At the start of Chainsaw Man, Denji was living a miserable life, deprived of love from family and friends. He only had Pochita to accompany him all the time. With such a dismal way of living, why was Denji wearing an eyepatch at the start of Chainsaw Man? Is it part of his character design, or is there another reason for it?
The amount of blood, gore, and guts in Chainsaw Man's pilot episode made it a spectacle. To satisfy its massive cult following, the anime clearly wants to live up to the reputation of the Chainsaw Man manga.
Spoiler Warning: There are Chainsaw Man manga spoilers ahead!
What’s the Deal With Anime Characters Having Eyepatches?
Chainsaw Man is not the only anime in which a character wears an eyepatch. In fact, many shows have become more iconic as a result of characters wearing their distinctive eyepatches.
They also wear eyepatches for a variety of reasons; some to conceal an injury, others to cover up a special eye.
Kaneki Ken of Tokyo Ghoul, in particular, cannot be seen without his eyepatch after becoming half-human and half-ghoul. Ken must wear his eyepatch to conceal his other identity and his ghoulish eye.
Another example is Black Butler's Ciel Phantomhive, who wears an eyepatch to conceal the eye he used as proof of contract with Sebastian Michaelis, the demon butler.
There's also Kenpachi Zaraki from Bleach. He wears an eyepatch to give himself a handicap in battle. His reiatsu is suppressed by this eyepatch, making it easier for his opponents to defeat him.
The eyepatch has become increasingly popular as an accessory throughout the history of anime.
It is very common nowadays because it gives a specific anime character more recognition and staying power. It also exudes a sense of mystery, making the anime character more interesting and visually stimulating.
What Does an Eyepatch Symbolize in Anime?
An eyepatch can represent a lot of things in anime due to its variety. An eyepatch can serve both medical and fashionable purposes, and it can also be functional.
However, all of these eyepatch designs are used to achieve visual asymmetry, allowing the wearer to specifically convey their personality and power.
The eyepatch has become such a visual trope that viewers assume the character wearing it is important to the anime's plot.
The wearer can be the main protagonist or a supporting character with a concealed special secret or power.
ALSO READ: Why Do Anime Have Fillers?
Why Does Denji Wear an Eyepatch at the Start of Chainsaw Man?
Denji wears an eyepatch to conceal his missing right eye. It is a medical eyepatch that hides the sac of his right eye in order to prevent infection and further injury.
It's not some kind of accessory that Tatsuki Fujimoto forgot to draw in later chapters of the manga because readers can only see him wearing it at the beginning.
As it turns out, Denji sold his right eye (possibly on the black market) to pay off some of his yakuza debts. He sold it, along with his kidney and one of his balls, for 300,000 yen.
Unfortunately, even after selling some of his body parts, Denji's debt remained at 38,040,000 yen.
He was so poor, he can’t even make a decent source of income, making it harder for him to have a decent life.
What’s even worse is that the yakuza left him with nothing but a slice of bread to buy for himself and Pochita.
Originally, Denji did not have a debt that he had to pay for the rest of his life.
He inherited it from his abusive, dead father, who owed the yakuza. Since his father's death, Denji became the yakuza’s lap dog, doing everything they ask of him.
After all, he had no choice but to obey their commands. They had him at gunpoint, and he can't really die because he was looking out for Pochita.
However, Denji knew he wouldn't live long enough to repay all of his father's debt because he was already dying from the same heart disease he must have inherited from his late mother.
In any case, things improved after the yakuza died and Denji became a devil hunter as a result of his contract with Pochita.
His right eye eventually healed, and he no longer needed to wear an eyepatch in the succeeding story arcs.