Based on the manga of the same name written and illustrated by Tatsuki Fujimoto, Chainsaw Man‘s first episode, “Dog & Chainsaw,” is a visual feast. The excitement for Chainsaw Man was at fever pitch, and knowing MAPPA, the same studio responsible for the stunning Jujutsu Kaisen, was on board ramped up the excitement. They did not disappoint. Streaming on Crunchyroll, the series follows Denji (Kikunosuke Toya). He is a young man who, following his murder, merges with his pet devil and becomes a literal chainsaw man. He has chainsaws sticking out his face, and both arms. The first episode, “Dog & Chainsaw,” is a tragic but essential episode introducing you to this demon-inhabited world.
“Dog & Chainsaw” Has Pitiable Denji And Lovable Pochita
Elfen Lied springs to mind because, damn, does Denji have rotten luck. This world is unforgiving, especially for those living on the fringes. Despite his awful life, Denji is likable. He displays no viciousness or bitterness. You wish for better circumstances for him and little Pochita (Shiori Izawa). As a first episode, “Dog & Chainsaw” balances action with enough backstory to make you connected to Denji and Pochita. It is hard to invest in a series without an emotional connection to the lead, and Chainsaw Man’s first episode firmly establishes sympathy for Denji.
After all, he is poor and lives in a metal shed. Even more horrific he sacrifices parts of his body to pay off his deceased dad’s debt to the yakuza. Denji does not dream big. All he wants are basic things, a girlfriend, a home, and enough money for him and Pochita to enjoy bread with jam. Tragically, such simple things are so far out of reach; even sadder, Denji believes he will never achieve it. While it may feel talent show sob story if you step back, “Dog & Chainsaw” shows rather than tells, which helps cement the viewer’s heartache. Plus, Pochita is too cute. You want to hug him like a cuddly pillow.
Did Not See That Coming
If you thought this duo’s swarm of misfortune ended, you thought wrong. Denji is not the only one with dreams. Ruled by wants and desires; the yakuza dream bigger and make a deal with a devil. Winds up bad for them and even worse for Denji and Pochita. You will either be aghast or wonder “did they dismember this guy.” For a moment, I thought this was turning into Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni, with people coming back to life every handful of episodes. “Dog & Chainsaw” does not skimp on the violence or bloodshed, it brings it all to stunning, in-your-face life.
Stands Out Despite Similarities To Other Series
Plenty of series deal with the part devil, part man—Devilman Crybaby is another that springs to mind. However, this series is a visual stunner. Combined with graphic violence and incredible sound effects—limbs and parts flying every which way—this is a series you can watch on repeat.
The piano score is gorgeous, smooth, and uplifting—almost ethereal with a question in its sound. With the opening song, “Kick Back” by Kenshi Yonezu, giving an off-kilter vibe that perfectly fits with nonsensical, violent, comical, and relaxing images flashing across the screen. Worldbuilding is minimal, but this is only the first episode. By the end of the episode, all you know is there are devils, humans like Denji who merge with devils, and devil hunters who work with Public Safety as someone arrives at the end of the first episode.
Violently Stunning Series Opener
Chainsaw Man’s “Dog & Chainsaw” might explore similar themes to Devilman Crybaby regarding physical traits or character make you a devil. The yakuza are human but put Denji through all that for money. Hell, the yakuza treated and called Denji a dog. Pochita, on the hand, who is a “devil,” supports Denji and protects him, as evidenced by how Denji becomes Chainsaw Man for the first time in this episode. MAPPA continues to deliver action, violence and emotional journeys with stunning animated visuals. Chainsaw Man hooks you with a blow to the heart, making you attached to the characters before expanding the world, and with the impressive visuals, this is a series viewers will enjoy.