From the uniqueness of its sharp-toothed phallic shape, to the roar of its smoke-spewing, pull-cord-ignited engine, to the gruesome, splattering damage it produces, a chainsaw is a weapon like no other. This was definitively proven by Tobe Hooper’s 1974 horror classic. The Texas Chainsaw Massacreand it’s been reaffirmed in countless sagas since, whether it’s Sam Raimi’s 1987 cult classic Evil Dead 2the 2000 film by Mary Harron American Psycho, or Panos Cosmatos’ 2018 mandyin which Nicolas Cage does his best Dennis Hopper-in-Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 routine and has a gonzo chainsaw vs. chainsaw fight with a juggernaut. For sheer, pure, terrifying carnage, this is the power tool of choice for any discerning gorehound.
And yet, never before have the American public seen one used so madly and brilliantly as in Chainsaw Man.
Based on the award-winning manga of the same name by Tatsuki Fujimoto, created in 2018, Chainsaw Man is a half-hour anime – streaming on Sony’s Crunchyroll streaming service on October 11 following its debut at this year’s New York Comic Con – about a young boy named Denji. Thanks to his “deadbeat” father, from whom he inherited heavy debts, Denji lives in a state of perpetual destitution. He lives in a ramshackle shack in the middle of an unnamed Japanese countryside, and his biggest dreams are to one day meet a girl – who he could play video games with and sleep next to – and acquire some jam. to put on the bread. it is the only food he can afford.
Denji is a sad bag in so much need that, as he explains during an introductory sequence, he succumbed to selling body parts to scrounge up cash to pay the gray-haired old yakuza boss. and the trench coat he owes. While earning a measly 60,000 yen/month cutting down trees in the forest, he pocketed 1.2 million yen for selling his kidney, an additional 300,000 yen for swapping his right eye (including the missing is now obscured by a black stain), and something like 100,000 yen for one of his nuts. Desperation doesn’t come much more pathetic than that, and worse, his unpaid bill remains at over 38 million yen. So he continues to spend his days and nights working hard to make ends meet – which he does, it turns out, by doing what any unlucky kid could do: slaughter demons.
Chainsaw Man, it quickly becomes clear, is set in an alternate world in which men and women live side by side with unholy monsters, and Denji has taken it upon himself to help rid the landscape of these creatures for a hefty price; as he points out, a dead devil usually deserves a sum of 300,000 yen. Since he has no special powers, Denji performs these tasks with the help of Pochita, a small round red dog with a chainsaw blade sticking out of his head and a tail (which ends in a triangle) which serves as a real zipper. Pochita is a cute and loyal chainsaw devil that Denji can wield like a buzzing instrument of death, and he immediately shows off his devil slaying prowess when he comes across a tomato devil – a round thing with myriad eyes. and a side mouth full of human teeth – and dispatches him with Pochita in no time.
This means Denji and Pochita can eat a little more regular bread, but it leaves them with little lasting stability. Also, as evidenced by a subsequent altercation with the yakuza and his sidekick, in which the latter humiliates Denji by offering him 100 yen to eat a cigarette (which he does), it earns him no respect. Denji’s fortunes go even further south when the yakuza boss lures Denji to an abandoned warehouse for an apparent job, only to double-cross him by revealing that he’s sold his soul to a zombie devil – another giant fleshy mass of monstrosity who Mutates power-hungry souls into undead minions. Denji’s battle against these hordes is futile, resulting in his dismembered corpse being dumped unceremoniously into a dumpster. However, all hope is not lost. Fulfilling a promise made to his master, Pochita fuses with Denji’s corpse, resurrecting his master as a boy who is not only whole, but has a special power, one indicated by the cord-like symbol on his chest. .
“Pochita merges with Denji’s corpse, resurrecting his master as a boy who is not only whole, but has a special power, one indicated by the cord-like symbol on his chest.”
Denji is now a human-devil hybrid, and when he activates his new ability, he transforms from an average-looking child into an Inhuman marauder with one chainsaw blade sticking out of his forehead and two more attached to his forearms. arms, as well as a red visor-like helmet (with glowing eyes behind) and a fanged mouth with a tongue that would make Venom jealous. He’s an unstoppable agent of destruction, and he quickly dispatches his trailing foes and the zombie devil who controls them, hacking, slashing, and leaping through the air with sharp, fearsome musculature. The bloodshed is explicit and copious throughout Chainsaw Man, which doesn’t skimp on large gushing geysers of bodily fluids; it’s a decidedly R-rated affair that delights in the grotesque. Yet the stylized grace of this chaos means it’s less gross than merely gnarly, and its butchery is offset by the fact that beneath its crimson-stained exterior lies a seemingly gentle heart.
Directed by Ryu Nakayama (Jujutsu Kaisen), the chainsaw manThe first episode of is really just a prologue, establishing the origins of Denji’s vocation and evolution so that he can eventually put him in the company of Makima, who finds Denji at the warehouse and enlists the service of the Public Safety Division, a government devil-hunting team that may be the key to his survival and salvation. The duo’s intrigue-laden escapades will no doubt be the main focus of the anime’s 12-episode first season, though it’s suspected that the show’s real draw will simply be the outlandish chaos of the circular saw. brought on by Denji, who – through striking and vibrant animation – proves an instantly memorable figure of manic mayhem and madness. The chainsaw may be a familiar sight in the action-horror arena, but the three-bladed Denji nevertheless makes it new and exciting, again.