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/Film - Chainsaw Man Episode 10 Packs An Emotional Gut-Punch And Introduces Smart Power


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After two weeks of incredibly tense action, "Chainsaw Man" takes a step back and allows the characters a moment to breathe and grieve their fallen comrades. 

We catch up with Aki, who is alive but in a hospital with severe injuries. Understandably, he breaks down, having lost possibly the only person in the world he cared for. Making matters worse, Aki learns he only has two years left to live, after using the Curse Devil sword during his fight with Katana Man. What follows is the kind of minimalist, performance-focused scene that Studio MAPPA has excelled at with this adaptation. Using extreme close-ups, a cigarette falling, a failing lighter, the trembling of Aki's arms convey all the emotions of the scene without resorting to grand visuals or dialogue to explain things. It's a scene that brings to mind Guillermo del Toro's approach to "Pinocchio," trusting his animators to bring moments of real human emotion to the animated performances.

It's not just Aki having a crisis of faith, however, because along comes Denji with another dose of absurdist hilarity followed right up with an emotional gut punch. After acting like a jackass around Aki and eating his entire fruit basket, Denji realizes he didn't mourn Himeno despite her being the first human who wanted to be his friend. He starts to ponder whether he'd cry for the death of any of his co-workers and wonders if having a devil for a heart has removed his ability to have human feelings.

It is moments like this that make "Chainsaw Man" more than just a battle shonen. The emotional moments in the show are not just about losing — though in just 10 episodes we've seen more loss than entire animes go through in 10 seasons — but about deeper conflicts and very human struggles.

Time For Cerebral Warfare


Still, this is "Chainsaw Man," and this is Denji we're talking about — possibly the dumbest anime protagonist ever — so it is not all doom and gloom. Knowing he is now a target for the Gun Devil, Makima sets the two devil hunters up with Himeno's trainer to be better at fighting devils. Enter anime Mads Mikkelsen, who proceeds to test Power and Denji on whether they feel bad for their dead comrades, want revenge for their deaths, and asks if they support humans or devils. Shockingly (not), the duo responds that they do not care one bit about their dead colleagues, and they'd support whichever side is winning and cares about them. This prompts their new teacher, Kishibe, to declare them the best possible candidates for devil hunting, and proceeds to murder them.

That's right. Because Power and Denji are essentially immortal, able to heal just by drinking blood, Kishibe's plan is to hunt them down and kill them again and again until they're able to fight back.

But these are not the same Denji and Power from early in the season, they've grown and gotten closer ever since Denji saved the fiend a few episodes back — Denji even calls Power "Powy" now, and she seems a lot more caring and considerate towards him. Power comes up with a strategy to take down Kishibe by outsmarting him and using "cerebral warfare," which really just means the two of them putting on glasses. Unsurprisingly, the plan fails miserably and the two die a bunch of times, but it is a total delight to see it happen.

A New Contract


We return to Aki, who is considering leaving Public Safety behind, especially after he talks to Himeno's sister, who shows him a letter from Himeno talking about wanting him to leave this life behind. Of course, he gets even more hellbent on getting revenge against the Gun Devil, and is not about to stop now. We also learn that the Fox Devil stopped his contract with Aki after he got injured fighting Katana Man — which is apparently a thing that can happen — so Aki needs a new contract. After going down a very dark and spooky corridor, he comes face to face with the Future Devil, who is presumably much more powerful since the future is way scarier than a fox.

And this hits at an aspect of why "Chainsaw Man" feels so refreshing for the genre. The manga is made by a young millennial writer, and the story reflects that, avoiding the usual bright optimism of shonen manga. Instead, we get a rather cynical world where there is little hope of a better tomorrow, where office jobs literally get you killed and the only way to survive is to have a few loose screws and care about no one but yourself. Aki, who looks and acts like he could be the protagonist in many other anime shows, is but a walking death wish.

So far, there hasn't really been any reason to think that things will get better for the characters, but hey, at least we got another banger of an ending theme.

Read this next: 14 Anime Shows To Watch If You Love My Hero Academia

The post Chainsaw Man Episode 10 Packs an Emotional Gut-Punch and Introduces Smart Power appeared first on /Film.

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