Slash Film

Here it is, the episode “Chainsaw Man” has been building towards, the one that will filter out normies and find the real degenerates who are the target audience, the moment the prologue ends and the real show begins. So far, the anime has been doing a good job of introducing its idiosyncratic world and characters and showing off its eclectic influences. This week, however, we finally stop getting hints and get into the full sense of depravity, disgust, and hilarity that made Tatsuki Fujimoto’s manga a hit.

We pick up where we left off, with Denji throwing himself into the mouth of the Eternity Devil. The mad lad quickly realizes that it doesn’t matter how hurt he is or how much blood he’s losing because the eternity devil is endless and Denji can simply drink his blood to heal and keep going. “I’m a f***ing perpetual motion machine!” the Chainsaw Man proclaims as he declares he’s going to win the Nobel Prize with his discovery. This episode is a good showcase of Fujimoto’s storytelling and the anime’s adaptation, wherein seemingly dumb throwaway jokes give way to incredible punchlines down the line — like Power’s joke about the Nobel last week being paid off with Denji’s joke this week.

Some Loose Screws

Denji’s fight with the Eternity Devil is a cacophony of blood, guts, and gore, as Denji slices, dices, and shreds the devil for three straight days. His complete disregard for his own safety prompts Himeno to recall the time her mentor told her about how devils fear hunters with a few loose screws. According to him, Himeno is not a fearful hunter because she is sensible, as she cares enough about her partners to visit their graves. Himeno’s partner, Aki, is not that hunter either because he is driven and focused, an easy target for devils.

But Denji is someone who cares about nothing but the present, a completely unpredictable hunter, and a deranged one at that. He finally kills the Eternity Devil, and grabs a small piece of the Gun Devil’s flesh for Aki’s growing collection. Finally free from the time loop hotel, Aki and Himeno talk about the growing number of devil hunters quitting and moving to the private sector, which is supposedly safer because it is Public Safety that handles the more dangerous devils, and with a shorter lifespan for hunters.

They also show bewilderment over who or what exactly Denji is. Before dying, the Eternity Devil addressed Chainsaw Man as an old acquaintance, telling him he’d grown weak. Likewise, we’ve already seen a couple of devils drawn to kill Denji in particular, despite him being rather new at devil hunting. According to Himeno, Makima may know something, given she’s stopped traveling outside of Tokyo as often as she did before meeting Denji — though, when asked about it, she evades the question.

Time To Socialize

And so, after a job well done, Special Division 4 gets some downtime and a chance to bond over food and drinks, as the rookies get to know the veterans. This is a fantastic scene that showcases Fujimoto’s approach to exposition, which is often done through natural banter between characters that channel the best hangout movies. We get insight into the personalities of the different devil hunters in the division, and how they deal with the high mortality rate in their profession — all while Power hoards the food and shows off her IQ, which gets higher as the other hunters mention their own IQ.

Once again, Denji shows how much of a simp he is, immediately forgiving Himeno for trying to kill him when she reminds him of his promised kiss. We then get another instance of “Chainsaw Man” perfectly combining dumb humor with poignant commentary. When the rookies go around introducing themselves, the whole team is shocked to learn Denji is actually just 16 years old, a piece of information he drops as offhandedly as he does being illiterate. In any other shonen anime, a 16-year-old in constant mortal peril would be normal, or even encouraged, but not here. And we’re not talking about a horrible world where all kids are forced to enter the military to escape their hellish lives like “Attack on Titan,” but one where Denji alone had the worst possible upbringing.

He knows how much worse he had it, and he knows he is much better off now, so he is not lying or overreacting when he says his hobbies are just eating and sleeping. Likewise, when someone tells Denji how Himeno always gets drunk at parties and makes out with the team, you understand he is being genuine in his taking that as a net positive (“guaranteed kiss!” he thinks).

A Very Special First Kiss

Of course, things get complicated when Makima shows up, as Denji gets conflicted between wanting that first kiss with Himeno and not wanting Makima to know he’s going around kissing other girls.

And then, the moment every manga fan has been waiting and teasing since the anime began arrives, as Himeno just grabs Denji and starts making out with him. Kudos to Studio MAPPA, because they’ve truly done a great job animating this show, particularly in how they choose what scenes to pay closer attention to animation-wise. Any other show would place their sakuga (a word for particularly well-animated moments) during the fight scenes, but here, it is the kiss — and the ending — that get full-frame animation, with such fluidity you would believe your TV’s motion blur setting was on.

Of course, this is Denji we’re talking about, and the guy cannot catch a break. Again, the show zigs when you expect it to zag, and just when Denji starts wondering why Himeno’s tongue starts “melting” in his mouth, she bird-feeds him a disgusting amount of puke that goes right into Denji’s mouth. Suddenly, everyone reacts, and the show gets rather close to the pie-eating scene in “Stand by Me” (except for Power, who laughs her ass off). What makes it worse is that, while the barf gets blurred, we get rather a realistic sound design for Denji SWALLOWING the puke because — as Power points out — Denji will eat anything remotely nutritious.

This is not a brilliant scene just because of its depravity, but because of how it mixes tones. There’s the juxtaposition of the overt sexualization of Himeno’s initial advance as seen from Denji’s perspective, with the gross barf scene, but there’s also the heartbreaking punchline of Denji eating the barf because of a lifetime of being destitute.

Wanna Do It?

We get another flashback to Pochita! Sadly, it is another very sad scene that shows how much the little demon dog and Denji suffered, as we see them hunting for food in the garbage — and in a cruel turn of events — and make fun of a group of rats eating puke.

Back in the present, Denji is puking his brains out, and is understandably heartbroken about his barf kiss. But hey, at least Arai is being nice to him and helping him out, the same way he helped his mom after a night of heavy drinking.

Denji gets carried away by Himeno, who takes him home. Again, the MAPPA animators do a phenomenal job, giving us a scene so fluid and exquisitely animated that it looks almost like rotoscope in how realistic it was. Still incredibly drunk, the episode ends with Himeno offering Denji an indecent proposal.

In this week’s ending theme, we get a stunning sequence animated like a retro ’80s JRPG, and with a rather long loop of the barf scene in all its uncensored glory. 

Read this next: 10 Anime Movies That Deserved To Win The Oscar For Best Animated Feature

The post Chainsaw Man Episode 7 is When the Prologue Ends and the Real Show Begins appeared first on /Film.

/Film – ‘Slash Film: Chainsaw Man Episode 7 Is When The Prologue Ends And The Real Show Begins’
Author: Rafael Motamayor
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November 23, 2022

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