Chainsaw Man is an incredibly popular manga series and the forthcoming anime by Studio MAPPA is one of the most highly anticipated of 2022, if not the most hyped. But to what does the series own its popularity? If you wanted to find out just why Chainsaw Man is so popular, keep reading.
Most of the time, manga series which are fairly popular in their own right come to know true fame and critical acclaim when the anime adaptation comes out, but there's already so much hype about Chainsaw Man before the anime adaptation. Here's why we think this is:
Let's start with one of the series' most tame elements if such a thing can be said about Chainsaw Man.
Any manga or anime with speculative elements thrives, first of all, because of a great idea that sets the work apart from the rest.
Chainsaw Man unfolds in an alternate version of our world, where some historical events have happened differently, or not at all.
It's always an interesting thought experiment to consider what our world might have looked like if even one major event had not happened, so the manga gets your attention just with that.
Moreover, the idea of Devils making deals with humans is an old and classic one, but Chainsaw Man deals with it in an interesting manner, ensuring that the series is founded on great ideas.
Chainsaw Man's cast is not for everyone. But if you love a good ensemble cast of hopelessly dysfunctional and oddly endearing individuals, that's a story for you.
Shonen manga often tend to focus on idealized versions of teenagers, who are mature for their age, showing exceptional strength, wisdom and self-denial even if their mannerisms are a bit childish.
This is to be expected, as works aimed at teenage demographics are often expected to teach their audiences something.
This is ok, but Chainsaw Man is not that manga. Many critics hate Denji, as he is, indeed, a hard protagonist to like, but he does display some of the raw and immature teenage behavior that tends to be toned down in several other stories.
The cast of Chainsaw Man are social castaways, and their skills and interactions reflect that, making for occasionally shocking but interesting dynamics.
In many ways, Chainsaw Man is a parody of a shonen manga, deadpan, and darkly humorous.
There are so many ways in which this idea could have gone wrong; as we discuss below, Chainsaw Man is a highly transgressive work and it will likely feel at least a bit offensive to those who don't like gore.
Still, critics praised the manga for its comedic elements; which are rather different from what you might have in mind.
The humor of Chainsaw Man ofter stems precisely from how ridiculous and unbelievable it is, rather than wit and pure comedy.
At times, the manga's humor feels juvenile, what with Denji being so desperate to find a girlfriend, but this sort of behavior is mostly ridiculed rather than glorified, so it somehow works.
Related: Is Chainsaw Man Shonen or Seinen?
Denji might look no different than your typical shonen protagonist, but the art and design are still important factors in Chainsaw Man's popularity.
That battles are well-designed is pretty much industry standard for shonen works, but Chainsaw Man has pretty memorable ones.
Not all Devil designs are equal, but a fair number of them, including the titular Chainsaw Man are well designed and immediately recognisable, making the reading experience more pleasant.
It's Unapologetically Over-the-Top
Let's be honest; when something is characterized as shocking or transgressive, many people will check it out even if just to check out what everyone is talking about.
Chainsaw Man is not at all shy about displaying internal organs in all sorts of compromising situations.
Moreover, plenty of bizarre, outrageous situations are presented in a matter-of-fact, deadpan tone, and there are sexual elements too.
This, in itself, doesn't indicate much about the manga's quality - though the shock factor might annoy some. Nor does it negate any of the series' quality elements. Chainsaw Man's shocking elements co-exist with good ideas, characterization, and design.
But, of course, the case remains that when something is tagged as particularly gory or otherwise transgressive, people are likely to come in for the bizarre reputation. This is not to say that there aren't plenty of other reasons for them to stay!