Chainsaw Man Volume 1 by Tatsuki Fujimoto
Monster or demon hunting manga is a fairly common shonen manga scenario, but Chainsaw Man keeps it fresh, thanks to the introduction of chainsaws!? Actually Denji starts out in such a difficult situation, it is hard not to sympathize with him. He’s sold off some of his organs like his eye and he struggles every day to piece together a meager living from monster hunting, helped out by his pet demon dog Pochita who manages to look adorable despite having a chainsaw for a nose. Denji dreams of the day that he’ll have enough money to actually put jam on the slice of bread that makes up most of his meals, but it wouldn’t be the first volume of a shonen manga if there weren’t some powered up surprises in store for the hero.
There’s a level of off-kilter humor in Chainsaw Man that I find endearing. I found Denji heading into the woods to cut trees with his dog’s chainsaw nose extremely amusing. When Denji tells Pochita that if anything happens to him, the demon is free to take over his body and live his best life, his dog unexpectedly answers saying “I’ll give you my heart, in exchange show me your dreams.” Denji wakes up with his wounds from a recent attack healed, and a chainsaw pull sticking out of his chest. In some illustrated action sequences that show an impressive command of body horror, Denji cuts his way out of a pile of demons do to his sudden ability to manifest chainsaws on the top of his head and one of his arms. An attractive girl accompanied by additional agents suddenly appears and gives him a hug and introduces herself as a devil hunter for public safety. Makita offers him the choice to be slain as a demon or live as her pet, and she’s willing to provide incredibly yummy breakfasts.
Denji has difficulty integrating into his new Public Safety Demon Hunter squad, with some altercations with a new rival, and some funny slice of live scenes that showcase his unending devotion to jam at breakfast. There’s also plenty of juvenile humor as once Denji has the basics of food and shelter secured he promptly decides that his next mission in life is to touch some boobs. Overall, I found the monster fighting, buckets of gore, and humor in Chainsaw Man plenty amusing. Denji is an incredibly damaged but potentially powerful hero, so I’m definitely intrigued by seeing him chainsaw his way through further adventures.