Chainsaw Man is published through Shonen Jump/Viz Media. It is written and drawn by Tatsuki Fujimoto.
As a manga title gets more and more popular, I am more and more likely to avoid it. Bleach, One Piece and Naruto were all narrative let downs for me, morphing from compelling stories to slapstick comedy or straight up battle-only tales. I will not downplay their impact or approachability, but I also won’t shy away from the reality that they aren’t for me. Chainsaw Man was one of those titles that began to be referenced with more reverence - and I became more nervous about reading or watching it.
Chainsaw Man became more noteworthy as its anime adaptation was announced and I started seeing more and more pictures of some dude with chainsaws coming out of his face, arms, and legs. Neon splatter was splashed across his clothes - a vibrant metaphor for blood splatter - and he just looked intense. I had shunned Dorohedoro - also advertised as goofy and violent - and was wrong, so was going to stay open to (but quiet about) reading and/or watching Chainsaw Man, just so I don’t miss out on an enjoyable visual adventure.
I wasn’t going to buy the tankobon though. There’s a paper shortage AND volume 1’s of ANY series are near impossible to find! Ain’t going to fight that fight, ya know? But I had already subscribed to the Shonen Jump app for an affordable $3 a month and guess what’s available there to read chapter by chapter?
Chainsaw Man. It’s pretty obvious. I mean, I’m not good at twists in these plots. Sorry y’all.
Anyways, look. Manga can be all over the place, but as a genre, I thoroughly enjoy absurd stories. Chainsaw Man is especially absurd. There is a young man - orphaned and eating rotten food in the streets - who is a close friend of a chainsaw demon, depicted as an adorable puppy with a chainsaw for a nose. The young man wields the demon as a weapon, chopping down demons left and right for cash. This eventually results in him being dismembered by zombie monsters but the chainsaw demon - empowered by their friendship and the magic of demons - takes over the young man’s body, bringing him back to life. With the lingering words of “live and show me your dreams”, he rises, shoots a chainsaw from his face and takes revenge against these demons.
His story progresses from there, these events all happening within the first volume of the Chainsaw Man tale. He is whisked away by a government agency; overwhelmed by just how freaking cool sleeping in a real bed is; and grieving the absence of his chainsaw dog friend. Soon he is distracted by his true dream though: touching a titty. He desperately wants to touch a boob. His motivation for this entire story is lust - which is something that I truly respect from a narrator. It's a stark contrast to the violence committed by the hero and his allies.
Yet, this horny teenager’s story is not full of only fanservice and humor. This story is an unexpected tragedy. We see our hero grow and bond with others; he lives a life of comfort and happiness; and finds the comfortable companionship that he had been missing. The tragedy? Brutal manipulation, murder, brainwashing, and the truly evil machinations of the story’s villain. For a boy who is just wanting to eat non-rotted food and sleep in a bed, the villain’s manipulation is unfathomably evil and blatantly cruel. However, it is compelling and presented with some amazing artwork.
The Chainsaw Man story was full and compelling, and I was actually disappointed that it came to an end, but all news is not bad, as there will be a second arc out eventually! I’m excited to see where Chainsaw Man goes - and how he handles high school!