When I first heard about the premise of Chainsaw Man, I disregarded it as another one of those wacky Shonen Jump titles that don’t end up going anywhere. I mean, a guy escaping from the Yakuza, merges with a demon, and suddenly gains Chainsaw powers is a choice. What’s next, Screwdriver Boy? Drill Dude? Like, c’mon.
I just didn’t think there was anything special there. And then, of course, it exploded in popularity. Chainsaw Man quickly went on to become a sweetheart for manga enthusiasts everywhere, topping internet rank lists and reviews wherever it went. With amazing fight scenes to rival some of the biggest Shonen front runners to the way the plot brings back fan-favorite characters like Power, Chainsaw Man seemed to be doing something very, very right. To keep fans invested for so long with a plot this zany and cutthroat, it’s a feat worthy of applause.
Chainsaw Man is a Shonen manga series created by Tatsuki Fujimoto, writer and illustrator, that was serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump in late 2018. In just a little over 3 years of publication, it has sold nearly 12 million copies worldwide and went on to win awards in both Japan and outside. Critically acclaimed as it is, it’s no wonder it’s also slated as one of the most anticipated anime releases of 2022.
Chainsaw Man: A Plot So Weird, It Works!
We all know the story of Denji, our destitute protagonist who, in trying to escape the Yakuza’s clutches, ends up making a deal with Pochita, a dog-like demon. Denji then proceeds to merge with Pochita, becoming a Hybrid and leading him to gain a power where he can transform his various body parts into chainsaws. His newfound abilities lead him to be recruited into the Public Safety Devil Hunters, a government-funded agency whose goal is to push back the Devils, born from human fear and anxieties when they get too overwhelming on society.
It is here that Denji meets various characters like Makima, the charismatic leader of the Devil Hunters, Aki Hayakawa, another hybrid like him, and Power, an amateur actress turned Blood Fiend who is arguably one of the best characters in the manga. So, it’s safe to say that fans were heartbroken when she was killed off in the later chapters. But did the magnanimous Power stay dead? Let’s find out!
Power Proves She Is Still The G.O.A.T.™
Power enthusiasts, Tatsuki-san came through! When Power died at the hands of Makima, of all people, it broke the fandom. She and Denji had such an unstable relationship in the beginning, but she grew to consider him as her only friend. So, when she was blown to pieces by Makima, right after Denji opened the door to find her holding a birthday cake, it was straight-up tragic.
Sad thing is, while Power was always a brash and confident individual, her fear of Makima overrode everything. But the fact that she still got up, with a torso half blown off, helped Denji before succumbing and getting absorbed into his consciousness? That made fans hold out hope that, somehow, Power would come back to the story.
And, boy, she came back swinging! See, since Denji drank her blood, a part of Power lived on in him. So, when his life was threatened, Power accepted Pochita’s offer to fuse and revive herself as a Devil. Power reappeared just as Makima was about to deal the final blow, angry and pissed off. All bets were off, and Power went to town on Makima.
She threw assault after assault of bloody weapons, all the while screaming about how ‘trashy’ Makima was. And before Makima could turn the tables, she jets off with Chainsaw Man, effectively rescuing him from any wrath. In true Power fashion, the two share a heartfelt moment where Power tells him of a way to revive the Blood Demon, even if it meant she might not be the same Power he knew.
Chainsaw Man: Vicious Characters, Wicked Action
Mind you, the character portrayals here are outstanding. It isn’t just Power, each of the characters in Chainsaw Man is full of individuals with their own motivations and backstories. There is no clear good guy here, everyone is just doing what they think is right, what serves their personal best interests.
It is that morally grey tone that adds depth to this plot, which isn’t for the faint of heart. Between the murder and the deception, things get pretty bleak. But the actions that result from all of this hurting are what sells the story here. No one is bad, just for the sake of it. All of these things that are happening are a result of manipulation and trauma.
And the ways our characters deal with said trauma is so raw. The way they react to certain events, and the way they have their insecurities is organic, a unique feature to find in popular Shonen.
A Cinematic Masterpiece Told Through Page Panels
Chainsaw Man isn’t just ’good for a Shonen manga’. It is some of the best pieces of storytelling we’ve gotten in recent years. The way it builds its world with these amazing characters and rich lore is incredible, portraying it through some of the most dynamic artwork I’ve seen from an up-and-coming mangaka.
For a plot as insane and convoluted as it is here, it’s surprisingly relatable. Like Denji, a lot of us are a product of our circumstances. The stakes in this fictional story feel real instead of being unnecessarily violent for no reason. Despite the bombastic action scenes, filled with gore, you’re never left unsatisfied.
And in between those fast-paced scenes, the writer makes sure that there are panels of breathing space, where it slows down enough to give the reader respite. The manga takes its time and has these chill moments where it focuses on building the characters and atmosphere. It oozes style and flair, leading to a very fun read.
You wouldn’t expect a lot of emotion from something this heavy on blood and guts, but at its core, Chainsaw Man is an incredibly human story, laced with supernatural consequences.