The Chainsaw Man manga gained huge popularity before the anime was even announced, redefining the shonen genre and occasionally breaking fans' hearts. But which arcs best established it? Below are the best Chainsaw Man arcs, ranked from least good to best.
Please note that as it's still early for Chainsaw Man Part 2, we'll be focusing on the Public Safety Arc which is the first 97 chapters of the manga, but we will update with arcs from Part 2 in the near future.
Moreover, note that no Chainsaw Man arc is "bad." This list involved a few tricky choices here and there but those ranked as "least good" might simply be not as brilliant as our favorites, but it doesn't mean that they're bad.
Related: Just Why is Chainsaw Man So Popular?
Bat Devil Arc
The Bat Devil Arc is by no means bad. After all, it introduces us to Power and Aki; two characters we came to love and root for.
In this arc, Power charges a newly recruited Denji with rescuing her cat from a Bat Devil.
The idea is actually cool, and cat lovers will appreciate it. There's nothing really wrong with this arc, but it simply doesn't demonstrate Chainsaw Man's full potential.
Shonen fans are bound to enjoy it, but as these are early days for the manga, there isn't much to indicate that we can expect more than gore and action.
Power and Denji are both a bit one-note, each absorbed in themselves and their wants, while Aki, whose backstory isn't known yet, doesn't seem all that likable.
In short, this is an arc that could have done a little more to indicate the later awesomeness of the story, but this doesn't mean it isn't enjoyable.
In the Intro Arc of Chainsaw Man, we first meet Denji as an impoverished teenager trying to resolve the debts left by his now-dead father.
Compared to what happens next, this introductory arc doesn't seem brilliant, especially since Denji can be pretty unlikable at first and only grow on you with time.
Still, it's pretty iconic. It's the only arc we see Pochita before the merge with Denji and, given Pochita's popularity -- which is not exactly proportionate to his page time -- this arc isn't unimportant or mediocre.
Once again, it only hints at Chainsaw Man's full potential, which becomes obvious when we meet the whole cast and learn more about them.
Related: What Is Chainsaw Man's Age Rating?
Eternity Devil Arc
By the Eternity Devil Arc (Chapters 14-22), things have started to pick up quite a bit.
Fans have noted that this arc of Chainsaw Man does a good job of combining gory elements with more psychological forms of horror.
Moreover, the relationship between Aki and his hunting partner, Himeno, adds a nice depth, foreshadowing a story that will break us!
In this arc, we see Denji and his new teammates working as a group, and we gain some insights about them, so they start to feel more like fleshed-out characters you want to succeed.
As the Eternity Devil was still in the early days of the manga, this arc might not be the most memorable as you keep reading, but it's still undoubtedly fun.
Bomb Girl Arc
In the Bomb Girl Arc, Denji finally gets his wish to date a cute girl, only for the cute girl in question to reveal that she's a devil, only for it to then be revealed that she's still also a cute girl -- it's a rollercoaster.
This is a pretty self-contained arc that you can enjoy without worrying too much about plot points from earlier or later.
At the same time, this arc goes on to remind us that Chainsaw Man can combine fun, thrilling action, and a saddening storyline.
With that being said, Reze is quite a divisive character. She's initially likable to Denji, but then she causes a lot of harm, only for it to be revealed that she wasn't that bad after all -- or was she?
There's a very interesting idea there but Reze's psyche isn't explored as much as Himeno's for instance, so her characterization ends up being all over the place and fans can't agree about whether or not her redeeming qualities were enough.
International Assassins' Arc
The International Assassins' Arc is quite different from the rest. It introduces a number of new characters who are all terrifying in different ways.
Their common goal? Everyone wants Denji's heart.
For fans of horror anime, this arc will be a treat. There's a Santa Claus-like villain who is quite terrifying, a female devil hunter and her fiend girlfriends, and even a brief visit to hell.
All in all, this is a very creative arc with great world-building.
The storyline strays from the shonen format, being unapologetically weird.
By the end of it, even the characters themselves are a bit traumatized.
The only negative, if there's one, is that the main characters get less time to shine, so seeing more of Aki, Power, and Denji in the next arc can be a bit of a relief.
Katana Man Arc
The Katana Man Arc is considered by many to be one of the manga's most iconic.
There's a lot of action, character development, sad moments, and the first indication that something is seriously wrong with Makima.
Fans of Aki's dynamic with Himeno will probably remember the heartbreak for some time, and those who weren't all that interested in Aki before will likely see him in a new light.
This arc, which spans Chapters 23-39, also shows Kishibe taking it upon himself to train Denji and Power.
Of course, this is a must-have scene in any shonen, but given how Chainsaw Man subverts other possibilities, the extensive pages of training might feel counterproductive to some.
Control Devil Arc
The Control Devil Arc is one of the manga's most shocking ones, where things truly become uncontrollable (bad pun intended).
Makima finally reveals her true self and her sinister motivations and, while there was plenty of foreshadowing that she'd be involved in a major plot twist, people couldn't predict just how serious things were.
This could have been the best arc in the whole manga, but it comes second because it almost gets so bleak as to be hopeless, and a lot of our favorites are no longer in the picture.
But the Control Devil Arc is a hot mess that redefines the manga and sets the scene for Chainsaw Man Part 2.
Related: Does Makima Actually Like Denji?
Gun Devil Arc
The Control Devil Arc is by far the most twisted -- emotionally if not visually -- but the Gun Devil Arc that came before it is the turning point where things get messed up beyond return.
In this arc, we're treated to some great scenes that involve Power, Aki, and Denji -- one of the series' best dynamics, but Aki's character arc goes horribly wrong, resulting in a tragic culmination.
Moreover, fans have noted that while there's less action and gore, the buildup is excellent because the Gun Devil is talked about without appearing.
Sometimes, concealment goes a long way when it comes to creating a scary, unsettling, and stressful atmosphere, and it's there that Chainsaw Man proves it can stand even when it cuts down on the action scenes.
Related: Is Aki Really Dead in Chainsaw Man?