Why Chainsaw Man’s Producers Wanted A First Time Director For The Anime

The anime adaptation of “Chainsaw Man” shares some of the strengths of “raison d’etre.” The first episode, which Nakayama directed and storyboarded, zeroes in on the relationship between Denji and his chainsaw dog Pochita. Later episodes flesh out the source material by giving characters additional room to breathe. One of the best sequences in the series follows Aki’s daily routine after a big fight in episode 4, granting him a moment of peace he never receives in the source material. 

His work partner Himeno is similarly given moments to shine in later episodes, including an ambitious sequence shot from her drunken perspective in episode 8. These choices meant that certain scenes from the manga, such as an early confrontation with the Muscle Devil, had to be cut. But I appreciate that Nakayama’s team devoted so much time and energy to capturing each character’s nuances.

In a MangaPlus interview, comics artist Yuji Kaku (who was once Fujimoto’s assistant) discusses Fujimoto’s characteristics as an artist and storyteller. “It’s not enough to simply be different,” he said. “It’s necessary to have a sense of ‘realism’ that makes you think that the world really exists.” The creators of the “Chainsaw Man” anime chose to drill down into this aspect. Each character is rendered as a flesh and blood actor rather than a cartoon character. It’s an approach that channels the appeal of David Fincher films and American prestige television rather than the bombast of Shonen Jump anime. Kensuke Ushio’s score similarly prioritizes uncanny vibes over soaring anthems.

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