While its an exposition heavy episode, I’m enjoying the world building and the character development going on here
This week’s episode had A LOT going on….
First, Denji achieves his latest ultimate goal shattering the plotting of every shonen series ever, as he gets to cop 3 consensual feels off of Power, only to realize it wasn’t quite the earth shattering experience he expected in more ways than one. In true oversharing Denji fashion this is something he laments to his boss, Makima, who informs him that it’s when you care for someone that these intimate moments carry the true weight they deserve, in an oddly wholesome moment. This is however right before she basically offers to have sex with him if he can kill the “Gun Devil”, in a move that reinvigorates our favorite devil hunter, right before he is put on the hunt yet again.
In a very on the nose, yet fitting origin Makima lets Denji in on a bit of the lore of the “Gun Devil”. A very powerful devil who first appeared in America (Of course) after a terrorist attack. My first thought was 9/11, but I remembered Chainsaw Man technically takes place in 1997. Since his appearance, the fear that he’s spread has only empowered the lesser demons; which brings us to this week’s mission. Apparently if another devil eats a chunk of the “Gun Devil”, which he is always shedding, it supercharges them. This has six agents from Public Safety Experimental Division 4 descending on a hotel where a few devil hunters have recently gone missing, and its thought a demon who ingested a chunk of the “Gun Devil” is the culprit.
We are then thrown into the thick of it as the character development of three more hunters Himeno, Kobeni and Hirokazu (who are all teens mind you) is contrasted by Aki’s back story and some of the occupational hazards of devil hunters is thrown in for good measure — most don’t live a year. This has the dread frothing up as we slowly realize they all just walked into a trap. It’s a very different episode from last week’s slice of life look at Aki’s morning routine as we are dealt a ton of new exposition before our next big arc. While Denji is hormonally supercharged at this point, it’s the other hunters who are going to have to earn their exit from this ordeal with Power still not quite falling into line and pushing her boundaries with Public Safety.
I am going to say we are ramping up given this is episode 5 of a 12 episode run for our big bad in the “Gun Devil”, but slow is one thing Chainsaw Man is not, so who knows? I like the awkwardness that settled in between Denji and Power when he discovered her boobs were fake that sort of broke that sexual tension and put the two more in a brother sister vibe. I much prefer that rather than venturing into the dreaded anime love triangle, which is a trope I really just can’t anymore. Not only that, I think Power has more to offer as a peer, than a love interest in the show, given how much of a wild card she appears to still be. I also just really enjoy that coupled with the dynamic with Aki, with him rediscovering the lost younger siblings in the pair. Its this near familial setup that gives whatever they are walking into some real stakes for the trio.
So while its exposition heavy, I’m enjoying the world building and the character development here that really serves up a very non-traditional anime protagonist in Denji and his continued adventures. I mean he’s horny, but he is an adolescent kid and its pretty hilarious since he the non-creepy consensual kind and he appears to actually have a heart. Its this flawed protagonist that really makes him more relatable than some holier than thou shonen heroes, which I think gives Chainsaw Man its comedy and its charm. Also its hard not to get Reservoir Dogs vibes from the group all in black suits rolling in on their target.
Chainsaw Man is released on Crunchyroll every Tuesday.