Chainsaw Man aired its episode 1 after a huge train of hype, and it delivered an impressive premiere that introduced both the protagonist Denji and his devil friend Pochita, and the cruel world they live in. The very first scene reveals that Denji has a debt that is impossible to pay back. Besides cutting trees and selling several of his organs, we also learn that hunting devils is the job that pays best. That first scene already made me feel like watching a movie, from the moment he woke up to the landscapes as they walked to the Tomato Devil, and there were more impressive-looking backgrounds and scenes throughout the episode.
The opening video played after this scene, and it is an incredible one. Under Shingo Yamashita’s direction and storyboard, there were a bunch of classic movie references. Kazutaka Sugiyama served as the chief animation director, with Riki Matsuura and Souta Yamazaki as animation directors. Shingo Yamashita also worked on the key animation in the opening, along with Ryu Nakayama, Tatsuya Yoshihara and Keiichirou Watanabe. You can watch the video below:
Moving on, we got to learn more about Denji’s past and how he got into the devil hunting business. It’s basically the fault of his deadbeat father, who hanged himself due to the large debt and left Denji at the mercy of yakuza. On the very day his father died, he was told to collect a large amount of money within a day or he’d get cut and sold in parts. When the yakuza members left, the cute devil Pochita appeared. This is where we saw Denji was already ready to die, when he told the devil it could kill him since he was dead either way. However, Pochita was injured and in no state to do that, so Denji offered his blood to it so it could heal. He worded it as a deal, where the devil would have to help him in return. The two became a team which went on to hunt devils and survive on the little earnings they could make.
It was honestly depressing to see the kind Denji have to go through everything that was happening to him. He couldn’t even sleep due to hunger. and he could only dream of eating jam on his bread, and his main wish was to score with a girl before dying. Luckily, he had Pochita by his side, but it still felt like a far too cruel fate for something his father had done. This reached its peak when the main yakuza member invited him out to a job and revealed that he’d made a deal with a devil on his own and betrayed Denji. Our protagonist got sliced and threw away by the Zombie Devil’s minions, and we just knew there had to be some way he’d return and pay them back.
And come back he did, although the full credit goes to Pochita. The devil had a drop of blood come into its mouth, which triggered a series of flashbacks to some moments it spent with Denji. We saw that Denji had already thought about the possibility of dying, and he wanted Pochita to take over his corpse and live a normal life. What Pochita did instead was give its heart to Denji and tell him that it wants to see him realize his dream instead. This gave birth to the actual Chainsaw Man, who then mowed down every single one of the zombies/devils with his newfound abilities.
The episode ended with Makima from Public Safety appearing to kill the Zombie Devil, only to find Denji alone on the scene. She tells the men accompanying her that he’s not possessed, and asks Denji to choose between dying like a devil or joining her as a human. After telling him she’d feed him and describing a breakfast, Denji just says it sounds awesome before the episode ends. Finally, the ending theme song by Vaundy played, and you can watch the ending video below:
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All images via Crunchyroll
©Tatsuki Fujimoto / Shueisha, MAPPA