Chainsaw Man premiered on Crunchyroll this past Tuesday, and it’s setting the internet ablaze with its gory action and glorious animation.
Those who follow the Chainsaw Man manga already knew to expect greatness from this highly anticipated TV adaption. Mappa, the studio tasked with bringing the anime to life, is well known for delivering on quality. Just look at 2020’s smash hit Jujutsu Kaisen for evidence.
After nearly two years of waiting, Chainsaw Man is finally here. And, if the initial episode is any indication, Mappa’s adaptation was well worth the wait.
A Novel Take on the Demi-God Twist
At first glance, Chainsaw Man’s story seems relatively trite. Protagonist Denji is a young boy who hunts devils to repay a debt owed by his late father to the yakuza. One day, he strikes up a deal with the devil Pochita, accepting the creature’s powers under the condition that he breaks away from the yakuza and pursues a normal life.
As with any anime, “normal” isn’t exactly in the cards for Denji. By fusing with Pochita, he becomes half human, half devil. By tugging at a rope attached to his chest, Denji is able to summon a chainsaw from his head and wreak havoc on his enemies.
The trope of the half-devil protagonist isn’t new, by any means. Anime like Devilman Crybaby, Naruto, and even the aforementioned Jujutsu Kaisen have all but driven the concept into the ground. However, what Chainsaw Man lacks in originality it more than makes up for with sharp writing, smooth pacing, and jaw-dropping animation.
A Feast for the Eyes
When Mappa’s name is attached to an anime, people tend to take note—and with good reason. A quick search of Mappa’s past works reveals a cavalcade of renowned anime, from Yuri!!! on Ice to Attack on Titan: The Final Season.
While the studio has plenty of capable writers and storyboarders, Mappa is perhaps best known for its distinctive animation style. Its shows are often associated with vivid colors, expressive characters, and buttery smooth frame pacing. The studio’s prowess shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, however, given it was founded by former Madhouse employees.
Chainsaw Man raises the stakes for what one might expect from a Mappa-produced adaptation. Its action set pieces are breathtaking, and even its more muted scenes manage to wow and surprise. Be sure to watch on a big TV screen—you’re in for a treat.
An Early Contender for Anime of the Year
We may be only one episode into Chainsaw Man’s 12-episode run, but the immediate impressions are promising. Mappa has gone to painstaking efforts to recreate the style and feel of the original source material, and the result is something anime fans will want to experience for themselves.
Episode Score: 9.5/10
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