“Peak Fiction” lives up to the hype, starting off on the right foot!

As part two of the manga continues its rollout, the long-awaited manga adaption of Chainsaw Man is finally here! The series kicks off in a well written fashion, finding a balance of a bleak story with despondent themes supported by gory and violent action-packed scenes.

The landscape is relatively simple. It’s inspired by dark fiction without being completely over the top. In this world, fears take corporeal form and power scaling is determined by just how much they’re feared. The first devil shown is the tomato devil. You can imagine its not the strongest devil in existence. Unless you really, really hate your veggies, you’d probably fare just well in a match up.

For a full glimpse into the season and what we can expect going forward, check out our preview of Chainsaw Man and other anime’s to watch this season!

Looking at the opening track and visual references!

Openings usually aren’t meant to be packed with importance or reveal any major plot points. They are usually just a transition from the opening scene into the rest of the episode. But there’s a distinct tone offered in this opening as a result of the countless movie references littered throughout the opening. If you didn’t know, mangaka Tatuski Fujimoto is a huge fan of all things film.

The merit here goes to the key OP animator, Shingo Yamashita, who is able to bring out the spirit of Fujimoto and seamlessly blend it with Kenshi Yonezu’s vocals. From Tarantino’s 1994 Pulp Fiction to the Coen brother’s 1998 The Big Lebowski, you’ll surely have a “I understood that reference” moment!

Source: Chainsaw Man, Once Upon a Time In Hollywood, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes

If you want a breakdown of all the references, check out this short read written by Lynzee Loveridge over at AnimeNewsNetwork laying them down!

There’s no denying the opening is chaos. But so is Chainsaw Man. As the season goes on and events unfold, we’ll find reason in Yamashita’s stylistic choices.

Let’s meet our protagonist, Denji

Here’s a kid who unfortunately drew the short end of the stick. And at such a young age too. Having inherited an enormous debt to the Yakuza, courtesy of his father, he’ll do anything to work towards financial liberation. From eating a cigarette for a dollar to selling organs, nothing is off limits.

His aspirations aren’t far out either. He just wants to be able to afford to put something more than jelly on his toast and have a romantic relationship or two. Even before he becomes the titular Chainsaw Man, he’s a protagonist who isn’t hard to relate to.

Here’s where the anime sets up its foundation to excel. Taking character tropes that we’ve seen time and again, only here grounding them in reality. Through an Orwellian lens, there’s a horror that comes across in a cynical yet existential crisis-like theme. It’s a horror that doesn’t stem from jump scares, but something like instability and poverty that is ever present in a modern life.

Source: Chainsaw Man

But he isn’t alone! Enter Pochita, the cutest demon-dog you’ll ever lay your eyes on. Denji’s main source of income is working alongside Pochita slaying devils for the Yakuza. But it’s not long before the Yakuza decides to move on from Denji and murders him in cold blood.

Because Pochita needs Denji as much as Denji needs Pochita, the demon-dog offers a merging of beings in order for Denji to receive a second chance at life. He’ll have to become Chainsaw Man and host Pochita, whose only request in return is to see Denji’s dreams.

CGI and beyond

Besides being dark in theme, the medium has to look the part as well. Studio MAPPA doesn’t miss the mark there either. The studio is able to paint a grim landscape without resorting to just muting the color scheme. Even in scenes with dark atmospheric lighting, MAPPA adds color where necessary and pays great attention to detail. This is especially noticeable when they strive for depth and perspective.

At the end of the day, it’s an anime that is immersive visually as much as it is thematically.

As a studio, MAPPA continues to show its take on CGI animation. Studios are inclined to use this tool when they aim to elevate a scene to the next level. They will temporarily take a step away from hand drawn animation. For a look and how the two differ, take a look at the video below showing some of the CGI animation MAPPA has produced for Attack On Titan.

MAPPA’s use of CGI in Chainsaw Man’s debut episode was well made. For the most part. It was able to achieve fluidity and smoothness, especially in battle scenes with a large degree of character movement. However, there were a few key frames where the animation was slightly off-putting. A scene in question shows Denji, now Chainsaw Man, stepping on zombie heads to reach the Zombie Devil.

When CGI is used incorrectly, it can feel like there’s two different animation styles in the same frame. Chainsaw Man was flirting with this line at times.

In the end, the studio is able to use CGI while still looking like an anime and not blending into video-game-like visuals. Time will tell if MAPPA continues to polish the CGI as the season progresses.


For an opening episode, it throws quite a bit at you. It’s a 1:1 of equal parts manga chapter content to anime episode. MAPPA could not have been more faithful in this regard. If the episode felt slightly chaotic with its pacing, that’s because the source material is too.

Although we’ve only seen as far as the first episode, the series does a fine job of ramping up the stakes with an action scene. In the same fashion, It will throw in an emotional flashback when it needs to adjust the tension just slightly. It will be interesting to see how MAPPA chooses to pace the anime going forward. Reminder that the first part of this season will have a total of 12 episodes.


Chainsaw Man is a treat that is sure to indulge manga readers and newcomers. With a protagonist that is a breath of fresh air in terms of relatability, viewers won’t find it hard to empathize and make a human connection. All of this is of course aided by a balance of humor, action and emotional gut punches where needed.

Filler free and wasting no time, it’s a hell of a way to kick off a series.

Review score: 9/10

Are you a reader or completely new to the series? How did you like it? What are you looking forward to most? Comment down below!