Jul 27, 2019
31 of ? chapters read
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This review contains minor spoilers
I'm actually surprised that I'm rating this manga a 4. After I read the first ten chapters or so, I thought I would give this manga a 3 or a 2. To my surprise, the last dozen chapters or so were rather okay. This is my first MAL review, so I'm sure I'll get some stuff wrong, but here I go I guess. There are only 31 chapters out from the time of me writing this so I'm sure that my score will go up or down in the future, but for now I feel comfortable giving it a 4.
not much to say about the story right now. The closest thing to a story right is some hints about a conspiracy among the devil hunters and a possible end goal of summoning and defeating the gun demon. In my experience, most shonen manga take a while before the main conflict of the plot comes up, so I'm not going to harp on about the plot for too long. 6/10 because I can see some potential in it.
The art is somewhat of a mixed bag. On one hand, the action scenes are drawn rather competently. The devils are drawn in such a way that they're intimidating and some moments (Aki summoning the Fox devil during the fight against the Bat Devil particularly stands out in my mind) are genuinely great. On the other hand, characters are often drawn inexpressibly. Usually in manga, the audience is able to understand what a character is feeling with only a facial expression. In Chainsaw man, however, characters are usually drawn with a neutral expression. For example, in an early chapter, two of the main characters move in with one another. Both characters had been previously established as greatly disliking the other. The audience is treated to panels of the two trying to live together, and one character is given close ups to indicate a slowly building disgust toward the other. However, one only knows what Fujimoto was trying to convey based on the context. If you just showed those panels to someone who hadn't read it, they wouldn't know at first glance what the character is feeling.
Granted, I'm by no means an art critic and I'm not going to pretend that I am. Many of my problems with the art may have just been an intentional artistic choice. Being a weekly mangaka is a notoriously hard career, so I can understand why drops in the quality of the art are inevitable. And knowing myself, the drawings in Chainsaw Man are a lot better than anything I could make. 5/10 for having some good art and some bad art.
The fights in Chainsaw Man are fantastically brutal. It's satisfying to see Denji transform into a chainsaw monster and fuck up everything in front of him. Power and Aki both get some badass moments. I wish I had more to say about the fights, but the only thing I can say about them without getting obnoxiously pedantic is that they're great. It's clearly the main draw of the series and it delivers in that respect.
Other than the fights, the humor is okay at times. It didn't really give me anything more than a chuckle, but I suppose that humor is subjective. There's some decent fanservice and I like the devils' designs.
Yeah I wish I had more to say in this section, but there isn't much to go off. 7/10 cause I'm feeling generous.
This section is actually why I originally wanted to make this review. The cast of Chainsaw Man is probably the least likeable I've seen in a manga.
By the time I got to the fifth, I wanted to throw Denji's vulgar little ass into a nuclear reactor and gleefully watch as he's torn apart at the subatomic level. I get that Fujimoto probably wanted to make a protagonist that sticks out from most shonen main characters. But instead of creating a morally-ambiguous-yet-sympathetic character, he made Denji. Imagine Mineta from My Hero Academia as the main protagonist instead of Deku. That is Denji. Everything this cretin does is either him being an idiot or him being a pervy little shit. His entire motivation is sex. That's it. That's his entire personality. One of the most recent chapters hinted that he might be a sociopath, so maybe him being this hateable was intentional, but for right now, fuck him.
Makima is somehow worse. She's a manipulative bitch who uses what is essentially glorified slave labor and the audience is supposed to root for her because she hugged the protagonist that one time. She also enslaves him immediately afterward, but we're supposed to gloss over that because Denji wants to motorboat her.
Power is bascially the same as Denji except she has a vagina. She's a bit better in my eyes because she has some funny moments, so I guess I'll let her slide.
As for Aki, he's probably the only main character in this manga I actually kinda like. He's just a guy who wants to do his job. He's also the only character who doesn't put up with Denji's bullshit, so that instantly elevates him to best boy status in my eyes. His motivations (revenge for the death of his family), while not 100% original, are far and away the most relatable of anyone else in the main cast
I guess I also liked some of the minor characters, Himeno in particular, but I don't think that they're enough to redeem the manga from Denji and his bullshit.
Giving characters a 2/10 because fuck Denj.
Chainsaw man is good for an entertaining display of blood and gore, but don't expect any kind of thrilling character drama. But despite everything I said, I really believe that this manga has potential. I hope someday that I can change this 4 to a 6 or maybe even a 7. In all honesty, my only real problem with this manga is Denji. He's like some otherworldly plague that taints every scene he's displayed in. Maybe a 4/10 is too harsh, but I feel pretty comfortable with it.
Some of the most recent chapters were surprisingly good, so I'm sure this manga will improve. I'll be keeping up with it.