As all the characters are stuck from escaping the hotel, the Eternity Devil arrives to offer them a “contract” in exchange for Denji. This manga covers chapter 15, 16, 17 and parts of 18.
The previous episode left on the cliffhanger that Denji, Power, Aki, Himeno, Arai and Kobeni are most likely trapped on a specific hotel floor. It starts off with Himeno asking Kobeni to put 2 peace signs up as she tries using the stairs to confirm Arai’s suspicions that they are indeed trapped.
If there was one word to help explain what happened in the aftermath of knowing that all the characters are trapped on the 8th floor, it is “dire.” Denji checks the windows of the floor, but it all just leads back to the same floor. This revelation of feeling trapped within the hotel caused Kobeni and Arai to go into panic mode while Denji takes a nap to feeling stressless about the situation.
After waking up from a long nap by Himeno, she fills in Denji about what’s going on. Kobeni had to be knocked out for drinking toilet bowl water, Arai locked himself in a room while having a panic attack and Power goes on this “tyrannical” monologue with the punchline delivered from Denji being “she’s just like that.”
This is another punchline that didn’t really land that well with me, but there are a ton of other moments this episode I actually had a good chuckle.
Portraying Kobeni Correctly
There was a scene after the opening credits when Kobeni goes off about how she was forced to be a devil hunter by her parents, so she can support her older brother. Kobeni plays a specific role to provide a certain kind of humor like Power. Power’s personality is ridiculously(in a good way) over-the-top that has some of the best comedic dialogue. She’s the perfect comedic relief as she was in the manga.
In the case of Kobeni, she provides this comedic role as a character that always stresses and freaks out in the most important moments. She represents the “darker humor” to the story as a character that the audience can laugh at. She’s a character that just wants to survive and at no point ever wanted to be in a life or death situation as a devil hunter. The conflict of her situation, along with her sweaty freak outs is what makes the plot even more entertaining because she isn’t someone that can be completely relied upon.
Establishing Aki and Himeno’s Relationship
Seeing Himeno’s character start to take front and center of Chainsaw Man from the previous episode, this episode continued that “senpai” role further as all of the other characters besides Aki; start to break down from being trapped on the 8th floor. Denji ends up pointing out that Himeno smokes the same cigarettes as Aki.
Then, Himeno explains to Denji the story behind getting Aki into cigarettes. It all started with Himeno offering Aki a cigarette, explaining that “it is good for socializing.” Aki explains that it is unhealthy and they go on to bond over being partners and Aki’s motivations to defeat the Gun Devil. It flashes back once more to when Aki runs up to Himeno, after she gets slapped in the face by the girlfriend of her previous dead partner. Aki chases after the girl and runs back to tell Himeno that he “put a piece of gum on her clothes” as Himeno bursts out in laughter from his outrageous response in defence of her. While Aki and Himeno are having a meal, she convinces Aki to smoke a cigarette “just once.”
Himeno’s sarcastic and nonchalant attitude while being trapped in the hotel establishes the “crazy” element of her personality. She explained in her flashback that Aki has a good chance to survive being her partner because how “devils fear unpredictable crazy people” over the typical “brave and courageous” people. That “bubble gum” incident represents the crazy lengths Aki will go and what it’ll take to be a devil hunter.
The devil reappears and we all learn what a “contract” is. When the devil offers a contract, both parties must oblige if agreed upon. In return for the death or offer of Denji to the devil as a meal, everyone else will be set free from this time loop trap. This is when all the characters that are susceptible to this mental pressure like Arai and Kobeni offer up Denji to save their lives. Even Himeno would be willing to offer Denji, if they don’t find any other way.
This is why this arc and episode is the one that wins me over as becoming a “fan” of Chainsaw Man. The situation itself as being trapped with a group of friends, teammates or in this case, “co-workers” is a situation that typically pans out positively. Meaning, everyone sticks together and actually want to save each other. It’s a traditional situation where we learn life lessons like working together, having each other’s backs and building mental fortitude.
You can expect characters to say things like:
“I have your back!”
“No way we’ll sacrifice you!”
“How despicable do you think I am?”
“I won’t let you die Dennis!”
In this case, these characters ARE despicable, DON’T have Denji’s back and are down to just sacrifice him with characters like Kobeni, willing to commit murder herself. Only Aki acts as the lone level-headed logical person that displays the life lessons kind of traits previously mentioned. As all the characters have no way out, the one ray of hope is Aki’s katana that would allow all of them to escape in exchange for years of Aki’s life. Himeno would not allow the katana to be used, using the Ghost Devil’s grip to constrict Aki as Kobeni rushes to stab Denji with Arai holding him down. Aki finds a way to break free to get in the way of the knife, getting himself stabbed to protect Denji.
The Fresh Perspective
Instead of the typical friendship bonds that arise out of these life or death situations, the opposite is actually happening. You have a bunch of loonies and mentally incapable characters that have no qualms about sacrificing Denji, in order to save their own.
In the middle of a situation where they almost have no way of getting out, this is where the most entertaining qualities that result from all of the character’s “defects” shine. Kobeni is having a mental breakdown as she would do almost anything to want to break free of their trap. Arai’s limited mental capacity to be composed leaves himself having a panic attack alone in another room. Power being Power and laughing in the face of all of the other character’s misery, comically fantasizes out loud how she would “make humans suffer by imposing a 100% tax on its citizens” as the Prime Minister.
You would think Himeno would be as calm and collected as can be; in the end, Himeno broke down from the pressure of the situation as she helped contributed to getting Aki stabbed by Kobeni. She cried out to Aki as he was bleeding asking, “what we should do?!”
The tone of her voice is very important in this moment because it adds that extra layer of Himeno completely losing composure and frame, making her sound like a little kid grasping for answers in the most dire situation of the episode.
This is the kind of plot and stray from the typical hero tropes that had me buy into the Chainsaw Man story. Not only does the comedic elements of the characters provide that “Fujimoto touch” of humorous dialogue, it provides a fresh perspective on how these situations can actually end poorly when people aren’t actually built to deal with adversity.
Himeno still said it best when she mentioned that Aki is “crazy enough” to survive long enough as a Devil Hunter because it’s not the “courageous and brave” that Devils are fearful of. It’s the “unpredictability” of someone crazy that devils can’t handle. It’s the only kind of crazy that makes sense for a character like Denji that embodies “crazy.”
It’s not everyday as the main character, where all of your “friends” want you dead and then you oblige by jumping into your doom all for a kiss.
This becomes another great choice for a cliffhanger!
The best episodes are always those that are in the midst of a plot. This is where the cinematic feel of the anime shines the most. Even though some of the comedic moments are oned down a bit, there are still moments where I had a really good laugh. Through all my complaints of the lack oft the “Fujimoto touch” of humor, this episode was the kind of episode that paid massive dividends for what the anime creators wanted to portray.
Where there is a serious plot, the relief of humor always work as a way of cutting the tension. This is first episode where the quirky behaviors of the character and the humorous dialogue all meshed really well with the adversity of the plot at hand. This is by far my favorite episode of Chainsaw Man and it aligns perfectly with how I felt in reading the manga up to this point. Episode 6 is that turning point and I can’t wait to see how the creators handle these upcoming iconic moments in the manga!