Title: Chainsaw Man Vol. 4
Author: Tatsuki Fujimoto
Release Date: April 6, 2021
Publisher: VIZ Media
After the last volume’s shockingly bleak ending, Chainsaw Man Vol. 4 couldn’t be anything but pure dread. The Katana Man arc continues as Denji has the chance to fight back amid a true bloodbath, but this isn’t the end of the fight.
Many deaths occurred in the previous volume, including characters relevant to the story at the time. Instead of mourning, however, the crew has to concern themselves with the present situation. Some people in the team survived and, after a few twists, they have the chance to train, get stronger and strike back.
Behind the scenes, Makima gives a great example of just how scary she can be. She’s manipulative, resourceful, and able to change everything in her favor. Makima is a sly fox, and she’s at the forefront of some of the most thrilling scenes in the volume that feel like they’ll be important in the long run.
The tone doesn’t shadow that there’s something odd about her attitude. Even weirder is how this tragic scenario will conveniently end up giving her more power within the organization. Though she isn’t the only one, her cold actions speak volumes about how she can’t simply be trusted blindly.
While her plots unfold, Denji and Power have to face an insane tutor. Taking their recovery skills into account, he turns their lives into a hellish training arc. Funny scenes also ensue, especially when the duo of fools decide to act as if they were intelligent for once.
The volume concludes by setting up their next confrontation with Katana Man, Sawatari, and many enemies. Now the newly formed Special Division 4 attacks their enemies’ headquarters. With extra devils and fiends introduced, such as the Shark Fiend, Spider Devil, and Angel Devil, this group is a dangerous force needed for this dire situation.
As usual, the volume shows well the human nature of characters in the bizarre way Tatsuki Fujimoto excels at. Unlike the heroics and noble goals of the more usual shounen titles, characters like Denji are crude and somewhat insane, with an interesting and down-to-earth outlook on life.
Even Aki, who carries so many emotions after everything that happened, doesn’t show some passionate speech to reason staying his path. On the contrary, his goal is just as simple as it has always been, and his quick response just shows how deeply ingrained his mentality is.
On the art side, it’s once again possible to see Denji and Power getting worn down by the situation, with clear lines of sweat and wounds. The twisting bodies and exploding effects in chapter 27 are also significant, as is the battle in chapter 28, which shows one of the characters being impressively nimble.
Chainsaw Man Vol. 4 is an enjoyable and thrilling ride; it’s more focused on the training and preparations for a conflict that’s yet to reach its climax. But the standout performance goes to Makima whose plot and actions are yet to be uncovered. The pay-off for all of this definitely feels worth it, but we’re still in the setup.
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