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CHAINSAW MAN, VOL 1

Writer/Illustrator: Tatsuki Fujimoto

English Translation: Amanda Haley

Eng. Lettering/Touch-Up Art: Sabrina Heep

Publisher: VIZ Media LLC

Review by: Jake West

Chainsaw Man, Vol 1 (Japanese Cover) by Tatsuki Fujimoto

WHAT IS IT?

A wild horror series set in modern Japan where devils run amok and make hell on Earth for humanity.


Think Evil Dead meets Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba.

WHAT'S IT ABOUT?

(Minor Spoilers)


Saddled with his late father's debt, Denji works as a devil hunter for the Yakuza. His pet devil, Pochita, is slaughtered along with Denji when the Yakuza betray them. The two make a pact in their final moments and are reborn as Chainsaw Man!


Now, Denji is forced to work for the government, hunting devils. If he ever quits or disobeys orders, he will be put down as a devil himself. However, this union job isn't without its benefits and he's already living his dream. Even if it comes at a steep price.


WHAT WORKS?

  • The writing is a thrill ride from start to finish, the pacing is lightning fast, and not a single panel or piece of dialogue is wasted. The series is a great combination of action, comedy and horror. It skillfully blends these elements into a compelling plot you can really sink your teeth into.

  • The art style is gritty and realistic despite its subject matter. The fight scenes are badass, a feast for the eyes and shockingly violent all at the same time. Also, seeing a chainsaw coming out of Denji's face for the first time is peak body horror.

  • The backdrop of modern Tokyo is beautifully rendered and, in wider panels, there is a lot of great detail work that shows people live in and use this city everyday. This creates a stark contrast between the idyllic city and the devils' designs as they are often grotesque and otherworldly.

  • The action lettering does a lot of the heavy lifting. In many cases, they are used as action lines, which meshes incredibly well with the art style. Viewing the sample page at the end of this section, you can see that the chainsaw cuts flying out through the zombie hoard are actually the Japanese action lettering.

  • The fonts all serve the story well and enhance the reading experience. The humans and devils each have their own specific font, which makes it easy to tell who is talking, especially during fight scenes. Dialogue is often in bold for dramatic effect, the effect is used sparingly enough that it adds to certain story beats quite well (see page below).


Chainsaw Man, Vol 1 Interior Page by Taksuki Fujimoto

WHAT DOESN'T WORK? ​

  • Mature Content Warning: Blood, Gore, Dismemberment, Swearing, Sexual References

  • This manga uses the trope of sex being Denji's main motivation. This may take some readers out of the story, as it does come up quite often, and is one of the main drives behind the plot in this volume.

  • Some of the devil designs/concepts are odd choices for an opening volume. The muscle devil and the sea cucumber devil come to mind as they are not particularly scary or interesting.

WHY SHOULD I READ IT?

You should read Chainsaw Man if you like horror, supernatural terrors and well-crafted manga.


It is impossible to put down. The plot flies from one twist to the next with expert precision. Its bombastic ultraviolet fight scenes, insane monster design, and absurd gore are second to none.


This manga is simultaneously hilarious and one of the most horrifying things I have ever witnessed. The humor is well-spaced throughout and those moments of levity make the more serious, terrifying moments easier to stomach. Few manga manage to make me laugh out loud while reading it, even fewer manga have disturbed me this deeply.


Chainsaw Man is horror at its best.


WHAT DO I READ NEXT?

If you like the writing:

If you like the art:

  • Look Back by Tatsuki Fujimoto

  • Claymore by Nobuhiro Yagi

  • D. Gray-Man by Katsura Hoshino

ABOUT THE CREATORS

Tatsuki Fujimoto- Writer/Illustrator

  • Won best manga for Chainsaw Man in 2021 AND 2022.

  • Tatsuki Fujimoto is more heavily involved in the Chainsaw Man anime's production than most manga creators.

HOW DO I BUY IT?

Click one of these:


The image(s) used in this article are from a comic strip, webcomic or the cover or interior of a comic book. The copyright for this image(s) is likely owned by either the publisher of the comic, the writer(s) and/or artist(s) who produced the comic. It is believed that the use of this image(s) qualifies as fair use under the United States copyright law. The image is used in a limited fashion in an educational manner in order to illustrate the points of the author and not for the purpose of entertainment or substituting the original work. It is believed the use of this image has had no impact on the market value of the original work.

All VIZ Media LLC characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright VIZ Media LLC or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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