It’s easy to forget the hype that Chainsaw Man aroused. Even before a single frame of the anime aired, fans were already predicting that it would become an instant classic. Now that the first season is over, it’s clear that Studio MAPPA’s adaptation didn’t usher in a new era for anime, and it wasn’t a game changer for shonen action series. Even so, Chainsaw Man has delivered an incredibly effective first seasonwhich combines one of the best shonen manga of recent years with a cinematic vision similar to that of prestige television, all while the chainsaws go brrrrrrr.
The first season of Chainsaw Man adapts the first 38 chapters of Tatsuki Fujimoto’s manga, which essentially focuses on establishing the characters, their dynamics and motivations, as well as the main conflict and the villain. Despite the shortness of the episodes, Chainsaw Man covers a lot of ground at the pace of a chainsaw. The series introduces something new every few minutes, whether it’s a funny joke, a gross sight gag, an interesting new character, a bloody fight, or just a little emotional moment.
And it is in these emotional moments that the series shines the most, in its approach to mundane manifestations of feeling. Chainsaw Man is full of gore and gore, it has a horror-inspired world with an intricate storyline and action sequences to die for, but what really makes it special is that understands the power of silence in a way that is more like movies than anime. Like Odd Taxi, he fits better into today’s prestige TV landscape than that of the world’s Jujutsu Kaisens and Demon Slayers, with a knack for creative camera angles, first-person shots, clever editing and other techniques that make it visually unique. For example, a simple scene of Aki in the hospital: the camera stops on his immobile face, letting us immerse ourselves in his emotions, with animation as fluid and detailed as during a fight scene, all before he finally unleashes his rage. and your pain and start crying.
Chainsaw Man is a work comedy/horror/action series and it works like a charm.
And yet, the fact that the series often goes from a heartwarming scene like that to an incredibly silly and hilarious one with Denji and Power goofing around is a testament to the masterful balance of shabby and artistic tones that achieves. In any other anime, Chainsaw Man’s 2000s sex comedy and youthful humor would be gross and disgusting, but here it works like a charm thanks to the world that Tatsuki Fujimoto has created. Fujimoto, a young millennial author, captures the bleak view many of his generation have of the world (rightly so), and Chainsaw Man constantly shows why some kind of liberation from the world’s cruelty is necessary, if only to joke as a joke. idiot with your roommates.
Unlike the vast majority of shonen series set in high school, Chainsaw Man is more of a workplace action-horror-comedy series, and it works like a charm. Fujimoto knows how hard it can be to make friends as an adult., getting along with someone beyond just being co-workers, but also how special they are when it happens. The dynamic here is not that of best friends or soul mates, but that of coworkers, couples, and even roommates. It’s very satisfying to see Denji, Power and Aki slowly grow to like each other and really trust each other, and not just because their job requires them to hang out.
Of course, It’s still an action series., and Chainsaw Man more than delivers in that regard. The fight scenes are impressive, dynamic and full of grit, but they also have an eye for the cinematic, with the choice of camera angles helping to make this more than just a punch fest. They also subvert expectations by avoiding dragging out fight scenes over multiple episodes, instead offering just enough to build excitement without deflating the tension.
Is Chainsaw Man the pinnacle of fiction ever seen? No, it is not. But every episode of the series is the pinnacle of Chainsaw Man, and that’s all we can ask for.
Chainsaw Man Season 1 brings one of the most popular manga of recent years to the screen with a fantastic adaptation that not only does justice to the source material, but complements it with cinema-inspired visual effects that make this absurd, gory, silly and hilarious world seem incredibly real and close. As real and close as can be the story of a man with chainsaws in his hands.