Sunday, September 11, 2022

REVIEW: Chainsaw Man (manga, vol. 1) by Tatsuki Fujimoto

Chainsaw Man is a combination of action, dark comedy, and fantasy. I bought this first volume brand new.


When Denji was a kid, his father committed suicide, leaving behind an enormous debt, which yakuza then expected Denji to pay back. On his own, Denji probably would have died. However, he happened upon a wounded devil that looked like a little dog with a chainsaw sprouting out of its face. He offered it his blood in exchange for a contract, and that's how Denji's friendship with Pochita began. 

Even with Pochita's help, however, Denji occasionally had to resort to selling his own body parts in order to make the payments yakuza demanded from him. And eventually even that wasn't enough - the yakuza attempted to make their own contract with a devil and became zombies as a result, reducing both Denji and Pochita to pieces tossed into a dumpster. With the last of his strength, Pochita made another contract with Denji, becoming his heart in exchange for getting to hear more of Denji's dreams.

The first person to encounter the newly changed Denji is Makima, a public safety devil hunter. She agrees to add him to a public safety devil hunting squad, but only if he never quits. If he does, she'll kill him. Denji is just happy that someone is finally being slightly nice to him. It helps that that someone is a pretty woman.

I don't know if I like this or not, but it certainly is readable. I felt sympathy for Denji, who had it so rough throughout his entire life that his greatest dream, at one point, was to eat a slice of bread with jam on it. But dang was that kid easy to manipulate. All Makima had to do was promise him food and say that she likes him for him to basically agree to be her dog and do whatever she asked. She didn't even always have to follow through - at one point she made him leave a meal behind in order to hunt a devil, telling him that she didn't want her own noodles to get soggy.

This volume also introduces another couple characters, Aki Hayakawa and Power. Aki instantly hates Denji, which is awkward, since they end up living together. Power is something known as a fiend, a devil that's taken over a human's corpse. This is apparently different from Denji's situation, because you can see the effects on the person's head - Power has horns. For Denji, the most appealing thing about Power is the possibility that she might let him touch her boobs (his next wish, now that he's had bread with jam and been hugged by Makima).

I don't currently regret buying a few volumes of this - I do want to continue on - although I suspect it'll be a series I'll feel okay about offloading later on. I was worried about the level of gore, and yes, it's a lot, but it's also not drawn in a particularly detailed and/or realistic way. So far it's at a level I can handle.

Here's hoping we get to see more of Pochita, even if only in flashbacks. I liked the relationship between him and Denji, and I wonder how he got to the point where he was willing to consider a human a friend.

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