The following comprises spoilers for Episode 1 of Chainsaw Man, “DOG & CHAINSAW,” now streaming on Crunchyroll.
The hit Fall 2022 anime Chainsaw Man, based mostly on creator Tatsuki Fujimoto’s ongoing manga sequence of the identical title, stars a shonen protagonist who differs from his friends. Unlike Izuku Midoriya and Tanjiro Kamado, Denji lacks a serious villain to defeat; he is not idealistic, noble or selfless both. He grows meaner in his adventures, not nicer.
All this firmly establishes Chainsaw Man‘s protagonist as a traditional antihero, a protagonist whose motives, strategies and worldview make them thrilling to observe, however neither relatable nor inspiring. The similar may be mentioned about Attack on Titan‘s Eren Yeager after some extent, with each Eren and Denji dying solely to be reborn as true monsters with terrifying powers.
When the Antihero Is Reborn for Nothing But Battle
It is uncommon for an anime hero to outright die in a sequence, particularly early on. Even suspending disbelief, viewers know deep down that the hero has fairly thick armor as a result of the story cannot occur with out them, so some sequence attempt to construct stress with fake-out deaths. Then there are really brutal or experimental sequence corresponding to Chainsaw Man and Attack on Titan that actually do kill off their heroes — or not less than do an amazing job with a fake-out. Denji did not simply lose his first combat towards the zombie satan; he was outright killed, and his chopped-up physique was stashed in a Dumpster together with Pochita the chainsaw satan canine. Similarly, Attack on Titan followers watched Eren lose two limbs earlier than a bearded pure Titan ate him, and followers truly thought Eren was lifeless, given all of the deaths happening in that sequence.
Then Denji and Eren had been reborn — generally actually — with new powers and a brand new function. When Eren discovered that he wielded the Attack Titan, his life was without end modified and he embraced his new function as Paradis Island’s final residing weapon. Even within the context of his hometown’s destruction, Eren’s life had undergone a radical shift, and there was no going again. His previous life was gone, placing Eren on the trail to turning into an Eldian restorationist radical and a collector of Titan Shifter powers to make his world-shaking desires a actuality.
Denji does not goal to vary the world in Chainsaw Man, however he does know what it is prefer to be reborn for a singular function, together with his previous life without end wiped away. He was an outcast even earlier than his transformation, however now he really has no place in human society. As a half-devil, Denji is a person of no worlds in any respect, having nothing however his enemies and his personal powers to outline his violent new life-style. Like Eren, Denji has been reborn for the only real function of conflict, and as Episode 1 confirmed, he’s gladly embracing this radical change. He had extraordinarily little to lose and now has a lot to achieve as Chainsaw Man. Eren would say the identical about his Attack Titan kind.
How Attack on Titan’s Eren & Chainsaw Man’s Denji Twist Shonen Protagonist Tropes
Compared to the “big three” shonen sequence’ heroes and extra trendy leads corresponding to Midoriya, Tanjiro, Yujia and even Anya Forger, Eren Yeager and Denji are each whole antiheroes who shred the shonen protagonist rulebook and not using a second thought. They had been reborn as lethal warriors with a single function, abandoning their depressing previous lives to embrace a way of life of violence and self-centered motives — however as they’re merchandise of their environments, they go about it otherwise.
Sheer survival is the title of the game in Attack on Titan, with the walled metropolis’s defenders combating desperately to not be eaten and Eren launching his marketing campaign to make sure the Eldians’ survival in a world that desires them lifeless. Shonen heroes often combat for loftier beliefs corresponding to justice, peace, the regulation and basic goodness; for them, survival is simply a way of lasting lengthy sufficient to get the actual job executed. Eren, nevertheless, thinks extra like a beast listening to its personal instincts, combating anybody and something that threatens its existence.
Chainsaw Man‘s Denji, in the meantime, additionally has sheer survival on his thoughts; he fights to not implement justice or defeat evil, however to get three meals a day and a roof over his head. On a private degree, Denji hopes to get a girlfriend, a reasonably healthful and harmless want to have, however general he nonetheless lacks the idealism that’s important for many shonen leads. In truth, Denji by no means actually had any idealism in any respect, since his transformation into Chainsaw Man solely boosted his fight energy and freed him of his debt.
Denji is identical humble, self-absorbed punk he at all times was, besides he was reborn with chainsaw satan powers. This transformation was a purely bodily one, together with his reborn physique merely permitting him to combat that a lot tougher for his easy objectives whereas ignoring idealism fully. In that approach, Denji is a real antihero, refusing to make use of his new presents for the nice of others or society. He simply desires lunch.