Of all the things I expect from the big-name anime coming around, nuanced relationships was not one of them. Like I get bombastic action and high-stakes situations that give the reader a thrill, but not a genuine portrayal of friendship between the opposite sexes. Sadly, that’s just never been a strong point of Shonen in general. But nowadays, things are changing, and interactions between the two are becoming more and more multi-faceted and relatable. And this is where Chainsaw Man, of all franchises, has wowed fans with its relationship-building between Power and Denji.
The relationship between Denji and Power is so clearly platonic, yet it’s extremely confusing for a lot of fans because it’s likely they’ve never experienced a friendship like it. Power is not in love with Denji, not at all. The two are ride-or-die, without there being any layer of romance or sexual tension between them. You don’t get that kind of subtlety in Shonen at all, let alone one as gory as Chainsaw Man.
Look, I love anime as much as the next girl but we can all have a real discussion on how, for the longest time, mangakas did not know how to write women in their fiction, let alone friendships between the two genders. The genre is famously known for relegating its female characters into trope-y love interests or arbitrary comedic relief. It was either motherly nagging or virginal affection and there was no median between the two extremes. So, when you do get more layers to a bond, it starts feeling so alien that you automatically confuse comfort for intimacy.
And I think that is exactly what is happening to Power and Denji when it comes to Chainsaw Man. This is odd because we already know Denji has a love interest, who isn’t Power. So, where do the two go from there? Let’s discuss that and more in today’s section of Lore Analysis – where we take a deep dive into the plot frames of specific anime and manga to see whether we are missing out on a detail or two. Today, it’s platonic intimacy with the two Devils!
Power And Denji: Besties That Aren’t In Love With Each Other.
I know that the main scene that Denji x Power shippers always talk about when it comes to the two is in chapter 71 of the manga, where the two get into a bath together. And, I get why that’s so shady. Like, you wouldn’t get into a bath fully nude with your bestie, now would you?
But in Japan, public baths are a thing. Sure, they might not be co-ed but the sentiment is that nudity itself isn’t sexual. When Denji gets into the tub with Power, he even remarks how there is no lustful intent on either of their parts. That this is purely for comfort after a traumatic incident for Power, who can’t stop crying over the fear she has of the Darkness Devil. Like, she’s numbed out and trying to process all these emotions she’s never felt before. Power isn’t a quiet person by nature, now imagine scarred she must be to be quiet during something like this. So, in that moment? They are the farthest thing away from any sexual tension.
It’s just Denji taking care of Power as a good friend would. It’s him helping her with platonic comfort like sleeping in the same bed or making her food. These are things I’d do for my best friend if they had experienced something horrifying and needed company and love around them. And, oddly enough, my best friend is a guy too.
So, it breaks down the boundaries of men and women, where we simply exist as two humans helping each other. As it should be.
The Dynamic Between the Two Much More Nuanced:
The reason Power is so loyal to Denji in the first place is based on how they’ve supported each other throughout the years. Denji did show some interest in Power at first, but that’s because he was kind of just obsessed with the idea of having a person in general. That would happen when you’ve had a terrible life and just want something gratifying to make it worth something.
After a horrendous moment where they try engaging in a sexual relationship, only to have an existential crisis over the inflated value of sexual intimacy. It is after that they actually start bonding, over losing pets and other things. Hell, they even start living together and their relationship morphs from strange tension to almost familial bonding.
Denji now has a genuine connection with Power that transcends sexual or lustful needs. And anime doesn’t always tackle adolescent growth like that. Safe to say, this is a welcome change.