Amidst astronomical and possibly unfair expectations week in and week out, the anime adaptation of Chainsaw Man has largely been a delight to take a look at, from its macabre opening to its ball-busting finale. The collection’ motion scenes impress, and underneath Ryu Nakamura’s course the present has taken a strikingly glitzy, in addition to realist visible method for many of its first season, stuffed with starkly chilly lighting and affected person consideration to quiet scenes of detailed character appearing — which initially got here as one thing of a shock contemplating the comedian’s fame for fast-paced, rough-edged mayhem.
Because it dutifully follows together with the supply materials’s propulsive story the artists have been padding episodes with moments of subdued naturalism whereas its fast-paced motion set items intention extra for visceral bloodshed and uncanny horror. Such sequences increase on Fujimoto’s elliptical web page layouts, like the place Aki first summons the Fox satan: the present approaches issues extra cinematically, for lack of a greater phrase, the digital camera enacting a dolly zoom on Aki’s hand signal, lengthening it from the brief second of shock from flipping via to the subsequent web page and the mirroring picture all of the sudden showing.
However (with the notable exception of its symbolic, cinephilic opening directed by Shingo Yamashita) nothing captures the grungy and erratic power of Chainsaw Man greater than the ending sequences, which the anime delightfully varies each time. Each new episode brings with it a brand new animated finish credit sequence from a brand new director, every taking over their very own interpretation and individualistic method. Chainsaw Man’s non secular sibling and fellow MAPPA manufacturing, the equally macabre and goofy adaptation of Dorohedoro, had a couple of further ending sequences of assorted kinds up its sleeve, however not fairly to this extent. And the size of the venture has prolonged not simply to the sheer variety of completely different endings in a single season (12!) but in addition the favored artists pulled into the present’s orbit — resembling Eve, Vaundy and Queen Bee (whose lead vocalist Avu-chan performed the eponymous lead of Inu-Oh).
Opening and ending sequences are usually an opportunity to inject some further creativeness right into a present, inside this house many reveals play with new palettes and even alternate universe takes on their characters. However what’s atypical right here is just the sheer quantity that we’re getting in a single season, to not point out the massive bands coming with them, a advantage of how luxuriant this explicit adaptation is. Every week brings with it a placing new take as the administrators strongly inflect their model on the fabric, adjustments which in themselves really feel in dialog with the sudden tonal shifts and formal experiments that Fujimoto’s work rapidly grew to become famend for.
After getting used to how the remainder of the present is offered there’s an exhilarating novelty in seeing Chainsaw Man interpreted in a brand new manner each week alongside the slightly strict consistency of the primary episodes. After the straightforward recap of the primary, every subsequent director will get to craft one thing extremely memorable, every contributing to the sense that every episode launch is a sort of occasion unto itself, all a part of the technique of “Chainsaw Man Tuesdays,” the place new problems with Half 2 of the manga have been touchdown at roughly the identical time because the episodes (all whereas exhibiting some symmetry of their narrative trajectory, however that’s one other matter). Even with that apparent sense of it enjoying into the advertising and marketing, it’s an thrilling venture — if there’s anyone subject it’s that the present’s generally ropey subtitling extends into these moments, leaving out any and all thematically related lyrics.
An early standout comes from director Yuki Kamiya with the third ED, scored to a manic tune “Hawatari Nikon Centi” by Most the Hormone (which by this level has turn into one thing of an insert tune and motif for Denji when he busts out the chainsaws), an aggressive, expressive sensory barrage of screaming and grinding sound and luminescent tones. It’s additionally simply fashionable as all hell, a psychedelic explosion of scratchy breakbeat drum sounds and overlapping pictures because it clashes what appears to be Denji’s subjective perspective with the world as is, echoes of Fujimoto’s scratchy draftsmanship viewable in its wild character drawings. Together with that drawing model and breathless pacing, the colour course is perhaps essentially the most out of the entire endings that harkens again to the covers of the comedian, an expressive emulsion of contrasting acidic tones.
The screaming stops, the singer takes on a better however softer be aware and Makima descends from the heavens, the sledgehammer delicate illustration of Denji’s deification of his obvious savior solely turning into increasingly more loaded with ominous which means because the present goes on. Kamiya returned later within the season for the eighth ending, which takes on a much more emo, somber tone because it additional unpacks the tragic relationship between Aki and Himeno, with equally aggressive various metallic, by TK from Ling tosite sigure, scoring surroundings bathed in deep hues of orange and blue, with a short invasion of the extra neon tints of his ending for episode 3. What makes this really feel like a particular venture is how these vividly coloured, closely stylised endings sit in shut proximity with one thing just like the extra dour, dingy tenth ending. Director and multimedia artist Yuma Hirai applies their apply to the present’s symbolism and thematic positioning of Denji, utilizing live-action images together with expressive however scratchy draftsmanship that recollects Fujimoto’s comics — all coloured in an oppressive brown palette. It’s a reasonably blunt evocation of Denji’s social positioning inside Division 4, the likening of him to a canine no completely different to something that Makima says however rendered extra brutally than ever, in a completely completely different method to Chainsaw Man (the present)’s visible realism.
The fourth episode introduced one thing much more lighthearted with an cute tribute to Denji and Aki’s roommate and bloodthirsty fiend Energy, the animation bathed in a shiny shade of purple because the fiend is portrayed dancing in a collection of various outfits, varied cutaways playfully exhibiting the endearing and abrasive components of her character (a speedy hearth minimize of her hurling greens for starters). Storyboarded, directed and solo key animated by coalowl, it paints everybody’s favourite fiend with the artist’s indie aptitude, utilizing a easy, risograph-like palette of largely purple and yellow block colours, crossed with lifelike dance choreography and splashy typography — frequent parts of the artist’s previous music video work.
These scenes are greater than only a enjoyable kiss-off for the episode. Episode 4’s sequence recasts Energy because the star of the present, in a playful merging of each the viewers’s esteem for her, and her personal huge vanity as a future Nobel prize winner. The observe itself, “Pill” by TOOBOE, with its bouncy beat and quirky synths, is successfully a love tune in the identical sense, the lyrics coming throughout in context as a loving ode to Energy’s wild impulsiveness. Whereas the third ending directed by Kamiya captured the story to this point in delirious microcosm, the fourth expands on the character of a personality that the anime viewers hadn’t had a lot time with but, in comparison with individuals importing their love for her from the manga. It’s a alternative that speaks to the grander perform of Chainsaw Man’s endings as extensions of the storytelling and characterization, one thing that solely will get stronger from there. For episode 9 Masanobu Hiraoka directs, storyboards and solo key animates a hallucinatory, consistently morphing visualization of Makima’s dangerous vibes, as already violently illustrated within the story that preceded.
Every densely packed body in ED5 (directed by Hiromatsu Shuu) is enjoyable to choose aside because the depiction of the varied trapped satan hunters as 4 completely different horses act each as representations of the characters and their personalities and hints on the broader tapestry of the story (and even a possible reference to Muybridge’s Horse In Movement, persevering with its post-Nope time within the highlight). It explodes the episode’s conceit of an infinite lodge outwards right into a kaleidoscopic conflict of differing artwork actions (encompassing every part from anamorphic artwork to Michelangelo’s The Pieta, changing Jesus and Mary with Denji and Makima), sinister motifs and varied looping, Escherian constructions of inconceivable stairs. Syudou’s equally hypnotic observe “In The Backroom” propels the journey via its multifaceted symbolism. It’s pleasant to absorb, from the speed-ramped animation of Kobeni anxiously creeping via the lodge and repeatedly wanting over her shoulder, to the vivid, flowing and psychedelic imagery of Himeno calmly smoking the time away.
These endings have been so thrilling that they threaten upsetting concepts about what might have been, asking “why wasn’t all of it accomplished on this manner?” Whereas I share some empathy for that thought, this isn’t to say that there isn’t emotional worth within the method that the present has taken to date, which I actually have drastically loved for its interpretation of the collection.
Even because the episodes themselves prioritize constancy over stylization and new innovations, there’s nonetheless pleasures distinctive to them (Kensuke Ushio’s pleasant, idiosyncratic rating for starters) in the identical manner the comedian has its distinctive enchantment for instance, how Fujimoto constructions scenes with each formal factor in thoughts with speech bubbles slyly appearing as censor bars for decapitations or act as a visible signifier of the emotional distance between two characters, or how sure devils’ ominous powers break the boundary of the panel. There are moments the place the present would perhaps profit from snappier timing in its course however for essentially the most half its thrives are fairly dazzling in their very own manner.
Though it’s a shonen present a couple of sexy immortal teenager whose head turns into an influence device, lots of my favourite components have come from its quiet and downtempo moments of verisimilitude — Aki making some espresso and doing laundry, Himeno stumbling round her residence drunk, Makima neatening her uniform – these accumulate right into a extra full image of those individuals and their mannerisms, the little rituals they do to exert management over their lives in a world the place issues usually go extremely improper extremely quick. Not solely that, however such segments of slice-of-life humanizes them additional, merely present in the identical house for a extra protracted time makes their future absences hit all of the tougher. The final ending, scored to “Battle Track” by Eve, lastly connects the dots between these two modes of Chainsaw Man, giving the surrogate household of Denji, Aki, and Energy some regular stuff to do, purchasing and making dinner collectively. Storyboarded by Nakamura, it is smart that such an ending sequence would function a coda to the season, that focus tying all of it collectively.
It’s all enjoyable, and perhaps the distinction simply implies that this fashion we at all times get two Chainsaw Mans in a single, the present successfully having its cake and consuming it too by utilizing the ending sequences as a possibility to plug into the comedian’s different tone whereas sustaining its personal moody method. The present is nice for various causes than the manga is, which I really feel is the way in which that diversifications needs to be, even when there is perhaps a pang of disappointment that it doesn’t attain for related formal experimentation. Which is the place the ending sequences are available — little tales unto themselves that act like a sort of bridge between what’s and what might have been, between the story throughout mediums, a little bit of creatively distilled Chainsaw Man vibes week in, week out, no matter how every episode goes.