Nobody does it like Mappa Studios—be it Gojo Satorou’s dazzling eyes in “Jujutsu Kaisen” or Levi Ackerman’s fight with the Beast Titan in “Attack on Titan.” Of course, anime production houses get a lot of creative freedom with the lucidity of fight scenes and covering several manga chapters at once, but with Tatsuki Fujimoto’s “Chainsaw Man,” it’s a different story altogether. It goes without saying that Mappa did amazing work with Fujimoto’s source material, presenting almost shot-for-shot scenes, and the anime sure looks beautiful in some shots. However, the studio made quite a few changes to the anime version of the chainsaw-wielding 16-year-old Denji’s life, to the point that some parts of the manga were completely left out of the anime. If you’re a manga-only fan, here are the things that the anime did differently in the first season of “Chainsaw Man.”
The Opening Shot
Right from the start of the anime in Season 1 Episode 1, the opening shot is that of someone walking in a daze towards a door that has multiple posters and notes stuck to it and a hand reaching for the doorknob. The scene changes to Denji waking up in his rundown shack, hinting that he had been dreaming. This is a completely new addition because the manga opens with an exposition of Denji’s condition, as narrated by himself. It’s understandable that in anime, things need to be done differently for the cinematic value of the content, even if it means shifting scenes around, but Season 1 opens and closes with the same scene of Denji approaching a door, something that the manga avoids at the beginning.
Longer, Extended Fight Scenes
This one would have been a no-brainer if we compared the crispiness of fight scenes in anime, especially the ones that Mappa produces, with the hand-drawn fight sequences in manga panels. It’s true that fights are rendered in the exact same pattern in the anime as they are in the manga for some scenes, but in a few scenes, Mappa took creative liberties. For example, Denji’s fight scene with the Bat Devil is a perfect reflection of the manga, except for a few frames, like the anime-only scenes of Denji’s chainsaw cutting through a boulder like butter and the Bat Devil’s sonar abilities. While the following fight with the Leech Devil is but an afterthought that spans merely two panels to exhibit the exhaustion that Denji is suffering from, the anime shows the fight to its fullest extent. With the “Chainsaw Man” using the dead devil’s entrails to tie the appendages of the leech and make it trip and fall or using his retracted chainsaw to the best of his abilities, the anime doesn’t let Denji go down so easily. Later, the final fight with the Samurai Sword Devil is also extended a lot further in the anime, letting both men exhibit their powers.
Aki’s Character Profile
The anime gives Aki Hayakawa – the senior to Denji in the Tokyo Public Sector Division for exterminating harmful devils – a lot more character. While the manga doesn’t give his personality a lot of dimensions, in the anime, Aki’s mannerisms and pet peeves are revealed graphically. For instance, it’s thanks to Mappa that we know that not refilling the toilet paper roll when it’s exhausted contorts his face into a nasty squint. He’s also rather disgusted to find a clogged toilet, but he’s not alone in that, as Denji shares his revulsion at the actions of their roommate, Power. The anime also gives an extended screen time to give an inside look into his everyday life, from waking up and brushing his teeth, making coffee, and sitting on the balcony with the morning paper, a cup of coffee, and his vice – a cigarette packet and a lighter. The anime also does justice to the emotions he’s feeling, like the extreme sorrow of losing a comrade he cared for as tears are trickling down his face—but that can be chalked up to the crispness of the production house.
The Muscle Devil Scene
Right after Denji is rescued by Ms. Makima of the Public Safety Division, before he gets to eat the udon he’s been salivating for, there’s an entire fight sequence that the anime leaves out. Moments before Denji can finally eat after hours of starvation, a haggard-looking devil hunter rushes in and begs for help because a devil has kidnapped his daughter. Makima orders Denji to go rescue the girl or risk being euthanized like a useless dog. Denji arrives in a clearing in the forest to find a cute one-eyed devil being shielded by a little girl who says that her father was hitting her in the parking lot and that the devil is innocent. With Pochita’s death still fresh in his mind, Denji offers the girl the option of running away, the three of them, because he is irked with the way Makima treats him like a service dog. However, to his shock, the cute devil metamorphoses into a monstrosity that identifies itself as the Muscle Devil, that can control muscles, and it was using the girl to bait Denji into letting his guard down. It almost overwhelms Denji until he’s able to rip his chainsaw cord at the last moment and fillet the devil and rescue the girl. It’s weird that the anime left this scene out, but it’s probably because it involves a child. Be that as it may, the anime fans missed an early show of Denji’s beast mode as the chainsaw devil.
The Final Scene In Aki’s Apartment
After the Yakuza hired by Akane Sawatari have been captured and the Samurai Swordman has been jailed, with a parting gift from Denji and Aki that he’ll remember for the rest of his life, we see the three main characters inside Aki’s apartment. In the manga, Denji wakes up from a dream of approaching the door, and he knows Pochita is on the other side. He wants to open the door to pet his friend once more, but Pochita warns him never to open it. He’s woken up by Power, who has sprouted two extra horns in her head, and she’s annoying Denji as per usual while Aki is sound asleep. The anime changes this ending entirely, with just one thing as the constant. Aki wakes up in the anime and goes to the balcony to smoke when he finds the cigarette that Himeno had left for him, and the next frame focuses on Denji, who has the same dream as in the manga. While the manga throws light on the mystery surrounding Pochita, the anime manages to give Aki a bit more screen time by making him remember his fallen comrade while staying true to the main story of Denji and his curiosity about what hides behind the door.