Chainsaw Man has been a fun and brutal tragicomedy from the very beginning, but no other episode went as far as Gun Devil since Dog & Chainsaw.
Spoilers from the first five episodes of Chainsaw Man
In the first episode Denji had a dream to live a peaceful life. By episode two that dream was fulfilled and he decided on getting a new goal – touching a female cleavage for the first time.
It is as ridiculous as it sounds, but it was his biggest dream and part of Denji’s charm is how stubbornly he has defended it against everyone laughing at him.
Using this comedic example, episode four kicked off with an epic battle that included characters shouting their dreams and comparing their relevance. Denji didn’t care about others ridiculing him for his goal, instead saying a dream was a dream, no matter how small.
This brings us to episode five, when Denji finally gets what he wished for and realises it’s not as great as he’s hoped for. He comes to recognise how little, insignificant, and unsatisfactory it’s proven to be, and decides chasing his goal was more exhilarating and fulfilling than the reward itself.
That is, unfortunately, quite often the sad reality of life. We chase our dreams, and the promise of eventual prize gives us motivation to keep going. Having achieved the goal we often find ourselves at a loss of what to do next, which is how Denji feels.
Denji begins to struggle with finding motivation for not only continuing to fight, but to live. He starts feeling numb. He does not have anything to live for. His dreams and goals were his passion and inspiration; take that away and you find yourself with an empty shell of a person. No matter how small and ridiculous a dream is, it still motivates us, and we might be suffering without it.
Until Makima gives Denji a new goal, promising him a reward if he kills the Gun Devil, the main character struggles to find himself functioning again. Makima promises him something much more satisfying and bigger than what he initially wanted and was disappointed in. Hence, Denji finds motivation again towards a new goal.
We are driven by different things. Denji is driven by the promise of a reward, Power is driven by bloodlust and the joy of the fight, while Aki is driven by hatred and revenge. What we are yet to find out is what drives Himeno; is it the sense of justice and grief after losing so many partners? Is it revenge as well? Meanwhile, Makima is still a complete mystery.
Overall, episode five is phenomenal and while it is hard to beat the stunner that was episode one, Gun Devil tries its best to top it. Aki’s backstory came sooner than expected, but it might have been necessary for the plot to progress. Having not read the manga, it is this reviewer’s assumption that the Gun Devil arc will be the main storyline of season one, if not the entire anime. Showing he was the one to kill Aki’s family was needed for the audience to understand Hayakawa’s motivation better, and to develop their own feelings towards the Devil as well.
Chainsaw Man is now streaming on Crunchyroll.
Featured Image Credit: MAPPA/Crunchyroll