Power asks Denji to help her save her cat from a devil in exchange for? This episode covers chapters 5,6,7, & 8.
Makima gives Denji and Power a good talking to as Power went off and splatted the devil with reckless abandon. Power not wanting to take the blame, blames it on Denji. Makima sits down watching them argue over each other.
Anime vs Manga Gripes
This is where I start to have a little bit of criticism for Chainsaw Man. Just like in the previous episode of certain jokes not completely landing and hitting emphatically, this part of the episode feels like it’s just missing a bit of that flavor. Add in the fact that this episode focuses a little bit too much on the darker and dreary tone, it makes certain parts of the story that feels comically satirical into something that falls flat on its delivery.
Overall, this Denji and Power back and forth didn’t go over as well as it did in the manga. They somehow turned a comical back and forth into more of a background kind of moment. There’s no mood or direction to tell us how we should feel. There’s no dramatic cuts to convey the rambunctiousness of Power. The storyboarding of this part has more of a semi-mysterious feel about it. There are spoiler elements of why I think the creators decided to make this scene the way they did, however it makes the comical delivery of their ridiculous arguing not as funny.
If you look at the manga portion of this scene, it’s clearly conveying an emphatic back and forth between Denji and Power. Animes that use more “over-the-top” reaction styles like in Mob Psycho 100, Food Wars or even Spy x Family are great examples of how this scene could have been better portrayed.
Regardless of the delivery and execution of this Denji and Power back and forth dialogue, it’s important to note how Power acts in the presence of Makima. Power acts wildly with reckless abandon around Denji, but stays submissive and docile around Makima.
Doing it for Oppais
The scene transitions to Denji and Power speaking while standing around some vending machines. Denji self-reflects on how wonderful it is just to be able to get some soda from a vending machine. Power ends up talking about how she “hates humans and devils alike,” referencing the Bat Devil that ended up kidnapping her cat. Explaining further about how Denji probably doesn’t care about her cat, but she would abide by a human’s command if they helped her save Meowy. Denji states that he just wants to “be able to touch some boobs.” This makes Denji respond about how he can only relate “if it was a dog.”
Power quickly offers her chest in return for Denji helping her save Meowy. Hearing that offer was music to Denji’s testosterone makers, as he absolutely finds the will and motivation to help Power heroically save her cat.
The music and lead up here felt slightly out of place. This scene tried to build this crescendo narrative of Denji agreeing to help Power as the punchline. Denji’s dream is pretty much a joke, so the anime should be able to reflect it as much in comedic satirical fashion. The more the anime sticks to this darker and somber tone, the more it takes the luster off of what made reading Chainsaw Man enjoyable.
Denji and Power have a conversation about how they are going to defeat the devil to save Meowy. They go on to talk about Pochita with Power stating how Denji is just “self-comforting” himself with Pochita being in his heart. With Denji self-reflecting and coming to the conclusion of how he won’t be able to get along with Power, he gives a quick glance at Power’s chest in conflicting fashion.
It’s clear that the purpose of their conversation is about Power not being able to understand how Denji feels about Pochita, even though she wants to save her own cat.
Makima and Aki Play Foreshadow
After a scene with Makima speaking with the higher ups, Aki ends up driving Makima while they have a conversation about Denji and about how devils work. Makima tells Aki about devils having names, “the more they are feared, the more stronger they become.” Aki displays his displeasure for the naive “brat” Denji, for his acceptance of being able to befriend devils. Because of Denji’s trust in Pochita, we can assume that misplace in trust in devils would come back to bite Denji.
What Pochita Does for Denji, Meowy Does for Power
Once Denji and Power arrive to the place where the Bat Devil and Meowy are, Power knocks Denji out. She drags him to the building to feed him to the Bat Devil, in order to get back her cat. After drinking some of Denji’s blood the Bat Devil regrows its arm. Being disgusted by the Denji’s blood’s taste, the Bat Devil goes on about wanting more human blood to “get rid of” its foul taste. Like in a typical backstabbing bad guy fashion, instead of returning the cat, the Bat Devil opts to swallow it in front of Power.
Then, it flashes back to Power running across a malnourished Meowy. With the intentions of fattening it up to consume it later, she ends up building a loving bond with it. While laying on the roof, Power questions why she hasn’t killed the cat since she’s killed everything that’s “crosses gazes” with her. That is when the injured Bat Devil shows up to kidnap Meowy.
Power relates to the terrible feeling of seeing Meowy get eaten by the Bat Devil to Denji and Pochita. Denji holds onto the Bat Devil as he flies away. Then, Denji has a flashback being reminded of Pochita crying when he wasn’t able to find him. When he got back home, he was able to find a crying Pochita. Finally, Denji decides to bring out Chainsaw Man.
So far, Power is introduced as this rambunctious wildcard for the story. This episode focused heavily on humanizing Power. Her flaws and behavior were on full display for 2 episodes and it all comes back to bite her in the back. Placing blame on Denji, setting up Denji and not being able to empathize and rationalize like a human, the moment she gets eaten by the Bat Devil was a massive shift for her character in a more positive direction.
Chainsaw Man vs the Bat Devil
This is a blown opportunity for Denji to achieve one of his biggest dreams as Power gets swallowed up by the Bat Devil. The dreams of getting to touch a woman’s sensitive anatomy is the joke. That is what should make Denji a hilarious character. It’s not about saving people or being that quintessential hero, it’s about just wanting to live out his own selfish dreams. No real person can save everyone and this kind of motivation normalizes Denji’s character.
All in all, the Bat Devil versus Chainsaw Man ended up being a solid fight scene with good visuals. Denji being motivated to save his opportunity of being able to touch oppais has to be one of the more hilarious motivations for a main character.
When Chainsaw Man fights the Bat Devil, doesn’t it make too much sense to opt for more hardcore heavy metal music?!
It felt like a shonen fight scene with some of the typical dramatic theatrics. Denji plays off as a hero trying to save people, but it’s quickly realized his motivations for saving people isn’t really his priority. The moment of resolve for Denji is him screaming out his wish to “touch oppais.”
It’s always interesting to see how the creators storyboard and put together music for these characters that are not typical heroes. Even in Netflix’s Bastard!!, Dark Schneider’s resolve isn’t for some cliche “save the world” reasoning, but the music and special dramatic moments melt together like it belonged.
My conclusion for this fight is that the music ends up being a bit of a letdown. In regards to the animation, it looked good once again, but was nothing out of this world. I just preferred if they would dramatize more of the fight to make certain parts feel like it means more rather than a fight just happening. The ebbs & flows and constant turning of the tables would make these scenes feel a little bit more on edge. Even though I have many criticisms for this episode, it is far from bad. There are just many areas where I think it can vastly improve to make scenes and moments more epic.
In the end, this episode was all about building Power’s character; to bring her in as that 3rd trio of Denji, Power and Aki. The episode was constructed in a way to build Denji’s resolve of saving his beloved dream of getting to touch oppais and to Power gaining this important humanistic quality of pain, suffering and grief. That’s probably why this episode was presented as a mild mannered self-reflecting type of episode, keeping the tone closer to the first episode’s feel of dark, somber and lonely.
Right now, I think the anime is lacking in overall feel, tone and delivery of how the manga is perceived. In the manga, there is a fun and comedic vibe with dark undertones. In the anime, they seem to drive out all of the funny dialogue and reaction scenes to make it too serious when the characters themselves are not that serious. In return, it makes Denji a more serious character, making him feel a bit out of character than what he is meant to be. It makes his motivations to be able to touch Power’s chest a bit more creepy than funny.
We are only three episodes in, so I’d rather reserve my final judgement for how they handle many of the big upcoming events and characters. If I was to judge the first 3 episodes on its own merits, it’s closer to a 7.5 out of 10. So far, it’s “okay to good.” Having read the manga, it really throws me off about how I personally perceive Chainsaw Man. When you buy into a particular portrayal of the story and the anime gives you something a bit different, that is where most of my criticisms lie. Looking around for reviews online, it looks like most people actually enjoy the adaptation, making me increasingly become more in the minority opinion. I for one, prefer the “in your face” theatrics. The anime has chosen to go with this hazy somber vibe with a “just keep it as it is” dialogue that doesn’t bring home the ridiculousness of what Denji and Power are saying. There’s a level of comical satire that doesn’t come across as well in the anime’s portrayal. In that respect, I can’t help but feel disappointed.