After the fantastic first episode of Chainsaw Man‘s anime adaptation, Mappa continue to impress with Episode Two, “Arrival in Tokyo”, directed by Tōko Yatabe.
Picking up right after Denji agrees to work for Makima after she offers him food, the episode begins with a close-up of Makima’s eye, highlightly how unusual her eyes are.
The animaton of this close-up is incredible, from the reflection of the passing countryside in Makima’s eye, to even the way she blinks.
This quality of animation is continued throughout the episode, with every little moment being so well animated.
Inside the car, Makima and Denji have a conversation, where Makima continues to compare him to a dog, saying she only wants to hear “yes” or “woof” from him because she does not need a dog who says “no”, threatening to have him “put down” if he is not useful.
This naturally freaks Denji out, or at least it does until Makima offers to pay for his food and gives him her jacket.
No one has been nice to Denji before, so this small kindness from Makima causes him to fall in love with her instantly, seemingly forgetting how she literally just threatened his life.
That is the tragic thing about Denji: He will accept being worked like a dog for the smallest of rewards because his harsh life has caused him to value those small things that most of us take for granted.
After the OP, we see Denji and Makima getting their food, where Denji explains to Makima how Pochita became his heart and Makima says there is no precedent for his condition, so it does not have a name.
Denji looks dejected about this, until Makima says she believes him because she has a strong sense of smell, allowing her to sniff out that he is part human and part devil.
This is, of course, a huge relief to Denji but he then passes out because of his exhaustion and, when he wakes up, Makima feeds him, increasing Denji’s affection for her to the point that he asks if there is a guy she likes.
Makima replies “I’m into the ‘Denji’ Type”, pretty much sealing the deal on Denji’s feelings for her.
However, what anime only viewers may not know about this scene is that there is actually a big cut from the manga.
In Chapter Two, right before Denji and Makima order food, an injured man runs up to them shouting that his daughter has been kidnapped by a devil.
Makima threatens Denji into going to rescue the girl but he finds her playing with it instead.
The girl claims that her father beats her so the devil saved her and, now scared of Makima, Denji offers to run away with the girl and the devil.
Unfortunately for him, this is a trap because the devil is the Muscle Devil and has taken control of the girl’s body.
The Muscle Devil attempts to kill Denji and the girl but Denji transforms into his devil form and kills it, returning the girl to her thankful father.
While it was unfortunate to see this moment from the manga get the axe, it is not too important in the grand scheme of the story.
Also, I think they manage to construct the opening scene of the episode just fine without it.
Making Makima threaten Denji in the beginning, instead of when she sends him to kill the Muscle Devil, does add to the theme of Denji accepting being treated like a dog, when he decides he loves Makima after she treats him well a moment later.
With this scene done, the episode cuts to Makima leading Denji through the city to the Devil Hunters’ Tokyo headquarters.
It is there that Denji is given a change of clothes and, more importantly, meets his new colleague and another fan favourite character, Aki Hayakawa (Shogo Sakata).
Denji is upset that Aki will be his colleague rather than Makima, causing Aki to drag him away, passing a painting of what I have been told is an illustration by Gustave Dore of Dante’s Divine Comedy.
In order to reassure Denji, Makima tells him they can only work togethor if he does a good job, doing up his tie.
However, it will be hard for Denji to do a good job if Aki succeeds in getting him to quit the Devil Hunters, which is exactly what he tries to do, leading Denji into an alley and then beating him up.
Aki berates Denji for only joining the Devil Hunters to get close to Makima, believing only those with strong convictions can survive as a Devil Hunter, chucking a cigarette at him and then spitting on him.
Aki underestimates Denji, however, because he attacks him from behind, kicking Aki right in the family jewels and then continues to kick saying whenever he fights, “It’s nuts or nothing!”
Denji then further proves how much Aki underestimates him because he explains he does have strong convictions in regards to living a good life, stating, “if I get to keep up this kind of life? I don’t care if it kills me.”
Aki then proves how he did not entirely have good intentions by attempting to convince him to leave the Devil Hunters, since he takes offence to Denji believing he could get with Makima, showing off his jealousy.
Aki prepares to fight Denji, yet he apparently was not listening when Denji says he fights “nuts or nothing” as he leaves said nuts undefended, leading to Denji kicking them in again.
Denji then takes Aki back to Makima, humorously claiming that the nut devil attacked his testicles.
Despite Denji and Aki clearly not getting along, Makima puts Denji in his squad.
Aki is reluctant but Makima insists, explaining Denji’s situation and that he will be disposed of as a devil if he tries to leave.
Denji asks what this means and Makima replies, “it means we’re working togethor until you die.”
Personally, I was sad to see the translation from the manga I have was not used, which is, “it means we’ll be working togethor until death do us part.”
The marriage proposal elements to that line always seemed like a good way for Makima to lure Denji in more, so I am not the biggest fan of this new translation.
Although, it is just one line so it is not too big of a deal.
Anyway, after Denji and Aki are partnered togethor, Aki takes Denji to live in his apartment.
On the way there, Denji questions if Makima is a good person, yet still wants to hug her.
Upon hearing this, Aki gives a cry of shock, which seemed much more exagerated in the anime and was thus way funnier.
Even funnier still is how Aki’s life takes a turn for the worse with Denji as a roomate.
Denji makes a mess by making a mess of a sandwich, sings loudly in the bath, and uses up all of the toilet paper.
Aki’s frustration only grows when he and Denji are sent to kill a Fiend, a devil which has taken over a dead body.
To see what Denji is capable of in his devil form, Aki orders him to transform and then kill the devil, only for Denji to simply kill it in his human form.
This angers Aki and he accuses Denji of not taking things seriously, revealing his entire family was killed by a devil right in front of his eyes.
He follows this up by questioning if Denji wants to make friends with devils and Denji responds yes because he does not have friends.
This appears to strike a cord with Aki, causing him to leave Denji alone with the dead Fiend… and a bunch of porno mags to steal.
The real reason Denji did not transform into his chainsaw form is that he did not want to get blood on the porn.
Remembering his deal with Pochita to live his dreams, Denji replies that he is living his dream but he feels something is missing.
This leads to Denji deciding what his next big, massively important goal in life is, and that is to touch boobs.
Yes, I am serious.
It is kind of funny to compare Denji to other shounen protaganists.
Some want to save the world, while others want revenge.
Hell, even Aki fits the latter type of character, yet he is not the protaganist; Denji is, and Denji just wants to touch some boobs.
So strong is this new conviction he has that it leads to him shouting about boobs in Makima’s prescence.
Again, this was an instance where I found the manga translation to be better.
In the manga, Denji shouts “melons” at Makima, rather than boobs, causing her to question, “fruit?”
This is a lot funnier than the anime version, which just has Makima repeating back what Denji says, rather than the humorous misunderstanding in the manga.
There was not much time to dwell on this small issue, however, because we then get our introduction to yet another fan favourite character, the Fiend, Power (Fairouz Ai).
Fun fact for anyone who does not know: Power’s personality is actually based off Eric Cartman from South Park.
No, I am not kidding.
Everything about Power’s introduction is great in the anime.
The animation is excellent, Fairouz Ai’s performance is also great, and the marching band-like soundtrack suits Power’s character perfectly.
Denji is at first reluctant to work with a Fiend, until he gets a look at Power’s chest and instantly decides he’s okay with it.
The two are then sent out on their first patrol, which does not go well because they cannot find any devils.
Power claims this is because she was a devil all others feared before she became a Fiend, showing off her arrogance.
Denji believes her, however, and speculates that Aki set them up togethor to fail, imagining Aki pulling a funny face at him that is 100% a face Aki would never pull.
His inner turmoil is quickly interrupted, though, when Power smells bloods and runs off in a mad dash to attack and kill the Sea Cucumber Devil.
This is another moment I think was funnier in the manga but not due to the translation this time.
No, I think it was funnier in the manga because the focus was on the civilian Devil Hunter in the phone booth trying and failing to tell his colleague about the Sea Cucumber Devil, only to be interrupted by Power obliterating it.
In the anime, the scene passes by very quickly with not much focus on the humor of Power interrupting the man.
Still, the animation of this moment is once again great and Fairouz Ai does a fantastic job delivering Power’s maniacal laughter, which brings an end to the episode.
Overall, “Arrival in Tokyo” is another great Chainsaw Man episode.
I did have some issues with the translations and certain moments not being as funny as in the manga but, that aside, this is still an enjoyable episode with fantastic animation, music and voice acting.
Manga Spoiler Section:
Upon my second read through of Chainsaw Man, it was quite enjoyable to see how Tatsuki Fujimoto had put foreshadowing for how the manga would end in the opening chapters.
“Arrival in Tokyo” did a good job of adapting this foreshadowing, with Makima telling Denji that she has a good sense of smell, hinting at how she will eventually be defeated by him.
There is also a good amount of symbolism for Makima with the Divine Comedy painting seen when Aki drags Denji away.
The painting appears to show a demon attacking or chasing a man, probably hinting at Makima torturing Denji by taking everything he loves away, all with the end goal of relasing Pochita as Chainsaw Man.
Throughout the episode there are also nice little nods to other characters’ future actions.
One of these is small moment at the end of the episode, when Power looks at a cat she and Denji pass, foreshadowing how rescuing her cat is currently her priority, which we will see next episode.
“Arrival in Tokyo” had a lot of great character foreshadowing, which I am sure will make it an interesting rewatch for anime only viewers, once the adaptation of Part One of the manga is complete.