WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Chainsaw Man #86 by Tatsuki Fujimoto, Amanda Haley and Sabrina Heep, available now in English from Viz Media.
Following the last chapter, Chainsaw Man left readers in complete disarray with no real indication of where the story would go next. From grandiose reveals about Nazis and AIDS to a not so leisurely visit to a burger restaurant, it was anyone's guess what the next chapter would have in store. In that same unpredictable fashion, this latest chapter does not disappoint.
Picking up with the same dark humor the previous chapter left off with, Denji leaves the restaurant with a terrified Kobeni in tow. Mentally speaking with Pochita, he laments that he's never been on a date with a girl and, much like he did with the hamburger earlier, decides to make it happen. The pair make the first stop on their "date" an ice cream truck. Leaving behind a totaled truck, they walk away with soft serve in hand, though the long-suffering Kobeni can't even taste hers. Afterwards Denji takes her to an arcade, where he demands she play one of the dancing games. The two are interrupted by a Devil Hunter, but Denji makes quick work of him.
Abandoning Kobeni at the dance machine, he returns to the rooftop where his initial encounter with Makima began, only to be greeted by her and a group filled with familiar faces. Among them are Reze, Quanxi and Katana Man, who have all seemingly been resurrected and gathered by Makima to now serve her. The chapter ends with a target on the Chainsaw Man's head, with the reward being a date with Makima herself.
With the plot back on Makima and her plans for Denji, things appear to be gaining a bit more focus after the past two chaotic chapters. While the return of these fallen characters is unexpected, it’s a welcome plot point. One of Chainsaw Man's best aspects has always been its interesting side characters, who have offered some of the most compelling moments in the series. But given the manga's fast pace and tendency to kill off characters more often than not, many never got their chance to truly shine and develop. Now, a few of them have the chance to be explored further and shine a bit more in the spotlight.
It's also important to note that this constant death defiance is an indicator that anyone from the past can likely come back at a moment's notice, this includes fan favorites Aki and Power. And while Aki seems much less likely given the finality of his death and arc, Power's incredibly quick and unceremonious death may be the set up for a triumphant come back.
As for the protagonist, it's been a few weeks since a chapter has offered some real insight into the state of Denji. At the moment things are ambiguous, with many signs pointing to him not being in full control. The small inflections of his desires are similar to how Pochita would communicate with Denji in the past, presenting the possibility that the antics of the last few chapters were Pochita's doing rather than Denji's.
Regardless of which possibilities pan out over the next few chapters, things are only just getting started with things likely leading to a less than peaceful contest for Denji's head. But, knowing Chainsaw Man, how this will turn out is anything but predictable.