Chainsaw Man Denji is introduced as a 16-year-old boy. He is a poor teenage boy, who in order to make money is forced to do dirty work for the Yakuza, the Japanese Mafia. He is assisted by a small orange creature, by the name of Pochita. Together, they go out and kill the devils that they are assigned to kill by the Yakuza.
Denji would do this for the next near-decade. Killing devils and eating whatever he could find since the Yakuza paid him next to nothing and took most of his salary as a way to pay off Denji’s late father’s debt. It would not be until he is 16, that his life would change for the better, and ultimately also the worse.
One day when Denji is 16, the Yakuza assign him another devil to kill. What he doesn’t know is that it is a trap. When he arrived at the warehouse, the Yakuza cut him into pieces and piled his corpse into a garbage can outside of the warehouse. Here is where the story truly begins to take shape.
Pochita is a small orange devil. He was Denji’s only friend throughout his entire life. When Denji lies dead in the trash bin, Pochita offers him a contract. A contract that tells Denji to live, to get a proper life, and stop living the ramshackle that his life currently represents. And so, Denji agrees. And a contract between a teenage boy and the most powerful devil commences.
From the trash can, Denji rises from the dead. His arms and legs were reattached to his body. His corpse is now filled with life. He goes forth and enters the warehouse once more.
At this point, the Yakuza, who had killed Denji to gain the favor of the “Zombie Devil” were betrayed. The devil himself had turned all the Yakuza members into zombies. Leaving Denji to kill all the present Yakuza, before going in to kill the Zombie Devil himself. And sometime later, is where we meet Makima for the first time. And where he finally joins Public Safety.
CSM Public Safety
From here on out, is where Denji begins to make true friendships. The first friend, or more like a crush, in this case, is Makima.
Makima is introduced as the leader of Japan’s Public Safety. As soon as she sees Denji, she embraces him and tells him to join Public Safety. For Denji, this isn’t a job offer, this is the request of a pretty girl. The first girl he has ever been this close to. Quickly infatuated by the woman, he immediately says yes, especially after she says he will never be hungry again. And so, he is now a member of Public Safety.
He soon meets two members to whom he takes an immediate disliking to. Aki Hayakawa, and a devil girl named Power. Aki Hayakawa is his senior member, while Power is new just like him. And they dislike him as much as he dislikes them.
And yet, this dislike soon turns into a strong bond of friendship, and soon that friendship turns into familial love. This trio is forced to live together, an idea brought up by Makima herself. Over the course of the months they spend together, and after all the adventures they go on together, they find solace in each other.
But this is Tatsuki Fujimoto’s story, and a man like that does not like happy endings.
Aki Hayakawa’s Death
Aki Hayakawa is the first true friend of Denji. Much like the rest of the characters, they did not hit it off well. Constantly fighting with each other. There was absolutely no love between these two characters.
Yet as time went on, they grew close. Part of it is because they had to live together, and saw the different sides of each other that they never would have known before. And another factor was that they fought and were constantly ramming into death’s door alongside each other. These two lonely people found a sense of friendship and solace in one another. A friendship was found.
And then, the story takes a very quick and very dark turn. Now, Chainsawman is a manga that is not new to character deaths, but the number of deaths quickly increased. And each death hits us, the reader hard. Characters that we grew to love in the simple 60-70 chapters that we’ve known them are killed in the most brutal ways possible.
And our pain is perfectly reflected by Denji’s reactions. Reading chapter 79, we see Denji’s pure mortification as soon as he opened the apartment door, revealing Aki. Aki in the form of the Gun Devil. He stares at Aki and asks if this is really happening. All before he is blown away by his dearest friend.
Denji watches in horror as he begins to shoot all the civilians in the vicinity. He quickly rushes to protect them, some he does, and some he fails to protect. As he lunges towards Aki to stop him, he screams at him to stop. He’s begging him to stop. He’s screaming and yelling and crying. And yet, Aki hears none of it.
Because Aki has been dead ever since the Gun Devil took over him. No matter how much Denji begs Aki to come back to them, it won’t happen.
Realizing he has no other choice. Denji watches as Aki walks toward him, and all the hundreds of civilians around them. And Denji makes his choice.
He goes towards Aki and meets him in the center. And in one final thrust of his chainsaws, it’s over.
Blood drips down Denji’s face, none of it his. He takes out his chainsaws and watches the newly emancipated corpse fall to the ground.
Aki now lies truly dead, and now he is free from the grasp of the gun devil. He is now free. But he went out in the worst way possible.
The next few days pass by in a blur. Denji and Power are seen watching movies, playing video games, and eating the most lavish food they could find. They had just received half of Aki’s will money. And spent it all, while trying their very hardest not to think about what had happened just a few days ago. They try everything they can to not think of Aki’s death.
One day, Denji goes out to buy ice cream and onigiri. He sits on the bench eating the onigiri when he suddenly feels cold. Memories of everything come flooding him. And he throws up.
He is found by his superior Makima. She invites him over to her house to help calm him down. She gently helps him to her place, where they hang out. Denji thanks her for helping him calm down. Makima asks him what he wants. She had given him the promise to give him whatever he wanted if he killed the Gun Devil. And he did that when he killed Aki. At that moment, Denji wants only one thing.
To stop thinking.
And he thinks of the one thing that can help him to stop thinking. He asks to become Makima’s “dog”. And she agrees.
She is giving him various tasks to do when the doorbell rings. Denji looks up, and Makima answers the question by saying that she had invited power over to the house. She asks Denji to open the door. As the duo walked toward the door, Makima held Denji’s hand. She asks him to open it. And then says the sentence that instigated the single greatest plot twist in the entire manga.
“You open the door Denji, and I am going to kill her.”
The quiet shock on Denji’s face is evident. He asks her if it is a joke, to which Makima replies “Open the door Denji.”
His inner voice warns “Don’t open the door.” All his senses are warning him to not heed the words of the pretty girl in front of him.
Makima prods him forward. To which his brain begins to rationalize her words. Rationalize that it’s just a joke, that Power will be standing outside holding a cake. He realizes his birthday is tomorrow, so they will have a great day today. And everything will be all right.
And so, he opens the door.
He sees Power. To which she greets him. And he finds it suddenly hard to respond to her.
Before he has any time to realize what is going on. He watches Makima raise her hands up, her fingers forming a gun. And blood smears the right side of his face. He looks toward his best friend’s corpse in shock. And turns to give Makima a look of horror and disbelief.
She in return simply pulls him inside the house. And onto the couch where they sit for a while, one in horror, and one’s face showing pure apathy.
Denji, in the span of a few seconds quickly realized that Ms. Makima was a sadistic sociopath. A woman that he had developed a crush of sorts on, was the reason he was now suffering. The sole reason for his suffering. His two best friends, his two REAL relationships other than that with Pochita, are no more. As he begs her, why did she torture him like this? She goes on a condescending rant.
She calls him “evil” and that he never deserved to know true happiness. That if he were to ever regain happiness again, she would be there to destroy it once more. Again and again, if needed. Denji can do nothing but stare in shock.
And then, in comes Kishibe, who has come to kill Makima. From the outside, he readies his troops to take her out. As the fight progresses, Denji is able to escape from Makima and join up with Kisibe and Kobeni after a series of events, all crazy in and of itself. From massacred Burger chain employees, to what seems to be a dance revolution game.
Denji meets Makima in a cemetery where he rips Pochita from his heart to fight her. Pochita is “defeated”. And Makima believes Denji is now dead, but he gets behind her and is able to give her a final slice to the chest. This, plus Power’s blood which coated the chainsaw he used, is able to help him drag her to his house and finish her off. As he finally destroys the reason for his agony.
After everything that occurs, our hero should deserve his own happy ending. And he gets that in the form of Nayuta. A little girl who received the Domination Devil after the death of Makima. Kishibe tells him to take care of her, for if they gave her to the government, she’d become another Makima.
And thus, begins Denji’s newest and closest relationship. The two gain an elder brother, and younger sister sort of relationship. Denji takes her under his wing and raises her while taking the identity of a brother rather than a father.
As part II slowly goes underway, we learn more and more about Nayuta. Yet our knowledge of the devil girl is still not sufficient enough to be able to tell what kind of relationship Denji will have with her, whether it be good or bad. We do not yet know her relevance to the story. So not much can be said about her yet. Yet as of right now, we are presented with a dominating kind of relationship. Nayuta is introduced in part three when she makes Asa act like a dog, to which Denji harshly tells her to stop. Eventually bribing her with ice cream.
Nayuta brings with her a new chance for Denji to build a wonderful relationship without it breaking down horribly. And for that poor boy’s sake, we hope it goes in a proper direction.