Chainsaw Man by Tatsuki Fujimoto

Chainsaw Man is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Tatsuki Fujimoto. Its first arc was serialized in Shueisha’s (shōnen manga) magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump from December 2018 to December 2020. Its second arc began serialization in Shueisha’s Shōnen Jump+ online magazine in July 2022. Its chapters have been collected in 16 tankōbon volumes as of December 2023.

Setting

The story is set in a world where Devils (悪魔Akuma) are born from human fears. However, individuals called Devil Hunters specialize in hunting and employing them. The events take place in 1997, in an alternate timeline where the Soviet Union still exists, and many events such as the HolocaustAIDS and nuclear weapons have been erased from history due to the consumption of their respective Devils by the Chainsaw Devil, with only four powerful Devils known as the Horsemen (Control, War, Famine, and Death) remembering the events. Humans can make contracts with Devils via a sacrifice, allowing them to use the Devil’s power.

Devils can also become Fiends by possessing a human’s dead body. When a Devil is killed on Earth, it reappears in Hell, and if it is killed in Hell, it reincarnates in a new body on Earth.

Plot

Chainsaw Man Characters

Denji is a young man trapped in poverty, working off his deceased father’s debt to the yakuza by working as a Devil Hunter, aided by Pochita, his canine companion and Chainsaw Devil. Denji is betrayed by the yakuza, who kills him for a contract with the Zombie Devil. Pochita makes a contract with Denji, merging with him as a Devil-human hybrid, under the condition that Denji live out his modest dreams of living a basic life such as having bread with jam, or falling in love with a woman and being intimate with one. By pulling on a cord in his chest, Denji then becomes Chainsaw Man and massacres the yakuza.

In the aftermath, Denji joins a team of governmental Devil Hunters, the Public Safety Division, led by Makima, who assigns him to kill the Gun Devil. After being paired with a more experienced Devil Hunter named Aki Hayakawa, Denji begins training with his partner, Power the Blood Fiend, under the veteran Devil Hunter Kishibe. Together, they fight several enemies who seek Denji’s power, including the yakuza, other Devils, and assassins sent by various countries.

Makima is later revealed to be the Control Devil, who is ultimately seeking to control Pochita, as he has the power to erase evil concepts from the world by consuming their Devils. The Gun Devil—whose body had secretly been divided among several countries as a superweapon—is sent by the United States to kill Makima, but she defeats it, forcing it to enter Aki’s body as the Gun Fiend, whom Denji kills in self-defence. Makima later kills Power in front of Denji, rendering him catatonic and forcing Pochita to take over his body.

Kishibe organizes a raid to rescue Denji alongside cowardly Public Safety operative Kobeni Higashiyama. With their help and the last of Power’s blood, Denji kills Makima. Sometime later, Kishibe places the reborn Control Devil—a little girl named Nayuta—in Denji’s care. In a dream, Pochita thanks Denji for showing him his dreams and encourages him to live his life to the fullest. Denji begins attending high school while also fighting Devils as a vigilante.

Part 2 – School Arc

Asa Mitaka is an introverted high school student attending Fourth East High School, who has trouble finding her place in society following her mother’s death from the Typhoon Devil. One day, after accidentally killing her class’ pet Chicken Devil Bucky, she is confronted by the Class President who has made a contract with the Justice Devil. She attempts to kill Asa, but Yoru, the War Devil appears in the form of a bird and makes a contract with Asa, inhabiting her body and making her a living Fiend host, under the condition that she kill Chainsaw Man.

After her quick vengeance, Asa seeks to find Chainsaw Man, though she and Yoru have differing goals: Asa wants Yoru to leave her body, while Yoru wants to reclaim the Nuclear Weapons Devil that was consumed by Pochita.

Meanwhile, Denji has adapted to his new life as a normal high school student, also attending Fourth East, while trying to raise Nayuta and use his newfound fame as Chainsaw Man to attract women. However, Hirofumi Yoshida, a classmate and Devil Hunter himself keeps blocking Denji’s attempts to reveal his alter-ego while keeping tabs on him for the government.

Trying to prove a point, Yoshida introduces Asa to Denji, who outright admits to being Chainsaw Man, but Asa does not believe him. Even so, Yoru pushes Asa to become Denji’s girlfriend, as Yoru thinks she can use him to create a weapon capable of killing Chainsaw Man. Meanwhile, a mysterious impostor Chainsaw Man stalks the streets, killing Asa’s friend Yuko.

After surviving a trap set for them by the Famine Devil, Fami, at an aquarium, Yoru tries to transform Denji into a weapon through Asa’s body but fails. As Asa feels rejected by different boys she trusts, the Falling Devil appears, trying to cook her into a meal. Denji, as Chainsaw Man, along with the impostor, appears and helps her escape, with Fami and Nayuta manipulating events in the background. Fami wants Yoru to survive for the sake of changing the Prophecy of Nostradamus and protecting humanity from the appearance of Death Devil, but Nayuta is more concerned with childish things like wanting to attend school and eat snacks.

During the aftermath of Falling Devil’s attack, Denji, Nayuta and their dogs are captured by Yoshida’s organization, as the supporters of Chainsaw Man form the Chainsaw Man Society for World Peace led by Haruka Iseumi of the Devil Hunter Club. Yoshida threatens to kill Nayuta if Denji ever transforms into Chainsaw Man again since the conflict between the supporters and critics of Chainsaw Man is escalating.

A conflicted Denji chooses to protect the normal life he has and decides to quit being Chainsaw Man. The Chainsaw Man Society for World Peace, who is revealed to be working for Fami, reveals a mysterious character as the Chainsaw Man, much to the dismay of Denji. Fami reveals that there are two Chainsaw Men, a “red” one that is Denji, and an evil “black” one that has consumed the Nuclear Weapons Devil. Meanwhile, Denji encounters Miri Sugo, a hybrid known as “Sword Man” whom he had previously fought. Miri attempts to convince Denji to join the Chainsaw Man Church but fails.

Later, while the Church attempts an attack on the public, Quanxi and Katana Man, two hybrids whom Denji had also previously fought, intercept them. However, Barem Bridge, another member of the Church, reveals that the members of the Chainsaw Man Church had been mass-contracted with the Fire Devil, allowing them to become devils in the likeness of Chainsaw Man; this would cause a war that would greatly increase public fear of both Chainsaw Man and Yoru, strengthening them enough to fight the Death Devil. Quanxi saves Denji, Nayuta, and fellow student Fumiko Mifune from the Church, taking them to Public Safety Officials who state that the devils can be killed via cremation.

Asa and Yoru, meanwhile, are confronted by Yoshida who is leading a raid to kill the War Devil. Yoshida cuts off one of Asa’s arms but hesitates in killing her, allowing Asa and Yoru to escape. Denji attempts to return to his normal life, but Barem, who had escaped Public Safety, destroys his apartment, incinerating Nayuta’s pet dogs in the process. Fumiko arrives with Public Safety officials to save Denji but is attacked by another hybrid.

Anime

chainsaw man anime

On December 14, 2020, it was announced that the manga would receive an anime television series adaptation produced by MAPPA. It had a stage presentation at the Jump Festa ’21, as part of the Jump Studio series of stage presentations that were held online on December 19–20, 2020. The first trailer for the anime series was shown at the “MAPPA Stage 2021 – 10th Anniversary” event, held on June 27, 2021.

The anime is directed by Ryū Nakayama (director) and Makoto Nakazono (chief episode director), with scripts by Hiroshi Seko, character designs by Kazutaka Sugiyama, and devil designs by Kiyotaka Oshiyama. Tatsuya Yoshihara is serving as action director and Yūsuke Takeda is directing the art. Naomi Nakano is the color key artist and Yohei Miyahara is designing the screens. The series was broadcast on TV Tokyo and other networks from October 12 to December 28, 2022.

Popularity

Chainsaw Man ranked fourth on Takarajimasha‘s Kono Manga ga Sugoi! list of best manga of 2020 for male readers and topped the 2021 list. On Freestyle magazine’s The Best Manga 2020 Kono Manga wo Yome! list, the series ranked twelfth,[83] and sixteenth along with Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, on the 2021 list. It ranked second, behind Spy × Family, on “Nationwide Bookstore Employees’ Recommended Comics of 2020” by the Honya Club online bookstore. In 2020, Chainsaw Man ranked tenth in the “Most Wanted Anime Adaptation” poll conducted by AnimeJapan. The series ranked 45th on the 2020 “Book of the Year” list by Da Vinci magazine; it ranked 43rd on the 2021 list.

 On TV Asahi’s Manga Sōsenkyo 2021 poll, in which 150,000 people voted for their top 100 manga series, Chainsaw Man ranked 58th. The series placed twelfth on the annual Twitter Japan’s Trend Awards in 2021, based on the social network’s top trending topics of the year.

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