By Taylor Rodriguez
The world is under attack by demons and devils that have escaped from hell.
Countless evil creatures are seeking to wreak havoc on humanity and cause undue suffering solely for entertainment.
Now imagine a task force has been created to fight back against these demons, using the powers of monsters and fiends themselves. That is the story of “Chainsaw Man.”
While in the second half of my COVID isolation, I discovered I had a lot of free time on my hands. Between prolonged fatigue addled naps and afternoon Zoom class sessions, I would browse Instagram, Reddit and any social media looking for something to occupy my time.
Towards the last week of my isolation, I discovered Shonen Jump’s ‘Chainsaw Man,’ a Japanese comic, or manga, about a teenager who can turn into a chainsaw demon. Sounds insane, right? Well, that’s because it is – in the best way possible.
Now, before I continue, this story isn’t for the faint of heart.
This comic features many adult themes, including messy and gory violence, sexual content, drinking, smoking and encounters the topic of death on many occasions.
Have all the kids left? Good.
People. Love. Violence. Of course, there is a fine line, but I think most everyone enjoys a little violence to a certain degree.
Whether that be in the rough and tumble activity of contact sports like in the NFL, in intensely choreographed action movies like “John Wick” or “Kingsmen” or just big dudes duking it out in the octagon for millions of viewers, everyone enjoys some violence.
Tatsuki Fujimoto’s “Chainsaw Man” scratches that violent itch that we all secretly crave.
I mean, over the course of three or four days, I read the entire first part of the manga. ‘Chainsaw Man consists of nearly 100 fully drawn chapters. For reference, a single chapter can have anywhere from 20 – 30 pages.
The first part of “Chainsaw Man” manages to tell an extremely functional and chaotic story filled with characters that you love to love and love to hate. Some characters we get to see live their best life, while others go through terrible pain and suffering.
We watch them experience life at their lowest point and somehow make it through all the chaos.
The story follows the simple Denji, a young boy who inherits his father’s debts from the Yakuza, the Japanese mafia.
Denji attempts to make up this debt by selling off his body part. First, a kidney, then an eyeball, and eventually even a testicle is sold on trying to make up this debt. However, even that isn’t enough to pay off this debt.
One day, a Yakuza member comes to collect the debt left by Denji’s father and presents him with an ultimatum to pay the rest off in 24 hours, or he will be killed. Denji, left with nowhere to turn, decides to hunt demons.
After forming a contract with a small dog-like chainsaw demon named Pochita, Denji manages to deal with the Yakuza, escaping his imminent death.
However, soon after, Denji is double-crossed by the Yakuza and is nearly killed, only to be saved by merging his injured body with Pochita. This leads to the creation of Chainsaw Man and his recruitment into the special task force.
The story goes on from there to tell a fantastic tale of love, adolescence, death and revenge. Although a bit odd at first, “Chainsaw Man” has an undeniable charm in its characters and art style.
Personally, I would recommend ‘Chainsaw Man,’ but read it at your own risk. I know my limits and what I can handle, but don’t read it if you are not a fan of violence, blood and character death. I’m sure ‘Game of Thrones’ thrones fans can relate.
If you are a fan of graphic novels, dark themes and terrific storytelling, “Chainsaw Man” is a fantastic read. I rate “Chainsaw Man” an 8 out of 10 for excellent storytelling, extremely lovable characters, great art and an unforgiving story.