Chainsaw Man premiered its first episode on Tuesday, October 11, and it was phenomenal. The episode really set up the story perfectly, creating a dark, dystopian vibe that will serve as the foundation for the rest of the series. I can already understand where all the hype is coming from.
This Chainsaw Man Episode 1 review has anime-only spoilers. For the latest Chainsaw Man news, subscribe to our email list, choosing the “anime” category.
Denji Is a Character You Can Truly Root For in the Middle of a Dark, Dystopian World
The first episode of Chainsaw Man was engaging, dark, and unique. The animation was beautiful, and the quality really made me feel like I’m watching something that will ultimately end up rivaling Attack on Titan (my favorite anime.)
The episode started out by thrusting us right into the dark world that is Denji’s life. It felt like it was written from the viewpoint of a millennial who has struggled in a post-capitalistic hellhole, with no end or freedom in sight. Denji’s already had to do the unthinkable to survive, including selling several body parts — even one of his eyes. He’s trying to pay off the debt his father owed to the Yakuza, which was passed on to him when his dad died.
Somehow, Denji keeps an optimistic attitude, at least as best he can given the situation. He has a sweet friend in Pochita, and all he wants out of life is a girlfriend who cares. Honestly, Denji is just so wholesome that your heart can’t help but break for him.
Pochita Is Really Just So Adorable
Pochita is the cutest “devil” creature I’ve ever seen. He and Denji have the sweetest relationship. When Denji met Pochita, he already thought he didn’t have much longer to live. But then he saw that Pochita was injured too, so he offered up his own blood to help the little chainsaw dog live.
Their friendship was born with a contract: Pochita helps Denji, and Denji helps Pochita. And over time, the two have grown very close.
The Entire Episode Was an Intense But Perfect Introduction
But ultimately, Denji is betrayed by the very people he was trying to pay a debt to, because they sold their souls to a zombie demon.
It was pretty gut-wrenching to see Denji being stabbed alive by the zombies, while he thought about how his biggest regret was not appreciating the happiness he had with Pochita. 😭 Could it even get more heartbreaking than that?
There’s a flashback to Denji telling Pochita that if he ever dies, his biggest fear is that Pochita would starve. So he makes Pochita promise to take over his body so he can provide for himself. That’s his only dream. My gosh, this kid couldn’t possibly become more wholesome and kind.
But when Denji comes back to life, he has a startling realization. Pochita loves Denji as much as Denji loved him, and doesn’t want Denji to die. He appears to him in a vision, able to speak, and says, “I always loved hearing you talk about your dream, Denji. I’ll give you my heart, and in exchange, I want you to show me your dream.”
It’s interesting to see Denji’s transformation. He doesn’t immediately become powerful. In fact, he’s horribly destroyed by the zombies yet again before he finally realizes the extent of his power. He can turn partially into a chainsaw now, and while he’s in that state, he’s pretty much unstoppable.
(One of my favorite lines was when he said, “Once you’re all dead, I won’t owe you a damn thing!”)
After the battle is over, a new major character arrives. A redhead who’s clearly very powerful, with strange golden eyes.
When she hugs Denji, he’s able to transform back into being human. But the battle has taken so much out of him. He’s in shock.
She explains that she’s a devil hunter with Public Safety and Denji can either join her group and be a Devil Hunter too, or die. (Not really much of a choice.) When he learns that he’ll be provided good meals, he doesn’t hesitate. It’s a chance to escape the desperate life he’s been living, so can you really blame him?
The episode ends at this point.
I can’t praise Chainsaw Man enough for an epic start to the series. The way the Public Safety group is introduced was a perfect bookend to an intense half-hour. We saw the utter devastation that was Denji’s life, the horrors he endured to find some degree of freedom, and a chance at a better life that — more than likely — is going to have a very dark twist.
My only hope is that we see Pochita again.
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