Chainsaw Man turns a strange concept into a genuinely entertaining series, making it the electric debut that everyone expected it would be.
We review the Crunchyroll anime series Chainsaw Man season 1 does not contain spoilers.
The Chainsaw Man franchise is one that fans have been waiting to see animated since it first began serialization back in 2018. As successful as the series is, it was never really a matter of if it would get an anime adaptation, but when and what studio would be lucky enough to get their hands on it. Many were scared that when we finally got the animation, it wouldn’t hold a candle to the original manga, but now that seems to be misplaced fear. With its mysterious plot, bloody fight sequences, and raunchy dialogue, Chainsaw Man delivers exactly what the people wanted and expected.
In a world where devils, or supernatural creatures who feed on human fears, exist, Denji (voice by Kikunosuke Toya) finds himself in a weird limbo between both worlds. After his pet devil fuses their bodies together to save Denji’s life, he becomes Chainsaw Man, a half-devil hybrid with the ability to summon the powers of the once-mighty Chainsaw Devil. If it sounds like a far-fetched concept, that’s because it is, even to Denji and those around him who are familiar with devils. However, as you see the transformation play out as the viewer, it is significantly easier to follow than it initially sounds. If you can understand that devils are considered dangerous and hunted by humans, you can easily understand why this situation isn’t ideal for Denji.
Although known for its blood and gore and generally “not suitable for children rating,” it’s easy to see after the first few episodes that Chainsaw Man has a lot more substance than meets the eye. There’s a complexity to each character that adds mystery to not only the story but also depth and layers to the plot. Everyone’s motivation isn’t just killing devils; even the devils aren’t just mindless monsters waiting for slaughter. Young, naive characters like Denji play perfectly into the hands of more manipulative characters like Makima (Tomori Kusunoki).
Power (voiced by Fairouz Ai) and Aki (Shogo Sakata) initially feel like they’ll be one-note characters with stereotypical motivations. Still, they prove to have more interesting traits as we dive deeper into their backstories and desires. Chainsaw Man proves it’s just as important to pay attention to the subtle nuances as it is to the big, high-dollar action sequences, and that makes it easy to see how much thought was put into setting up such a long, cohesive story.
With all the hype surrounding Chainsaw Man, it’s not hard to go into it expecting a masterpiece, but that would be unfair. With the first season, there are obviously some learning curves. If you’re not a fan of CGI in your anime, it can feel clunky in some spots. However, in other scenes, it’s barely noticeable. Studio MAPPA is one of the biggest anime studios in the game right now, so it was no surprise to hear they snagged the rights to an equally popular franchise. As the season carries on, many of the animations feel smoother. Every episode isn’t fight-focused, so there are plenty of other impressive artistic achievements to admire, including their ability to capture expressions and the amazingly refreshing ending song sequences every week.
Overall, this has been a solid debut for the Chainsaw Man anime. Each week’s episode has proven to be better and more entertaining than the last, which is really all you can hope for as a television fan. I expected this series to focus its time and budget on action scenes to draw in significant numbers, but it actually manages to create interest beyond that and hold its own against other animes. This is only the beginning, as the series tries to familiarize viewers with the different characters and the world-building needed to appreciate the story fully. Still, every episode is engaging, entertaining, and even wildly funny at times, making this an easy series to tune into each week. Here’s hoping this is just the beginning of a breakout series.
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