Yesterday, the first episode of the highly-anticipated anime Chainsaw Man, produced by MAPPA, dropped on Crunchyroll. Now, I want to start by making it clear that I am brand-spanking new to this series. I haven’t read any of the manga, although it’s very high on my to-read list (but that list is very lengthy and it’s honestly been over a year since I’ve started reading any new manga). I watched the trailer that came out back in May, and it looked awesome, but all I learned from it was that the show was going to be intense, gory, and sexy. I’ve seen quite a few Chainsaw Man TikToks on my For You Page, but since they’ve all been out of context and I don’t know who any of the characters are, that’s not much to go on at all. All I know is this: 1) There is a man with a chainsaw for a head, 2) There is a cute little creature with a chainsaw on his head, 3) A lot of people simp for a character named Makima, and 4) “Aki x Angel” is a popular ship. So, I’m pretty much coming into this anime with a blank slate.
With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s get into what I thought about the first episode!
This anime is NOT for the faint of heart.
With nastiness including zombies, coughing up blood, suicide by hanging, and dismemberment, you’ll want to stay away from this series if blood, guts, and death aren’t your thing. On the other hand, if you’re a horror lover like me: Bon appetit!
I love Pochita SO MUCH.
So, the little critter with the chainsaw on his head is a devil named Pochita, and not to be dramatic, but I would die for him. His little barks, his :3 face, his loyalty to Denji, the way he munches on bread… He is precious, and I love him. I have to admit, though, his design is kind of ridiculous. I mean, a devil that is also a fully operational chainsaw? Does this world also have weed-whacker demons? Or perhaps a sewing machine yokai? The concept of a living creature having a manmade inanimate object as part of its anatomy is creative for sure, but also just so bizarre to me. That doesn’t stop me from wanting a weird little chainsaw puppy of my own, though.
Denji’s life really, seriously sucks.
A tragic backstory is one thing, but the tragedy just hasn’t stopped for this poor guy. His mom died from a disease that he might have inherited, his dad committed suicide and left him indebted to the Yakuza, he’s missing half his organs, and he lives in a shack… At least Kaneki from Tokyo Ghoul lived a sad but relatively normal life before becoming a monster. And yet, even with his utterly miserable existence, Denji is still able to smile and dream about things like eating bread with jam and going on dates with a girl. All that trauma could have turned him into a cold, emotionless husk, but he somehow managed to stay human. I already adore him as a protagonist.
Step aside, Light Yagami: We’ve got a new iconic psycho laugh.
Kudos to seiyuu Kikunosuke Toya (who is new to the field, by the way!) for giving us this incredibly horrifying cackle. It was cathartic enough just to watch Denji cut down the organization that controlled his whole life, so I can only imagine how Denji felt. He may have been experiencing a bit of a psychotic break, but honestly? Good for him.
Apparently there are a bunch of movie references in the opening.
Full transparency: If I hadn’t seen this post by Wendy Batulan on Facebook, I would not have noticed any of these. In fact, even after viewing the post, I still don’t recognize any of the scenes. What can I say? I have never professed myself to be even a minor movie buff. I am planning on finally watching Texas Chainsaw Massacre this Halloween season, though, so I’ll keep my eyes peeled for this particular moment. (I personally think it might have been a better choice to only reference scenes from this movie instead of others, because, you know, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Chainsaw Man… Great, now “chainsaw” doesn’t look like a word anymore.) Anyway, even though I didn’t pick up on any of these, I still think it was pretty cool to include so many recreations of movie scenes in the opening.
Makima is different from what I expected.
Based on how I’ve seen fans talk about her, I expected Makima to be more, I don’t know… imposing, I guess? Not quite as calm? Granted, I haven’t seen her in action as a devil hunter yet, but I have to admit I’d formed a completely different image of her in my head. I guess this goes to show that you really can’t trust things you see on TikTok. Will I end up joining the hordes of Makima simps? Only time will tell.
So, does it live up to the hype?
YES! I have followed many anime as they were airing (205, to be exact; yes, I keep track), but I don’t remember EVER being so extremely eager to find out what happens next that I decided to drop everything and start reading the manga. (Remember that neglected to-read list I mentioned? Chainsaw Man just rocketed to the #1 spot, and I’m going to start reading it as soon as I’m done writing this.) Maybe this is just because I want to know more about the characters I’ve seen on TikTok, especially that Aki x Angel ship… But in all seriousness, I cannot wait to see what this wild gore-fest has in store! MAPPA already has the masterpieces Attack On Titan and Jujutsu Kaisen under their belts, and many will agree with me when I say I have a feeling this is another legend in the making.