October 11, 2022
In this year's autumn season, the anime adaptation of Chainsaw Man , which has been eagerly awaited by many fans, will start in simulcast form in Japan and here on Crunchyroll. But can the anime based on Tatsuki Fujimoto's manga of the same name live up to the high expectations? I was able to preview the first episode and will answer this question in the following preview. Pascal Walter
ATTENTION: Any statements in this preview only reflect the personal opinion of the author and not (!) those of ITweakIT and its partners.
The night of the walking chainsaw
Chainsaw Man begins with the orphan boy Denji living in the simplest of ways and on the verge of poverty somewhere in Japan. His life is determined by debts to the Yakuza, which he inherited after the death of his father and is now trying to settle with orders.
Denji is not a normal orphan boy, but a so-called Devil Hunter. He hunts and kills demons and collects bounty for it. His specialty here is that he made a pact with a demon a long time ago. Since then, Pochita, a small orange demon with a chainsaw sticking out of his head, has been his indispensable hunting partner. However, Denji has to experience again and again how insidious the boss of the yakuza gang is – he does not even receive the promised sum after a job completed with flying colours. He's obviously settled into this lifestyle, but that doesn't stop him from dreaming of things like bread and jam.
And then came the day that changed everything for him! When Denji was due to carry out another assignment, he is lured into a trap by the gang's boss and pierced from behind with a katana. It turns out the yakuza gang made a deal with a demon in order to gain more power. More precisely, it's about a zombie demon that has turned the entire gang into zombies, which are now all attacking Denji. In the end, he ends up in a dumpster cut into dozens of pieces. Miraculously, however, Pochita is able to reunite with Denji and brings him back to life.
The orphan boy is no longer a normal person in effectu, but a kind of fusion of his kind and Pochita: a chainsaw sticks out of his head and two more on his arms. With this massive new power, he slaughters the zombie yakuza and eventually the zombie demon. The very next morning he meets a young red-haired woman who offers him jobs and enough food, which he listens to. Thus begins Denji's new "demonic" life.
image and animation
Chainsaw Man adapts the manga of the same name by Tatsuki Fujimoto and manages to reproduce the style of the original in the anime quite well. The MAPPA studio (including Jujutsu Kaisen , Attack on Titan: Final Season , Yuri!!! on Ice ) is responsible for the adaptation, with Ryū Nakayama and Makoto Nakazono directing. In Japan, the new anime series will start on Japanese TV on October 11, 2022, while in Germany it will run in simulcast and simuldub on Crunchyroll.
The quality of the visual implementation is consistently at a high level. The excellent pictures and settings, which serve as the background in many scenes, deserve special mention. These are very detailed and help to breathe more life into the scenes. Kazutaka Sugiyama's character design is good to very good in most of the scenes, which are detailed in the close-ups. In the case of more distant characters, details are kept within limits, which doesn't fit the overall picture of the very valuable production.
Furthermore, Kiyotaka Oshiyama's demon design isn't at its best in the first episode. Partly amateurishly animated, it still needs some improvement in order to shine. The animation of the blood is also lacking in places, which counts when you consider how important it is in a series like this. However, the choreography of the fight against said zombies is very well executed, which to some extent makes up for the previous point.
dubbing and music
At the time of the official release of Chainsaw Man on Crunchyroll, the streaming provider is not only showing the new anime series in the original sound with German subtitles in the simulcast, but also with German dubbing in SimulDub. For this preview, I watched the first episode in the Japanese language version with English subtitles.
The Japanese speakers consistently manage to do justice to the respective characters. The voice acting is breathtaking, the voices are emotionally charged or soft when necessary. I would like to give a special mention to Kikunosuke Toya, the voice of Denji. He manages to transport the complex emotions of the character very well. Admittedly, he has the longest voiceovers in this episode, but that in no way detracts from his performance.
The series music, composed by Kensuke Ushio, is not particularly noticeable in the first episode and is rather passive in the background. The background music is by no means bad, but it doesn't really stick in your memory either. The opening ( Kick Back by Kenshi Yonezu) has not yet found a place in this episode, while the ending is a very catchy rock song. With each episode having a new ending song, it remains to be seen how the next one will turn out.
In every respect, Chainsaw Man lives up to the hype surrounding it. The quality of the images and animation, as well as the performance of the Japanese cast's voice actors so far, are satisfactory and manage to convey Tatsuki Fujimoto's bloody storyline about Denji in a convincing and entertaining way. After just one episode, it is currently difficult to assess how the narrative pace will develop over the course of the anime series. But on the basis of this, I hope for an adaptation of the manga that is as true to the original as possible and that manages to implement the story at a high level.
The fight scenes are well choreographed and action-packed, while the physics of the blood in said scenes leaves a bit to be desired at times. Apart from the first ending theme, the soundtrack is rather inconspicuous so far, but not bad. All in all, Chainsaw Man manages to achieve an above-average performance in large parts and thus meets the high expectations. Something that is by no means a matter of course these days, when the market is flooded with new anime every season.
Chainsaw Man is a visually appealing anime with a promising beginning. Definitely a must watch for fans of action, horror and splatter movies.
Images: © 2018 by Tatsuki Fujimoto/SHUEISHA Inc.