Chainsaw Man: MAPPA’s Buzzing New Anime

“Chainsaw Man,” a MAPPA Studios production, proved itself as a classic in just one season with prepossessing visuals and a powerful soundtrack to match.


Promotional Poster via Tatsuki Fujimoto

“Chainsaw Man” is the anime adaptation of the Shonen manga, written by Tatsuki Fujimoto, and follows the life of the devil hunter Denji as he tries to defend the citizens of Japan from the physical embodiments of their biggest fears.

Jackson Mitchell, Staff Writer

“Chainsaw Man” is MAPPA Studios brilliant new manga turned animated series, with illustrations by Tatsuki Fujimoto. Throughout this explosive series, this fantasy version of Japan is rampant with “devils,” which are creatures formed through the fear of humans. With the intricate and niche references to many different films, this show pays homage to the art of film with each glorious scene. In just the opening sequence, there are recreations of iconic movie scenes from famous films such as “Reservoir Dogs,” “Pulp Fiction,” and even “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.”

“Chainsaw Man ” follows the story of Denji, a poverty stricken 16-year-old boy living in Japan, who inherited a great debt after his father’s death. This caused him to resort to hunting devils with his pet dog, Pochita, who was formerly the chainsaw devil,  who owed his life to humans’ fear of chainsaws. After Pochita saves Denji from a near-death experience, he gives his life in exchange for Denji getting a new heart, in turn, causing the creation of the chainsaw man. After Denji transforms, he is found by Makima, the leader of the Devil Hunter Public Safety Organization. Once Makima recognizes Denji’s newfound power, she offers him a job as a professional devil hunter to help defeat the devil who is powered with more fear than any other: the gun devil. 

Through this job offer, Denji ends up in Tokyo Special Division 4, where he meets Aki Hayawaka, Himeno, and Power, who is the blood fiend, or a former devil weakened to human form. These four devil hunters all fit into respective tropes within the series. Aki is a cold and serious man, who will stop at nothing to succeed, while Himeno is portrayed as a mature and experienced hunter. Lastly, Denji and Power will frequently clash together through their shared immaturity and fall perfectly into the “with friends like these, who needs enemies” trope. 

One aspect that makes “Chainsaw Man”  completely different from other Shonen manga is the main character’s motives. While you may see other main characters who want to help their families, or communities, Denji is the black sheep of the family, and his motivation is getting a girlfriend. Through this motivation, Fujimoto did a great job at appealing to a specific audience, 16-year-old boys, just like Denji.

“Chainsaw Man” represents many work and friendship dynamics, giving each character an emotional and in-depth backstory. When first meeting, Aki and Denji deeply resented each other: Denji is very immature and Aki is a stick-to-the-book guy. Through this contrast, they are able to bring out the characteristics the other lacked. Denji was able to highlight Aki’s immaturity and Aki brought out some needed maturity in Denji, improving his skills as a devil hunter in the process. This series also did well at showing the intricate colleague dynamic between Aki and Himeno. They both push each other to their limits, creating an incredibly strong bond in the process. Their dynamic started when Himeno offered Aki a cigarette on their first day working together, representing the twin flame bond shared between them. 

Not only does “Chainsaw Man” come with an electric group of characters, the soundtrack accompanying this visual masterpiece is enthralling. “KICK BACK,” by Kenshi Yonezu, the opening track that played in the beginning of every episode, has amassed over 150 million plays on Spotify, further proving the beauty of “Chainsaw Man.” The other primary artist on the soundtrack is Kensuke Ushio, who holds the credit for a large majority of “Chainsaw Man’s” soundtrack. 

Audience scores for “Chainsaw Man” were extremely positive, earning a 97% average Tomatometer score, with an accompanying 88% audience score. From the intricate and beautiful character dynamics to the glimmering visuals and an amazing soundtrack, the ratings for “Chainsaw Man” are truly well deserved.

“Chainsaw Man” is available to watch on Hulu, Disney+, and Crunchyroll.