8 Big Differences Between the Chainsaw Man Anime and Manga

Differences Between the Chainsaw Man Anime and Manga Denji
Credit: MAPPA

Differences Between the Chainsaw Man Anime and Manga Denji
Credit: MAPPA

Now that Season 1 of Chainsaw Man is over, it's a good time to sum up how it lived up to the manga and in what ways the adaptation changed the source material. Here are the biggest differences between the Chainsaw Man anime and manga:

  1. The First and Last Moments of the Anime Focus on Denji's Memories

    The Chainsaw Man anime opens and closes with a younger Denji walking down an alley and stopping by a mysterious door.

    In the ending of Chainsaw Man Pochita's voice is heard, warning Denji never to open that door.

    While the door and its meaning for Denji is very important in the manga, it plays a major role much later.

    Given that Part 1 of the manga is divided into different arcs, the focus on the door and Denji's repressed memories isn't as circular; instead, it comes up when it's important for the narrative.

    Since there are 12 Chainsaw Man episodes in Season 1 creators had to make the content adapted so far cohesive from a narrative point of view, so it makes sense for the door to be introduced early and come full circle by episode 12, while also foreshadowing elements yet to come.

    READ MORE: Does Denji Ever Open the Door in Chainsaw Man?

  2. The Art Is Both Smoother and More Detailed in the Manga

    Anime adaptations always look a little different from the original manga; the mere addition of colors makes a world of difference.

    Moreover, as animation technology develops, anime will always look a bit neater; for Chainsaw Man, the fandom seems divided as to whether this change is ok.

    Due to the differences in the drawing style, the characters often looked more conventionally pretty in the anime, with some fans thinking that they were never meant to look that way.

    On the other hand, the more detailed and colorful animation has the additional effect of making blood and gore even more prominent, for better or worse.

  3. The Anime Adds a Few Slice of Life Moments

    While both the anime and the manga occasionally feature characters having fun and being silly together, the anime includes added slice-of-life elements early on, as well as in the finale.

    When Denji and later Power move in with Aki, we get to see both Aki and Denji's morning routines, and how Aki's habits are disturbed by his two new roommates.

    The finale then adds a scene where the three of them shop together and have a lovely dinner, with the normally stoic Aki smiling a bit at Denji and Power's silliness.

    This is a great way to make the audience feel attached to the characters as early as possible, making an otherwise ridiculous (in a good way) and over-the-top story feel more grounded.

  4. The Anime Adds Early Details to Makima's Powers

    While the manga does imply that there's something sinister about Makima, these elements are a bit subtler until they are directly important to the plot.

    In comparison, the anime is much less subtle, adding a scene in which Makima gathers human sacrifices, and proceeds to force them to speak the name of her intended victims, killing both in the process.

    While Makima's Devil contract and motivations remain obscure either way, there's something truly chilling about the way her powers are depicted in the anime.

    Some fans might prefer the manga's subtler treatment, which is understandable. However, TV often has to make things a bit more obvious and explicit within a shorter timeframe, so the change isn't the most surprising.

  5. The Manga Is A Bit Grittier

    We've already established that the anime beautifies the characters, but what is it that makes the manga so special?

    As a particularly grotesque and over-the-top story, the Chainsaw Man manga goes out of its way to picture all the extremes of human emotion, with occasionally ugly results that are nevertheless part of the charm.

    The rougher lines and lack of color create some haunting imagery that - without the anime's quick movement - might haunt you for a bit.

  6. The Anime Has More Profanity

    Anime adaptations are often tamer than the source material, as written media tend to have a bit more room to be transgressive compared to tv.

    To an extent, this is the case with Chainsaw Man as the overall feeling of the adaptation is cuter and more light-hearted.

    However, the anime somehow manages to get away with more swearing, further blurring the lines between shonen and seinen.

  7. An Early Manga Scene Was Cut From the Anime

    In the manga, Denji is asked to kill his first Devil very soon after being found by Makima.

    A panicked father claims that his daughter was abducted by a Devil, but the little girl seems perfectly happy and even claims that the Devil saved her for her abusive father.

    This scene doesn't have a huge significance for the plot, but it does add some early nuance, even though Denji's choice is soon made for him in the manga.

  8. The Future Devil Makes More of An Impressive Entrance in the Anime

    With major characters, there will always be a few fans who won't be thrilled with the voice acting, as they will likely have imagined their fave differently.

    However, with minor characters, over-the-top voice acting can really make a memorable difference.

    The Future Devil, in particular, has little screen time, but his voice is very memorable due to how enthusiastic and silly it is; good luck getting it out of your head!

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