Yousuke Yamamoto is a typical underachiever, searching for a reason to live while struggling to come to terms with the death of his friend Noto a year ago. Everything changes dramatically for him one night when he runs into Eri Yukizaki, a beautiful girl hiding a tragic loss of her own, out on the streets. When a chainsaw-wielding giant falls from the sky and engages her in battle, it marks the beginning of Yousuke finally finding his purpose in life.
Negative Happy Chainsaw Edge is an adaptation of Tatsuhiko Takimoto's novel of the same name, which was released on Novemeber 28, 2001. The novel was adapted into a NHK radio drama in 2002 and a live-action film, which released on January 19, 2008.
Negative Happy Chainsaw Edge is a romance, action, comedy manga that tells a deep story revolving around the lives of Yamamoto Yousuke and Yukisaki Eri.
The story is short, filling only 8 chapters, each about 45 pages long. However, despite this, it manages to tell a deep, emotional tale about two high school students. 2nd year Yamamoto is seemingly a slacker who is bored with life, but in fact, faces deep mental troubles, caused by his friend's death and his low self-esteem. 1st year Yukisaki at first appears to be an outgoing girl, but much is hidden beneath the surface. As the story progresses, each character
struggles with his or her own problems, while at the same time, faces each other and the mysterious Chainsaw Man who appears every day at night.
The story imparts many deep, serious themes through the thoughts of Yamamoto and as he interacts with Yukisaki. Most revolve around the idea of an ephemeral and short life. But no fear, Negative Happy Chainsaw Edge won't leave you going emo about how your life will end in a few decades. It also shows the bright side of living as well.
Despite the general seriousness, many small comedy scenes left me laughing, so there wasn't any heavy atmosphere as I was reading Negative Happy Chainsaw Edge. Such scenes include Yamamoto's ecchi, visualized thoughts and Yukisada's well aimed kicks at Yamamoto when she's irritated.
The art was drawn very well in defined lines; there isn't any type of smearing, except for some parts in the background. What's noticeable is the way the mangaka draw the male characters when they are surprised: they open their mouth wide, their faces elongate, and you can see each of their teeth individually. It made the characters look somewhat ugly, but you gotta admire the mangaka's detailed attention to teeth :P
Overall, Negative Happy Chainsaw Edge is highly recommended. The story was serious and touching, yet well-placed comedy scenes prevent the mood from being too heavy. A nice epilogue would be nice, but don't get me wrong, the ending's very conclusive and satisfying.
This manga suffers from a disease called, "B.T.S" (Bad Title Syndrome) or as it's more commonly known, "I can't come up with anything so I use random words in the manga as it's title," syndrome. To be fair not only manga do this, but it was just fitting in this case.
Random title aside, this one proved to be a very nice read topped with a great ending.
A boy, a girl, and a guy trying to kill her...nothing calls for romance more than imminent death.
Yousuke Yamamoto’s life is boring. Nothing is the same after his friend dies in a motorcycle accident. He goes to school, studies,
and his routine leaves him with an emptiness nothing seems to fill. He needs a purpose. Going home one cold winter day he sees a girl in a school uniform sitting on the floor, literally freezing her ass off. When he tries to make conversation with her, she starts talking like a crazy person about him running away before he dies. Seconds later, a man with a chainsaw appears, and Yousuke watches mesmerized as the beautiful girl fights the man until he disappears.
As he watches her fight, mesmerized, he knows-this is what he needs in his life, this will make it worthwhile. Her. If she’s in his life, it’ll no longer seem boring or meaningless. He’ll help her fight him.
Her name is Eri Yukisaki and as luck would have it, she doesn’t want his help.
Without giving spoilers:
The story line is actually very simple to understand, it's as easy as it is complex. The life that both of them are living is an easy one to relate to. Unfortunately, we've all experienced the mind dulling that is monotony. Their decisions and actions as the story unfolds give hints as to what angle the manga is going. When it gets there it is done effortlessly and smoothly.
Even if the summary doesn’t dwell on the mystery surrounding the "evil chainsaw man", or even this review, the manga is about life and all the bad things that happen that we can’t control but wish we could.
I can understand what made Yousuke cling to Eri. At first, his role reminded me a little of Takaki (5 Centimeters Per Second), he went through life with a sort of longing and a defeated way about him. As if the vacuum that life can be sucked all the happiness or hope away from him, with no plan to return it anytime soon. And although Eri didn’t always show it, since the story is told in Yousuke’s perspective, she is easy to understand and her pain was almost palpable through the story.
The characters are few; four main ones to the story actually. But it doesn’t need any more than that. Even though some people might say that this manga should or could have been longer, I don’t agree.
Why extend a good thing when it served its purpose with it’s current length?
Yousuke Yamamoto (whose name I keep saying as a robot in my head, I don't know why) and Eri, separately, wouldn’t be as dynamic as together. They both add to each others lives. Yousuke is your typical high school boy. If typical includes bad grades in school and getting sporadic fantasies about Eri. All in all he’s a pretty lonely guy. He lives with his friend, and until he met Eri, his life went by in a blur.
Eri is pretty mysterious until the last half of the manga. All we know is: her skirt needs to be longer- because she keeps flashing the chainsaw man and Yousuke, and that she can fight better than most guys. Or at least better than the lead guy of this story. She’s not annoying at all and actually has a serious demeanor.
The art was average. Although I compare the character to other manga, the art is by no way similar. It had its cringing pages: where the characters don’t look appealing, and more on the ugly side. But that effect is not lasting and it’s overall good. Even the chainsaw man was drawn to look like fear and death and it was not sloppy. The panty shots did get old, seeing that it was almost in every four pages. Fan service is everywhere, so can’t really knock it. Well, actually I can, but I understand why the mangaka felt the need to draw her panties on fighting scenes, since no skirt stays in place throughout a battle against a chainsaw wielding man(like I would know), but in other scenes, really unnecessary (not including Yousuke’s fantasies, those are ok).
The story could have actually done without the romance side--I can’t believe I just said that O_o.
It was just such a sweet take on life and feelings that even without the "love" factor it would have still kept it's kick. The romance felt a little pushed on Eri, and even though I know how they felt, it was never really explained throughout that they both saw each other that way. Meaning at the beginning, part of me felt that it was her tsundere side not showing affection.
That being said, the romance isn't forced by any means and there is no gushiness. It has action (chainsaw man) and also some mystery.
It’s short but it does the job.. Ha! I’m sure that’s a pickup line somewhere.
At the end it left me wondering, "If your sadness were to take human form, which form would it take?"
Negative Happy Chainsaw Edge, a very odd name for a brilliant manga. This is an action/romance story with some occasional comic relief. You may notice it is only 8 chapters, but don't let that turn you off - it ends just right.
Story - 10
This was a very quick ride at only 8 chapters but it played out perfectly. The story is, at heart, a teen romance with a sudden girl appearance (oh boy original! - I know). The twist on this one though, is that the girl fights some chainsaw-wielding maniac every night. The hero meets the heroine fighting the
evil chainsaw man one night and is mystified by the experience and decides to follow her. The story's premise starts out pretty... 'not-so-unique' I guess?, but it quickly develops into an engrossing tale before everything comes full circle in the end.
Characters - 9
Theres 3 main characters and a couple side characters that are mostly limited to the hero's friends.
-Yousuke Yamamoto ~ your typical depressed teen who runs into the main heroine by chance. His depression stems from a recent death of someone close to him and so now he is searching for a reason to live. He initially follows Eri around on the pretense that "the situation is really cool and I have nothing better to do", but he quickly grows attached to Eri.
-Eri Yukisaki ~ the main heroine who fights the evil chainsaw man every night for the sake of justice! As she reveals more about herself, the story really gets interesting, but I cant really explain much without spoilers! (sorry, its only 8 chapters - most of it is revealing the characters)
-Evil Chainsaw Man ~ appears to be some chainsaw-wielding maniac at first, but as the story develops, even he holds a secret.
Art - 8
Well the art is nothing particularly outstanding, but it is well drawn. I'm not rating it a 10 simply because ive seen more attractive manga art.
Enjoyment - 10
The manga starts out as rather... "typical" as i said before, but it quickly ramps up as Eri and Yousuke grow closer to each other and you learn more about them and their darker pasts. Theres some fantastic comedic moments thrown in the middle as well to break up the drama once in a while. The only thing I didn't particularly like was why Yousuke initially follows around Eri, but the rest makes up for it.
Overall - 10
Highly recommend if you enjoy romance/action. An outstanding gem in my book. One of the highlights here is that its only 8 chapters, so even if it didnt end up suiting your tastes, the time investment is very low. Check it out! =)
**Side-note, I think this deserves an OVA release and honestly I'm surprised it hasn't gotten one considering the popularity of Welcome to the NHK! (same author).
Complexity comes in many forms. Simplicity comes in maybe more.
Negative Happy Chainsaw Edge is a manga that hinges on an extremely thin thread to drive the story forward. The protagonist – the bored Yamamoto – borders on being so plain that forgetting his face in the next chapter can be a normal occurrence. However, he one day meets a large man with a chainsaw in the middle of battling a cute girl complete with a school uniform that has an extremely short skirt with no battle armour whatsoever. And she’s winning. Since Yamamoto is so bored with his life not knowing what to do,
he decides to investigate the matter further and tries to talk to this fearless girl called Eri. And with this simple premise the story takes off.
Though the manga tries to portray Yamamoto as a bored young man without direction in his life, it also tries to deepen his personality by having him think about his life in an existential way. He does not know what to do. He does not know who he is. He wants to spice things up by having a goal – any goal – so that he has something to look forward to. And while this could be a chance to make Yamamoto truly excel as a sympathetic character, the story decides to take another turn by having him be involved in a fight between two dubious character that have nothing to do with him. It seems so random but in a way, it works.
The true driving force of this manga is Eri. Like in any relationship between two people meeting each other on a cold night while fighting a guy with a chainsaw, she starts off dismissive towards Yamamoto, not wanting him involved in her situation. But since Yamamoto is so bored, he refuses to walk away because of the adrenaline he felt during the sight of that battle, despite Eri kicking him in the nuts multiple times. In some way or another, Eri and Yamamoto develop a relationship where Eri does the fighting and Yamamoto does the encouraging even though she does not need it. In this strange manner, they grow closer and closer, fulfilling Yamamoto’s need for adrenaline and giving him a purpose to wake up every day and help Eri.
Everything happening from then on seems random and without explanation, and even then the story works. It works because of the strange relationship the two ''fighters'' share, complementing each other. The great thing is that you actually get to see that it develops. Yamamoto ended up in this because of his boredom and even though there seems to be nothing in it on the surface for Eri having Yamamoto meet up with her every day, it becomes slowly apparent that their relationship works because they complement each other so well. It’s just too bad to see that the story takes up so much time setting the context (more than half of the manga) that the real character development happens later on.
See, the writer of this manga decided to just randomly think up of a situation where two strangers meet in a weird way and end up together because their human needs are not so random. Nobody ever heard of a black-robed chain saw man battling a cute girl in the middle of the night. Nobody ever heard of a boy without direction in life deciding to risk that very life of his by accompanying this girl. But even though these situations are so far from reality, the important thing to note is that the context of the story does not matter. It is the elements of character dynamics that make the absurd story work so well in such a way that it’s believable. It is therefore a missed opportunity that the story never goes too deep in the minds of the characters to develop their personalities even further since there is so much potential to do just that.
In terms of art, the drawings are of a decent quality. You will notice the occasional quirk such as weird placement of the eyes on the face or the extremely wide mouths accentuated by thick lips for comical highlighting. But the funny thing is that these are only noticeable when the characters are drawn standing still. When the characters give the impressions of movement, the drawings are very dynamic with action being shouted all over the page. In fact, there are more little details in the drawing of the characters in motion than when they are standing still, where they would need it more. The fan service of the fighting beauty Eri is something that comes up often in the story with panty shots all over the place in the heat of the fight. It could be conceived as a sight worth seeing but ultimately distracts you from the fighting scenes and story while the drawing style isn’t well suited for ecchi anyway (though it gets better later on).
Negative Happy Chainsaw Edge is a manga worth reading if you are into random scenes without explanations all over the place. The premise of the story is simple but can be horribly confusing when trying to make sense of everything because there is no sense to be found in the first place. Despite this, the story slowly comes together towards the end of the manga when character development is at its peak showing a great character dynamic between two strangers of two different worlds. Though there are missed opportunities here and there with the character development being later on in the story and not going further with it than is possible, it is a fun manga with decent art and somewhere deep down a message about direction in life.