FEATURE: Everything You Need to Know Before Watching Chainsaw Man
One of the most anticipated anime of this season is Chainsaw Man, a series with a title that’s about as straight and to the point as you can get. Before cutting through the devils who dare to stand in your way, let’s discuss everything you need to know before falling in love with anime’s newest good boy and his weaponized pup — it’ll all make sense after you read this, I promise.
What Is Chainsaw Man Even About?
Chainsaw Man stars a young man named Denji. Denji’s currently in the middle of winning the “worst life for an anime protagonist ever” award as he’s stuck dealing with the debt that his deceased father left behind. Denji’s lived in poverty with his only companion, Pochita. Pochita is a Chainsaw Devi that serves as a huggable friend for Denji to curl up with and a way for him to kill devils in an attempt to make money. Denji can never seem to get ahead, though, and soon he’s betrayed by the very people he’s been trying to pay back in his father’s name.
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As Denji dies, he makes a pact with Pochita, leading to Denji’s body parts being swapped out for chainsaws. That new buzzcut isn’t permanent, though. Denji’s still a man, he’s just now able to become, you know, the title of the story, and he’s leaving a trail of bread crumbs and carnage in his wake. Spare a thought for that white shirt that Denji wears, it won’t stay that way for long.
Is That Puppy a Chainsaw?
Short answer: yes.
Long answer: Still yes, but the correct term for Pochita is “devil.” Devils are supernatural creatures that feed on human fears and come in a variety of terrifying (or head-pattable) shapes and sizes. Pochita and Denji essentially have a “boy and his dog” relationship. That alone is an interesting dynamic, but Chainsaw Man takes it in a unique direction after Denji’s death and rebirth. This new combination of human and devil has never been seen before. For some, it’s an abomination, but for others? It’s an opportunity.
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Enter the Devil Hunters, something that Denji technically was, just not under any official status. There’s actually a government-backed organization of devil hunters. This means fighting these deadly foes is kinda seen as a potential occupation you can pursue. The most notable group of hunters is led by a woman named Makima who takes an immediate interest in Denji’s newfound partial devil status.
As to be expected, there’s a bit of moral dynamics at play when you have a set of people who hunt devils, yet some also recognize the strength of such creatures, so they form contracts with them in order to kill their kind. This is especially felt with characters like Denji, who is still relatively human, and fiends like Power — exclamation point required when speaking of her. Fiends are devils who have taken over a human corpse. Like Denji, they are something else that certain Devil Hunters have found a use for.
Who in the World Revved up This Idea?
Chainsaw Man was created by Tatsuki Fujimoto and began serialization in Shonen Jump back in 2018. The first part of the series ended in 2020 with the second part moving to Shonen Jump+ on July 13, 2022. VIZ Media has released the first eleven volumes of the manga in English. Before Chainsaw Man Fujimoto worked on a series called Fire Punch. This dystopian thriller takes place on a frozen planet Earth where orphaned siblings are trying to survive. This doesn’t work out so well, and much like Chainsaw Man, the brutality is instant and the protagonist is left to try and make sense of their dismal circumstances.
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These are Fujimoto’s only series at the moment, but he’s also released several one-shot stories including Look Back, Goodbye, Eri, and Just Listen to the Song. Fujimoto is known for his artwork and storytelling, often having readers engage with characters who approach difficult situations in ways that might be looked at poorly by others, but the emotion behind their actions is understandable and, perhaps, relatable given the circumstances.
What About the Animation?
These days MAPPA’s one of the most well-known anime studios around so it’s no surprise that fans are excited about them handling Chainsaw Man. Ryu Nakayama, who was the episode director of JUJUTSU KAISEN episode 19, is directing the series with scripts by Hiroshi Seko (who worked on JUJUTSU KAISEN and Mob Psycho 100). Character designs are handled by Kazutaka Sugiyama (Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation).
Along with the animation is a hard-hitting list of musicians who are not only providing the opening theme but a different ending theme for EACH episode. That’s 12 new songs by 12 different musical acts a week! The opening theme, “KICK BACK,” will be performed by Kenshi Yonezu. The rest of the artists for the multiple ending things are as follows:
- “HAWATARI NIKU CENTI (“2-hundred-million-centimeter-long blades”) by MAXIMUM THE HORMONE (will also be used as an insert song)
- “ALL KINDS OF KISSES” by ano
- “Fight Song” by eve
- “Deep Down” by Aimer
- “Rendezvous” by Kanaria
- “In the Back Room” by syudou
- “Violence” by QUEEN BEE
- “Time Left” by ZUTOMAYO
- “first death” by TK from Ling tosite sigure
- “tablet” by TOOBOE
- “CHAINSAW BLOOD” by Vaundy
- “DOGLAND” by PEOPLE 1
RELATED: Chainsaw Man Releases New Trailer, Announces Opening, 12 Ending Themes and Additional Cast
Last, but certainly not least, is the main cast of the series. Kikunosuke Toya will be Denj in the Japanese version with Ryan Colt Levy (Rody in My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission) taking on our main protagonist in the English version. Tomori Kusunoki (Natsume in DECA-DENCE) will be portraying Makima in the Japanese version with Suzie Yeung (Lena in 86 EIGHTY-SIX) in the English version. Shogo Sakata (Karin Sasaki in Fire Force) will be Aki Hayakawa in the Japanese version with Reagan Murdock (Alvin in Don’t Hurt Me, My Healer!) taking him on in the English version. Of course, we’d be true devils if we forgot about Power! She’ll be played by Fairouz Ai (Jolyne Kujo in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean) in the Japanese version and Sarah Wiedenheft (Tohru in Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid) in the English version. For the English version of the series, Mike McFarland (Attack on Titan) will work as ADR Director.
Chainsaw Man will be slicing and dicing its way onto Crunchyroll on October 11th.
Briana Lawrence is the Senior EN Features Editor here at Crunchyroll. When she’s not writing she’s taking care of her three butthead cats and playing Hades for the 100th time. You can check out her writings and her book series over at her website and give her a shout-over on Twitter.