Chainsaw Man is MAPPA’s most thoughtful adaptation

A scene from the Chainsaw Man anime

When the much anticipated Chainsaw Man anime started airing, I didn't know what to expect. Considering how rough and fast-paced the source material is, I wondered if the rawness could properly be animated at all. 

Thankfully, MAPPA surpassed all expectations with an unconventional take on the bloody, brash, and bonkers story that is Chainsaw Man.

The series follows a teenager named Denji, who lived his entire life in crippling debt. His only companion in life was his pet dog, Pochita. But after certain circumstances unfolded, Pochita merged with Denji's heart, granting the latter the ability to transform certain body parts into chainsaws. 

With his newfound powers, Denji works to eliminate "Devils", a race of supernatural creatures that feed on human cognition and fear.

Chainsaw Man's story reflects the cruelty and absurdity of the world the characters live in. Everything from tomatoes and sharks to arbitrary concepts such as darkness and violence can gain physical manifestations that lay waste to everyone in their way.

The head-on fights between devils and devil hunters, including Denji, make up the brunt of the story's signature gore, and MAPPA didn't shy away from portraying the bloodfest that unravels throughout the series. Guts are spilt, veins burst open, blood pours down like rain, and every imaginable limb is mutilated in the most ruthesome way possible.

Beyond the carnage and high-octane action, however, one of the most important aspects of Chainsaw Man is its emotionally vulnerable core. That is where MAPPA came in and excelled with the anime adaptation.

A scene from the Chainsaw Man anime

Denji had always been devoid of affection and basic human needs. He and Pochita shared simple goals like eating three square meals a day, having a proper bed to sleep in, and living a normal life. 

This, in turn, makes him an imperfect and naive character, which is fleshed out very well in the anime. While Denji's unheroic motives and goals were criticised in the manga, the anime goes the extra mile to explore his psyche.

Additionally, the anime also takes time to break down the emotional side of the story. Characters' pasts and their interactions with each other are much-needed additions, and MAPPA shows that they did their homework on the series.

During the fourth episode, we see a wonderful sequence of mundane events that were never a part of the source material, such as waking up in the morning, making coffee, reading the newspaper, etc. Taking a step back from the gnarly madness allowed the anime to breathe life into the complexity of the story and pile up the series' suspense and mysteries.

There's not much to say about Chainsaw Man's production value. As if the movie-like art and animation throughout every episode weren't enough, the creators also brought in twelve different artists to feature in twelve different ending tracks. The voice actors did a splendid job of carrying their characters' personalities, and the intricate use of 2d and 3d imagery allows for intricate movements and camera motions that amp up the insane fights.

When watching Chainsaw Man, thoughtful may not be the first adjective to cross one's mind. After all, it is supposed to be a dark and grotesque story about genocidal entities. However, it is also a story about a young man who wants to live the life of an ordinary human, and MAPPA's approach to the emotional side of the story results in a stunning product making it one of the best shows of 2022.

Ayaan wants to make a contract with the bomb devil. Ask him if he's sane at [email protected]