Greg Shannon, Staff
In June 2021 MAPPA, a popular Japanese animation studio, released an official trailer for an animated adaptation of the award-winning manga series “Chainsaw Man.” This trailer literally broke the anime side of the internet. I mean people were losing their minds and for good reasons.
The animation quality looked like something out of a movie, and the trailer showed brief action scenes from big moments in the story.
The thought of the highly decorated animation studio MAPPA had anime fans all over the internet talking for weeks about how good this show could be. With all the hype still surrounding this show, I decided to sit down and read the manga and now I’m hooked. So please let me tell you why you should be excited for the “Chainsaw Man” anime adaptation coming later this year.
Now to start off this show/manga is not going to be for everyone. “Chainsaw Man” is a story written by Tatsuki Fujimoto and is among the new generation of dark Shonen manga, a fiction style from Japan similar to teen-to-college comic fiction in the U.S., that the fans have deemed the “Unholy Trinity” due to their dark or grotesque themes and content.
All of these stories, while having their happy moments, are genuinely dark stories with very gory and brutal scenes. So if that kind of stuff isn’t your thing, there is a very good chance that you will not like this show. However, if you do decide to give this series a shot, you will be met with a fun narrative that will have you emotionally invested for a lot of its arcs.
The series revolves around the main character Denji, a man who hunts devils, a supernatural race of demons, using the coolest two word combination: “chainsaw powers.” With these powers, he hunts and kills devils in order to live an easy life and be with the ones he loves. That’s as far as I am willing to go into detail for you. Sorry, but there are so many cool and important details to the story that I wouldn’t want you to hear and not see.
While that brief description of the main character makes it seem like there’s not really much to the story, that’s actually not the case. The story hits on a bunch of notes about things like acceptance, family and just generally discovering who you are and what you want in the world. There’s a bunch of plot twists and there are significant deaths that change the mood of the series whenever they happen. The story continuously builds off of these events and each arc that follows just gets more gruesome and dark.
Then there is the art design of the series. This is probably what I’m looking forward to the most. Getting to see a company like MAPPA adapt some of these panels made me explode with excitement each time I saw something extremely cool or terrifying. Fujimoto really knows when he wants to make something beautiful and something just down right horrifying.
The first panel you see is probably the most famous, and honestly, one of the coolest panels you see in the entire series. We see a devil barely visible due to the black background off in the distance. In front of him is just a line of dead astronauts cut in half. The top half of them are praying while the bottom half is ticking out of the ground almost like tombstones. Panels like this show the range Fujimoto has with his work and I can only imagine how much more grand MAPPA will make it when they decide to animate it.
The designs of the demons are phenomenal as well. Each one has a completely unique design from the last and it makes for a more interesting dynamic. It feels like the scarier the topic, the scarier the design of the devil is. They’re almost something you would see straight out of a horror movie. The fact that Fujimoto is able to come up with so many of these that are all different and scary in their own way is honestly impressive. While yes there are a few devils that aren’t all that horrifying, it doesn’t take away from the ones that are just plain scary.
On top of that, the fight scenes all feel like they have life to them. Even though they are just a few pages, and aren’t long 10 minute animated fights, it’s almost like you can feel the movement. Things feel somewhat calculated when certain characters fight and it gives the panels more excitement.
These fights are fun, intense, and were just fun to see. Getting to see how the devils and devil hunters use their insane powers got me hyped every time. Especially for the really big fights.
All in all, this comic series is great, and I imagine the animated one will be even better. While it has serious and frightening moments it can also be light hearted and funny. The main character is relatable and has moments where you sympathize with him and his goals even if they are kind of ridiculous.
MAPPA is going to have a lot on their hands with this and the abundance of other projects they’re working on. However, I’m glad they picked it up. I don’t think I could see any other company really doing this series justice like they could. So please, when this show comes out later this year give it a chance or give the comic a chance. I think it will genuinely surprise a lot of people with how deep the story can go and with how exciting the fights can be. So get excited because later this year this show is coming and if everything goes right, it’s gonna be one hell of a time.