MANGA REVIEW | "Chainsaw Man" - Volume One
Tatsuki Fujimoto’s bio is but three words: “I love chainsaws!” And who could blame him? The entertainment world has given us heroes like Ash in Evil Dead or Juliet Starling in Lollipop Chainsaw, who wield these tools like they were Excalibur. Naturally, a manga had to come along where its main character not only used chainsaws, but was one with these buzzing concoctions. Enter Chainsaw Man, the hero we all need and deserve in these chaotic times.
Denji has had the worst luck that anyone could imagine. His father left him a massive debt, which resulted in him having to sell his eye, kidney, and testicle. Fortunately, a cute devil dog named Pochita stands by his side, with chainsaw popping from its face. They kill devils, and make a little dough to pay back the debt and enjoy eating plain bread for three square meals.
However, other plans arise, and Denji is hacked to pieces by an army of devils and zombies. But his story doesn’t end there, as Pochita gives Denji his heart to live a (somewhat) normal life. In exchange, Pochita tells Denji one thing: “Show me your dreams.” And thus, Denji becomes Chainsaw Man, and makes quick work out of any devil that stands in his way. Upon escaping death, a public safety devil hunter named Makina appears, and gives Denji an option: “If you be my pet, I’ll give you food.”
In a strange way, Chainsaw Man is all about appreciating the small things in life. Denji’s gratefulness for good food, shelter, and genuine human kindness can be seen in the same light as a less-fortunate person being given some sort of kindness. There’s a level of innocence in Denji’s viewpoints, as even the tiny bit of humanity that is sprinkled onto his head is met with joy and understanding. It’s a moral that rings loudly throughout the first volume, one that demonstrates large appreciation for small gestures.
Oh who are we kidding! We’re here to watch a dude slaughter devils with chainsaws that protrude out of his body! And holy crap, does Chainsaw Man deliver! The carnage and mayhem that Fujimoto brings in these panels look right at home with the best grindhouse movie posters or classic Tales from the Crypt-styled pulp comics. These visuals are so detailed and grotesque, that one can actually hear the violence that is spewed on these pages!
Readers are already given a great foray of characters for this series. Aki seems to be a good stern foil to Denji’s wild ways, which leads our hero to constantly kick him in the groin when he gets in his way. Power is a mad Blood Fiend that goes the “kill first, and screw everything else” route. (Her way of killing a Sea Cucumber Devil will bring to mind a certain mallet-wielding comedian.) Lastly, Makina is Denji’s beacon of hope: his first love, his guide, and the person whom he might cop a feel of for his very first time.
Chainsaw Man revs it hardcore in its first volume, and it does so in glorious fashion! There’s no other shonen manga I can honestly compare it to, as it brims with a style that would be more akin to a Lloyd Kaufman/Troma production. It may not be for the squeamish, but Chainsaw Man deserves to be read by every person that craves great action, comedy, and a gravy bowl of violence!
Now which part of my body do I have to sell to get an anime adaptation green-lit?
Promotional consideration provided by Gabrielle Dyer of VIZ Media