The anime adaptation of Chainsaw Man has been an unambiguous success so far. Produced by studio MAPPA and directed by Jujutsu Kaisen alum Ryū Nakayama, the 12-episode anime adaptation of Tatsuki Fujimoto’s breakout action-horror manga sets the tone of the series perfectly with its beautiful animation, brisk pacing, and ultra-violent action.
The manga is known for its gratuitous, gore-laden fight scenes and spectacular character designs when it comes to the Devils, the supernatural adversaries who Denji and co. face off against repeatedly over the course of the series. And from the looks of it, the studio MAPPA anime adaptation of Chainsaw Man shows no hint of shirking off in that department, with Kiyotaka Oshiyama (Devilman Crybaby, Space Dandy) handling the design of the Devils and Tatsuya Yoshihara (Jujutsu Kaisen, Black Clover) serving as the director of the series’ action scenes.
We’ll be breaking down the most noteworthy fight scenes in Chainsaw Man and updating our list as the first season progresses. Without further ado, let’s dig in.
Chainsaw Man vs. The Bat Devil (Ep. 3 “Meowy’s Whereabouts”)
There’s a very simple rule to live by, whether online or in the world of Chainsaw Man, and it’s one that never fails to improve your quality of life: Don’t fuck with cats. The Bat Devil broke that rule, and now he’s a bat-shaped stain on the pavement.
Hironori Tanaka, the director of Chainsaw Man’s third episode, has a reputation for gorey and gorgeous fight scenes, as is seen in his work on Jujutsu Kaisen, Mob Psycho 100 II, Kizumonogatari I: Tekketsu, and more. Those sensibilities are on full display in the fight between Chainsaw Man and the Bat Devil, a battle that takes place both (briefly) in the sky and on the ground as Denji deftly bobs and weaves out of the way of several attacks, dodges several cars and boulders before throwing them back, all before charging in for the kill and slicing his way along the Devil’s arm before bursting out through his back in a shower of entrails. If there’s one thing Denji knows how to do, it’s how to make an entrance and an exit.
Chainsaw Man vs. The Zombie Devil (Ep. 1 “Dog & Chainsaw”)
In the climax of the series’ first episode, “Dog & Chainsaw,” Denji transforms into the human-Devil hybrid Chainsaw Man for the first time to face off against the show’s first major adversary, the Zombie Devil. After being dogpiled by a horde of zombified masses, Denji emerges from the heap as Chainsaw Man— a bare-chested, yellow-eyed combatant with chainsaw blades protruding from his forehead and arms like a Hellraiser Cenobite crossed with a Home Depot hardware aisle. After a momentary pause, Denji wastes no time leaping into action, darting past the Zombie Devil’s defensive line of droning masses and propelling himself forward to pierce the Devil’s skull with his head-mounted chainsaw and arm blades.
One of the standout shots of the entire fight, and one which can be briefly glimpsed in the third trailer for the series, is when the Zombie Devil, in a fit of pain-induced desperation, grabs Chainsaw Man with one of his entrail tentacles to fling him across the room and smash into a nearby concert support beam. It’s a remarkable, dynamic sequence made possible through skillful key animation combined with impressive 3D camera mapping.
Denji vs. Aki (Ep. 2 “Arrival in Tokyo”)
In episode 2 of Chainsaw Man, “Arrival in Tokyo,” Denji wins a fight against his newly assigned partner, Aki Hayakawa, in the most expedient way possible: kicking him repeatedly in the balls. An underhanded tactic? Absolutely. An effective means of conflict resolution? In this case, indisputably. And hey, if it’s good enough for Terry McGinnis in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, it’s good enough for Denji.
This fight is an important touchstone in Denji and Aki’s relationship, establishing not only their initial animosity for one another as workmates and but also their begrudging respect for one another that will later evolve into a form of trust and friendship. Sometimes bros just got to duke it out before they can become bros, man.
Power vs. the Sea Cucumber Devil (Ep. 2 “Arrival in Tokyo”)
Clocking in at approximately two and a half seconds, the climactic fight between Power and the so-called Sea Cucumber Devil at the end of episode 2, “Arrival in Tokyo,” is certainly in the running for Chainsaw Man’s fastest fight, if not its goriest.
The episode introduces both Aki Hayakawa, Denji’s aforementioned co-worker and a fellow Public Safety Devil Hunter, and Power: a former Devil turned Fiend (i.e., a human corpse possessed by a Devil) who is assigned as Denji’s field partner. Power is ruthless, crude, and erratic, leaping into danger at the slightest hint of provocation. One could not ask for a better introduction to her character than for her to literally smash an opponent to a pulp and laugh while bathed in their entrails. Conan the Barbarian would be proud.
Chainsaw Man is available to stream on Crunchyroll and Hulu.