Chainsaw Man keeps getting better and better. I have no idea how Tatskuki Fujimoto can continually top himself. The Gun Devil story arc is turning out to be the most intense story arc to date. Chapter 78 was fantastic. I expect more of the same with Chainsaw Man Chapter 79. Let’s hit this review.
Words: Tatsuki Fujimoto
Art: Tatsuki Fujimoto
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Cast:Denji: Denji is the Chainsaw Man! Denji was near death when his faithful chainsaw devil dog, Pochita, merged with him and made Denji something unique. Not Devil and not human. Denji is a member of Special Division 4 at Public Safety.
Power: Power is a fiend who is a member of Special Division 4 at Public Safety. Power is selfish and childish. But, she has become bonded to Denji.
Makima: Makima is a high ranking devil hunter who runs Special Division 4 of Public Safety. Both Makima’s personality and powers are mysterious. Makima’s powers are immense, but their source is unknown. Makima shrouds her goals from even her co-workers at Public Safety.
Angel Devil: Angel is a devil who is unique in that he is not hostile to humans. Angel works for Special Division 4 of Public Safety. Angel can steal people’s life spans to make weapons.
Aki Hayakawa: Aki is a devil hunter who works under the direction of Makima at Special Division 4. Aki has a contract with the Curse Devil and the Future Devil. Aki is in charge of both Denji and Power.
Synopsis: We begin with Anki asking if Denji is giving up. We see Denji lying on the snow. We hop back to reality and see Chainsaw Man battling the Gun Fiend. Chainsaw Man yells for the Gun Fiend to turn back into Aki. We shift to Aki getting hit by a snowball. Aki looks at his hand and says that his hands are getting cold.
We cut back to reality and see the Gun Fiend firing his large gun on his face. The blast takes down a bunch of buildings in the town. We see buildings falling and among the rubble is Chainsaw Man, and he has lost both of his legs. Several bystanders emerge from the rubble and surround Chainsaw Man.
One of the bystanders pulls out a knife and walks over to Chainsaw Man and raises the knife in the air. The bystander then stabs her hand. The other bystanders stab their hands. The bystanders pour their blood into Chainsaw Man’s mouth.
The bystanders ask Chainsaw Man to save them. They say that they saw him on TV. They say that they do not want to die. Another bystander holds the body of a wounded friend and looks at Chainsaw Man and says, “Help.”
We see Chainsaw Man’s legs grow back due to the infusion of blood. The Gun Fiend walks through the wreckage and Chainsaw Man stands back up. We shift to Aki getting hit by a ton of snowballs. Aki starts laughing and tells Denji that he has fired off some great shots. Aki then goes to throw a snowball and stops. We see that Denji is crying. Aki asks why Denji is crying. Aki says that he has never seen Denji cry before.
Aki then drops onto the snow and says that he gives up. Aki says that he dislikes snowball fights anyway since they make his hands cold. Aki then looks around and sees that Denji has disappeared. We see Aki’s younger brother running out of their house with baseball gloves and a baseball in his hands. Aki says that he wanted to play catch.
We zip back to reality and see that Chainsaw Man has totally gutted the Gun Fiend. Chainsaw Man then turns back to normal. Denji kneels in front of the Gun Fiend’s corpse. Suddenly, the Future Devil appears on the scene. The Future Devil laughs and says that Aki died in the worst possible way for the chainsaw boy.
We shift back to Aki playing a game of catch with his younger brother. End of chapter.
The Good: Wow. Let this chapter soak in for a minute. Chainsaw Man Chapter 79 is brilliant. I always begin my reviews of a comic book by talking about the writing first. There are several reasons for this. First, I have my degree in creative writing, and I am far more comfortable critiquing writing than I am art. Second, I find that artwork is more subjective than writing. Third, while both good writing and artwork are important for a comic book, I do feel that a comic can survive less than average artwork better than it can survive less than average writing.
However, I am throwing out my normal format of reviewing a comic with Chainsaw Man Chapter 79. Tatsuki Fujimoto’s artwork is phenomenal and completely carries the story in Chapter 79. Fujimoto has delivered plenty of chapters in the past loaded up with dialogue. However, Fujimoto has obviously taken a different approach with the Gun Devil story arc. Fujimoto has pared back his dialogue to only what is essential while allowing his artwork to assume the main role of carrying the story. I loved the dialogue-heavy chapters that we have gotten in the past in Chainsaw Man. However, I prefer this different approach that Fujimoto is taking with the Gun Devil story arc.
Fujimoto’s artwork is powerful. What is amazing is how Fujimoto can convey such emotion via his artwork. It is incredible that Fujimoto’s artwork can deliver such strong storytelling. Fujimoto’s artwork carries the story in a far more effective manner than any amount of dialogue could have. In fact, Fujimoto’s artwork delivers more elegant storytelling than a dialogue-heavy approach could have delivered.
Fujimoto’s art is beautiful in its chaos and violence. The reader feels completely immersed in this violent setting. The artwork possesses so much emotion and power packed into every panel. The art pulls the reader deep into the story and completely envelops the reader. The art makes every panel seem important and gripping.
Of course, just because Fujimoto relies on his art to tell the story does not mean that his writing is not well crafted. The first six pages have just five lines of dialogue. The final six pages have only three lines of dialogue. Most of the dialogue is placed in the middle of Chapter 79. There may be a minimum of dialogue, but what dialogue we get is impeccably crafted. Fujimoto takes a cue from Earnest Hemingway and realizes that less is more. Some comic book writers fall in love with their dialogue and write like they get paid by the word. Fujimoto avoids this pitfall by realizing that finely crafted dialogue that is short and to the point is far more effective and eloquent than a tsunami of talky dialogue.
The character work is also well done. The reader gets a good sense of the turmoil inside Aki as he is searching for his happy space. We also get a good feel for Denji’s panic and frustration as he desperately tries to save the innocent bystanders from Aki’s rampage. This is quite the departure for how Fujimoto has normally portrayed Denji. Until now, Denji has always remained good-natured while rarely taking anything that seriously.
The Denji that we get in Chainsaw Man Chapter 79 stands in stark contrast to how he has behaved in the past. Fujimoto gives the reader a Denji who is far more serious and invested in what is going on around him. This represents some serious character growth for Denji. Up to this point, Denji has viewed being a Devil Hunter as simply something that puts food on his table, gets him a nice apartment, and affords him the chance to get a girlfriend and have sex. Now, we are seeing Denji realize the huge responsibility he has as a Devil Hunter. Denji has the weight of innocent bystanders placed squarely on his shoulders. And Denji rises to the occasion showing the heart of a true hero.
I also loved how the bystanders react to Denji. First, this scene with the bystanders reviving Denji is intelligently constructed. Fujimoto gets the reader expecting to see the bystanders attack Denji. After all, Denji is a human/devil hybrid. The scene takes a sudden turn as the bystanders cut themselves to revive Denji. This is a fantastic turn that also marks the first time when Denji is treated as a hero. This is a momentous occasion for Denji’s character. I love how Fujimoto can use this massive action scene to pull off such strong character work on Denji.
Fujimoto also does a fine job with Aki’s character. I continue to love Fujimoto’s approach of contrasting innocent childhood moments inside of Aki’s mind with the gory and violent real-world fight scene. Aki’s reaction to Denji crying and then immediately giving up to not cause his friend any more pain was spot on. This nicely dovetailed with Chainsaw Man killing the Gun Devil in the real world.
I also liked Aki’s realization that he never wanted to have a snowball fight and that all he wanted to do was play a game of catch with his little brother. This is such a powerful moment. Keep in mind that the Gun Devil killed Aki’s family when Aki was a teenager. Aki joined the Devil Hunters with the goal of defeating the Gun Devil. Aki was always fine with dying young. The reason is that after losing his family, Aki had lost his enjoyment for life.
Therefore, it is a heart-wrenching moment when Aki realizes that he never wanted to do a snowball fight. The snowball fight is just Aki’s substitute for his constant fighting against devils. Instead, Aki realizes that all he wants to do is simply play catch with his younger brother. This moment is a gut punch to the reader. Playing catch with his little brother is Aki giving up on life and embracing what he has always wanted: to be with his family. Despite Aki being under the spell of the Gun Devil and operating as the Gun Fiend, Aki’s subconscious is strong enough to know that a snowball fight is not what he wants. Aki’s subconscious is strong enough to get the Gun Fiend to open himself up to a fatal attack from Chainsaw Man. Aki then playing catch with his little brother is Aki letting go of life and joining his family in death. It is a perfectly constructed death scene and ends Aki’s character arc in a satisfying and logical manner.
Fujimoto weaving the Future Devil back into the story is a nice touch. Aki had signed a contract with the Future Devil in exchange for the use of the Future Devil’s eye to see a few seconds into the future. At the time that Aki made this contract, the Future Devil commented on how Aki was fated to die a horrible death. Fujimoto finally delivers that moment here in Chainsaw Man Chapter 79.
The Future Devil’s words hang heavy in the reader’s mind. Fujimoto has done an incredible job maturing and evolving Denji and Aki’s relationship. What once started out as an antagonistic relationship had evolved into a truly deep friendship. Now, Aki’s death at the hands of Chainsaw Man is going to be a heavy chain that Denji will forever wear around his neck.
The Future Devil hints at how Aki’s death is the worst possible death for Denji. Aki’s death is going to cause Denji irreparable trauma. There is no doubt that Fujimoto is going to use Aki’s death to spur even more character growth for Denji’s character. This is exactly how a major character’s death should be utilized. First, Aki’s death made sense in terms of Aki’s character arc. Second, Aki’s death will have a profound impact on the protagonist and cause serious character growth for the protagonist.
Of course, Chainsaw Man Chapter 79 provides more than just a complex and emotional read. Fujimoto also loads up some intense action in this chapter. The action is visceral and bloody. I appreciate when a story that is complex and contemplative can also deliver on pulse-pounding action, too.
The Bad: I have no complaints about this chapter.
Overall: Chainsaw Man Chapter 79 is another exceptional read. Tatsuki Fujimoto is operating at such a high level right now. I have always enjoyed Chainsaw Man, but this current Gun Devil story arc may be Fujimoto’s best work. At any rate, I would highly recommend giving Chainsaw Man a try. This manga offers such a complex read that offers the perfect balance of action and character work.
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