It may come as an absolute shock to you, but I am a fan of anime. I know, you never would have guessed it by looking at my output over the years. Be that as it may, while there have been a lot of high-profile anime being shown off at New York Comic Con, nothing can compare to Chainsaw Man. Even outside of NYCC, Chainsaw Man is one of the most anticipated anime of the year. Crunchyroll has been on a media blitz promoting the series, with them streaming the upcoming series in over 200 countries around the world.
The hype is real for Chainsaw Man, but is it worth the hype? There are a plethora of shows that receive hype but fail spectacularly by the end. As far as the premiere goes, after watching it in a crowded theater with hundreds of other fans who also heart chainsaw, it’s living up to the hype. The premiere may not be indicative of the entire show, especially as someone who is up to date on the original source material and knows where the show will go, but the premiere is grizzly, gory, and surprisingly somber in a way that is highly satisfying. If you’re a fan of darker and more action-focused anime, you’ll be a fan of Chainsaw Man.
The premiere focuses on Denji, a man with absolutely no money who has a ludicrous amount of debt owed to the yakuza that he inherited from his father after he died. The best way for him to make that money back however is to kill monsters known as Devils, creatures that grow in strength based on the amount of fear they evoke in humans. For example, the premiere has Denji fight against the Zombie Devil, who is able to manipulate and control a pretty large amount of humans at once. Denji’s life sucks basically, but he has the help of his Devil best friend Pochita, a cute little dog with a chainsaw in its head, to keep him company and fight the Devils with. They make a cute pair, and the bond they have for one another is one of the highlights of the premiere.
The first half of the premiere is actually pretty somber in tone. It paints Denji’s life as one filled with very little joy. The only thing that really motivates him is hoping he has a happy life. To most of us, having a happy life would mean having a wife and kids, a good job, or having countless amounts of dogs to take care of. Denji’s definition of happiness is just being able to eat toast with jam every day for the rest of his life with Pochita. The premiere does a great job at making us sympathize with Denji and his desire to have a better life in the face of the yakuza and the monsters trying to kill him.
Once the action starts up though, it’s an entirely different ballgame. The action by MAPPA is stellar, with chainsaws ripping through flesh, thrashing rock music playing in the background, and monsters screaming as they’re pierced by Denji’s chainsaws. It’s cathartic seeing Denji, who is belittled throughout the premiere and compared to as a dog, be projected as having so much strength when he gets the power of a chainsaw monster coursing through his veins. If this is the standard that all of the other action scenes in the show are going to be held to, then I’m very impressed, especially with the actor’s performances. While we don’t get to see too much of the main cast, Denji’s English VA, Ryan Colt Levy, gives a very understated rendition of the character, but it works for the more understated premiere. I mean, understated besides Denji laughing maniacally as he slaughters hordes of zombie yakuza.
Chainsaw Man will run for 12 episodes in its first season. As of now, a second season/cour hasn’t been announced yet, but it’s only a matter of time. If you’re at all curious about the series, definitely give the premiere a watch. The show will premiere Tuesday, October 11 at 12 p.m. EST and will air weekly. Once the season wraps up in December, you better believe we’ll be doing a full look at it for that month’s Weeb Analysis. For a show as anticipated as this, it deserves no less.