Impressions of the Chainsaw Man film adaptation: a stylish verbatim film adaptation of the manga that has no equal
Chainsaw Man is an award-winning manga by Tatsuki Fujimoto with a large fan base. And this is not surprising: against the background of other outgoing works, immersed in typical genre clichés, Fujimoto’s creation looks fresh.
What made the original manga stand out
“The Chainsaw Man” is a harsh and merciless work
The world of the Chensō Man series is similar to the Devil May Cry universe, if you remove the pretentious and extremely powerful sons of the knight Sparda from the spotlight. Mankind fights demons, each battle is accompanied by losses, and you need to make a lot of effort to save your own mind. Here, death can overtake everyone, and the characters do not have multi-layered “plot armor” that allows them to get out of any trouble. Plus, every decision they make has consequences.
From the first chapters of Chainsaw Man, the focus is on the youth Denji and his demonic dog, Honor. Fate brought them together in the most difficult period: the guy’s father passed away, leaving behind a huge debt to the yakuza, and Pochita needed human blood to recover from the injury. Both needed help and salvation, which they managed to find in each other. Denji rescues his friend, literally arms himself with him (the demonic dog had a chainsaw growing out of his head), and becomes a demon hunter to pay off the debts of his unfortunate parent.
The misadventures of the young man do not end there. Not only is Denji deprived of an ordinary life and is barely making ends meet, the yakuza also decided to betray him. Denji is killed, cut into pieces and thrown into the trash, where his story could have ended. But the demonic dog resurrects his friend, offering the hero a contract: he will become the heart of Denji, for which he will show Honor the fulfillment of his dreams. Returning to life and meeting with his killers, the young man gives them what they deserve. This is a very brief recap of the first chapter of the manga, after which the events of Chainsaw Man are just starting to pick up steam.
Absurd humor and believability as a counterbalance to cruelty
Despite its brutality, Chainsaw Man as a work does not try to drive its fans into depression. Author Tatsumaki Fujimoto admitted in an interview that he loves to work with contrasts. In his opinion, works should have two sides: tragic and comic. As an example of this approach, the mangaka cites the Korean film Parasite, which begins with seemingly funny scenes, but ends on a completely different note.
Following this idea, in the narrative of “The Chainsaw Man” dramatic and cruel moments are replaced by diametrically opposite scenes: naive, funny and stupid. Denji, who survived a harsh childhood and many hardships, dreams of the simplest and most understandable things: the main character wants to live an ordinary peaceful life. He doesn’t even want to deal with demon hunting, it’s just the few things he’s trained in. After all, in this world, exterminating demons is a common job. History constantly balances between two extremes, never falling into one thing.
The work stands out for its mundane, and therefore believable characters. Even the most pompous demon hunter is driven by simple motives. Someone wants revenge, someone is only concerned with survival, and still others simply could not find a better job. In these crazy everyday life, the heroes relax in the most understandable ways: they drink, walk and joke, sometimes obscenely, but so humanly.
What was the first series of anime adaptation
High quality visual performance
The series was produced by the MAPPA studio, which has recently been working on several popular titles at once, for example, “Attack on Titan” and “Magic Battle”. This caused some concern, since the burden and responsibility were too high. The biggest doubt was the use of 3D graphics. In the case of the final season of Attack On Titan (with two of its three parts, to be exact), this practice played a cruel joke on the authors, which sometimes made the series look like a puppet.
Luckily, this time MAPPA did not disappoint — visually Chainsaw Man turned out to be excellent. Each scene is either “processed” by computer graphics, or completely rendered by it. This approach, firstly, fills the scene with dynamics, so that during the dialogues of the characters there is at least some movement in the frame. Secondly, the fights are much brighter and relatively easy to produce for the authors. Thanks to this, the anime retains the overall style, and there is no unpleasant transition when a flat drawing suddenly becomes voluminous.
There were no mistakes either. One of the most obvious drawbacks is that sometimes the style of the anime causes a kind of “uncanny valley” effect, with clearly rendered characters moving around overly realistic scenery. But this can hardly be called a big problem, rather, on the contrary, this is a kind of feature of the series. And without its own quirks, no adaptation of Chainsaw Man could ever get close to the spirit of the manga.
Updated script and catchy soundtrack
The first series almost verbatim screens the events of the first chapter. True, the key word here is “almost” – the authors use the fact that the first part of the Chainsaw Man story has already been released in its entirety. The adaptation added a couple of new scenes that were not in the manga. We should assume that this will help to make the narrative a little “smoother” and better place the accents, while retaining all the charm of the original story. At least, this is hinted at by the opening scene with the closed door, which is first mentioned in the manga much later.
The soundtrack of the series deserves special mention. The accompanying compositions have not yet managed to be deposited in the memory, which cannot be said about the opening and ending songs. The opening and closing songs set the tone for the entire series, as if reflecting the entire emotional spectrum of the original. In addition, the approach chosen by the authors deserves a separate comment. At the end of the episode, a rather cheerful composition plays, which is rare among anime – usually something melodic and calm is put on the credits. And the opening was stuffed with a huge number of cinematic references. Surprisingly, it looks quite appropriate.
The frame above shows Pochita
Should I look further: definitely yes
The adaptation got off to a good start and received positive reviews from viewers. The first series only opened up the wonderful world of this title, and at this pace, all the most interesting starts in two or three episodes. Fans of Chainsaw Man should definitely watch it – but other fans of action anime and connoisseurs of thoughtful stories should at least try it too.