Skip to main content

At this point, I have to confront the possibility that Chainsaw Man just isn’t working for me.   We’re not at that point yet – but it’s on the table.  I’m not really feeling any of the characters, certainly not liking any of them much – Aki is okay, and Himeno, but she’s actually dead.  That isn’t a necessity of course, but it does give you a margin for error when the other things aren’t clicking.  There’s spectacle to be sure, but with a kind of “look at me!” smugness in the writing I find a little grating.  In order for spectacle to have much impact it has to either develop organically or be emotionally involving (preferably both).  Without it, all you’re left with is the spectacle.

That’s kind of where I am with this episode.  It gives off an air of Fujimoto doing shit because he can, not for any deeper reason.  Shock for shock’s sake, as it were – but again, without much actual shock when it’s people you don’t much care about and frankly not all that surprising.  I think one could pretty easily have speculated on who was actually dead and who wasn’t after last week and gotten a perfect 100% (as I did).  And it doesn’t help that when push comes to shove the action scenes aren’t really all that special in production terms.  They’re kind of clinical – like they’re trying to be flash and cool but can’t hide that they’re trying.  I know that MAPPA can do passionate and heartfelt visuals – but I’ve seen it in quirky series like Dance Dance Danseur, and not their big action tentpoles.

To that point, obviously Denji and Makima aren’t dead.  We know the reason with Denji – he’s a hybrid – so it seems pretty safe to assume Makima is one too, or something similar.  The woman coordinating the attacks has a name, Sawatari.  And walkie talkies, so she’s working for an organization that wants to take the devil hunters down –  though it’s implied she’s working for the Gun Devil directly.  The yakuza grandson (Hamano Daiki) clearly is some sort of hybrid too, except with a katana unlike Denji’s chainsaw, as he’s also un-killable by conventional means.

That’s a sort of interesting matter, given what happens later in the episode.  Makima wipes out the assassins on the Shinkansen, but that’s so rote it doesn’t even need to be onscreen.  When she gets to Kyoto she has her two flunkies get her clean clothes and reserve a shrine (the subs have kind of a rookie mistake here, calling it a “temple” – that’s Japan 101) and a bunch of prison lifers.  She then performs some kind of ritual where she uses their lives to take out Sawatari’s men one by one, though not Sawatari or the Katana dude themselves.  Presumably whoever her devil contract is with is the one who makes this possible.

OK, first of all, I do wonder why she killed all the zaku and not the two main villains – is that plot convenience, or maybe because this only works on unaltered humans?  I’m also curious how she knew their names – which perhaps supports the suspicion that she either planned this whole incident or at least knew about it.  And are we supposed to think it’s OK that she killed all those men just because they were convicted criminals?  Because it’s not, you know?  It would certainly be pretty cold of Makima to orchestrate this whole thing just to take out her professional rivals and gain control of the whole operation, but I wouldn’t put it past her.  Of course that wouldn’t make Makima cool or mysterious – it’d just make her thoroughly evil.

As for Kobeni, she survived too – thanks to Arai taking a bullet for her.  So yeah, she’s actually really good at fighting for what that’s worth.  I have a certain amount of empathy for Kobeni ending up in a job she’s so totally miserable doing, but that doesn’t make it any more pleasant to listen to her whinging on about it constantly.  As desperate as I am for an anchor to tie up to with this story, I don’t think Kobeni is going to be it.  The question is though, who is?  I’m hoping to find an answer sooner rather than later (this cour, anyway).

Samu’s Impressions:

Enter Makima. Enter Kobeni.

I wouldn’t say this episode was as gorgeously put together and animated as the last but it is still firmly in things are getting very serious very fast territory, and was probably the most rewarding to revisit as a manga reader. Himeno’s (or the Ghost Devil’s) final act in death was to pull Denji’s cord and turn him into full blown chainsaw man, making it the second time, after the premiere, that we’ve seen his effective death been wiped when his powers rev him back to life. The fight that ensues isn’t as showy as we’ve seen until now but he deals some pushback to this new opponent before being bisected and left legless for the rest of the episode. While this entourage of gun-wielding foes are preparing to take Denji’s heart, Aki and Power are either out of commission or MIA this entire episode, leaving room for some other characters to take the spotlight instead.

The first of which is Makima, who despite what last episode presented is unhurt and unfazed by all of this (did anyone actually believe she would be dead at this point, when she is still such a mystery in terms of her character and her powers?). The stoic leader of the devil hunter misfits murders the gun-wielding attackers and arrives in Kyoto with intention of retaliating as much as she can from across the country. This comes in the form of her making people utter the name of those she wishes to brutally twist and explode out of existence, shown by her using blindfolded criminals as sacrifices. Her actual powers used here however remain as much of a mystery as the question asked of her by the latest to offer his resignation: just how much did she know that any of this was going to happen?

Along with Himeno, Arai is another pretty certain casualty to come from this recent turn of events, and to make up for his earlier cowardice, in his last moment he blocks the shot aimed for Kobeni. In the spirit of redemptions, this was just as much Kobeni’s episode as it was Makima’s, putting the useless allegations to bed (I’ve checked Enzo, you’re not alone amongst some anime-only viewers not liking her introduction). After all, she wouldn’t have been part of this special division of powerhouses if she wasn’t capable of packing a punch herself; it just so happens she’s much more of a normal girl than the rest of her colleagues.

Without revealing her own contracted devil she manages to deal some serious damage with a gun and a knife – enough to send the villains driving off while she cradles Denji’s body, officially apologising for her attempted murder the other day while also realising her own hypocrisy and ridiculousness of even saying such words. It’s a heavy job this devil hunting business, with no Himeno alive anymore for Kobeni to even offer her resignation.


Source link

Leave a Reply