Chainsaw Man has been a surprise success story for Shonen Jump, and along with Jujutsu Kaisen, it's started a wave of horror and gore previously unseen in the publisher's usually more action-oriented fare. Created by Tatsuki Fujimoto, the series' relative newness belies its massive popularity. This popularity has given rise to an upcoming anime adaptation and a highly anticipated Part 2 for the manga.
Starring a wayward, downtrodden teenager with the power to weaponize his limbs into the titular power tool, Chainsaw Man offers an off-kilter story, hordes of killer Devils and a dog that's actually a chainsaw. Before Part 2 starts and the anime hits, here's what readers should know about the series and where they can legally read it.
The Story of Chainsaw Man
The world of Chainsaw Man is one ravaged by Devils, otherworldly monsters who feed on human fear. Despite their antagonistic nature, humans can actually form alliances with these Devils and gain powers of their own. The protagonist, a downtrodden young man named Denji, works to clear his father's massive debt to the yakuza. Aiding him on this journey is Pochita, a Devil in disguise as a dog, who has a chainsaw for a nose.
The plan to pay off the debt is actually a set-up by the yakuza, and Denji is killed by a Devil he was meant to take out. Due to a previous deal, however, Pchita merges with Denji, reviving him and giving him his chainsaw ability. Resurrected but now part Devil, Denji is forced to join a government bureau of Devil Hunters, where he must hunt down and kill other Devils, if only so the same doesn't happen to him. The series goes all-in on blood, guts and existential horror, which has helped it stand out in Jump and propel it to its current popularity. This darkness is tempered with an over-the-top goofiness and disregard for convention that makes it more than just a mere slasher series.
The Characters of Chainsaw Man
As mentioned, the hero of Chainsaw Man is a teenager named Denji, who has the ability to transform his limbs into chainsaws after becoming part Devil. His heart has been replaced with his Devil dog Pochita, who gave him these powers when he revived him. Together, they join the Public Safety Devil Hunters at the behest of Makima, a mysterious woman who Denji has a a massive crush on. Her goals and ambitions are kept ambiguous throughout most of the series, though her manipulation of Denji makes her much less than morally upright.
Other characters include Aki and Power, Denji's co-workers and roomates. Aki is a Devil Hunter who himself is bonded with two Devils, one of which gives him the power of clairvoyance. Power is a Fiend, a Devil in a human body, whose most notable features are her enthusiasm and lust for battle. Despite this penchant for violence, she deeply cares for her cat and Denji, making her one of his latter's closest allies. Other factions of private sector Devil Hunters are also present in the series, many with their own aims and ambitions.
Where to Read Chainsaw Man
Chainsaw Man began in Weekly Shonen Jump in December 2018, with Part 1 wrapping up in December 2020. These 97 chapters have since been collected into 11 volumes. VIZ Media handles the series' release outside of Japan and three of the 11 volumes are currently available. These can be purchased through Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, Amazon and any other retailer that typically carries manga. The series can be read digitally through ComiXology, Kindle, Nook and the Shonen Jump app. The Jump app has the full series available for subscribers at $1.99/month (along with the rest of Jump's current series) and new chapters are released same-day-as-Japan.
It was announced that the series' apparent ending was actually the conclusion of the first part, with the second to be published at some point in the near future. This story arc will focus on Denji going to school, which, knowing Chainsaw Man, likely won't be as simple as it sounds. When the manga concluded, it was also revealed that an anime adaptation had entered production, courtesy of famed studio MAPPA. Unfortunately, its release date is also unknown for now, but luckily the manga has plenty of material to hold over anyone curious about Chainsaw Man.