Wed. Jul 24th, 2024

Head Like a Hole

Within any anime community, anime stars emerge to get a lot of praise and attention by word of mouth over time rather than right from the start. It’s rare to see anime like this take over the realm of the audience. Admittedly, it’s rare for a title to grab the community’s attention from the first episode. In 2022, few people expected anime like Lycoris Recoil or My Dress-Up Darling to get the quiet attention that so many anime do.

Despite being a good series, most of the attention has always been on a long-established franchise. It’s rarer when an anime attracts much attention from the announcement alone. Chainsaw Man is one example from head to toe. For many people, the series is the title they look forward to in anime. If we only focus on a rifle in, at most, one medium, we will miss many other things.

It could be that we will be disappointed if the results are not that perfect. There is much more to discuss than just a retrospective. The series follows a teenager named Denji, a poor guy. He makes a living by killing creatures called Demons with his demon, Pochita.

Denji, the Chainsaw Man

In short, every demon bases its strength on the elements that humans fear. The components will get stronger if humans continue to fear them. Pochita is a Saw Demon who can use a chainsaw to kill other demons. When the Zombie Demon kills Pochita and Denji, Pochita becomes Denji’s heart and allows Denji to turn into a Chainsaw Man. It was a human-demon hybrid that killed Demon Zombies.

When Makima, a member of an organization called Public Safety, finds him, she brings Denji into the organization. She makes him cooperate with the other Demon Hunters in slaying as many Devils as possible to protect humanity. We believe that there is a substantial focus on action. When we compare Chainsaw Man with most other series, the action that the series displays is crueler yet grimmer than almost all other series.

A great deal of blood covers the frame at any moment, and Denji covers himself in blood when he becomes Chainsaw Man. Joyfully, he laughed as he drank the devil’s blood to fill his chainsaw while the devil screamed in pain. In general, Chainsaw Man is more like a shounen anime generally. It compares many series to other action horrors like Jujutsu Kaisen.

Grindhouse Glory

Despite having a certain level of melodrama to the arc, Chainsaw Man trades all in for grindhouse films-style glory. On the surface, it’s not that deep with just such a comparison. The series loves violence, making it a crucial audience attraction. In reality, there is a substance. The ambiance is surprisingly subtle, like Denji thinking about how miserable the protagonist’s life is. His father committed suicide; the yakuza forced him to work for them to pay off his father’s debt.

It was only able to eat a piece of bread. Apart from being tragic but comical with how bad Denji’s life is, the comedy that we can get with the narration explains how Denji and his condition indirectly measure the audience’s empathy. The point of needless misery contrasts Denji with his life when he joins Public Safety. He stated that his dream was to eat bread with jam every day for breakfast when he met Makima.

In Denji’s idea, he seeks only happiness, which became one of the significant arcs; we look at seed crops. Therefore, Denji became a man with simple pleasures, despite his dream to hold women’s breasts. When he met his senior, Aki, who beat up Denji to make him stop, Denji just laughed at his efforts and kicked Aki in his scrotum.

Anti-shounen Protagonist

Denji pokes fun at any other series protagonist and exceeds the expectation of most protagonists. When we think of shounen protagonists, most are kind-hearted and optimistic. On the other hand, Denji is a no-nonsense punk who is rough, horny, straightforward, and a bit stupid. Despite his nature, Denji’s pettiness makes him riveting because his motivations are changing.

At first, Denji wants to live comfortably. He started a comfortable life when he met Makima and got a new goal after he killed the devil. His dream is not about wanting to have sex with women but rather wanting to touch women’s breasts. Weirdly, it’s just that some anime protagonists have very personal goals for each character. In My Hero Academia, Deku wants to be a hero like his role model: All Might.

However, Denji just wanted to feel the breasts. Of course, he just wanted to spend time with the women and satisfy his desires. As the series progresses, his goals will continue to evolve and change as he achieves each goal he sets. We always see how Denji, as a dog, explores the meaning of a dream. Whether Denji has developed independence or is still a chained dog who has masters, slowly, we begin to see how shounen has changed radically for the worse or better, depending on how we judge it.

The Opening Theme

After all, Chainsaw Man is a shounen action anime without the focus on fighting new and unique enemies. The series has a future arc in that it prompts Denji, at first, to flee from international assassins due to his exploits as the Chainsaw Man. It allows him to fight new opponents by increasing action quotas; the transparency in what each character does intentionally creates a new threat that the protagonist faces.

From a viewpoint, the series has the opposite problem in moving at high speed at such points. Such a frantic pace almost has to do with the fact that the first season only had twelve episodes. However, the series acts like such certainty, trying to fit all the big moments in ignoring the smaller parts. Such steps using the budget more efficiently in achieving money production become exhausted.

It’s obvious when Chainsaw Man has a huge budget, as we saw in the opening theme. Neatly, the episodes themselves outline the key scenes. In the twist, each episode’s ending contains a unique ending sequence and a new ending theme song by licensing twelve different pieces of music. Almost every anime have only one or two.

Love Letter to the Cinema

Although they reuse them over an entire season, it becomes an emphasis on how MAPPA studio “shows off” the money they have for Chainsaw Man because they can. The reference in the opening theme also becomes Ryuu Nakayama’s love letter to the cinema. Films like Jacob’s Ladder, The Big Lebowski, Pulp Fiction, and No Country Old for Men became odd choices. All references serve to explain a bit about the characters and the world, capture each character’s personality, and make the factor of showing attention to detail present.

Chainsaw Man is still an ongoing series with new chapters every week. Regardless of whether it could be a complement to other industries, we must give a watch to Chainsaw Man. It’s an accessible title that yearns for a bit of gore and violence that is the logical next step from horror seeping into the shounen formula. As a symbol of many styles and trends of such a period, the failures and successes in the same way we saw in the classic shounen anime of the 90s and 2000s.


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