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“Chainsaw Man” Review: A warning shot ‘From Kyoto’

By December 8, 2022March 29th, 2023One Comment4 min read

A lot of Chainsaw Man’s manga readers have been awaiting this moment. Between the traumatic loss of Himeno and many of the Devil Hunter crew in the Public Safety team from a sudden hit rooted in gun violence, ‘From Kyoto’ fulfills some of the most shocking material that made the fanbase realize that this story was going places, and that the threats of consequence in this world are real.

Opening once again on Himeno’s sacrifice against the newly revealed Katana Man and his snake devil summoning companion quickly resets the stakes as Denji breaks himself free from the rubble to take on his next major rival. The episode wastes no time giving us the promised action sequence. While Aki and Power are offscreen this week, Denji’s power, or lack thereof, being displayed in his battle with the Katana Man once again show off the stellar action direction. It continues to be one of the best reference points in animation this year that shows that 3D models can stylistically blend into 2D structured sequences and environments and have it translate seamlessly. This allows the sequence’s action direction to get creative with camera movements as Denji and Katana Man cross their pointy limbs until someone gets themselves hurt. It speaks to this show’s more muted moments of humor when Denji loses his battle in dramatic fashion, but also gets unsurprisingly severed at the waist like a famous Sith Lord once did, and heavily falls to the ground. 

Katana Man and his goons attempt to take Chainsaw Man’s severed body and struggle to drag him into a van along with their Division 4 hostages. Just when the antagonists seem to have won the day, a funny, albeit horrifying, thing begins to happen. One by one the very human and very vulnerable gang members that arrived with these new villains begin to contort, compress and explode like delicate water balloons of blood being twisted until they crack open. This moment left an impression in the manga for its sudden brutality and dark, striking blood stains, but this visual adaptation really works to sell how horrible watching people around you simply vanish into a pool of blood can be as you await your turn for an unpredictable fate, especially after the events of the Devil Hunters’ shooting last week.

To the surprise of very few, Makima has survived a bullet to the back of her head, and upon arrival in Kyoto requests our newly introduced Public Safety agents to gather convicted felons to be brought to a shinto shrine and blindfolded for their sacrifice. Whatever devil power Makima is manifesting, it is not only animated with hand gestures that would make any character in Naruto blush, it directly correlates to whatever power that is causing Katana Man’s crew to burst like little blemishes on the street. Perhaps Makima has been suspicious to viewers previously, but to contrast the striking efforts of the newly introduced villains with a power that is so potent that she makes it appear like simple paperwork should be of some concern. 

The other unexpected survivor of the hit on Devil Hunters from last week was none other than goddamn Kobeni, the quibbling meandering style icon and internet darling of the anime Fall season. It could be said that she survives over her peers due to being a coward, which she absolutely is, but in the last few scenes of this episode she displays some knife and gun-fu skills that demonstrate her worth both as a fighter and as waifu queen material as she manages to deadlift Denji’s corpse to safety. 

Things conclude back on Makima, striking fear into the enemy, and hopefully the viewers as well, as she receives a resignation letter from Madoka, who may have realized just how deep the rabbit hole goes.

The episode’s unique Ending opens with a farewell to Himeno as her silhouette turns white and flutters into petals as her limbs disappear It then focuses on Makima and the carnage that she unleashed in this episode, but with a beauty that makes organs and flesh which may usually be the stuff of nightmares feel like more like a floral timelapse or a calming white cap on the ocean – simply a part of nature. This Ed, accompanied by the track ‘Deep Down’ by Amier, was animated by one artist by the name of Masanobu Hiraoka, a one man team of animation direction with a body of work focused on the type of transformation or metamorphosis on display in this stunning end credit sequence.

Featured Image via Crunchyroll

  • - 9/10
Evan Griffin

Based in the northern stretches of New England, Evan is an elder high-wizard and co-founder of the Leading the Games section, Evan is determined to make people remember the joys of older games which have since lost their way. Evan’s voice can be heard in podcasting, YouTube videos, essays, and overlong diatribes on media he wants you to have the full context on.

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