Read Chainsaw Man manga
Chainsaw Man (Japanese: チェンソーマン, Hepburn: Chensō Man) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Tatsuki Fujimoto [ja]. It has been serialized in Shueisha’s Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine since December 2018. Its individual chapters have been collected into eight tankōbon volumes as of August 2020.
The story is set in a world where Devils cause harm to humans, which makes them a target for extermination. Denji is a young, depressed man who has sold several of his organs and works as a tree cutter and devil hunter to pay back his deceased father’s debt to loan sharks (yakuza).
About this manga
There’s a new hero in town and he’s got a bad attitude and a chainsaw dog demon! A dangerous combo.
The story is set in a world where Devils are born from human fears. Devils are usually dangerous and malevolent, their power proportional to the fear they incite. However, humans can form contracts with them to use their power, and there are individuals specializing in hunting and employing them, called Devil Hunters. Devils originate from Hell, and exist in a cycle between Earth and Hell: they migrate to Earth when killed in Hell, and vice-versa. Dwelling in Hell are extremely powerful Devils called Primal Fears, which have never been killed. Transit between planes appears to be overseen by the Hell Devil.
A Devil may, in certain conditions, inhabit the body of a dead human, gaining some of their memories and personality; such a creature is called a Fiend. Devils who naturally have a humanoid form are said to be benevolent to humans.
The events of the story take place in 1997, in an alternate timeline where the Soviet Union still exists, and many events such as the Holocaust appear to have not occurred.
- Part 1 – Public Safety Arc
Denji is a young man trapped in poverty, working off his deceased father’s debt to the yakuza by working as a Devil Hunter, aided by Pochita, his canine companion and Chainsaw Devil. Denji is betrayed by the Yakuza, who kill him for a contract with the Zombie Devil. Pochita makes a contract with Denji, merging with him and reviving him as a human-devil Hybrid, under the condition that Denji shows his dreams to Pochita. Denji massacres the yakuza, and is approached by a team of governmental Devil Hunters, the Public Safety Division, led by Makima, who persuades him to join their ranks. Agreeing, Denji is partnered with Power, the Blood Fiend, and Aki Hayakawa, a self-destructive Devil Hunter. Makima promises Denji any favor, provided he kill the Gun Devil, perpetrator of the greatest massacre in human history.
Denji’s group encounters another hybrid, the Katana Man, a vengeful yakuza seemingly allied with the Gun Devil, who kills a great portion of the Division. Denji and Power are trained by Kishibe, a master Devil-hunter who distrusts Makima; Aki makes a deal with the Future Devil, who foresees a “horrible death” for him. The Division launches a counter-attack against the Katana Man, capturing him.
Some time later, Denji begins a romance with a woman named Reze, who is actually the Bomb Woman, a Hybrid spy for the Soviet Union, sent to capture him. Though returning his affection, she attacks the city, with the Division barely saving Denji. After recovering, Denji fights her, and accepts a proposal to leave Japan together; before they can reunite, Makima secretly captures her. Denji’s fight with the Bomb Woman reveals his existence to the world.
The Division learns that four assassin groups are targeting Denji: Chinese hunter Quanxi; a mysterious enemy of Makima called “Santa Claus”; three American brothers; and a Russian woman teaching a pupil, Tolka. Denji is outfitted with a security detail. Though the brothers are repelled, and Quanxi initially stalls, Santa Claus uses their Doll Devil powers for a large horde attack. After a follow-up by Quanxi, Tolka’s master reveals herself as the true “Santa Claus”, and has all parties transported to Hell, where they are attacked by the Darkness Devil. Santa Claus makes a contract with the Darkness Devil that empowers her.
Makima retrieves the group from Hell. Quanxi, revealed as a Hybrid, helps Denji defeat Santa Claus; Makima dispatches her afterwards. After Denji recovers, Makima reveals that the Gun Devil is actually a geopolitical asset, with many factions controlling pieces of it. As Aki begs Makima for Denji’s safety, the president of the United States orders the Gun Devil to attack Japan and kill Makima. Revealed to be the Control Devil, Makima confronts the Gun Devil and wins. Aki dies in the attack, and the Gun Devil takes his body as a Fiend. Denji is attacked by the Gun Fiend, and, helped by civilians, kills it; Aki’s death devastates him. While seemingly consoling him, Makima kills Power, revealing herself responsible for Denji’s losses, having plotted to void his contract with Pochita by crushing his dreams of a normal life.
Kishibe attacks her, supported by the Hell Devil, and she calls for “Chainsaw Man” to save her. Controlling Denji’s body, Pochita assumes his true form and dispatches it. Makima explains her goals: to use Pochita’s power to eliminate concepts from reality by eating their respective Devils to create a world without suffering; to this end, she was empowered by the government with immortality. Fighting the Chainsaw Man using the brainwashed Hybrids, which include Katana Man, Reze, and Quanxi, she wins, as Denji’s heroic deeds have weakened Pochita. Power reforms from a remnant of her blood, escapes with Chainsaw Man, and, mortally wounded, restores Denji’s will to live, having him promise to find her when she is reborn in Hell.
Invigorated by public support for him, Denji confronts Makima and defeats her; to bypass her immortality, he eats her body. Kishibe later reveals that Makima was annihilated, but the Control Devil resurfaced in the form of a little girl, now named Nayuta. He asks Denji to care for and look after her, and Pochita reaffirms this mission in Denji’s dreams. Later, Denji enrolls in high school and continues fighting devils under the public eye.
- Denji (デンジ)
- A young man with scruffy blond hair, sharp yellowish-brown eyes with bags underneath, and sharp teeth. As a young boy, he inherits his father’s debt from the yakuza upon his father’s death. After meeting the Chainsaw Devil Pochita, he becomes a Devil Hunter in an attempt to clear his debt. The yakuza kill him, and Pochita becomes his heart, setting a contract with Denji, who is to live his dreams of a normal life. After this, he can transform into the devil-human hybrid known as Chainsaw Man by pulling the cord on his chest. After meeting Makima, he becomes a Public Safety Devil Hunter, to live in humane conditions. His primary motivation is his attraction to Makima.
- Makima (マキマ)
- A mysterious woman serving as the head of Public Safety Division 4, who takes Denji as her human pet. Makima is cunning, intelligent and manipulative, controlling Denji by taking advantage of his attraction to her with promises of a relationship, while threatening him with extermination in case of disobedience. For much of the story, her goals are unknown and her good intentions are ambiguous. She is later revealed to be the Control Devil, which embodies the fear of domination, and seeks to use the Chainsaw Man, to whom she is enamored, to create a world without suffering. To this end, she masterminds the misfortunes befalling Denji over the series. After being killed by Denji, she is reborn as a child called Nayuta (ナユタ), and placed in his care, to be raised as a better person.
- Aki Hayakawa (早川アキ, Hayakawa Aki)
- A Public Safety Devil Hunter working under Makima’s squad. He has a contract with the Fox Devil and Curse Devil, allowing him to summon the former’s head and use a lethal spike in exchange for his lifespan. He later makes a contract with the Future Devil, allowing him to see a few seconds into the future. Aki is stoic, mature and dependable, but has a soft center when alone. He grows to greatly care about Denji and Power, despite clashing with them. He is killed during a fight between Makima and the Gun Devil, and becomes the Gun Fiend, which Denji is forced to kill.
- Power (パワー, Pawā)
- The Blood Fiend and a Public Safety Devil Hunter in Makima’s squad. Power looks like a young woman with long hair; as a Fiend, she has short red horns protruding from her head. Power loves violence and is childish, greedy, almost entirely self-motivated, and willing to harm others for her own satisfaction. Power loves her cat, Meowy, at one point willing to sacrifice Denji’s life to save him. She comes to care deeply for Denji and Aki, her first true friends. She is killed by Makima in front of Denji, to break Denji’s spirit. Power revives as the Blood Devil from Denji’s blood, but is fatally wounded by Makima again. Before dying, Power makes a contract with Denji – in exchange for her blood, she asks Denji to find the reborn Blood Devil and turn her back into Power so that they may be friends again.
Public Safety Devil Hunters
- Kishibe (岸辺)
- The strongest devil hunter in the organization. Older than most other hunters, he is scarred and cynical. He trains Denji and Power, and was partnered with Quanxi in his youth. He secretly plots against Makima.
- Himeno (姫野)
- Aki’s first partner. She wears an eyepatch and is partnered with the Ghost Devil, allowing her to use its invisible arm from anywhere. She is killed by Sawatari’s Snake Devil while fighting Katana Man.
- Kobeni Higashiyama (東山 コベニ, Higashiyama Kobeni)
- A young woman with an unnamed contract, who started work as a Devil hunter under Makima’s experimental squad. Despite her timid and cowardly attitude, she shows amazing speed and reflexes when threatened.
Public Safety Devils/Fiends
- Angel Devil (天使の悪魔, Tenshi no Akuma)
- A humanoid Devil embodying the fear of angels. Appearing as an enigmatic androgynous young man, he holds no particular malice against humans but enjoys seeing them suffer. He is partnered with Aki after Himeno’s death and is regarded as the second-strongest Public Safety agent, but his laziness holds him back.
- Beam (ビーム, Bīmu)
- The wildly enthusiastic and unstable Shark Fiend, who can “swim” through solid objects and transform into a more monstrous shark-like form. He is partnered with Denji, whom he worships. He later sacrifices himself to revive Denji during the battle with the Darkness Devil in Hell.
- Violence Fiend (暴力の魔人, Bōryoku no Majin)
- The friendly and polite Violence Fiend who possesses immense strength and can transform into a more monstrous form when his mask is taken off. He still has most of his human brain and can remember several details about his past life, which is unusual for Fiends.
Private Sector Devil Hunters
- Quanxi (クァンシ, Kuanshi)
- A Chinese devil hunter and one of the assassins sent to take Denji’s heart. She is a lesbian in a polyamorous relationship with four female Fiends. She is a hybrid with a Devil related to crossbows. According to Santa Claus, she is the “first devil hunter”. She is beheaded by Makima, but later revived by her along with Reze and Katana Man to fight the Chainsaw Man.
- Santa Claus (サンタ クロース, Santa Kurōsu)
- One of the assassins sent after Denji. Introduced as an elderly German man, it is revealed later on that Santa Claus is multiple people, the real body being a Russian woman referred to as “master” by her pupil Tolka, who she also turns into a body for her. The master has a contract with the Doll Devil, and has the ability to turn people into dolls under her control, which become part of the Santa Claus hivemind. She enacts a plot to send Denji and several hunters to Hell as sacrifices to the Darkness Devil in exchange for power to kill Makima. She is defeated by an on-fire Denji, and her mind is destroyed by one of Quanxi’s lovers, the Cosmos Fiend.
Devils and hybrids
- Pochita (ポチタ)
- The Chainsaw Devil who merged with Denji, and was originally the Chainsaw Man himself prior to meeting Denji. He has the ability to eat a devil and erase their existence, making him “the Devil that Devils fear most”. He first appears in his dog form, actually a weakened state after a fight with mysterious opponents. His true devil form is a large, darker version of Denji’s hybrid form with four arms.
- Katana Man/Samurai Sword (サムライソード, Samurai Sōdo)
- The grandson of the yakuza boss who had Denji and Pochita killed, and a supposed agent of the Gun Devil. Like Denji, he is a human-devil hybrid with the heart of the Katana Devil, able to transform into his hybrid form by removing his hand. His real name is unknown, and his handler is Akane Sawatari, a former Public Safety hunter.
- Reze (レゼ)
- A girl with a crush on Denji who works at a cafe. She is later revealed to be a hybrid with the Bomb Devil, able to transform by pulling a grenade pin on her neck, and a Soviet spy sent to kill Denji. On her way to seemingly escape with Denji after their fight, she is captured by the Angel Devil under control of Makima.
- Gun Devil (銃の悪魔, Jū no Akuma)
- One of the most powerful and feared Devils in the world. Thirteen years before the series’ events, the Gun Devil manifested after a terrorist attack, and attacked the world, killing 1.2 million people in under five minutes before vanishing. It was later defeated and scattered into pieces by an unknown entity, and the governments of several countries have gathered these remains to form contracts with it. The president of the United States summons it to kill Makima. Makima defeats it, but it possesses Aki’s body, turning into the Gun Fiend. It later dies at the hand of Denji.
- Darkness Devil (闇の悪魔, Yami no Akuma)
- An unfathomably powerful Devil representing the primal fear of darkness, residing in Hell.
Despite the series’ violence and dark humor, Fujimoto always wanted to serialize in Weekly Shōnen Jump, but he had the feeling that his work would be “buried” if he had made a “Jump-like manga”, so he tried to retain much of his individuality as a creator while making only the structure and characters Jump-like. Fujimoto also said that, despite its success in the magazine, he wanted to write the second part of the series on Shōnen Jump+, because he wanted to do a completely different series from the first part. According to him, there is not much of a difference in working between Weekly Shōnen Jump and Shōnen Jump+, explaining that there were a few depictions that got stopped during the rough draft stage, but he was allowed to do anything he wanted regarding the logic of the story.
Fujimoto said that he took inspiration from various works. During the serialization of Chainsaw Man, Fujimoto said that he was too busy, but he watched as many new things as he could and borrowed various elements from what he saw. On Twitter, he stated that he was a fan of the 2016 film trilogy Kizumonogatari, and that the trilogy’s final battle, shown in Part 3: Reiketsu, inspired the final battle of Chainsaw Man. He also described the series as being a “wicked FLCL” and “pop Abara.” Fujimoto had various elements from the series planned from the beginning, while other things were added as it progressed. He did not have specific plans to bring payoff to the meaningful-sounding words and things that felt “off”, adding that he left various things vague to make the series’ second part easier to do.
Regarding the anime adaptation of the series, Fujimoto stated that he talked to the people handling it and he was comfortable leaving things to them. When the anime series was officially announced, Fujimoto commented: “Chainsaw Man is like a copycat of Dorohedoro and Jujutsu Kaisen, and the studio of Dorohedoro and Jujutsu Kaisen will produce its anime!? I have nothing to say! Please do it!!.”
Chainsaw Man is written and illustrated by Tatsuki Fujimoto. The series’ first part, “Public Safety arc” (公安編, Kōan-hen), ran in Shueisha’s shōnen manga anthology Weekly Shōnen Jump from December 3, 2018, to December 14, 2020. Shueisha collected the 97 chapters of the first part into eleven individual tankōbon volumes, released from March 4, 2019, to March 4, 2021.
In North America, Viz Media published the series’ first two chapters on their Weekly Shonen Jump digital magazine for its “Jump Start” initiative. The series was then published on the Shonen Jump digital platform after the cancellation of Weekly Shonen Jump. Shueisha also simulpublished the series in English on the app and website Manga Plus starting in January 2019. In February 2020, Viz Media announced the digital and print release of the manga. Viz Media posted an official trailer for the manga, featuring a high-octane opera vocals as its soundtrack. The eleven volumes were published from October 6, 2020, to June 7, 2022.
The manga is also licensed in France by Kazé, in Italy, Mexico and Brazil by Panini, in Spain by Norma Editorial, in Thailand by Siam Inter Comics, in Poland by Waneko, in Germany by Egmont Manga, in Argentina by Editorial Ivrea, in Taiwan by Tong Li Publishing, in South Korea by Haksan Publishing, in Russia by Azbooka-Atticus, and in Vietnam by Tre Publishing House.
On December 14, 2020, following the series’ conclusion in Weekly Shōnen Jump, a second part was announced to start on Shueisha’s Shōnen Jump+ online magazine. On December 19, 2020, it was announced that the second part, “School arc” (学校編, Gakkō-hen), would feature Denji going to school. The second part began serialization on July 13, 2022.