Chainsaw Man by Tatsuki Fujimoto

details
Title: Chainsaw Man.
Writer(s): Tatsuki Fujimoto.
Artist(S): Tatsuki Fujimoto.
Publisher: Viz Media.
Format: Digital.
Release Date: December 3rd, 2018 to December 14th, 2020 (Part One).
Volumes: 34.
Genre(s): Action, Comedy horror, Dark Fantasy.
My Overall Rating:

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

thoughts

Young, wild, and free. The period right before adulthood is a slippery slope for many youngsters. Constantly trying to figure out who they are, what they want to be, how to build meaningful relationships, how to get an intimate partner, and what makes them happy, their journey for answers is riddled with innocence and immaturity, mashed together in an incomprehensible mess of emotions and thoughts. For some, the frustration generated from this complex and youthful psyche is sometimes best portrayed through a sudden surge of unchained violence. Written and illustrated by mangaka Tatsuki Fujimoto, now collected in eleven tankōbon volumes, he delivers one of the most beloved shōnen series, which also happens to have recently been green-lit for a second part to be serialized in Shueisha’s Shōnen Jump+ online magazine.

What is Chainsaw Man about? The story follows Denji, a sixteen-year-old boy who must carry on his dead father’s incredible debt to the Yakuza. Unable to pay off these monetary debts, he works as a Devil Hunter with his Devil dog companion, Pochita, hunting down and killing Devils for the Yakuza. On an unfortunate day, the Yakuza betrays him by dealing with the Zombie Devil and kills Denji who then receives and accepts a contract with his Chainsaw Devil dog and is reborn as a human-devil hybrid known as Chainsaw Man. After exacting revenge upon those who betrayed him, he is recruited by Makima to join a team of governmental Devil Hunters known as the Public Safety Division. Although condemned to death if he acts against them, being a Devil himself and all, he agrees to join their ranks, hunt down Devils, and try to live a normal life despite the weirdness of his colleagues and the world before him.

Fooled by the premise and the chaotically entertaining first volume, this series quickly spiraled into a perverted, absurd, and awkward world that relentlessly shoves the reader with a motley of quirky and ridiculous characters who are all socially inadequate and effortlessly violent by nature. The protagonist’s obsession with boobs and having a girlfriend, while might be relatable to a younger audience that finds respite in the ridiculous, was an early hint at mangaka Tatsuki Fujimoto’s direction, and should’ve been a warning I heeded as the series, volume after volume, never really grounds itself in anything logical, original, or amusing. The strange and inept characteristics found in these characters, especially Denji, do reflect a gawky reality found among adolescents but is exponentially caricatured to an extent that it makes his journey foreign and impossible to sympathize with.

If the character front was hopeless, it wasn’t the story that was going to save this series. Not only was it all over the place, sometimes simply taking a detour for the sake of doing a quick action-only volume, but it was also unashamedly flexible to the mangaka’s whim, as it should be, but with no regard for story-telling structure. At one moment you’ll have Denji finding a new love interest who ultimately ends up being an insane Devil wanting to kill him, at another instant, you have Denji somehow getting a bounty on his head and becoming the target of countless other Devils, and at another instant, there’s a devastating Gun Devil that’s about to kill billions of people and someone needs to stop it. The perversion noted within the protagonist also often becomes a central pillar of his characterization, making his motives infantile and irrelevant, overshadowing any little world-building and story-telling elements. If I had to summarize this series to someone, I simply wouldn’t know where to begin.

Now here’s where there might be some source of appeal for readers out there: the action. This series capitalizes on its ultraviolent, gory, and horror-focused action scenes and it’s not to be taken lightly. Creatures and people get shredded in unimaginable ways. Destruction is vital to this world, and so is self-destruction among these weird characters. With rough yet heavy penciling, mangaka Tatsuki Fujimoto infuses this series with dark and awkward comedy with severe horror fantasy, and he has a blast doing so. In fact, some volumes are composed of chapters purely of action without a single dialogue bubble within sight. However, in this manga form, there’s a severe choppiness and lack of fluidity from one panel to another, even when it’s purely story-oriented, making some of the later volumes completely incomprehensible. While sometimes this absurdly, comical, and chaotic style is a relief to get through, it is also its flaw, making me wonder how on Earth there’s a strong fanbase for this and that a second part to this manga series has been confirmed.

Chainsaw Man is a crudely dark, quirkily bizarre, and relentlessly violent manga series following a devil-human hybrid in his perverted and immature adventures.


EXHIBITA
There’s more chance that the anime would succeed better than the manga because of its action scenes but I doubt I’ll check it out for now.

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15 thoughts on “Chainsaw Man by Tatsuki Fujimoto

    1. It is. And, honestly, I also find it so disturbing that there’s a huge fanbase for this series when there’s barely anything to understand as you progress through it. Its popularity is what made me push through all eleven volumes. Ultimately, I think people just find it fun, silly, and cathartic… I can’t see any other reasons. However, I doubt I’ll check out part 2 unless someone manages to convince me that it’s totally different from this part 1…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Glad to hear you’re not diving even deeper into this.
        One question I have, that this leads up to, is, what’s your moral compass for determining if something is bad?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It’s bad when it’s void of purpose or enters the realm of exploitation (e.g. how rape is often portrayed) with a pure intent of shock/disgust with no other benefice. I can tolerate a lot of violence/gore for entertainment/cathartic purposes but the direction is what makes me determine if it’s any good.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I have to admit that I was not convinced from the beginning, when I had only read the title 😅 and even the plot seems completely absurd ahah 😂 I love some absurd and awkward moments in mangas, but this one seems like it does just a bit too much. It makes me think of those movies that are gorey just for the sake of being gorey, and that the only thing holding the plot together is violence and action! But I admire you resilience to push through and read the whole series!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I only thought the concept cool in a very childish way. I mean, a dude who turns into some sort of mechanized human chainsaw??? Clearly, there was going to be a lot of blood. But what I got was worse hahaha I imagine people find it cathartic and entertaining to indulge this much gore, insanity, and weirdness in this series and I’m sure the mangaka plans to give us more of all this in part 2. I just know I won’t be among those who will read it unless it’s somehow significantly different and better than part 1. 😛

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  2. Interesting timing as I’d just seen a preview for the anime a few days ago. It didn’t look like one I’d seek out. The name, though, did remind me of a movie I once saw and enjoyed that I believe was based on an older manga. It was called Negative Happy Chainsaw Edge. I remember it being so very odd. I don’t know that I ever understood it. More like one of those accidents you just can’t look away from but that doesn’t end up all that bad in the end, if that makes any sense at all. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This sounds like a totally unabashed depiction of someone’s very disturbing gory fantasies. Eh, bleh, totally not something I’d read even if paid for it 😉 I’m impressed you actually went through the whole thing, Lashaan! Now maybe try Yotsuba for a change 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would honestly pay money just to get you to read through this series. I am so curious to know how you’d have reacted to this shonen hahaha But yes, it’s off my list and, instead, I’m revisiting Dragon Ball throughout my vacation. At least I’m sure it won’t disappoint me there! 😛 Yotsuba is right behind though. 😉

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