Chainsaw Man - Series Premiere Review

The Chainsaw Man premiere more than lives up to the manga's hype with some stunning and brutal action, gallows humor, an incredibly bleak story, and an endearing protagonist.


Chainsaw Man will debut on Crunchyroll on Oct. 11, 2022.

This is the Chainsaw Man adaptation we've been waiting for! In its premiere, the highly anticipated anime delivers a gnarly, brutal, violent, but also kind of heartwarming episode with some great gallows humor and surprisingly poignant themes. Once the titular Chainsaw Man makes an appearance, all hell breaks loose, and MAPPA delivers one of the coolest and bloodiest scenes to be animated in quite a long time, and this is only the beginning.
There is arguably no anime premiere this year that is as eagerly anticipated as Chainsaw Man, the adaptation of Tatsuki Fujimoto's manga. Every trailer released for this show has got viewership numbers on par with the last season of Attack on Titan, despite having not aired a single episode yet, and somehow Studio MAPPA delivers. It’s set in a world where human fears take physical form and become Devils who wreak havoc across the Earth. Anything from tomatoes to insects to sharks to guns to darkness devils can take scary shape in this universe. These Devils give contracts to people to use their powers, with some using them for evil, and some using them to hunt other Devils.
The premiere introduces us to Denji, a destitute kid working to pay off an absurdly high debt he inherited from his father, and whose only friend in the world is an adorable demon-dog thing named Pochita. With the help of the chainsaw coming out of Pochita's forehead, Denji works as a Devil hunter for the yakuza, slowly paying off his debt and trying not to starve in the meantime.
Other than Pochita being the cutest thing you have ever seen, Chainsaw Man is incredibly bleak. We're talking Attack on Titan level of darkness, and it is not even because of the Devils or the absurdly gory violence, but because of the Dickensian exploration of working-class woes. If you thought Squid Game's portrayal of the horrors of being in debt was bleak, wait until you see what Denji has done to try and ease the burden a bit. Our young protagonist may fight Devils on the daily, but he doesn't flinch at the sight of them, because his horrors are much more real and present.
That is Chainsaw Man's secret sauce: how it takes tried and tested tropes of shonen anime like One Piece and My Hero Academia, and twists them into something quite cynical. On paper, Denji doesn't seem much more different than Luffy in terms of his hunger to reach a goal, his eccentric behavior, or his awkward interactions with others, but the reason for them being the way they are could not be more different. Denji is not eager to take on the world, but also desperate not to be swallowed up by its horrors. This is a cruel and absurd story, but that only reflects the cruel and absurd world the characters live in. What is a young boy who has chainsaws coming out of his body to do but laugh as he slaughters his enemies?
The bleakness of story extends to the visuals too. MAPPA introduces us to a gray world with muted colors, one that is constantly cloudy, where every attempt at color – any character with a splash of joy – is drowned by their surroundings… at least until the blood starts pouring.
There is a brilliant mix of computer-generated and hand-drawn animation, which allows for intricate movement and camera motions.
The animation in Chainsaw Man resembles Jujutsu Kaisen more than the aforementioned Attack on Titan, so if you were worried about an overreliance on computer-generated visuals, rest assured it is used effectively without it being distracting. Instead, there is a brilliant mix of computer-generated and hand-drawn animation, which allows for intricate movement and camera motions, as well as an excellent use of space, with a climactic warehouse fight fully using its depth of field to make the danger feel bigger, the enemies look stronger, and the movements seem more elaborate. Likewise, there is some fantastic sound design in the episode, particularly in the revving of the titular Chainsaw Man's chains, a hellish weapon that roars and deafens as it slaughters away at Denji's enemies.
If there was any doubt that this show would live up to the violent implication of its title, worry no longer; Chainsaw Man is one gory show. Guts are spilled, veins explode, blood pours out like water flowing through a river, and every imaginable limb is maimed and turned to shreds in the most metal way possible.
The Chainsaw Man premiere essentially adapts the very first chapter of the manga, recreating every single panel in a faithful way, with no filler and no skipping around. With 11 episodes to go, the show will either start adapting things incredibly fast, or skip and condense. Either way, we are off to a great start. Rest assured, this is the Chainsaw Man adaptation we were waiting for, and we're just getting started.
This story originally appeared on: IGN - Author:Rafael Motamayor

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