「東京到着」 (Tokyo Touchaku)
“Arrival in Tokyo”

Tokyo Touchaku was an excellent set-up for what I think will be a lot of very complex and interesting relationships. This already stands out, seeing as it’s not often right off the bat that relationship dynamics are the most appealing aspects of a shōnen narrative. Rather, it’s quite common that these one-on-one interactions come third or fourth behind the characters themselves, their personalities and values, uniqueness and quirks, and the plot itself. I certainly wasn’t tuning in on Bleach every week because Ichigo’s dynamic with Chad, Uryuu, Orihime or Rukia was amazing. But this week I found myself fascinated and craving for more interactions between hilariously reluctant roommates/partners Denji and Hayakawa (Sakata Shougo). It was fun to watch their sort of perceived competition and sense of rivalry that only makes itself even more compelling by their personal authenticity, straightforwardness, and fearlessness toward one another. Denji and Hayakawa are equals in their peer dynamic. And are they both into the same girl? I’m afraid that if so, they’re both in for a heartbreak ride like none other. These boys should just stick to kneeing each other in the nuts; it’d hurt less, I promise!

There’s not a lot we know about Makima-san (Kusunoki Tomori); but she’s obviously manipulative and we get glimpses that she has very clear goals of her own. But Denji certainly can’t see this–or rather, doesn’t want to. This is equal parts tragic and amusing, because one of Denji’s primary traits, like every good main shōnen character, is a very strong intuition. But in his case, it’s been blocked by necessity. Denji desperately wants to be around a girl and to eat toast with jam, so when a beautiful woman shows up and offers him these things he’s willing to ignore his intuition. He overlooks every eye-widening remark she makes about him: you’re nothing more than a dog; you can’t say no; you’ll be working for us until you die; if you try to leave you’ll be killed. And you can actually see how he pauses, processes this information, then pushes it aside, not giving it a second thought until it manifests in his asking Hayakawa “Is Makima-san a good person? Is she a bad person?”

However, that also sets up a nice trajectory and arc for Denji’s character evolution. He doesn’t truly know what he wants, and lacks self-awareness to the extent that he doesn’t even know what he thinks. Not to take away the importance of what was established in the previous episode about his dream of a normal life, but he says so himself: now that he has most of the things he wanted, he still feels like something’s missing. This leads to the boobs’ epiphany. But I believe even this to be misleading. Given Denji’s internal monologue on the elevator, he currently thinks a meaningful intimate relationship with a girl is not in the cards for him, so touching boobs seems like the most ‘achievable goal’ to him. I guess we’ll see. Will his intuition and clarity for dangerous situations translate to his personal life too?

Speaking of typical shōnen traits and tropes, another strong one is Denji’s compassionate nature, and how he is untainted by the cynicism of typical societal prejudices. Not only does he make a quick death out of a Fiend (corpse that was possessed by a demon) to avoid their suffering, he also tells Hayakawa, blinking owlishly, he’d befriend a demon if one such wished to befriend him. Nuance is the keyword here. It’s unusual to see so much nuance in relationships in shōnen. Chainsaw Man definitely feels mature; these characters are clearly twenty-something’s and not teenagers.

A lot about this series is very cinematic: Makima’s eye shot at the beginning of the episode, the camera zoom whenever she delivers a morally ambiguous remark, low-angle shots, backlighting and lens flares. I appreciated these immensely. And of course, one can’t end this review without mentioning the endearing mass of irrational chaos that is Power (Fairouz Ai), a creature very much moved by her own otherworldly desires–or so it seems.

Super thanks again to Choya for setting up the template!

ED2 Sequence

ED2: 「残機」 (Zanki) by ZUTOMAYO


  1. This and Mushikaburi Hime are the two original series that I am truly enjoying the most (every other series that I’m still watching is a sequel). This reminds me so much of the beginning of Jujutsu Kaisen, in that it’s a genre that we’re all familiar with, but takes it in a new and unique direction.

    1. I’m watching Mushikaburi Hime too! The manga is lovely and I’m thoroughly enjoying the anime. It’s definitely nice to see these more unique approaches to the demographics.

      Chainsaw Man does remind me of JJK too! As well as Dorohedoro and Jigokuraku (which has also fallen on MAPPA’s hands, and it’s probably the show I’m most anticipating for next year 👀).

      1. Mushikaburi Hime is so good. I feel like I actually say out loud, it’s so good, multiple times an episode. It’s a shame that it hasn’t even gotten an episode 1 on here, but I understand that the reviewers are busy and can’t necessarily cover everything.

  2. I loved how they pulled off Aki in this episode. He comes off as both an understandable authority figure and someone who’s completely ill equipped to handle Denji’s airheaded logic and dirty fighting.

    I also adore the color palette that Power has for the anime. Her strawberry blonde hair has this neat quality where it’s washed out in the sun, but turns bright pink in the shade.

    The casting is great as well, but Ai Fairouz as Power is perfect. She pulls off her hot temper well, but also captures the easily excitable side of Power. I can’t wait for later episodes when her and Denji are able to bond more as chaotic gremlins.


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