Chainsaw Man Episode 1 review: Hearing the screeching sound of a chainsaw will never be the same

Chainsaw Man Episode 1 screenshot.
Chainsaw Man Episode 1 screenshot. Pic credit: MAPPA

I’ve just finished watching the very first episode of Chainsaw Man, which premiered on October 11, 2022, and was blown away! The first episode opens with our first look at the “hero” Denji, who is living in squalor with his devil dog Pochita. We learn Denji has an enormous debt that he needs to pay off and that he’s been desperately selling his own body parts! Poor guy! Right away, I was already feeling sorry for this broken-down hero.

However, what pays the most is devil hunting and with Pochita’s help as a half-chainsaw half-devil, he is able to kill a Tomato Devil. Denji’s dad committed suicide leaving him with an enormous debt that needs to be paid off to the yakuza (Japanese crime syndicate). The yakuza find devils for Denji to kill and then give him a small cut of the profits in return.

We get a flashback that reveals how Denji met an injured Pochita at his father’s gravesite and how he makes a deal with him – his blood for his help. After that, Denji tells the yakuza to hire him as a devil hunter. Later, the leader of the yakuza betrays Denji. He made a deal with a devil for “power”, but as the Zombie Devil he turns people into zombies, so it probably wasn’t the kind of power they were expecting.

The terrifying Zombie Devil wants all Devil Hunters dead and orders his zombie minions to kill Denji and Pochita. Denji is brutally dismembered and tossed into a trashcan along with Pochita. Some of Denji’s blood gets into Pochita’s mouth and Pochita remembers Denji telling him that if he dies he can have his body and live out his own dreams. Pochita decides to make his own deal – his heart in exchange for seeing Denji make his dreams come true.

As a non-manga reader, who is coming to this anime series with only the summary in mind, I was expecting Pochita to be an evil devil that ultimately betrayed Denji. Wow, was I proven wrong. Pochita may be a devil, but he has the heart of an angel. The saying, “Dogs are man’s best friend” definitely applies to Pochita!

With his newfound power as a Chainsaw Man Denji is able to defeat the Zombie Devil and kill all of the zombified yakuza, which in turn frees him from his debt. The battle of Denji against the Zombie Devil and his minions was satisfyingly bloody and amazing to watch. Good job, MAPPA!

The screeching sound of a chainsaw in the background sent chills down my spine. I know now that anytime I hear the sound of a chainsaw, all I’m going to be thinking is, “Denji-kun!!!!”

A female devil hunter, Makima, from the Public Safety Organization arrives on the scene, and a half-delirious Denji requests that she hugs him. Makima decides to hug Denji and he returns to his human form. Makima gives Denji two options – he can be killed as a devil or he can let himself be kept by her as a human. (Makima wants a human pet, perhaps? Oh, Denji, what have you gotten yourself into?)

Makima also declares she’ll keep Denji fed. When Denji asks what kind of breakfast he’d have Makima replies that he’d have toast with jam and butter, salad, coffee, and probably something for dessert. Since Denji’s dream was to simply have bread with jam and share it with Pochita this immediately wins him over. The saying, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” definitely applies to Denji!

What is the plot of Chainsaw Man?

The story is set in a world where devils are born from human fears and are made manifest in reality. The devils tend to be evil and dangerous and are as powerful as the fear they are able to evoke. However, as the need for “Devil Hunters” arose so did the need to form contracts with the devils in order to gain their power and fight fire with fire. The devils usually live in a dimension called “Hell” but when they are killed they’re transferred to the physical plane of Earth. Once a devil is killed on Earth they return to Hell.

The story centers on an impoverished young man named Denji, who due to the astounding debt his father left behind is struggling to find odd jobs in order to survive. He befriends a dog-like devil named Pochita and together they collect devil corpses to earn money.

However, one day Denji is betrayed and killed. Just as his consciousness is fading he decides to make a contract with Pochita. The devil merges its body with Denji granting him the ability to transform parts of his body into deadly chainsaws. Using his newfound power, Denji joins the Public Safety Devil Hunters – a government agency tasked with fighting devils whenever they become a threat to humanity. 

Who are the cast members?

Chainsaw Man cast members include:

  • Fairouz Ai – Power
  • Kikunosuke Toya – Denji
  • Shogo Sakata – Aki Hayakawa
  • Tomori Kusunoki – Makima
  • Daiki Hamano – Samurai Sword
  • Karin Takahashi – Kobeni Higashiyama
  • Kenjiro Tsuda – Kishibe
  • Maaya Uchida – Angel Devil
  • Mariya Ise – Himeno
  • Natsuki Hanae – Shark Fiend
  • Saori Goto – Spider Devil
  • Shiori Izawa – Pochita
  • Taku Yashiro – Hirokazu Arai
  • You Taichi – Akane Sawatari
  • Yuuya Uchida – Violence Fiend

Who are the production team members?

Chainsaw Man production team members include:

  • Director – Ryuu Nakayama
  • Animation – MAPPA
  • Scriptwriter – Hiroshi Seko
  • Music composer – Kensuke Ushio
  • Original Story – Tatsuki Fujimoto
  • Character Designer and Chief Animation Director – Kazutaka Sugiyama
  • Devilish Design – Kiyotaka Oshiyama

Where can I read Chainsaw Man?

Chainsaw Man is a Japanese action, supernatural, shonen manga series written and illustrated by Tatsuki Fujimoto. From December 2018 to December 2020, its first part was serialized in Shueisha’s shonen manga magazine Weekly Shonen Jump. In July 2022, its second part was serialized in Shueisha’s Shonen Jump+ online magazine, and attracted a great deal of attention. As of March 2021, the manga’s chapters have been collected in eleven tankobon volumes.

The manga’s print and digital English versions have been licensed by Viz Media for release in North America. The manga’s English version is also published on Shueisha’s online platform Manga Plus.

As of August 2022, the Chainsaw Man manga has over 15 million copies in circulation! In 2021, the manga won the 66th Shogakukan Manga Award for the shonen category. In the Harvey Awards, it won first place in the Best Manga category in 2021. Although the manga is known for being incredibly violent and bloody, fans commend its storytelling and complex characters.

Did you enjoy the premiere of Chainsaw Man? Are you going to be thinking about Denji anytime you hear the roar of a chainsaw? Do you trust Makima? Let us know in the comment section below!

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