Chainsaw Man’s second episode is out, and I can’t overstate just how great “Arrival in Tokyo” was. Last week’s episode introduced us to this darkly dystopian world with some heartbreaking moments. And while the dark undertones and manipulation remained this week, we also got some much-needed comical moments to provide a bit of contrast. And once again, Denji continues to be the wholesome hero that you really want to root for.
This Chainsaw Man Episode 2 review is for anime-only readers. For the latest Chainsaw Man news, subscribe to our email list, choosing the “anime” category.
The Lighthearted Moments Struck a Perfect Balance This Week
Maybe “perfect” is overselling this episode, but it really hit all the notes just right. First, there was Denji’s crush/obsession with Makima, which makes sense considering his background. My understanding is that he’s a teenager (maybe about 17 or so in age, which I’ll delve into more in a future story.) For most of his life, he was hated and looked down upon. He lived in abject poverty, selling off body parts while trying to pay off his dad’s debt. Pochita was his closest friend.
Now that he can suddenly achieve some goals that he thought were unreachable, he also has a shot at having a relationship too. It’s understandable that he’s basically fallen in love with Makima at first sight. She’s a beautiful woman who’s treating him with kindness (while also demanding obedience.)
This episode really sold his adoration of her, but in a believable way. When he pretended to be more hurt than he was, so she’d have to feed him by hand, I laughed out loud. When he asked his colleague on their first outing together if she was dating anyone, it was just perfectly in character for him. I liked Denji even more when this episode ended, because he’s just so funny and so real.
I also liked how he goes back and forth between being completely in love with Makima and wondering if maybe she has a darker side and he should be more cautious. It seems that she recognizes his adoration for her, and she’s using her beauty to manipulate him. (Such as when she told him that her type is the “Denji” type.) It’s an interesting pattern that I’ve watched play out in other anime recently too. There’s got to be a darker side that’s going to be revealed down the line.
This Is Still a Dystopian World
Of course, the lighthearted moments don’t last long enough for us to forget that we’re in a dystopian world, and things for Denji might go very wrong in the future. He’s basically always treading lightly under a possible death sentence. And he still loves and misses Pochita, who was his only true friend. That loss still hits hard, but he has some joyful moments now too to help him push forward.
Denji is now part of an organization of devil hunters, and his group works for Public Safety. According to Makima, the group has “the best benefits and a lot of paid vacation time.”
The origin of the devils is still a mystery, but everything we’ve been shown so far indicates that they’re all evil (except Pochita.) But is that really true? Or are there some bad devils and some good devils?
I feel like this picture in Makima’s office is some kind of hint.
We learned that devils can inhabit human bodies, but they typically end up being mindless zombies at that point that are called Fiends. We also learned that no one has met someone like Denji before, although the existence of “merged” creatures like himself have been the source of rumors.
No matter how you spin it, though, this is a dark world. Poverty, sexuality, and illness are used to manipulate the poor, like Denji, into a life of service. Some, like Hayakawa, are doing this by choice. But while Denji is happy and thankful to be where he’s at, he only ended up here because of how poorly the world treated him before. And sadly, that treatment is mirrored pretty accurately in real-life, which makes it hit all the harder.
The Two New Characters Are Dynamic Additions to the Story
We also met two new characters this week, and their introductions gave them a solid foundation for future episodes. This isn’t going to be a story where the characters feel flat or I have trouble remembering their stories. These are fully fleshed-out characters with backgrounds, believable motivations, and struggles.
First, there was Aki Hayakawa. He was the first person that Makima introduced to Denji, and they got off on the wrong foot immediately. It seems that Hayakawa might also love Makima, and he was trying to convince Denji to leave so he could get rid of some of the competition. Their fight was hilarious because Denji’s lived on the street and had to fight dirty to survive. He didn’t hold back, and ended up getting the better of Hayakawa.
But now he has to live with Hayakawa so he can be watched closely, supposedly since the Devil side of him always poses some kind of threat. The scenes when they first moved in together made me laugh so hard. Denji singing in the bathtub because he can have a hot bath for the first time, using up all the toilet paper, basically every moment was so funny.
And then at the very end, we met Power, and that put a new twist on everything. We just learned that Fiends are killed immediately. But Power is a rare case where a devil takes over a human’s body (turning them into a Fiend), but the body retains some “rationality” somehow, rather than just basically being a walking, attacking zombie. So Power’s able to be part of this experimental team (Public Safety Devil Extermination Special Division 4) that Denji’s been added to.
Power is so intriguing. Is she “rational” because the devil inside of her has complete control? Or are devils typically irrational and mindless, and her human counterpart has retained its personality somehow? Did her human choose to be taken over, and that’s why Power is rational? I’m really looking forward to hearing her backstory.
The Dialogue Was Exceptional
The dialogue in this episode was exceptional. I really have to give kudos to the writers and the manga author. The exchanges felt authentic, like conversations we would hear in real-life. And the voice acting was phenomenal, really selling those moments.
All in all, I give this episode high marks. I’ve finally found a new anime that fills that void left while Attack on Titan isn’t airing.
Follow our Chainsaw Man page on Facebook for more news or subscribe to our emails and choose the “anime” option. Want to chat about all things post-apocalyptic? Join our Discord server here. You can also follow us on Facebook or Twitter. Oh, and TikTok, too!
Leave a Reply