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Welcome to this week’s edition of Chainsaw Man tuesdays and let me begin by saying this. Yes, that did actually happen and we are only getting started. Looking around you likely see a lot of comments stating that this is where Chainsaw Man truly begins though maybe a few over enthusiastic individuals have been saying that for each episode. Personally I would consider this the major turning point as I actively made clear in my other posts. I wouldn’t be surprised if up until this point people thought that Chainsaw Man wasn’t all that different from other Shounen. I actually watched a video on youtube from a fairly well known personality who claimed that the premise and plot structure of Chainsaw Man was identical to Jujutsu Kaisen. And then I thought “There’s a statement that will age like milk.” Not blaming them though as many were making that claim and even the mangaka himself once jokingly claimed Chainsaw Man was a ripoff of Jujutsu and Dorohedoro. Still things are going to change and this is where this show becomes something quite unlike any other. For this author is insane and nothing is off the table.

Let me start by saying that yes, Himeno is dead. Be happy haters for she’s paid dearly for her transgressions and I can assure you that there ain’t no Dragonballs or mega healers who can bring her back. To current manga chapters Himeno has never made a return so Fujimoto literally did give that degree of character development to a character he planned to wipe out in just a few chapters. This is also why I made so many comments about how much I liked the anime fleshing out and helping to grow a connection to the characters. For it makes things like this all the more crushing. Still I feel the gut punch could have been better, truth be told I had a version of how this scene would go in my head and was a little disappointed when the anime took a more experimental approach. Of course it’s unreasonable to expect an anime to match the contents of your imagination but I do feel this could have been done better. For one I don’t think we really needed a full four minutes recounting Himeno taking Denji back to her apartment. On one hand it’s interesting to see things from her perspective when it changes the rather uncomfortable vibes the previous episode gave the scene. Likely the drunk vision of Himeno making it seem more playful and cute as opposed to questionable and disturbing. Good on Denji for refusing to do it, even if his reasons are skewed. Again Makima guides Denji to learn the right lessons through questionable means. It at least shows just how sloshed she was but the after morning hangover and her admitting she did something messed up could have been portrayed a bit more sincere. Another mess up in tone is that I find the ending song to be rather inappropriate for what the episode leaves off on. Jumping from a downer of an ending to a song full of vigor just highlights the rather disoriented tone of the entire final sequence. As a last note I wonder if Himeno’s ghost hand is in some way a reference to the parasyte hand from Vampire Hunter D.

I feel I might be quite negative on the final fight sequence so let me start with something I really liked. The assassination sequence with the guns. Especially on the train with Makima with those around her dropping down, the unzipping of the bags and the reveal of the gun to the back of the head followed by the punch of the gunshot. It’s like a jolt to the brain and to anyone not expecting it I can only imagine the reaction it got. I feel like maybe a bit of Godfather influence with how the series of assassinations happened though there is like a number of scenes like that in gangster movies. But most of all I love that in a world full of monsters this may be the worst threat the devil hunters faced. A bunch of random people pulling out guns. Many series or films featuring magic powers and the like often downplay the capability of guns, often making them ineffectual in order to highlight battles between superpowers. But really nothing quite beats the destructive immediacy of a piece of metal with a kill trigger. So it’s appropriate that in this world people don’t use guns not because they are useless but rather due to them both creating and empowering their worst enemy. The realistic direction is what made this scene really work as to make the shootings feel so authentic made them all the more shocking. Getting caught in an endless hotel is a nightmare situation but to be faced with a horrific potential reality is a far scarier concept. For without doubt there have been people who have died like that in reality.

So we have another human hybrid on our hands with Katana Man, otherwise known as Samurai Sword in Japan…sorry Japan I believe English wins the naming sense on this one. For one he has nothing Samurai about his design and Katana Man just matches well with Chainsaw Man as a rival. Personality wise there is quite a bit I could say about this guy though I will leave that for another time but his design is certainly one of the most striking. As for the fight itself I would have to admit to being disappointed. I felt it was a case of too many cuts and closeups causing confusion as we jumped about like a schizophrenic rabbit. It might just be a disconnect I have with this particular style as it reminds me somewhat of Akiyuki Shinbo’s method. I just feel the cuts take away from the scene like shaky cam in an action movie. Sometimes it’s better to let a shot linger. As an example in the manga it stuck to Katana mans perpective when he shot the team and it really highlighted just how fast Power dropped out of sight and appeared right in front of him. There is also the unfavorable comparison with Glens_Sou’s Chainsaw Man Animation for the fight itself which I feel portrayed the scene a lot better. I do at least think the scene with Himeno dying was handled well despite the CGI being a bit more obvious. I think this time I can say for certain it was CGI as both the ghost and snake devils were pretty out of place. Maybe that was the intended effect with how suddenly the snake devil disappeared like being clipped roughly out of frame. But I don’t quite think it worked as well as intended. There was also the cgi blood spurt when Katana cut out of the Fox devil which was a pretty flimsy effect by this show’s usual standards. But Himeno’s last speech and death are things that worked quite well regardless. Another scene I felt had a degree of awkward direction was Himeno and Denji’s talk over breakfast. The tone and shots do kinda give a different impression with it making it like Himeno is pretending to not know what she did last night. I guess it needlessly made her seem more suspicious than what was really needed. Also damn it, crunchyroll translator you ruined a joke, the whole “What if Makima is a shitty person” “I like shit” exchange. I mean it’s not even an interpretation here and you can literally hear Denji say “Kuso Suki” in Japanese. That is not “Yes” in Japanese. Come on man, try at least.

The dub is at the eternity devil by this point and yeah, still digging it. The voice of the devil itself was a bit mixed as they did try to have it be a constantly changing tone with varied quality. At times it was alright but others it didn’t quite get the impression intended. Though I would say the laugh as Denji jumps into it was far more unnerving than its Japanese alternative. Himeno’s voice worked great here, with the small touches to the dialogue both giving more charm without it being out of character. Kobeni as well I need to give credit. She’s got a role that would be very easy to get wrong but the opening rant and the bloodcurdling scream sells her completely. Powers’ voice actor is also killing it and I get more used to Aki the more I hear him. I do kinda wish he lightened the tone for the flashback though, just to lend credence to the argument that smoking deepened his voice. I do admit that sometimes the dialogue can get a bit too quippy. In some cases it’s endearing (“Don’t you understand the gravity of our situation?” “What’s gravity got to do with this?”) and at other times a bit silly for its own good.(“You’re Arai the spy!” “Ooh there’s pie?”) But it still works and that’s all that really matters. Unlike other dubs like the Spanish dub….yes this is real…she actually made Power sound like that. I…I don’t know why. Anyway we have four more episodes of Chainsaw Man left and part of me holds a small hope of a second cour being announced by series end. Have no fear this show is going out with a bang this cour but really this is just a taste of what’s to come.

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