Chainsaw Man Part 2 has been enjoyable as Tatsuki Fujimoto seems to be reinvigorated by his break from this manga. Having said that, Chainsaw Man Part 2 has not come close to the highs that we got during Part 1. I do believe that Fujimoto will eventually get Chainsaw Man Part 2 humming at the same level as Part 1.
Chapter 115 – High Schoolers These Days will continue the current story arc of our high schoolers stuck in the aquarium by the Famine Devil. The only way for them to escape is for Asa to kill Denji and turn him into a weapon. Let’s hit this review and find out what kind of story Fujimoto has in store for us!
Writer & Artist: Tatsuki Fujimoto
We begin with all of our students in the Devil Hunter Club still trapped in the aquarium. Karuka Iseumi admits to Asa that he is not Chainsaw Man. That the ripcord on his chest is just a surgical implant. Karuka then starts to laugh maniacally and screams for Chainsaw Man to come to save them.
We cut to Denji and Hirofumi Yoshida in another part of the aquarium. Yoshida reveals that he has had a cell phone with him this entire time. But, there is not enough of a signal to get a call out. Yoshida admits that even he has made peace with death this time.
We shift to Denji approaching Asa. Asa says that she is hungry. Asa apologizes for getting Denji involved in all of this. Asa admits that she was trying to turn Denji into a weapon. But, even in this hopeless situation she still cannot do it. Asa admits that it is not because she doesn’t have the guts or because it goes against her principles. The real reason is that Asa cannot figure out what is right and what is wrong. That her entire life is one long string of attempts to avoid making mistakes.
Denji brushes off what Asa is muttering about and says since Asa can’t each fish then maybe she should try a starfish. End of chapter.
Chainsaw Man Chapter 115 was an average read. Having said that, we did get a couple of nice character moments in this chapter. The first is the scene with Karuka and Asa. Fujimoto employs his trademark approach of using quiet character-heavy scenes to set the mood and convey the state of mind of the characters. First, Karuka is exposed as a Chainsaw Man fanboy and a total phony. I like that Fujimoto did not waste time in having Asa learn that Karuka was lying about being Chainsaw Man. Karuka continues to be a flawed and unlikeable character which is quite common for most of Fujimoto’s characters.
Second, Fujimoto then shows the reader how Karuka is sliding down a slow descent into madness. Clearly, being stuck in the aquarium has taken the normally boastful and cocky Karuka and reduced him to a delirious captive. Karuak’s maniacal laughter punctuates his fractured state of mind. This scene is the moment in this chapter where Fujimoto nails the vibes of hopelessness and despair that have overwhelmed the students. This scene helps to effectively set the tone and mood for this setting as we move forward.
The second nice bit of character work was the oddly calm Yoshida. Fujimoto has the normally in control and confident Yoshida making peace with his death. This helps to emphasize to the reader how hopeless of a situation our students find themeless in. Up until now, Yoshida has been a character that has always been cool as ice and seemly always has the answer or solution to a situation. Seeing a character like Yoshida resigning himself to death hammers home to the reader that our characters have found themselves in a seemingly hopeless situation.
This should make the eventual heroic save by Chainsaw Man even more impactful on the reader given how Fujimoto has built up this situation as incredibly dire. I love how Fujimoto always knows that the best way to make a hero’s victory far more satisfying is to first paint the scenario as hopeless or impossible.
The third bit of character work that we get is with Asa during her scene with Denji. Asa has always been an unlikeable character. However, Fujimoto uses this scene to expose one of the main reasons why Asa is an unlikeable bore. Asa lacks any morals or principles. She has no internal compass that drives her decisions and actions. Asa has no defining characteristics. Asa is simply a weak-willed girl who is only looking to avoid mistakes.
Even villains usually have some sort of set of principles or moral codes that can make the villain either cool or sympathetic in the eyes of the reader. Darth Vader is a fine example of this. Sure, Darth Vader is an obvious villain. But, the reader still respects and likes Darth Vader’s character. A big reason for that is that Darth Vader has a moral code that governs all of his decisions and actions. It is a moral code that Vader is also willing to die for. Characters that have a strong set of beliefs that guide their actions will usually engender respect and sometimes even support from the reader.
However, Fujimoto gives Asa none of this. This is a wise move by Fujimoto because it makes Asa a villain that the reader easily dislikes. If Asa does pull a full heel turn and tries to kill Chainsaw Man then the reader will have no reason to root for Asa. Instead, the reader will be eager to see Chainsaw Man crush Asa in battle. This is a smart approach to take in building up a villain that is easy to dislike and that the reader will be excited to see get defeated.
Denji? Well, Denji remains…Denji. Our hero seems impervious to nearly every stressful and hopeless situation that Fujimoto throws at him. We do learn something interesting about Denji in Chapter 115. Fujimoto reveals that at this moment there is nothing Denji can do to save the students. That Denji was able to kill the devil last time because it attacked them. However, this time, since the students are just being held captive in stasis and the Famine Devil is nowhere to be found that there is nothing that Denji can do.
This is a neat twist that helps to make the current situation feel even more hopeless. This also re-affirms Chainsaw Man as a blunt weapon of mass destruction rather than a highly refined weapon that can tackle unusual and complex situations. I like that Fujimoto has placed Denji in a situation where he cannot simply smash his way out of trouble. Chainsaw Man is so physically powerful that it is smart for Fujimoto to continue to place our hero in situations where he cannot easily save the day.
Fujimoto’s artwork in Chapter 115 is okay for a chapter with no action. For me, Fujimoto’s artwork does not really shine outside of the action scenes.
Chainsaw Man Chapter 115 is the kind of chapter that you consume quickly and do not have a negative or positive feeling about it. Nothing of real substance happens in this chapter. There is no real plot progression at all in this chapter. None of the character arcs are forwarded, either. The character moments in this chapter are nice, but they are nothing terribly important.
It is hard to read Chainsaw man Chapter 115 and not feel like Fujimoto is stalling for time. Most of Chapter 115 feels like a rehash of Chapter 114. This also makes Chapter 115 feel a bit like filler as Fujimoto regains his strength for more intense and exciting chapters ahead.
One aspect of this story that has hurt Chapter 114 and Chapter 115 is that the cast of characters in the aquarium completely lacks chemistry with each other. Outside of Denji, these characters still have personalities that are a bit undeveloped or dull. The result is that watching these characters sit around and do nothing gets boring quickly. If Fujimoto were able to generate more interesting personalities and more fascinating chemistry between the characters then Chapter 115 would have been a much more compelling read.
The lack of compelling characters and excellent chemistry is something that continues to be one of the main problems with Chainsaw Man Part 2. Fujimoto was able to put together so many interesting characters that all had wonderful chemistry between them in Chainsaw man Part 1. The trio of Aki, Power, and Denji was phenomenal. That is not even getting to the many supporting cast members who were all interesting and had good chemistry.
To this point, Chainsaw Man Part 2 has not been able to come up with a cast of characters as compelling as what we had in Chainsaw Man Part 1. Fujimoto has also been unable to generate any chemistry at all between the cast of characters in Chainsaw Man Part 2. This continuing problem is something that needs to be addressed quickly if Part 2 is ever going to be able to hit the same highs as Part 1 did.
It also does not help that Chapter 114 and Chapter 115 largely feel like a far inferior rehash of the superior Eternity Devil Arc from Chapters 13-21. Now, I am not saying that this current arc will not end up being far better. It is just that at this point, this current story arc in the aquarium feels like an uninspired redux of the Eternity Devil Arc. Chapter 115 lacks the same amount of psychological terror and heart-gripping tension that we got during the Eternity Devil Arc.
Chainsaw Man Chapter 115 also has zero action. This is going to disappoint some readers. That means we have gotten no action at all since the beginning of Chapter 110. We all know that Fujimoto likes to employ the slow burn approach at times and back off the action for a while in order to build up tension and excitement in the reader. But, at this point, it would be wise to introduce some action back into the story.
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5.5 Night Girls out of 10
Chainsaw Man Chapter 115 was a rare miss for me. This chapter felt like obvious filler. This is a chapter that the reader could skip and not miss anything of substance. Having said that, I am confident that Fujimoto will get back on track with the next chapter.