but in those instances they’re an extra-added spice to up the numbers and heighten the conflict, not the main focus.
So, to sum up, I commend these five volumes for their character work and the creativity on display with the enemies Denji and his crew face, yet have some minor issues with following along with the fights. Oh, and I must admit that I couldn’t help but be happy a lot of the time when characters would die, seeing as there were so many characters being juggled that I had a hard time keeping track of all of them, aside from the most key players, like Denji, Power, and Makima. I’m sure this is something that will also benefit from being put to TV; I’m sure the characters will have a little more time to breathe, and them being in color will make it a little easier to differentiate them all too. These are nitpicks that I just as quickly forgot about, however. Altogether, it was a super fun read and I couldn’t wait to get onto the last five volumes.