The first episode of Chainsaw Man left me a bit unsure. I did like it but it was such a different experience from the one I had had with the manga that I ended up a little baffled. And knowing what lies ahead only worsened my unsteadiness.
In a way, that makes me even more eager to see what this anime has in store for us.
So far, Chainsaw Man is doing a great job with characterization. Denji has had quite a bit of time in the spotlight so it’s not surprising that we have a good grasp of his personality. Besides, Denji is simple. That’s sort of his defining trait and in a way, it’s also his strength. It’s that simplicity that holds the story together. I love it.
And maybe it’s just me, but I find that the anime is doing a good job of highlighting his somewhat sweeter side. For lack of a better word, I just find this Deji kind of cute in a way that has nothing to do with character design. It’s a great foil for everything else in Chainsaw Man.
However, we’ve essentially only known Makima and Aki for one episode. Less really since they only have a handful of scenes each. And Power was introduced in the last act of this episode. Yet, I feel like I really know all of them. Makima is a bit harder to read but that mysterious side is a big part of her. She plays it close to the chest. Aki is probably more similar to Denji than he would ever care to admit and Power, well POwer is undeniable. She just fills up every scene she’s in. I find that being able to easily infer that much about characters who have only had a few minutes of screen time is impressive. Especially as there has been no exposition for any of them.
Strong characters are what make action/horror stories shine. This is a very good sign.
On the other hand, the broish antagonistic relationship between Aki and Denji is a bit cliché. I didn’t really mind it but to me, it eats up time that would have been better used to flesh out the world-building or give us more Power!. I am working really hard to put aside what I know from the manga. I have to say that the relationship between Aki and Denji is in fact pretty great and it’s nice to see it build up, but if I just take this episode into consideration and try to forget everything that comes after, I thought their bickering threw the pacing off, while their living together montage was fun but too short to really work.
We are still very much in the setup stages on Chainsaw Man. But the potential is definitely here. I hope viewers are enjoying it.