There were many big premieres this year, but arguably no anime was as eagerly awaited as “Chainsaw Man.” Even before a single frame of the show had been released, there was a level of anticipation for Studio MAPPA’s adaptation of Tatsuki Fujimoto’s manga that matched that of the final season of “Attack on Titan” (without the need for 8 years’ worth of seasons to build that anticipation). What’s more, the show truly delivered on that hype.
The show follows Denji, a destitute, dumb 16-year-old who ends up fusing with his best friend, a dog-like creature who happens to be the Chainsaw Devil. Now, Denji is forced to work for Public Safety as a devil hunter or get killed as a devil.
The anime is irreverent, hilarious, and full of exciting and rather gory action, but what truly makes this stand out is its sense of cinematic visuals and approach to emotion. One minute you’d have Denji tell some dumb joke that feels right out of a 2000s sex comedy, and the next you have an exquisitely animated, silent scene of a character ugly crying out of grief. Likewise, the crew at Studio MAPPA captures and shares Fujimoto’s love of cinema, and trades the go-for-broke chaotic visuals of the manga for subdued naturalism that makes the show look like prestige TV, and it works wonderfully. (Rafael Motamayor)