Chainsaw Man Episode Nine, From Kyoto Review: POP Goes the Yakuza!

After the insansity of Chainsaw Man truly began last episode, Episode Nine, “From Kyoto” continues this, with many moments I was excited to see from the manga being adapted excellently.
Directed by Takahiro Kaneko, “From Kyoto” begins by briefly recaping the previous episode through showing Himeno’s death, as she gives all of her strength to the Ghost Devil in the hopes of beating the mysterious girl, named Sawatari, and Katana Man.
As we know from “Gunfire”, this unfortunately fails as Sawatari uses the Snake Devil to eat the Ghost and Himeno vanishes entirely.
It seems like the Yakuza have won this fight until, with the last of its strength, the Ghost Devil pulls Denji’s ripcord, causing him to heal and transform into his Chainsaw form.
As he and Katana Man prepare face off, we hear “Hawatari 2 Oku-senchi” begin to play for the third time in this show.
Once again, the makers of the anime seem to really like this song and I, for one, cannot blame them.
It really is a banger and it suits the build up to Denji’s fight with Katana Man well.
We see the fight after the opening, brief as it is, and it is as exceptionally animated as the action in the previous episode.
Sawatari calls for backup and they eventually arrive but they only prove to be a hinderance as Denji takes one of the men hostage pretty easily.
The hinderance is a small one, however, because Katana Man is absolutley not concerned about killing his own men as he uses the same attack he used to defeat Aki, slicing both Denj and his own subordinate in half.
Katana Man then prepares to take Denji’s body to their van as his own hyrid form melts, before proclaiming that Devil Hunters are no match for guns.
Following this statement, we get a brief montage proving him right, as we see Arai and various other Devil Hunters who drank with Denji the night before have been killed.
Makima seems to be among them, until her assassins look back at her body, only to see she has somehow resurrected herself, in an exceptionally creepy shot.
At the train station where Makima was heading, two other Devil Hunters, Kurose (Kengo Kawanishi) and Tendo (Hitomi Ueda), are waiting for her arrival when they hear about the attacks on the Devil Hunter divisions.
They believe Makima is dead, until she steps off the arriving train covered in blood.
She lies, stating that she was not hit and the blood she is covered in is not her own.
That last detail is probably partially true because we then cut to an overhead shot looking down inside the train, where Makima’s would-be assassins have all been brutally killed with large holes seeming to have been blown through their stomachs.
Instead of heading to Tokyo, Makima instead orders Kurose and Tendo to gather 30 convicts with life sentences or worse and then take them to a highly elevated temple.
We then get an anime only scene of Makima preparing for her gruesome plan, as she redresses herself, while the convicts are brought to the temple, having what they do not know will be their final meal on the way.
The scene then cuts to back with Katana Man and Sawatari, as they and their Yaukza subordinates are loading Denji into their van, only for the subodrinates to start exploding in a bloody game of Pop Goes the Yakuza!
We then see exactly how Makima is making this happen.
Atop the temple, she has the prisoners, and Tendo and Kurose blindfolded.
This is so Tendo and Kurose cannot see what Devil she is contracted with and probably so the prisoners will not panic when they start dying.
Makima goes from prisoner to prisoner, ordering them to say the full name of each Yakuza member.
She then squishes her hands togethor, squishing the Yaukza and also killing the prisoner in the process.
This horrible ability is perfectly portrayed from the manga, displaying just how gruesome all of this is, with one shot of a gun laying in a puddle of blood being particuarly striking.
Just as unnerving is Makima’s demeanor after doing all of this, as she calmly declares that this is all she can do from here.
For whatever reason, Makima did not harm Katana Man or Sawatari, and they prepare to load Denji into their van, only to stop when they see an unexpected person approaching: Kobeni.
We then get the payoff to Himeno saying how skilled she was in the Eternity Devil Arc.
Sawatari sends the Snake Devil to kill her but Kobeni easily jumps over it and runs along the tail, jumping to slice off Katana Man’s hand, catch his gun in midair, and then shoot him with it without even looking.
She then uses Denji as a shield when Sawatari attempts to shoot her, forcing Sawatari to retreat with Katana Man.
Kobeni does all of this with her perpetually depressed expression, which is understandable given the trauma she just experienced.
In a flashback, it is revealed that when the old lady fired at Kobeni and Arai, Arai sacrificed himself for her, giving Kobeni enough time to get behind the old lady and make her shoot herself.
This unfortunately creates a lot of survivors guilt for Kobeni as, after apologising to Denji for trying to kill him earlier, she has a breakdown, laughing and crying over how she is apologising for attempted murder and  how Arai died for her.
She declares that she will tell Himeno she quits the next time she sees her, doubling the tragedy because we already know Himeno is dead.
I wonder if anime only viewers will have warmed up to Kobeni now that she has had her big moment?
Many of them hated her because of her actions in the Eternity Devil Arc.
I did too when I read the manga but my negative opinion of her turned around after she saved Denji and I wonder if this is the same for anime only viewers?
The final scene of the episode then sees Makima meeting with Madoka, the sole survivor among the newly introduced Devil Hunters who went out with Denji and the others the night before.
Madoka announces that the divisions are being merged because of the assassinations, leaving Makima in charge.
He then quits his job because he believes its leave the Devil Hunting profession or die, before all but accusing Makima of knowing this whole thing was going to happen.
Makima, however, neither confirms nor denies this, stating she cannot share such information with civilians.
As she leaves with Kurose and Tendo, the two are obviously creeped out by Makima as well now.
They timidly try to get away from her by saying they are only staying in Tokyo briefly so they can train people.
Makima states that this is a shame because, “The dining in Tokyo is to die for,” bringing an end to the episode.
Way to not seem creepy, Makima.
After the episode ends, we get our ninth ED “Deep Down” by Aimer, which is right up there with “Hawatari 2 Oku-senchi” and “First Death” in terms of quality.
Overall, “From Kyoto” is probably my favourite episode of Chainsaw Man so far.
It perfectly adapts great moments like Kobeni rescuing Denji, Makima’s revival, and then her brutal game of Pop Goes the Yakuza!


Manga Spoilers:
One addition to the anime that I liked was the use of crows when the Yakuza began exploding.
We know from the manga that Makima can control various animals, like rats and crows.
The crows flying around when the Yakuza start popping show that Makima is using them to confirm that she is hitting her targets.
Either that or the crows play some role in the popping.
As for Makima leaving Katana Man and Sawatari alive, I am still curious about her reason for doing so.
Maybe it was so she could obtain their power later, as we see her doing so in the final couple of arcs in Part One.

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