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"Which one would you choose? The Town Mouse or the Country Mouse?"
Reze
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Denji is a loser who will do literally anything for money, due to inheriting an enormous debt to some local Yakuza Loan Sharks after his father seemingly committed suicide when he was a child. This includes hunting Devils, dangerous Anthropomorphic Personifications of human fears that randomly appear in the world on a regular basis. Having no friends other than his pet Devil Pochita, a dog-like creature that is also a chainsaw, and having sold several of his own organs now to survive, Denji seemingly has no hope of a future. But even so, Denji still dreams of living a better life.

Unfortunately for him, Denji gets double-crossed after his loan sharks try to make a deal with a Devil of their own. Hacked to pieces and thrown in a dumpster, Denji's sad, short life seems over...

...Until Pochita merges with Denji's body, offering his heart in exchange for getting to finally see Denji realize his dreams of a happy life. In the process, Denji gains a blood-based Healing Factor and the ability to transform into some sort of Human Devil Hybrid that can grow chainsaws out of his head and limbs by pulling a new ripcord in his chest. After slaughtering the Devil that killed him, Denji is discovered by the government's public safety Devil Hunters, and their boss, a mysterious woman named Makima, offers Denji a choice: be hunted and die as a Devil, or become her pet and hunt other Devils for her.

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Of course, Denji picks the latter. It included the promise of free room and board after all.

Chainsaw Man is a New Weird Black Comedy Shonen manga written by Tatsuki Fujimoto, author of Fire Punch, following Denji's new life after becoming the eponymous "Chainsaw Man". Part 1 was serialized for 97 chapters from December 2018 to December 2020 in Weekly Shonen Jump. A Part 2 began serialization on the more freeform Shonen Jump+ digital platform on July 13th, 2022. The manga has been officially translated with a simultaneous Japanese and English release available here and here.

Also has an upcoming anime adaptation by MAPPA, set to premiere in October 2022. You can watch the first trailer here and the second trailer here.

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Chainsaw Man contains examples of:

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    Part 1: Public Safety 
  • The '90s: Chapter 75 reveals that the series takes place around 1997.
  • Absurd Phobia: Played With. Devils are personifications of human fears. There's one devil for every fear. So while there's a Gun Devil and a Darkness Devil, there are also Tomato Devils, Muscle Devils, Sea Cucumber Devils, and Grape Devils. On the other hand, they are the same size and height as more monstrous and feared Devils and just as capable of hurting people, so maybe they're not so absurd after all.
  • A-Cup Angst: Subverted with Power. She uses breast pads, but never expressed any sort of sorrow about it. The angst, however, would be on Denji who clearly was expecting more.
  • Action Girl: Basically every relevant female character fits this trope, many of whom are of the Dark Action Girl variety:
    • Power lives up to her name, easily dispatching a Devil in a single blow. While she doesn't have the technique, she generally makes up for it in raw strength.
    • Makima might be the most imposing and ruthless character in the entire series, not to mention of questionable allegiance and motivation. The full extent of her power has yet to be demonstrated, but she was able to effortlessly dispatch Yakuza assassins with guns on a train, kill more of them from miles away with what's basically an invisible, devil-powered Kill Sat and intimidate every devil she meets (including Reze/Bomb) with her mere presence.
    • Kobeni might seem like a weak-willed, nervous wreck at first glance. But once she's actually determined to fight, she becomes a frighteningly skilled knife-wielder, easily able to avoid gunfire and attacks by the powerful Snake Devil.
    • Reze, USSR elite soldier from birth and Bomb Devil Hybrid, was the main villain of her arc and easily defeated the Shark Devil, slaughtered an entire division of Devil Hunters and was more than a match for Denji in his Devil form. It was hinted that she is also one of the highest-ranking partners of the Gun Devil.
    • Quanxi is a Devil Hunter working for China with exceptional physical ability. Her first feat is to perform a Clean Cut on a whole crowd of agents and puppets, killing them before they even have time to realize they have been attacked. Oh, and it just so happens that she's also a Hybrid, specifically Crossbow.
  • Alternate History: Chainsaw Man takes place in a somewhat different version of The '90s due to the existence of Devils. Especially since the Chainsaw Devil killed and devoured Devils that embodied multiple major historical events and disasters, retroactively erasing them from existence.
    • The Soviet Union still exists in 1997, six years past when it dissolved in real life.
    • Firearms are much more tightly controlled in order to contain the influence of the Gun Devil.
    • Hawaii is listed separately from the United States when recounting statistics of the Gun Devil's worldwide attack, implying that it was never annexed in this timeline.
    • World War II, Nazi Germany, nuclear weapons, and AIDS never existed because the Chainsaw Man had eaten their respective Devils.
    • In lieu of a traditional arms race due to the nonexistence of nuclear weapons, contracts with certain Devils are what various world superpowers are pursuing to compete with each other.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: The Gun Devil might be the series' Big Bad, but Hell is revealed to be home to even more powerful creatures personifying primal fears and has even been described as "transcendent".
  • All Women Are Doms, All Men Are Subs: Denji is the only male whose sex life is explored, and is very submissive to the various women he gets involved with. The only other romantic relationship shown is more reciprocal, and it's between five women. Makima's mind-controlled minions are also reminiscent of subs following their (female) dom's orders, though three of them are women.
  • Ambiguous Situation: It is uncertain what the final fates of the Hybrids under Makima's control were. Just like Denji, they are able to revive from normally fatal wounds such as decapitation and dismemberment, but we do not see them actually resurrect after their final battle with Denji. So it is unknown whether they are truly dead or if they revived again offscreen.
  • And Show It to You: Fed up what she perceives as Denji besmirching Chainsaw Man's reputation as the "Hero of Hell", Makima rips Pochita, who had become Denji's heart, out of his chest.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The series ends with Denji getting ready to pull his cord to fight a Devil, with accompanying speech bubbles making it clear that his reputation as the Chainsaw Man is growing and will continue to grow as he's completed his journey to becoming a Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World Shonen protagonist. The ending is also this literally: it's revealed that what we've just read is only Part 1 of Chainsaw Man.
  • Anyone Can Die: A lot of characters throughout the story die and some quite suddenly. Some of the side characters who appeared would be major ones are soon killed off after being developed, and in fact even the main characters die a lot. However, Death Is Cheap for a devil so Denji and Power easily get back up. The story kicks this into overdrive at the end. The only surviving recurring characters by the end are Denji, Kobeni, Kishibe, and Yoshida (with Angel's and the Hybrids' fates being ambiguous.)
  • Arc Symbol:
    • A locked Door with something horrid behind it. The most notable example being a mysterious door in Denji's dreams that Pochita begs him to never open. It eventually revealed to have been a sort of mental barrier that protected Denji from remembering that he actually killed his father in self-defense.
    • FingerGuns. Three major antagonists (Bomb Woman, the Darkness Devil and Makima) all display an ability that resembles a finger gun; Bomb uses it to direct her explosions, Darkness can seemingly crush and twist people's bodies by pointing at them, and Makima can shoot invisible bullets from her index finger.
  • Arc Words:
  • Armor-Piercing Question:
    • Aki admits to Angel that he has feelings for Makima. When asked why... Aki seems to be at a loss for words and wonders himself.
    • When Denji asks about the fate of bad movies in her new world order, Makima is noticeably surprised.
  • Armor-Piercing Response: The Bomb Devil tiredly tells Denji to just die already after they battle for quite a while. Denji points out that if she really felt that way, she could've easily just killed him as Reze when they first met. Cue a silent panel of her before she changes the subject.
  • Asshole Victim: During Chapter 85, Kobeni is revealed to have taken up a job working at a burger joint, which ends up being a nightmare since her boss hits her because she keeps saying "Ah" whenever she speaks, then gets even worse when the employees are revealed to know about this abuse and encourage it. As a result, she tearfully begs for someone to save her. Cue Chainsaw Man - being controlled by Pochita at the time - entering the restaurant wanting to eat a hamburger since Denji always wanted to eat a fresh one, all the while mutilating several of the terrified employees as well as the boss while they do their signature jingle whenever someone orders a meal from them.
  • Author Appeal:
    • Tatsuki Fujimoto, as indicated by Fire Punch, is a big cinephile. Besides the occasional Shout-Out, there's a chapter dedicated to Denji and Makima going on a date to the movies. And as with Fire Punch, the fate of the world ends up dependent on a character's opinion on movies.
    • Fujimoto had admitted in interviews that he has a thing for dominant and "unreasonable" women. His manga's protagonist is a sexually-submissive young man who gets himself romantically involved with a number of assertive, aggressive, and outright violent women.
    • Going along with the above, Fujimoto also clearly has a thing for characters with missing eyes and badass ladies in men's suits.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other:
    • After 67 chapters of being Vitriolic Best Buds, Chapter 71 shows that Denji and Power do care about each other. Denji forgoes his trip with Makima to take care of a traumatized Power and she thinks of him as a legitimate source of safety and comfort.
    • Chapter 72 is mostly just Aki having to babysit Denji and Power, but it ends with him doing the unthinkable and back out of joining the expedition to kill the Gun Devil, a revenge he's been wanting since he was a child. When pressed why, Aki has an Imagine Spot of Denji and Power horribly injured and simply replies that he got cold feet.
  • Badass Bystander: After getting grievously injured while fighting the Gun Fiend, Denji is approached by several civilians holding knives. They then cut themselves and feed him their blood, being well-aware that in spite of appearances that Denji is trying to protect them and are willing to hurt themselves if it meant helping him get back up.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Many of the agents in the Devil Hunting Agency are expected to be this. Even agents like Kobeni get in on this sometimes.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: The series is infamous for being upfront with nudity and sex, but none of the characters depicted are drawn with visible genitals or, when it comes to women, nipples.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: The more positively a Devil feels about humanity, the more they look like a human. The Angel Devil for instance is a Non-Malicious Monster that looks like a normal human with wings on his back and a halo. Makima meanwhile serves as a deconstruction, being a Well-Intentioned Extremist whose goal is to create a utopia for humanity and is in turn indistinguishable from a mortal human save for the golden concentric circles in her irises... but this still doesn't stop her from being the Big Bad and purposefully inflicting constant emotional abuse on Denji for the sake of her "greater good".
  • Be Careful What You Wish For:
    • Denji's dreams of a normal life from Chapter 1 would eventually be fulfilled, having eaten the food he wanted to eat, flirted with women, fell asleep in one's arms, and played video games with one. All of it came at the cost of Denji losing friends along the way, causing him to go into a depression in spite of achieving the life he told Pochita he wanted.
    • Makima expressed a desire to be consumed by Chainsaw Man. She gets what she wants but the Chainsaw Man who consumes her is Denji and not Pochita like she wanted.
  • Bilingual Bonus: There are some untranslated dialogue and notes peppered throughout the series. A big one in Chapter 64 is the note written in German the man contacting Santa Claus leaves behind, which orders him and Tolka's master to kill Makima.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Part 1 ends on a mixed but somewhat hopeful note. Denji has won against Makima and had finally killed her, but the road to this victory is paved by the deaths of many he loved and his win also unfortunately confirmed to him that the woman he had been in love with for the whole series never gave a damn about him. However, the Control Devil appears to have been reincarnated into a blank slate in the form of a little girl named Nayuta, who Kishibe entrusts to Denji to raise. With encouragement from Pochita, Denji decides to take all that he learned from his journey to this point to raise Nayuta with the love and affection Makima never received, hopefully preventing her from repeating the atrocities her predecessor committed. And Denji finally gets to go to school, just like Reze wanted him to.
  • A Birthday, Not a Break: On the eve of Denji's birthday, Makima kills Power and reveals to him that he killed his father, driving him into despair and relenting his free will to Makima, resulting in Pochita having to return to take back control of their body. He's later revived by Power, who sacrifices herself to give control over his body back to him and then has to go into hiding now that Makima's true intentions for him are out of the bag. Happy 17th birthday, Denji.
  • Black Comedy: Exists throughout, but a particularly big example happens in Chapter 57 when one of the American assassins attempting to kill Denji magically disguised as one of the agents he and his brothers killed the previous chapter attempts to convince Denji to let him join Denji's protection detail to avenge his partner's death. Meanwhile, nearby Power wants to drive Kobeni's new car and pressures her into letting her do it. Right as Denji and the disguised assassin shake hands, Power rams into them at top speed, breaking both of their necks. Power goes from total shock, to blaming a horrified Kobeni of murdering them, to claiming that she knew it all along and had avenged Denji (while hugging Denji's broken body) when the assassin's corpse reverts back to normal. Meanwhile the rest of the agents and the nearby civilians all look on in horror.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: While Shonen Jump has published some fairly gory manga before, Chainsaw Man is considered to be one of the goriest, with much blood and guts to be shown in their full glory on a weekly basis.
  • Bloody Murder: Power was a blood devil before becoming a Fiend, and is able to use her host body's blood to create weapons.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: Devils have a Kill All Humans general attitude, but it seems that it's an instinctive hatred towards humanity and they will do anything to make them suffer, even if it means taking up contracts with said humans. Pochita and Power show that they also can form genuine bonds with them, and other lifeforms too.
  • Body Horror: Devils tend to cause this, either through maiming their victims or through modifying bodies they possess. When transformed, Denji becomes a monster with chainsaws growing out of his forearms and head.
  • Body of Bodies: Plenty of Devils appear as this including Snake, Darkness, and Gun. All of which is to symbolize how they are made of humanity's fear of them.
  • Bookends: Chapter 1 has Denji and Pochita eating sliced bread. In Chapter 97, the end of Part 1, Denji and Nayuta also eat sliced bread.
  • Bookshelf of Authority: The Cosmos Devil's Mental World is that of a seemingly endless library. She shows herself reading some books in front of an indeterminably large bookshelf before revealing that she is actually the bearer of all the universe's knowledge, which is contained within the books this library holds.
  • Boring, but Practical: After spending most of Part 1 pulling off outrageous but often short-sighted plans that frequently backfire against his enemies, Denji ultimately defeats Makima by, essentially, sneaking up behind her and slashing her with his chainsaw while she's not looking. Having caught her unaware, he then proceeds to chop her into many, many pieces and, instead of [[KillItWithFire burning her or using some kind of Devil-based power as a coup de grace, he finishes her off in a way that doesn't require any weapons or supernatural powers whatsoever to achieve.
  • Brought Down to Badass: Fiends are Devils possessing human corpses, meaning their power is significantly reduced due to the limitations of their host bodies. However, they still have access to a degree of their respective powers and are still dangerous.
  • The Bus Came Back: Katana Man, Reze, and Quanxi return in Chapter 86 under Makima's control.
  • Call-Back:
    • The three panels of Reze walking to the cafe for the last time are drawn exactly the same way we see her walk there after we first meet her.
    • As he notices that he isn't finding any of his sensual interactions with Power in Chapter 71 arousing, Denji recalls Makima's claims that such things are better with someone he knows intimately. He concludes in disappointment that it's not the case even when he does actually know Power very well by now.
    • The first time Denji meets Makima, she promises breakfast if he agrees to be her pet. When he finally does in Chapter 82, the chapter ends with her eating the very specific breakfast she promised him all the way back then. Only Denji isn't eating any because in the journey to get here, he's been through and lost a lot.
    • Denji offering Aki a ball-kicking tournament on Katana Man is a direct one to when they first patrolled together, where Denji attacked Aki by also kicking him in the balls.
    • When Pochita seemingly returns and takes control of Denji's body, he becomes focused on fulfilling Denji's dreams of a normal life for him. There's a flashback back in Chapter 1 where Denji asks Pochita to do just that when considering the inevitability of him dying soon.
    • A subtle one in Chapter 85. Back in Chapter 32, Denji promises that he'll let Kishibe go if there comes a time when Public Safety will try to put him down as thanks for training him and Power. It's heavily implied that along with hearing Kobeni cry for help, the Chainsaw Man didn't kill Kishibe because he vaguely remembered Denji's promise, even though he had Kishibe at his mercy and was on a destructive rampage.
    • The Chainsaw Man strikes the same pose when he slices apart Makima, Whip Woman, Flamethrower Man, and Spear Man as when Denji killed the Bat Devil.
    • The last half of Chapter 91 calls back to Pochita making a contract with Denji in a dumpster, only this time it's Power using her blood to resurrect Denji.
    • As Denji wracks his brain for clues as to how to beat Makima in Chapter 93, we see a drawing of Makima that exactly matches a panel from Chapter 2, specifically the one where she mentioned her very sensitive nose. This among other memories lead to Denji realizing that Makima relies on her sense of smell to recognize people.
  • Cannibalism Superpower: Devils can eat each other and gain more power that way. In fact, some weak devils empower themselves by eating small pieces of more powerful devils left behind, which happens a lot with the pieces of Gun Devil scattered around the world.
  • Cannibal Larder: In the finale of Part 1, Denji nullifies Makima's Resurrective Immortality by cutting their corpses into pieces, refrigerating them in tupperware containers, and Eating the Enemy over the course of several weeks.
  • Cast from Hit Points: The Curse Devil saps Aki's lifespan every time it's called upon. Even more harshly, Makima kills a human being for every single use of her power.
  • Cast of Snowflakes: Everyone in the main cast has completely unique facial features, expressions, and even body language that makes them very easy to tell apart even when most of them have black hair and wear the same uniform of a white shirt, black tie, and black suit with slacks. This isn't just limited to the main cast, even redshirt characters who have only a few lines of dialogue before dying gruesomely often have totally unique faces.
  • Central Theme:
    • Ignorance Is Bliss. Part 1 deals with uncomfortable or even heartbreaking truths that various characters ultimately wish they never learned. Denji's entire arc is him having various new experiences, some of which he had been hoping for, and growing wiser but otherwise less happy due to many of them being letdowns. Many characters are given a "Leave Your Quest" Test, a chance to bail out before anything worse happens to them, only for them to fail to accept and fall deeper into despair the more they advanced the plot and the more they learn, like Aki discovering that his revenge quest was All for Nothing as the target of his hatred, the Gun Devil, had long been defeated. This concept eventually reaches an ultimate personification when it's revealed that the Chainsaw Man has the ability to erase a concept from existence by eating its respective Devil. While Pochita has used this ability to arguably change the world for the better (removing things like Nazi Germany or the AIDS virus from history), the story strongly implies this isn't a healthy way to deal dealing with uncomfortable subjects. Denji's wish that he just be one of Makima's mindless dogs is what lets her pull a Near-Villain Victory, and Makima is finally finished off because she just couldn't accept that Pochita cares more about Denji then he ever would about her.
    • Fear, and the idea of conquering it. All of the devils represent some form of fear, whether it be complicated subjects like Violence or Typhoons or physical objects like Swords or Guns, and the stronger humanity fears these things the stronger the respective devil becomes. However, it's shown multiple times that this doesn't necessarily make devils bad- humanity fears these subjects for a reason, and living without fear can ultimately blind you to dangers that you could have seen coming a mile away. Then we start getting into the Primal Fear devils, who are Eldritch Abominations of extremely high caliber and are nigh unstoppable as a result, as well as making them fears that humanity has to learn to live with rather than learn to conquer due to the futility. By the endgame, Kobeni even expounds that a life with ups and downs, no matter the extremity of those ups and downs, is very much a normal life and people who wish for nothing but ups only want to live in their dreams rather than real life.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The humor is noticeably toned down after the International Assassins Arc. Many of the major characters being sent to Hell end up being the straw that broke the camel's back, as Kobeni quits Public Safety, Aki and Angel are both permanently maimed and lose their arms, and Power is traumatized by her encounter with the Darkness Devil. And finally, all humor is gone the moment Aki appears as the Gun Fiend and Denji is forced to kill him.
    • Combines with Mood Whiplash in the later chapters. In Chapter Eighty Five, Kobeni reappeared as a fast food worker, which seemed to go well for her... until it's revealed she was being abused by her boss and fellow employees for petty reasons, which ended when Chainsaw Man (under Pochita's control) entered the restaurant. After he killed a great deal of the staff in Black Comedy sequence, he forced her to go on a date, which lightened the mood until Makima reappeared.
  • Chainsaw Good: Pochita the Chainsaw Devil, who later merges with Denji to create the titular Chainsaw Man.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: Makima had noted that the Bureau moderates media coverage, and later uses this to break the news to the world that the Gun Devil had been defeated by the Chainsaw Man, turning him into a beloved hero but in turn weakening him by removing a large amount of fear the populace would've had for him. However, this in turn boomerangs back around to conversely strengthen Denji by showing him how much the world at large loves him, inspiring him to come up with a plan to kill Makima once and for all.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Power is regularly drained of her blood due to an abundance causing her power levels to spike out of manageable proportions. This is eventually followed up on when Power drinks Pochita's blood and returns to her former strength as the Blood Devil to rescue Denji from Makima. She's shown to be powerful enough to manipulate other people's blood rather than just her own.
    • Power allowing Denji to drink her blood as thanks for caring for her turns out to be what allows her to live on in spite of being killed by Makima.
    • The Chainsaw Man ripping out his own heart to escape orbit by throwing it back at Earth and regenerating his entire body around it. Denji retains vague memories of this and uses this ability to create a second body to distract Makima with a destructive battle so he can strike her down in the aftermath.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Denji trained himself to swallow anything edible, no matter the taste. He uses this as part of his strategy to defeat Makima.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Denji enjoys porn magazines and decides his new goal in life will be to touch boobs. However, he makes a point of wanting permission before doing it and has a soft spot for people in trouble.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Devils become more powerful based on how much the object or concept they are based on is feared by society at large. Guns are such a powerful fear motivator around the world, that the Gun Devil only had to be active for 5 minutes to kill over one million people world wide. By comparison, as one character puts it, coffee isn't considered that scary, so if a Coffee Devil came into existence, it would be rather weak.
  • Comically Missing the Point: When Denji needs a way to chase after the Bomb Devil, who can essentially launch herself around with explosions, Angel suggests he use the chains in his chainsaw to get around. Clearly, he was trying to say use them like a grapple to climb buildings quickly, but Denji somehow comes to the conclusion that the best option is to use his chains like a bridle on a fully transformed Beam and ride him around like a horse. Beam doesn't have it in him to correct Denji and just lets it happen.
  • Cosmic Horror Reveal: Devils initially seem like dangerous but ultimately manageable creatures, with even the scariest, the Gun Devil, being equivalent to a Weapon of Mass Destruction at worst. But starting with the assassins arc, it becomes clear that the truly powerful Devils like Hell and Darkness are Eldritch Abominations whose powers even the readers can't entirely comprehend, with them appearing as Frame Break and Non Sequitur images. The true scope of the Chainsaw Devil's abilities only makes it worse as he can Ret-Gone entire concepts from history and reality with no one aware of it, and further has actively carved up reality many, many times over, deleting other Eldritch Abominations like a star whose light broke children's minds, diseases like AIDS, technology like nuclear weapons, and major historical events like World War II.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: Initially hinted at with the Darkness Devil and the Cosmos Devil, beings born from fears so universal they are essentially Eldritch Abominations that humans can't hope to deal with or properly understand. Finally cemented with The Reveal of the Chainsaw Devil's ability to Ret-Gone devils and their concepts from all of history, with humanity none the wiser that their very memories and existences have had a piece just permanently cut out.
  • Company Cross References: Chainsaw Man's technique of ripping his heart out in space, throwing it back to Earth, and regenerating around it is directly taken from Fujimoto's previous series, Fire Punch.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Denji was killed by the Yakuza, who betrayed him, hacked his body to pieces, and threw them into a dumpster.
  • Cute Monster Girl:
    • Power is a Fiend, with sharp fangs and devil horns. She happens to be occupying a very cute body and has a soft spot for cats.
    • Denji himself is arguably a Rare Male Example, thanks to his overall dorky nature and relatively good looks outside of his battle form.
  • Darker and Edgier: This manga is considered to be one of the darkest manga in Jump's history due to its usage of violence, gore, nudity, and cynical themes. The Downer Beginning of the series starts with Denji's father committing suicide due to the huge debt that he has to pay and Denji ending up getting betrayed by the Yakuza who gave Denji said debt to begin with by chopping off all of his body parts. Many people have commented that the manga would be more at home in a Seinen magazine.
  • Dating Catwoman: While Reze insists she never had any feelings for Denji, he isn't so convinced and echoes her prior request to run away together. Either way, the two Devils part with a bit of flirting after a lengthy and brutal fight.
  • The Dead Have Names: When the Gun Devil kills thousands on a rampage to find Makima, all the victims are named.
  • Deal with the Devil: Some people are able to make deals with other Devils in order to gain more power. This is the only way the hunters of the public safety bureau are able to match other devils in battle. Two such examples are Denji making a blood pact with Pochita to get a second chance to live and the Yakuza who made a blood pact with a Devil that turned him into a hideous demonic creature. Other examples include Aki trading years of his lifespan in exchange for brief assistance of Devils in battle.
  • Death by Irony: A particularly horrific example in the case of Aki, who is mind-controlled and fused with the Gun Devil, the monster he'd spent most of his life hunting down, and sent to attack Denji, his best friend who he'd previously requested to be excluded from the Gun Devil mission in fear for his safety. His thirst for revenge stemmed from the Gun Devil killing his family, but he himself massacres a bunch of civilians under the delusion of having a snowball fight before Denji puts him down for good.
  • Deconstructor Fleet: The whole series rips many of the cliches and conventions of shonen manga to shreds by exploring the often depressing circumstances for their existence, as well as the painful and frequently destructive consequences that each of them would actually have in the real world:
    • Denji is a deconstruction of the Stock Shōnen Hero: He's a Big Eater because he grew in such absolute poverty and squalor that he considers sliced bread with jam to be a delicacy, so any chance he gets to chow down he can't help but overindulge. He often comes across as a hormonally driven Idiot Hero, but that's because he has literally no formal education and all the adults in his life are only interested in using him as an expendable tool, so he's not so much stupid as he is intellectually and emotionally stunted in his development.
    • Denji's character also deconstructs the Henshin Hero: instead of being a suave, attractive superhero version of himself, his transformation involves chainsaws ripping out of his face and chest, and he can't transform all the way unless he has enough blood to heal from the damage he does to himself just by transforming. Furthermore, the series goes on to show how much it would suck to be a teenager who happens upon extraordinary power: his immaturity, emotional naivete, and relative vulnerability means that every government in the world (and most of the adults he encounters) want a piece of him to use him as a weapon.
    • Aki Hayakawa is a deconstruction of the Stock Shōnen Rival: A secondary lead with a much more serious disposition, detesting the protagonist, having a tragic backstory and desiring revenge. However, his (initial) antipathy towards Denji comes from Aki (quite rightly) thinking that Denji is a belligerent moron who's a danger to himself and everyone around him. Furthermore, his quest for revenge is ultimately revealed to be a hollow attempt to deal with his guilt over the death of his little brother that has nothing but negative consequences for his personal life, especially when it's revealed that the monster he's hunting was captured and dismantled years ago. And the one time that he and Denji do end up fighting, it's under the most heartbreakingly tragic circumstances imaginable after Aki's quest for revenge ends in complete failure in the worst possible way and he literally becomes the monster he's spent his whole adult life hunting.
    • Power is a deconstruction of the Cute Monster Girl: sure she looks like an attractive teenage girl, but she still thinks like a devil - namely, having zero respect for the value of human life, any kind of moral or social norms, traffic laws, or even personal hygiene. Even Denji, who's usually led around by his own libido on a leash, quickly loses his attraction to her when he finds out how obnoxious, foolish, and physically disgusting she is.
    • The later half of the manga viciously deconstructs The Power of Friendship, when it's revealed that Makima engineered things so that Denji would find himself with friends, girls, and a surrogate family for the first time in his life, only so she could drive him to utter despair by tearing those things away from him. The most chilling thing? It almost works. In stark contrast to most shonen manga, where supporting characters might die but the True Companions are untouched, by the end of Part 1, all of Denji's close friends and even friendly acquaintances are dead. The only other survivors from the Public Safety Bureau are people he either barely knows (Kobeni, Yoshida, The Angel) or who treats him like garbage (Kishibe).
    • The opening few chapters tear into the typical portrayal of the Yakuza in anime and manga as honorable, likable Neighborhood-Friendly Gangsters, instead depicting them as brutish, ruthless thugs who force an orhpaned child into indentured slavery to the point of literally selling his organs on the black market, constantly changing the terms of their agreement to gain his freedom and then savagely murdering him the moment he's no longer useful to them. "Katana Man", the most prominent Yakuza character in the story, is motivated by a typical honorable quest to avenge the death of his grandfather at Denji's hands, but this is used mostly to make him look like even more of a detestable hypocrite because his grandpa's death was his own damn fault thanks to messing with Devils far beyond his ability and Denji, who said grandfather ruthlessly exploited for years, only killed the old bastard in self-defense after he'd already been turned into a zombie. It really says something that by the manga's end, Pochita expresses more sympathy for Makima than anyone does for Katana Man.
  • Demonic Possession: Devils can take over a variety of things, including people and objects. Fiends are devils that have taken over a human corpse, making the body their own in the process.
  • Demon Slaying: Denji starts off as a Devil Hunter to pay off his debts, but ends up being taken in by an official organization. In fact, Devil hunting seems to be a booming international industry, with both public organizations and private freelancers working to hunt devils, with regulations preventing interferences between Devil Hunters.
  • Denser and Wackier: Compared to the author's previous work Fire Punch, Chainsaw Man has a much more energetic and persistent sense of humor, including a lot more Sex Comedy. While both experience Cerebus Syndrome in their later arcs, Chainsaw Man never abandons the Black Comedy in the process like its predecessor.
  • Did Not Think This Through: The Fatal Flaw of Denji and Power, as they usually rely on Attack! Attack! Attack! and have no forethought to strategy. Because of this they train with Kishibe, who's consider to be the best Devil Hunter, who repeatedly kills them till they start thinking strategically.
  • Didn't See That Coming:
    • Even Makima is confused as to how Power is still alive when she had just killed her the other night.
    • Makima is left in a barely coherent and confused state after Denji, who she thought she had just killed, slices her open with a chainsaw made from Power's blood.
  • Dismantled MacGuffin: Bullet-shaped pieces of the disappeared Gun Devil will occasionally be found. Because the parts of the Gun Devil always want to return to their possessor, the Safety Bureau is currently hunting for those pieces so that they can eventually lead the hunters to the Gun Devil.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • Denji drinking Power's blood in Chapter 71 is drawn and framed to look very much like sexual intercourse.
    • Denji and Makima's relationship has been repeatedly compared by readers to grooming and emotional abuse. Many have also compared the ending of the story, where Denji adopts Nayuta (the reincarnated form of the Control Devil), to a single dad gaining custody of the daughter he had with his abusive ex-girlfriend.
  • Downer Beginning: The story starts off with Denji's father committing suicide due to the huge debt that he had from the Yakuza. Denji tries to work as a devil hunter to pay off said debt, only for it to be revealed that said Yakuza head made a pact with a devil. He chops Denji into pieces and throws his body into the trash bin.
  • The Dreaded: The Gun Devil. It successfully annihilated over a million of humans across the planet in a span of five minutes. Aki wants to kill it.
    • The Primal Fear Devils are even more feared than the Gun Devil. Even before the Darkness Devil is introduced, the Fiends and Devils beg to be killed or prefer suicide than facing it.
    • The Chainsaw Devil has been revealed to be this for other devils because of its ability to Ret-Gone entire concepts such as Nazis and nuclear weapons by devouring the devils that represent the fear of those concepts.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • The first chapter of the manga has Denji cheerfully remarking on how much he was able to sell his own body parts for before wistfully remarking on the incredible luxury of...sliced bread with jam on it, and promising to share it with Pochita someday if he ever gets to try some, immediately and very effectively establishing him both as a deeply traumatized young boy living in almost unimaginable poverty and an incredibly sweet kid deep down who just wants to share his happiness with others.
    • Right after meeting him, Makima shows Denji kindness by giving him her coat and paying for his food when they stop to get lunch at a roadside diner. However, when a frantic patron rushes into the diner, panicked and bloody, yelling that a devil kidnapped his daughter, Makima orders Denji to take care of it because she doesn't want her udon to get soggy while she's killing the devil herself, and subtly threatens him by telling him that dogs that bite their masters get put down. Once he's done, she wins his favor back by hand-feeding him and telling him that she likes guys who do what they're told. This is an early sign that while she's capable of superficial kindness, Makima is not a very nice person deep down but is very good at manipulating people to cover for it.
    • Though it's obviously not his first scene, the best example of Denji's personality comes in the fourth chapter, when Hayakawa orders him to kill a devilman they've found in an apartment complex. Instead of transforming into his chainsaw form and killing it messily, Denji just chops its head off with a fire axe - partly because he doesn't believe in unnecessary brutality, but also because the devilman's apartment had a big stack of porn mags lying around that Denji wanted to steal later and he didn't want to get blood all over the magazines. Immediately afterwards, he decides that he's going to continue surviving and working as a devil hunter for as long as he can, because someday he wants to touch some tits. That's Denji in a nutshell: crass, lecherous, immature, but also cuttingly pragmatic; and not without a humanistic level of compassion and optimism even for other devils.
    • The very first thing of note that Power does is jumping off a building, forming a giant hammer out of her own blood mid-air, and smashing a nearby Devil as she lands on it, with a huge grin on her face.
    Power: GAHAHA! HOW'S THAT? GAZE UPON MY GLORY!
  • Evil Is Visceral: Whether a Devil specializes in bending time or possesses Elemental Powers, they will have a grotesque, flesh-and blood form anchoring them to the human world. This is something of a narrative concession as Denji would otherwise have a hard time fighting them with his chainsaws if they didn't have physical forms he could attack.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Denji's poor background means he's used to eating anything, including moldy bread, orange peels, and scabs.
  • Eldritch Location: Hell is portrayed as a large grassy field situated under a sky made of a seemingly infinite amount of doors, implied by the way the Darkness Devil appears to lead to domains controlled by individual Devils.
  • Famous, Famous, Fictional: Used to incredibly unnerving effect in Chapter 84. Alongside the real concepts that the Chainsaw Devil deleted from existence are several bizarre yet plausible-sounding things like the sixth sense that all humans possess(ed), Arnolone syndrome, something called "SOA", and the eruption of a volcano called Mt. Hio. The juxtaposition of instantly recognizable ideas (nuclear weapons, AIDS, Nazis) being deleted from existence alongside entirely fictional ones subtly suggests that these concepts have been erased from the mind of the reader as well.
  • Fanservice: Used a couple of times throughout the series, such in Chapter 43, where Denji is imagining the girls (and Angel) in scantily-clad clothing and suggestive poses.
  • A Fate Worse Than Death: There were apparently at least four of them before they were all Ret-Gone by the Chainsaw Man.
  • Fight Unscene: Makima's victorious battle against the Gun Devil is not seen, and the manga skips ahead to it already possessing Aki to confront Denji.
  • Final Boss Preview: Santa Claus makes a contract with the Devil of Hell and sends the heroes to Hell itself where one of the most powerful Devils that can be, the Devil of darkness that draws its power from humanity's Primal Fear, comes and easily takes out everyone.
  • Fireworks of Love: Subverted when Reze kisses Denji under the fireworks and bites his tongue off in the process.
  • Flowers of Romance: Denji and Reze's Meet Cute involves him gagging back up a flower he had swallowed earlier and giving it to her. She assumes it's a magic trick and she's later seen ruminating over a similar flower, indicating Denji's gesture meant a lot to her in spite of her claiming otherwise after revealing herself as Bomb. As he waits for her at the cafe she works at at the end of the arc, he's somewhat comically waiting with a huge bouquet.
  • Foreshadowing: Has its own page.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: In Chapter 84, Makima reveals that Denji has the power to erase entire concepts from history so utterly that the entire world forgets they ever existed. Alongside the real concepts that Pochita destroyednote  are several fictional (and incredibly bizarre) things like a star that drove children insane and four fates at the end of human life besides death, giving the impression that they have not only been erased from the characters' minds but the readers' as well.
  • Frame Break: Occasionally, a Devil bursts out from the limits of the page, bypassing the limits of the panels to influence what happens within them. It is done to show how otherwordly and powerful this particular devil is. The Fox Devil devours another Devil this way. The Devil of Hell's finger also snatches the head of three children through a panel when it accept Santa Claus' contract.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: In Chapter 76, when we see the horrifyingly long list of the Gun Devil's victims that were killed worldwide in a matter of seconds, one of the names on the list is Aki Hayakawa.
  • Funny Background Event: As Makima explains to Aki what the Angel Devil is, you can see Angel arguing with Power in the room behind them. Whatever they're talking about, Angel's expression makes it clear it's a futile effort.
  • Fusion Dance: After Denji's body is chopped up by the Yakuza, Pochita fuses himself with Denji in order to give him a second chance to live, which results in Denji becoming a humanoid chainsaw-like monster.
  • Genre-Busting: A Shōnen series that combines Demon Slaying with Black Comedy Work Com shenanigans, and later revealing itself as a Cosmic Horror Story.
  • The Government:
    • The Japanese government is portrayed as incredibly shady. Especially when it's revealed that the Prime Minister has a contract with Makima so she'll work for them and any attack on her is translated to a random Japanese citizen. They are shown to be even more malevolent when Chapter 97 implies that Makima was not always as evil as she was and being employed by them had turned her into the monster that she was.
    • The American government is also shown to be morally ambiguous, as the President sacrifices one year of every American citizen's lifespan to summon the Gun Devil. However, it also doubles as I Did What I Had to Do considering the Gun Devil was summoned as a last ditch attempt to kill Makima.
  • The Great Offscreen War: Chainsaw Man vs the Weapon Devils and the 4 Horses of the Apocalypse. He won but left him near death and stuck in a dog form.
  • Greater-Scope Villain:
    • The Primal Fear Devils are shown to be lurking behind the scenes, much more powerful than the Gun Devil or Makima and also wanting to obtain the Chainsaw Devil for their own uses.
    • The Japanese government is revealed to be this when Kishibe implies that they knowingly corrupted Makima into the monster she was and will likely do the same to Nayuta if they got their hands on her.
  • Groin Attack:
    • Denji repeatedly kicks Hayakawa in the balls during their alleyway brawl, claiming this is the only way he knows how to fight.
    • Denji and Hayakawa have a "Groin Kicking Contest" on the Sword Devil to see who can make him cry out the loudest before the police show up.
  • Guys Are Slobs: Subverted. Aki is as neat and orderly as expected of the Straight Man, while Denji is quickly made to look downright civilized in comparison to Power. She throws food she doesn't like and rarely bathes or flushes the toilet. Aki and Denji are quickly united in their horror.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Denji becomes one as a result of merging with Pochita, retaining his humanity while gaining the devil's powers. Reze and Quanxi are revealed to be ones as well, having fused with the Bomb Devil and Crossbow Devil respectively.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: The fate of the Sword Devil at Denji's hand. He gets better.
  • Heal It with Blood: Devils are able to heal themselves by drinking blood.
  • Hell Is That Noise: Angel reveals that Devils don't truly die, but rather go through a reincarnation cycle where they die on Earth then revive in Hell and vice versa. While most Devils don't really remember much about Hell, all of them do remember a particular sound whenever they are killed there: the roar of Denji's chainsaw.
  • Hidden Depths: Denji is a lot more intelligent and perceptive than he seems. For example, he catches on that he may be losing his humanity due to being a hybrid early on, though he brushes it off to make himself feel better.
  • Horned Humanoid: Power has horns, a sign of her true nature as a Fiend.
  • Hotter and Sexier: For a Shonen Jump manga, it is extremely upfront about nudity and sex, to the point where Chapter 59 (which isn't available on the Shonen Jump app) features an on-page lesbian orgy.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Along with revealing that the Gun Devil has long been captured, Makima reveals that none of the gunmen seen throughout the series obtained their firearms from contracts with it. Governments have been breaking firearm treaties and using the Gun Devil as a scapegoat, partly because more they benefit from sustaining fear of gun violence.
  • Hunter of His Own Kind: Some Devils like Power, or the Fox Devil have no problem working with the Bureau and help hunting other devils, not that there is any kind of alliance between Devils. In either case, they'll make humans suffer through their contracts.
  • I Have Boobs, You Must Obey!: Subverted. Once Denji notices the size of Power's boobs, he quickly tries to be friendly and cooperative with her. But her out-of-control personality and fickle behavior makes him weary of her very quickly. Then it gets double subverted when she comes right out and offers to let him touch her breasts in exchange for saving Meowy, which he agrees to with little hesitation. Then it gets triple subverted when Denji finds out that not only is Power padding her bra, but touching them is so underwhelming that Denji basically has an existential crisis over it. From this point on, the series defies this as Denji grows to not let his judgment be clouded by his hormones.
  • Indirect Kiss:
    • Aki and Himeno share a cigarette, which Denji is quick to point out as one of these. Aki tells Denji to grow up.
    • Makima gives Denji a taste of the cola-flavored lolipop she'd been eating so he can forget the taste of vomit from what was meant to be his first kiss with Himeno.
  • Innocuously Important Episode: The chapter where Denji finally gets to go on a date with Makima to the movies. At first seemingly a Breather Episode before we meet Reze, Denji observing Makima's attitude towards movies end up being important in Chapter 93, where he determines that her plans aren't as altruistic as they seem when she admits to being willing to erase bad movies from existence just because she doesn't like them.
  • Internal Homage: The panel in Chapter 96 where Denji is about to strike Makima down with his chainsaw with her reflection in the blade directly calls back to this image that premiered the entire series to begin with.
  • Ironic Echo:
  • I Will Wait for You: Denji offers to meet with Reze at the cafe so they can run away together, leading to him doing this there with a bouquet of flowers. He ends up staying as far as nightfall and is only forced to give up when the owner has to kick him out due to closing hours. That and unbeknownst to him, Reze had been killed just outside by Makima and Angel.
  • Kill 'Em All: By the end of Part 1, Denji, Kobeni, Yoshida and Kishibe are the only recurring characters left alive.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: Despite her hatred of humans, Power has a soft side for cats. She joined the Devil Hunters to track down a devil that kidnapped her pet cat. In reality, the devil was holding her cat hostage in exchange for a live human to eat; she was looking for a human to sacrifice in exchange for her cat.
  • Kinslaying Is a Special Kind of Evil: Exploited by Makima as part of her Breaking Speech to Denji. She reveals to him that he killed his abusive alcoholic father in self-defense. Even when pointing out the justifiable reason Denji had to defend himself, she reinforces the idea that he still murdered a person, his own father no less, and successfully convinces him that someone who would take the life of his own family doesn't deserve a happy life.
  • The Lad-ette: Power turns out to be one, making Denji look downright high class in comparison. She's primarily just incredibly gross, with little concern for human manners or hygiene.
  • The Law of Conservation of Detail: The manga is ultimately not as exposition heavy as most of its contemporary shonen romp. It thrives on Beat Panels and much of the dialogue is only what's necessary, with points becoming clearer in later chapters.
  • "Leave Your Quest" Test: Verging on Central Theme for the manga as a whole. Multiple characters are offered a chance to run away from what they're doing and live normal lives. But for one reason or another, ranging from Revenge to promises of Mundane Luxury, they always refuse.
  • Lighter and Softer: While still extremely violent and overtly cynical, Chainsaw Man is still leagues away from the horrific nihilistic overtones of Fire Punch, nor does it have any implications of rape or sexual slavery.
  • Loophole Abuse: It is through one of these that Denji is able to truly defeat Makima. After dismembering her, Denji is able to stop her from reviving due to the fact that her contract with the Prime Minister of Japan only covers being killed by "attacks". By eating her instead, Denji considered the act one of love rather than an attack as it allowed him to become one with her. And it works; Kishibe eventually finds the reincarnation of the Control Devil with no memory of her life as Makima.
  • Loss of Identity: Denji is scared that his Devil powers is starting to cost him his humanity. Luckily that never comes to fruition, as he shows time and time again that his empathy is still very much intact, causing many of the other characters to warm up to him significantly.
  • Lost in Translation: It is revealed near the end of Part 1 that the Big Bad Ensemble of the story are the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. However, this is lost on some readers as the first one — Conquest — is referred to as "Control" in the English translation because "shihai (支配)" can also mean "conquest", and is how the Biblical figure's name is traditionally translated into Japanese.
  • Love Triangle:
    • Denji finds himself in one after he meets Reze in spite of still being in love with Makima.
    • Later turns out to be a primary conflict of the story as while Denji is in love with Makima, Makima is in love with the Chainsaw Man, who as Pochita in turn has a lot of devotion and platonic love for Denji.
    • The Buddy Stories light novel reveals that Kishibe and Quanxi were once wrapped up in one involving a rookie named Minami. Minami crushed on Kishibe while he was still in love with Quanxi, who tries to take a shower with Minami.
  • Loving Details: Discussed. Makima explains to Denji how physical intimacy is only effective if you knew the other person just as intimately. For examples, she notes lengths of fingers, the temperature of hands, the appearance of their ears, and the distinct way they might bite your finger. The last one is how Denji ends up recognizing Nayuta as a reincarnated Control Devil.
  • Match Cut: Frequently done as part of the manga's highly cinematic art style. The most chillingly effective by far is a jaw-dropping transition in Chapter 63 between the colossal hand of the Hell Devil reaching into frame from the sky to grab an entire shopping mall, to an identical severed hand lying on the grass in Hell and being eaten apart by ants.
  • Mauve Shirt: Kobeni and Arai are two agents that join Denji's group on their first mission to recover a fragment of the Gun Devil. They spend most of the mission terrified, but ultimately survive. After a welcoming party, when all the agents get attacked by assassins, with most being killed, Arai sacrifices himself to stop a bullet meant for Kobeni. She proceeds to show off hither unseen combat skills and survives.
  • Meaningful Name: Some of the fiends who have adopted actual names besides their Devil roles, most are odd names in which Denji himself points out, but turns out at least 8 fiends have pretty significant names when their full roles are revealed: Seraphim, Beam, Galgali, Dominion, Princi, Power, Angel and Virtue, eight fiends with names straight out of the 8 angel classes in Christian lore. Some have clear direct names but odd ones like Beam are a play on words, Beam = Queru(beam). The eight fiends are said to be the followers of Chainsaw.
  • Medical Horror: In the opening moments of the series, Denji goes over how much money he'd gotten for selling his right eye, a kidney, and one of his testicles.
  • Mêlée à Trois: The International Assassins Arc eventually devolves into the Public Safety Agents vs. Quanxi and her girls vs. the American brothers vs. "Santa Claus" and the doll army vs. the Darkness Devil.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: Unusual for a violent shonen manga, averted. Female characters are killed off just as regularly as the men and with equally little fanfare. In fact by the end of part 1, only one major female character hasn't been shown dying (Kobeni) compared to three men (Denji, Kishibe, and Yoshida).
  • Meta Twist: The ominous door in Denji's mind which he dreams of Pochita telling him not to open? Not related to the dark powers Pochita is constantly hinted as having. It actually is the mental block to Denji's worst memory, him murdering his abusive father in self-defence.
  • Mon: Pochita looks like an adorable chainsaw-like puppy. He is the only Devil who is truly loyal to Denji, and fuses himself to Denji in order to give him a second chance to live.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Makima's manipulation of the news media to make the world love and no longer fear the Chainsaw Man works, severely weakening him. However, while the Chainsaw Devil is weakened by the decreasing amount of fear the world has for him, Denji is strengthened and overwhelmed by all his seemingly pointless heroic deeds finally getting recognition. The world showing their love for him is enough to get him out of his funk and begin coming up with a plan to kill Makima once and for all, which succeeds.
  • Noodle Incident: Denji and Power had apparently pranked Aki the morning before the events of Chapter 14. Aki was really pissed off about it.
  • No Ontological Inertia: Once a Devil is killed, their power over something ceases, hence Aki explaining how Power didn't kill the Eternity Devil since they're still trapped on the Eighth Floor. This also implies that all of those under Makima's control were eventually freed after Denji manages to fully kill her.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: Lampshaded by Denji when he realizes he feels nothing from taking a bath with Power. This is because he's far more concerned with her well-being than taking advantage of her in a moment of vulnerability.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: In Chapter 84, alongside such devastating things as AIDS, nuclear weapons, and the Holocaust that were all erased from the Chainsaw Man universe by Pochita's Power, Makima lists several bizarre concepts like the eruption of Mount Hio, Arnolone syndrome, the sixth sense that all humans (previously) possessed, a star whose light broke children's minds, and four things that happened to humans at the end of life besides dying. No further detail is provided on any of these things, but if they were bad enough that Pochita felt the need to erase them from existence entirely, they must have been pretty goddamned bad.
  • Obliviously Evil: It appears people who are possessed by Devils gain this mindset.
    • When Aki was possessed by the Gun Devil, he believed he was a kid in a snowy wonderland having a snowball fight with everyone, where in fact he was gunning down everyone he threw a "snowball" at.
    • When Pochita returns and takes over Denji's body, his attempts to bring his friend's dreams to life leaves a lot of dead bodies in its wake. But his lack of reaction to these make it clear that he doesn't seem too aware of how much damage he's causing. It's eventually later revealed that Pochita was basically always like this, having long wished for a hug from anybody willing because his attempts at hugging the Devils he saves ends in them being cut to pieces due to his immense strength. Really, he seems to lament his inability to get his dream realized more than accidentally killing others.
  • Off with His Head!: Lots and lots and lots of people get their heads chopped off by Devils and Devil Hunters alike (some of them multiple times, given Devil immortality.)
  • Only the Leads Get a Happy Ending: Inverted. By the end of Part 1, Denji has killed Makima, stopped the Gun Devil's rampage, caused the Control Devil to reincarnate into a new body where he can hopefully give her a better childhood, and become a national hero to Japan and the world at large as Chainsaw Man, but at the price of literally everyone he was emotionally close to except Pochita being dead.
  • Our Demons Are Different: Devils are created from people's feelings about things, so there are devils themed after various things, like a ghost devil, a muscle devil, a fox devil or a tomato devil. The more feared or respected the thing the devil is themed after, the more powerful the devil, making the gun devil for instance an extremely powerful devil. They can take almost any form, from cute Mon to regular-looking monsters to horrifying, abstract abominations. They can also take over dead bodies, resulting in fiends.
  • The Pig-Pen: Power doesn't like to flush or bathe.
  • Possessing a Dead Body: Fiends like Power are the result of a Devil taking up residence in a human corpse.
  • Power at a Price: Devil Hunters working with the agency often make pacts with devils for power. In return, the person making the pact will generally offer their flesh in return. It seems that there are pacts where the human gives up something major permanently for permanent power, and pacts where the human gives up something on a per use basis, depending on the strength of the power.
  • The Power of Friendship: After 97 chapters of picking apart common Shonen tropes, the series surprisingly embraces this as its ultimate message. As bleak as the series can get, it's easy to miss just how many people's lives are saved by acts of varying degrees of kindness and open arms. Part 1 ends with Denji deciding to show the new Control Devil Nayuta friendship and love much like how he gave Pochita, Power, Aki, Reze, and others so she'd grow up knowing that she has many people to call her equal unlike Makima, who was never shown kindness like this and became the villain that ruined Denji's life.
  • The Power of Love: Deconstructed. Denji is able to kill Makima once and for all with what he rationalizes as an "act of love", as he is still very much infatuated with her even after everything she did to him. However, said "act of love" is to cut her up into pieces and eat all of her for dinner so they can be "one with each other". Basically, our hero saves the day by being a Yandere cannibal.
  • Primal Fear: As Devils are born from fears, there are also Primal Fear Devils, the most powerful of all Devils who are created from fears so universal, like the fear of the dark, even the Gun Devil looks like a weakling compared to them.
  • Production Throwback: You can see volumes of Fire Punch on a shelf in Chapter 13. A billboard with Agni can also be seen in Times Square in Chapter 75.
  • Reality Has No Subtitles: Some foreign speeches and text are written in their original language but not translated. For instance Reze sings in Russian at one point, Quanxi and her Fiends speak Chinese to some agent of the Safety Bureau, and Santa Claus reads a note in German. That said, speeches are also translated just as often for the reader's sake without anything directly indicating they're in another language.
  • Ret-Gone: The true power of Chainsaw Man and the reason he is "The Devil That All Devils Fear". Any devil which Chainsaw Man devours will make the concept its based on disappear from existence. Makima reveals that it has deleted real world things from history like Nazis, World War II, the Nuclear weapons, and AIDS... as well as more abstract concepts like humans' sixth sense, a star whose light broke children's minds, and four fates besides death for the end of life.
  • Rewatch Bonus:
    • Following the revelation that Reze is the Bomb Devil and her final thoughts when she is killed, a lot of her interactions with Denji take on whole new meanings. Their Meet Cute? Her presumably cornering Denji so she can kill him without fuss, but was thrown off by him giving her a flower. Her reaction to learning Denji never went to school? Her realization that they're not that different. Her asking Denji to run away with her? Her giving Denji one last chance to live as normal people before he rejects the offer.
    • All the moments Makima has Denji enchanted take on a different layer when you realize she's the Control Devil. How much of his feelings were real?
    • Similarly, Makima telling Power to knock it off in Chapter 5. Either Power was scared into submission or Makima had just used her Control Devil power over her.
    • When Makima asks Denji and Aki what they think of each other, she displays a strangely invested reaction in the possibility of them working together. Because her plan is to build up a happy life for Denji just so she can destroy it.
    • Notice how almost all of Makima's more loyal underlings say that they owe her their lives.
    • Makima's more affectionate interactions with Denji take on a new meaning when you consider she might not be talking to him, but to the Chainsaw Devil who she's more attracted to. A particular moment stands out where she confirms to Denji that he has a heart. She has almost a genuine smile when she listens to his heartbeat. This is because it's the closest she's been to the actual Chainsaw Man, who had become Denji's heart.
    • Beam is questioned as to how he knows that the Bomb Devil is the Gun Devil's partner, and he hesitates to expand further beyond Makima telling him, implying that he's too scared of her to explain further. After The Reveal, it's very likely that he'd actually been forced to say it by Makima either by threat or by her Control Devil powers to keep up the narrative that the Gun Devil is the series' Big Bad.
    • After Chainsaw Man saves Makima and he then immediately kills her, you think this is just the chaotic nature as she described him to be. If you look closer you will notice the "attack" he gave her was actually a hug, which is what Pochita reveals all of his "attacks" on those who called for his help were.
    • You can spot Denji among Makima's army in Chapter 94 before he reveals himself in 96.
    • Every instance of a hug becomes much more significant following the final chapter of Part 1.
    • The Katana Man arc deals with yakuza hunting after Denji on a contract with the Gun Devil, as facilitated by Sawatari. Makima speculates that Sawatari being killed by her own Snake Devil was to prevent her from betraying the Gun Devil. Given the later reveal that the Gun Devil was already defeated and Makima knows this, the whole arc could be read as Makima trying to reinforce her narrative to Denji to keep his loyalty.
  • Rousing Speech: Played with. After Makima's evil nature had been revealed and Power sacrificed herself to bring him back, Denji is on the brink of despair, lamenting that his wishes for a normal life had gone nowhere and only gotten him in a crappy, disappointing life. A resigned Kobeni counters that what he'd been through, a life with ups and downs completely out of his control, is a normal life. This directly precedes a news report showing the world celebrating the Chainsaw Man's victory against the Gun Devil, which brings Denji out of his funk and seek out new dreams to strive for.
  • Sacred First Kiss: Averted. Denji is ready to have a first kiss with the attractive Himeno, just to satisfy his hormones. Himeno kisses him while drunk but she pukes, making him associate his first kiss with the taste of puke forever. Himeno does make up for it in their second kiss.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: After the assassination of most of Division 4, a member named Madoka tenders his resignation after realizing that Makima knew more about the plot than she's letting on.
  • Self-Serving Memory: An extra chapter shows that Power regularly manipulates events in her own mind so she comes out the hero. She demands that Kobeni thank her for saving her life and we are subsequently shown an Imagine Spot of Power running over the eldest of the Immortal Brothers with Kobeni's car to save Kobeni and Denji, followed by a grateful Kobeni praising her as the strongest Devil Hunter.
  • Sequel Hook: Although Part 1 ends with Denji defeating Makima and befriending the new Control Devil, there are still devils terrorizing the world, and Denji still has to keep his promise to find and befriend the Blood Devil in Hell.
  • Ship Tease: After the debacle with Reze, the cafe manager encourages Denji to move on and that a girl who is perfect for him will eventually find him. Cue Power bursting in and noticeably blushing when she sees that Denji was holding a bouquet of flowers.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Being a Tatsuki Fujimoto manga, movie references are expected:
    • Fujimoto has mentioned that the relationship between Denji and Power was inspired by those of both The Dude & Walter Sobchak and Stan Marsh & Eric Cartman, being an unmotivated slacker everyman with a sensitive side accompanied by a friend who is obnoxious, crass, self-centered, and hostile.
    • Aki has an Offscreen Moment of Awesome where he kills a Devil that looks suspiciously like a fish from Gyo. As does Beam's Shark Devil form.
    • Denji and Power are seen reading CoroCoro Comic when Aki wakes in the hospital.
    • In Chapter 70, Cosmo activates her power by emulating the Kamehameha from Dragon Ball, only she says "Ha-llo Ha-llo Weeeeeen!"
    • Satoru Noda, author of Golden Kamuy, is listed among the many people killed by the Gun Devil in Chapter 75.
    • The author confirmed that Denji is named after Kudo Denji from Tsutomu Nihei's Abara. Pochita's true form as the Chainsaw Man also bears similarities to Kudo's appearance.
    • In chapter 81, Makima has a large print of the iconic "Satan's Fall From Heaven" illustration from the 1866 printing of Paradise Lost hanging on her wall. Doubles as Genius Bonus and Five-Second Foreshadowing when it dominates the background as Makima leads Denji by the hand to the door.
    • Fujimoto has stated that much of Hell's appearance and atmosphere was inspired by the Eclipse.
  • Skewed Priorities: Subverted. Denji asking Makima if there will still be "bad movies" in the world that she's going to create with the Chainsaw Man's powers seems like this at first, but it's actually directly relevant to their actions immediately afterwards. When Makima replies, clearly shaken, that she'll erase them from existence because she doesn't want anything in her world to have flaws, Denji finally realizes that killing Makima is the only solution because she's going to eradicate anything that she personally doesn't enjoy, no matter how many other people like it.
  • Smart People Wear Glasses: Denji and Power come to the conclusion that they have to be smarter about trying to beat Kishibe. Thus they wear Purely Aesthetic Glasses during their next attack.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Many of the more sympathetic Devil Hunters smoke heavily to cope with the stresses of the job, including Kishibe, Himeno, Quanxi, and Aki. Significantly, when Makima lights up for the first and only time near the ending of part 1, she's clearly unused to it and collapses in a coughing fit, a subtle indicator of how denying herself any kind of human indulgence because the things humans make are "imperfect" is part of what makes her such a horrible, miserable arrogant monster.
  • Snow Means Death: Aki lost his entire family when the Gun Devil destroyed their house on a snowy day when he alone was outside playing in the woods. Infamously, in his final moments his destroyed mind flashes back to that moment, thinking he's having a joyful snowball fight with friends and Denji while he's actually gunning down random civilians until Denji is forced to kill him.
  • Spiritual Successor: The final chapter reveals that the series is more or less an expanded reimagining of Fujimoto's one-shot Nayuta of the Prophecy. Denji's final fate as Nayuta's caretaker puts him in a similar position to Kenji's in the one-shot, suggesting that Part 2 will be a more straightforward second try at the original idea.
  • Starter Villain: The Zombie Devil, who made a deal with the Yakuza to kill devil hunters and in exchange it would "give them a Devil's power", is the first devil that he faces after becoming a devil himself and before joining the Public Safety Devil Hunters.
  • Stealth Pun: The Japanese word for gun sounds like the word for freedom. So not only is the President of the United States calling upon the "Freedom" Devil, but he's calling on it to fight the Control Devil, its direct ideological opposite.
  • Title Drop: From Makima: "Save me, Chainsaw Man."
  • Tongue Trauma: Denji and Reze share a kiss under fireworks...but Denji recoils when Reze literally bites off his tongue.
  • Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: Devil can consume each other with ease but they find Devil hybrids to have a revolting taste to them. This allows some Devils to escape being eaten by a devil.
  • Tournament Arc: Parodied when Denji begins a "tournament" with Aki of who can kick the Katana Devil in the groin the hardest. Unlike most tournament arcs, it's quite short, running a breezy four pages.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The very first scene featured in the trailer for the animated adaptation is the direct aftermath of Denji killing his abusive father in self-defense.
  • Translation Convention: Quanxi is later revealed to be speaking translated Chinese, as once she shows up in Japan and speaks around Japanese speakers, her and her fiends' dialogue becomes untranslated.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: Denji and Aki are later joined by Power, the three eventually developing into a trio of surrogate siblings.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: The series regularly subverts this, as many plans are as much surprises to the audience as to the characters but they often go wayward for various reasons. This trope is played straight with Denji managing to finally kill Makima, his plan only revealed at the end of Chapter 96 and expanded on in Chapter 97.
  • Victory Is Boring: After he defeats the Bat Devil, Power makes good on her deal to let Denji touch her breasts. But after all of the buildup, he finds the experience underwhelming.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: In chapter 21, a drunk Himeno starts making out with Denji. She ends up vomiting in his mouth.
  • Was It All a Lie?: Reze turns out to have been pulling a Honey Trap to kill Denji and retrieve his heart. She claims that she had been tricking Denji but she seems genuinely taken aback when he retorts that she could've killed him any time she wanted. Reze eventually appears to take up Denji's offer of meeting up at the cafe she worked at again, but is killed by Makima and Angel before she can get there. Her last thoughts as she dies imply she had developed genuine feelings for him.
    • At the end of the series, Denji wonders this about Makima's affection. He concludes that she only ever cared about the Chainsaw Demon inside of him, Pochita. Because of this, Denji is able to get the jump on her after she ripped Pochita out of what she believed was his body, letting him mortally wound her. As Makima is notoriously able to sense any attempt on her life, Denji wonders if she ever really even noticed him, or if she only ever saw Pochita.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Lampshaded when a Kon user in Denji's protection detail seemingly comes out of nowhere to defeat a bunch of dolls. Denji, Power, and Aki all angrily ask who the hell he is but before he can introduce himself, he's interrupted literally by the plot needing to continue. Then he gets unceremoniously decapitated in the very next chapter.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Makima wants to use the Chainsaw Man's Ret-Gone powers to erase humanity's biggest fears from existance and create peace on earth.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Chapter 23. The series firmly establishes from this point that Anyone Can Die.
    • Chapter 43: Reze is revealed to be the Bomb Devil, and she's after Denji's heart.
    • Chapter 75. Makima is revealed to be the Control Devil, and the Gun Devil finally appears.
    • Chapter 81. Makima kills Power.
    • Chapter 82. Makima reveals the entire series was her plan to set up Denji with a happy life just so she could destroy it and break his contract with Pochita, capping this off by revealing Denji had murdered his abusive father as a child in self-defence and repressed the memory. Needless to say, Denji is left utterly broken afterwards.
    • Chapter 84. "The Devil That All Devils Fear" is revealed to be Pochita himself, specifically the "Hero of Hell" Chainsaw Man. His reason for being The Dreaded is revealed to be because of his ability to Ret-Gone any Devil he consumes, thus the series' timeline being one where World War II, Nazi Germany, nuclear weapons, and AIDS are nonexistent due to their respective Devils' deaths. In turn, Makima's plan is revealed to be to use the Chainsaw Man to bring about a utopia by siccing him on Devils such as those representing Death, War, and Hunger.
  • Wham Line:
    • Chapter 73:
      Makima: As of now, the Gun Devil has already been defeated and confined.
    • Chapter 73:
      Future Devil (to Aki): You and Power will be slaughtered by Denji. After that, the Devil that Devils fear most shall appear!
    • Chapter 75:
      US President: Gun Devil. I'll give you one year of the life spans of the American people. In exchange, I want you to kill Makima— that is... the Control Devil.
    • Chapter 81:
      Makima: Denji, you're going to open that door and I'm going to kill Power. (Proceeds to do exactly that)
    • Chapter 84:
      Makima: Do you remember what the Nazis did to the Jews?
      Kishibe: ...Nazis?
    • Chapter 96:
      Denji (eating dinner): So this is how you taste, Ms. Makima.
  • Wham Shot:
    • Makima getting shot in the head in Chapter 22.
    • Chapter 26: She survived, and put holes through the guys that tried to kill her.
    • Chapter 43:
      • Reze kisses Denji and he suddenly backs away from her. Turns out that she bit off part of his tongue.
      • Reze transforming into the Bomb Devil.
    • Chapter 77: Denji answers the door to Aki's apartment and sees that he's become the Gun Fiend.
    • Chapter 86: The last three of Makima's mooks are Katana Man, Reze, and Quanxi, now dressed in Public Safety clothes and inexplicably loyal to and in love with her.
    • Chapter 97: Speaking with Kishibe, Denji tries to shoo a little girl, who bites his finger. Denji is shocked to see that the little girl has Makima's eyes.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: At first, Denji places some value in the life of Devils because his only friend was Pochita, a small devil. He then learns a hard lesson in that most Devils are murderous and vicious assholes and then has no qualm actually killing them and make them suffer.
  • A World Half Full: The world of Chainsaw Man is not a pretty one to live in. Humanity's fears have taken on life and randomly prey on any poor soul they can find, and your friends, family, and co-workers can die at any point at their hands. The Government sees its citizens as nothing more than commodities to be sacrificed in Devil contracts and people like Denji have to live in perpetual, starved poverty, forever trapped in some kind of debt. Even then, none of this means that people can't grow to care for or love each other, and the smallest amounts of kindness extended to even the most feared of Devils can make all the difference in the world.
  • The World Mocks Your Loss: Denji finally gets what he wants: his own home, food to eat, and playing video games with a girl. A popsicle he eats even shows that he's a winner. Too bad all of this good fortune he'd been seeking for most of the series came in the aftermath of Aki's death by his own hands.
  • Yakuza: Denji's former boss is a Yakuza who gave Denji an enormous debt, which resulted in Denji becoming a devil hunter.
  • You Monster!: Aki calls the Bomb Devil a monster when she presents him with the decapitated heads of his fellow Devil Hunters.
  • Youkai: Like the beings of Japanese mythology, Devils come in an incredible variety and are often related to mundane things — tomatoes, sea cucumbers, and even things like blood or muscles.

    Part 2: Academy 
  • Art Evolution: Fujimoto's art is noticeably cleaner and more detailed than when he drew Part 1.
  • Art Imitates Art: War sits on a pile of viscera at the end of chapter 98, posed very similar to Mars Resting. In chapter 101, the panel of the Bat Devil devouring a person looks a lot like Saturn Devouring His Son.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Asa at first seems to be built up as the new protagonist of Part 2, with Bucky implied to become her own Pochita based on promotional artwork that preceded Chapter 98's publication. However, Bucky is accidentally killed by Asa at the halfway point, and Asa is instead implied to have become the manga's new Big Bad and Villain Protagonist by the end when she's possessed by the War Devil.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Yes, somehow. The manga is already known for its gore but Part 2 cranks it up thanks to fewer restrictions on Shonen Jump +, resulting in more viscera and bones in the carnage than the previous part's blood geysers.
  • The Bus Came Back: Yoshida returns in Chapter 99 as a student in Denji and Asa's high school.
  • Call-Back: Much of Chapter 98 follows similar beats to Chapter 1, portraying Asa's daily life before getting killed, having dying thoughts that pertain to how she wished things were different, and then coming back as a Devil. The chapter's name, "Bird and War", parallels the first chapter's "Dog and Chainsaw" as well.
  • Dramatic Irony: When the War Devil asks about Chainsaw Man and Yuko briefly gushes about him, Yoshida denies knowing much about him besides thinking he's cool. There is a layer of amusement to this due to the fact that Yoshida personally bodyguarded Denji in Part 1 previously.
  • Irony: Bucky manages to reach Asa and convince her to open herself up and start making friends with her classmates. Said attempt to begin socializing not only kills them but manages to further isolate her from her fellow students after they had just learned to love Bucky and spare them from execution.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Chapter 99 opens with a news report announcing that the Chainsaw Man has yet to appear that week. Har har, Fujimoto.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The initial promotional image is Asa holding a chainsaw with Bucky over her shoulder. By the end of the first chapter, Bucky is dead, Asa's face has several scars not in the promo, and she's been possessed by a Devil whose weapons look nothing like a regular chainsaw.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Despite unfamiliarity with humans, War isn't surprised by Asa's classmates picking on her, identifying it as a trait devils exhibit as well.
    Bullying is a commonality in communities without social fluidity, both human and devil.
  • Production Throwback: The panel of the War Devil's Unflinching Walk has a similar composition to Yuta walking away from the exploding building in Goodbye, Eri. Asa is also wearing a uniform similar to Eri.
  • Stock Shoujo Bullying Tactics: In a series-appropriate variant of "flower vase on the desk" and "vandalized shoe locker", someone puts raw chicken into Asa's shoes to harass her for accidentally killing Bucky.
  • Teens Are Monsters: Zigzagged. Asa gets bullied by her classmates, though the bullying is largely motivated by their love of Bucky, who she accidentally killed. Played straight with the class president, who's the actual cause of Bucky's death and tries to kill Asa herself.
  • Villain Protagonist: Part 2 currently focuses on Asa and the War Devil's efforts to locate Chainsaw Man, and it's quite obvious that War doesn't exactly have the most generous plans once it finds him.
  • Wham Line: Chapter 98:
    War Devil: Just you wait, Chainsaw Man! I'll make you vomit nuclear weapons back up!

See ya!
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