Title: Chainsaw Man Volume 1
Author: Tatsuki Fujimoto
Release Date: Shonen, Action, Horror
Publisher: VIZ Media
Stories revolving around the paranormal have become the new “it” thing almost overnight. Series such as Demon Slayer and Jujutsu Kaisen have quickly stolen the hearts of most of the Otaku community, with a good number of popular series running in Shonen Jump today revolving around some sort of paranormal gimmick. Chainsaw Man may just be the next big shonen series with a paranormal backbone.
Begining serialization only a few months after the new big-hitter Jujutsu Kaisen, Chainsaw Man has gained quite the following in the international manga community, making it impossible to avoid the past few years. However, I was a bit skeptical it would be able to stand out from the crowd. Thanks to fantastic art and an entertaining set up, though, it seems like my doubts may have been misplaced.
Chainsaw Man follows Denji, a young civilian devil hunter trying desperately to pay off his deceased father’s debt to the yakuza. Along with his partner, a chainsaw/dog devil named Pochita, he struggles to get by.
Without much of a warning, his yakuza boss betrays him, and Denji is brutally killed, forcing Pochita to fuse with him to save his life. This turns Denji into a half-demon-half-human Chainsaw Man. With newfound powers and a chance for a new life as a Public Safety Devil Hunter, Denji sets out to accomplish his new goal in life: to touch some boobs.
Let’s go ahead and get this out of the way: my biggest issue with Chainsaw Man so far is its reliance on crude humor. It is by no means ecchi, but Denji seems to constantly have his mind in the gutter, delivering jokes and sexual quips that simply feel out of place among the rest of the volume. This may have been mangaka Tatsuki Fujimoto’s attempt at comedic relief, but it just doesn’t really work for me.
Chainsaw Man has an incredibly unique and distinct art style. Unlike many series that tend to blend into the crowd by following whatever style is the most popular at the time, Chainsaw Man’s rough, edgy style complements its often violent story perfectly.
Though the series isn’t necessarily horror, you can tell that Fujimoto wants to play around in the genre as some of the devils featured in Volume 1 are truly grotesque and creepy. The same could be said about some of the characters themselves. Denji and his partner Power can be intimidating when they go full-on devil mode.
Fujimoto has managed to set up an interesting world in this first Volume. While he never really goes into detail about how anything works, we get a few hints at the Public Safety Devil Hunters’ internal politics. Having Makima, an agent of the PSDH, save Denji but go back and forth between treating him well and treating him like a dog sets up a ton of baggage about her background, the PSDH, and how society as a whole works in this world.
With the first volume of Chainsaw Man ending in a cliff hanger, I’m sad that I have to wait until the second volume release to find out what happens. Fujimoto has crafted an interesting world with great characters that are brimming with potential. If the brutal action featured in the first volume of Chainsaw Man is any indication of what awaits in the rest of the series, I know that we’ll be treated to something great; that is if we can chill out with Denji’s crude humor.
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