“Wow.”That is my first reaction to this manga. Climbing the ladder of hit Shonen Jump series. Volume 1 of Chainsaw Devil man delivers 7 chapters of captivating characters, satisfying monster gore, and a sense of deep sadness that I think many of us can relate to. We follow the story of Denji. A young boy who carries a massive debt inherited from his deceased father. To pay off his debt, he has done many unspeakable things like selling various body parts. His main source of income, however, is devil hunting. Helping him on his quest to reclaim his financial freedom is a cute looking devil who can transform into a devil killing chainsaw. Denji calls him Pochita. What really brings this story into full steam is when Denji deals with the cute chainsaw devil to save his own life. Becoming a part of his heart, Pochita allows Denji to transform into a half-man half-devil. All this in exchange for Denji showing the Chainsaw Devil his dreams. The path to clear his debt just became so much easier… or has it?
We are introduced to a mysterious young lady, known as Miss Makima. She claims to be a public safety devil hunter and offers Denji the choice of being killed or become her pet… yeah, that’s no typo. The simple prospect of the most basic of food leads Denji to decide to follow the fellow Devil Hunter. What I liked about this choice is that it establishes once again what drives the protagonist—honestly, it’s really depressing. To want nothing more but to eat a decent meal is such a primal and sad struggle. It helps me root for Denji in hopes that he will be able to repay his debt. At the same time, it makes me wonder what sort of “dreams” Denji will show his beloved Pochita; if a simple breakfast was a “dream come true.” It also makes me wonder what other sorts of dreams we will see. A nice hot shower, perhaps? That can be a dream come true in a lot of situations. Having such a simple character allows for wonderful foil characters, such as the ones we are introduced to in the following chapters.
The world where this story takes place gets a little more filled in when we are taken along to Tokyo and meet other Devil Hunters. Each has their own reasons for joining the cause; revenge, money, the thrill. Everyone that is introduced gives more nuance to the world. My favorite of the characters is a Fiend called Power. A Fiend is just a Devil that has taken over a corpse and now lives in it. Power is a Blood Devil that loves the excitement of battle. Seeing the dynamic interactions between her and Denji are some of my favorite scenes in Chainsaw Devil Man Volume 1. It has been hard to trust her since our first introduction to a Fiend was anything but pleasant. We do get to see a bit more of this fascinating character’s motivations, and despite Power being a Fiend, she shows herself to be quite human at times.
The gory nature of Chainsaw Devil Man Volume 1 lends to some wonderful artwork. Blood splattered face, chainsaws emerging from corpses. It was just the right series to pick up this Halloween season. Aside from the artist’s depiction of blood and guts, Tatsuki Fujimoto’s character designs are simple yet effective. No one (except maybe Power) doesn’t stand out too much, but the subtleties in everyone’s facial expressions are what really give this manga an edge. The lines are dark and defining, while the shading is bold and dynamic. The backdrop is never overwhelming, and since it is in modern-day Tokyo, it honestly brings back fond memories of my own time wandering through those streets.
Chainsaw Devil Man Volume 1 really opened us up to quite the frightening yet exciting world of Devil Hunting. Having only seen a glimmer of what Denji, the Chainsaw Devil man, can do, I’m looking forward to more Devil gutting action from Tatsuki Fujimoto. I can’t wait to see the kinds of simplistic dreams Denji will be showing us as he mows down legions of Devils on the way.
Chainsaw Devil Man Volume 1: Review
Chainsaw Devil Man Volume 1
Overwhelmed with insurmountable debt,Denji makes a pact with his pet, Pochita, the Chainsaw Devil and becomes half-devil half man. Using his new grotesque powers, he plans to show his dear friend his dreams and fights to have a simple life.