Chainsaw Man is one of my favourite mangas and is written by my favourite mangaka, Tatsuki Fujimoto.
Therefore, I am obviously very excited for its anime adaptation and was even more excited for Part 2 of the manga, the first chapter of which just dropped.
Chapter 98, “Bird and War” was honestly not how I expected Chainsaw Man’s second part to begin but, given that this is Fujimoto we’re talking about here, I definitley should have.
A headless Chicken Devil named Bucky, who constantly makes terrible chicken puns, being used as an experiment to teach a highschool class about the sanctity of life is classic Fujimoto craziness.
The concept alone had me laughing hysterically right from the get go, and this was certainly not the last time I would be doing so when reading Chapter 98.
While every student in the class seems excited about spending time with Bucky, there is one exception, a loner girl named Asa Mitaka, the protaganist of the chapter.
Mitaka seems to despise everyone at her school, only tolerating the class president who makes an effort to befriend her.
It is when the two talk for the first time in the chapter that Fujimoto gives us a little bit of worldbuilding for the area they live in.
First, there is the bun the class president is eating, with the packaging it comes in reading, “Chainsaw Curry Man.”
This is a good bit of worldbuilding, showing the impact Denji’s popularity as Chainsaw Man has had an effect on Japan’s marketing companies.
The next bit of worldbuilding comes from Mitaka herself, who describes the city they live in as corrupt, with buildings being constructed illegally, a mayor with a DUI, along with Chainsaw Man himself.
This exposition is a little ham-fisted, since Mitaka is saying things that the class president would already know but it gets the information across to us readers well enough.
At the end of their conversation, the class president attempts to comfort Mitaka by saying that Bucky will be killed in 100 days, yet Mitaka wishes that both the Chicken Devil and Chainsaw Man would die sooner.
Mitaka’s hatred for Chainsaw Man is interesting when you look back and see the class talking about her parents being killed by a devil.
Does she hate Denji just by the assosciation of him being a devil, or does she hate him because her parents were killed in one of his big city fights?
Maybe her parents died in the fight with Reze and the Typhoon Devil, for example?
That’s just a theory for now, though.
Following the conversation between Mitaka and the class president, Fujimoto then delivers a montage of the 100 days the class spends with Bucky, growing closer and closer with him, while somehow tolerating his awful chicken puns.
Although, I suppose I did make just such a pun in the title of this review, so I shouldn’t be one to judge.
By the end of the 100 days, Mitaka is ready for Bucky to be killed, sporting a smug little grin, only for the class president to announce that everyone in the class has become attatched to Bucky and they now want him to live.
The teacher, Mr Tanaka, is overjoyed for his students, as he was hoping that they would come to this conclusion, now declaring that Bucky can live with their class and cancelling math so they can all go play soccer.
The entire class takes part, except for Mitaka, who Mr Tanaka and the class president attempt to coax into playing.
Surprisingly, it is Bucky who convinces Mitaka, jumping into her arms and asking her to come and play, by name.
This is the first time we hear Mitaka’s name in the story and it was a good call from Fujimoto to have this be the case, because it helped isolate us readers from her somewhat, until we learn with Mitaka that, despite her self isolation, she was jealous of the friendships everyone has.
Now feeling hopeful thanks to Bucky’s help, Mitaka holds him in her arms and walks towards her classmates, ready to come out of her shell and begin a new future at the school by making friends… only for her to trip and crush Bucky so hard that his intestines burst from his stomach, killing him.
Cue another burst of laughter from me at this classic use of dark comedy from Fujimoto.
Unfortunately, Mitaka accidentally crushing Bucky to death leads to her being isolated, only this isolation is no longer self-imposed.
Things start to look up, however, when Mr Tanaka and the class president come to take her to Bucky’s Grave to apologize for what happened togethor.
Clearly, Mr Tanaka and the class president are good people who will stand by Mitaka through thick and thin… right?
Well, actually, no, because it turns out that the class president is responsible for tripping Mitaka, causing her to kill Bucky, and has made a deal with the Justice Devil to kill her.
Why did she do this?
Because she was having sex with Tanaka but he wanted to pursue Mitaka, so she got jealous.
Yep, Mr Tanaka is a groomer and the class president only made friends with Mitaka because he asked her to so he could get close and, since then, she has become a devil possessed psycho.
I really like the way this creepy truth is exposed, with Tanaka agreeing with Mitaka that they should stop at red lights, clearly an attempt to begin grooming her in retrospect, and this causes the class president’s jealousy to explode, causing her to finally decide to kill Mitaka.
It is interesting to that the Justice Devil of all devils is the one to make a contract with the class president, since, in her mind, Mitaka deserves a punishment for “stealing” Tanaka away from her, when, in reality, Tanaka is at fault for being a creepy groomer.
However, despite liking the logic of the Justice Devil being the one to attack Mitaka, I will say that I think that its design is a little lacking.
This is not to say that it is badly drawn but most of the devils in Chainsaw Man have designs that perfectly reflect their name, like the Darkness Devil, for example.
The Justice Devil’s form doesn’t really seem to resemble justice in any way that I can see.
Although, maybe there is some meaning behind it that I’m not getting and, even if there isn’t, this is still a very minor gripe, nothing major.
One thing I can highly praise, though, is the amount of thought Fujimoto clearly put into the reveals of the class president and Tanaka because, if you go back and look at a lot of their actions earlier in the chapter, it takes a sinister turn.
The panel right before Mitaka trips obscures the class president from view and in the next panel she is standing right beside the fallen Mitaka, making it clear on rereads that it was in the prior panel where she was obscured when she tripped Mitaka.
Back to the present, as a mere human, Mitaka obviously stands no chance against the Justice Devil but, before she dies, we get a brief look at her thoughts on her life, as she realizes that she is not the only one who is jealous.
Everyone holds some jealously towards another person and, if she had just realized that sooner, she could have had a happy life, making friends and maybe even getting a boyfriend.
Oh, and accompanying these tragic thoughts is some of the most brutal gore we have seen in Chainsaw Man.
Seeing Mitaka’s face get torn apart in slow motion and the horrific aftermath was absolutley brutal.
Almost as brutal as what comes next as, in the instant before she dies, Mitaka sees a strange bird-like devil with the eyes of Makima watching over her from a stop sign.
The devil says that if she wants to live then her body is now its own.
Seemingly in an instant, Mitaka arises from death, now sporting a cool scar and marches over to Tanaka, deservedly decpitating him and sprouting a sword from his head, calling it the “Tanaka Spinal Cord Sword.”
There is already so much gore in Chainsaw Man‘s second part and I am all for it.
It only gets more brutal, as Mitaka announces herself as the War Devil, taking on the Justice Devil, cutting off its arm and transforming it into a hand grenade.
She then slices the Justice Devil in half, before throwing her Tanaka Spinal Cord Sword at her, prompting the class president still inside the Justice Devil to make out with the decapitated head.
I wonder if that’s an Attack on Titan reference?
In any case Mitaka declares this “a happy ending”, throwing the grenade over her shoulder, where it explodes, killing the Justice Devil, as Mitaka walks away in apparent slow motion in what is a clear omage to Fujimoto’s oneshot Goodbye Eri.
Speaking of which, Goodbye Eri is also amazing and if you have not read it yet then you definitley should.
“Bird and War” then ends with Mitaka seeing a poster for a Chainsaw Man Calling Party, and then, resting on the Justice Devil’s corpse, declaring, “Just you wait, Chainsaw Man! I’ll make you vomit nuclear weapons back up!”
This crazy final line from the War Devil controlling Mitaka perfectly spells out its motives, in my opinion.
During the final arc of Chainsaw Man Part One, Makima revealed that whenever the Chainsaw Devil eats another devil, it erases the memory of whatever that devil represented from everyone’s minds.
One of these devils that was killed, wiping its memory from humanity’s existance, was the Nuclear Weapons Devil.
Today, nuclear weapons are the thing we most fear when it comes to the terrible prospect of World War Three.
However, if nuclear weapons never existed, there would be less fear of war.
Not saying the fear would completley vanish, that would be stupid as war should always be feared, but it would be significantly less scary than it is now because without nuclear weapons there would not be a risk of destroying the entire world.
So, imagine the impact removing the memory of nuclear weapons would have had on the War Devil, knowing that devils are only as strong as humanity’s fear of what they represent.
It would have made the War Devil signficantly weaker.
This makes the War Devil’s motives abundantly clear, I think.
I believe that he deliberately took over Mitaka because of her hatred for Chainsaw Man, hoping to use her to kill him, potentially causing all of humanity to remember the fears that he killed, including nuclear weapons, thus returning the War Devil to its original power.
It will be interesting to see, if this theory is correct, how willing Mitaka is to go along with this plan.
We know she hates Chainsaw Man but there are some questions about why, as I have mentioned.
Not only this but we have to wonder how in control Mitaka was of her body when she made a contract with the War Devil.
It seems like the War Devil was completley in control when Mitaka killed the Justice Devil, so will she remember what happened when or if she takes control back and what will she think about her situation?
Would she be willing to kill Chainsaw Man if she knew it would increase the War Devil’s power and bring the world ending threat of nuclear weapons back?
I am intrigued to learn what she will think of all this in the coming chapters.
Another thing I am certain of though, along with the War Devil’s plan, is how Mitaka will attempt to track Chainsaw Man down.
She will do so by attending the Chainsaw Man Calling Party on the fifth of December, as the poster she looks at states.
We also know she and Denji will be at odds because of the promotional material we have got, with one piece showing Denji chainsawing Mitaka’s head open, while she glares at him in defiance.
Speaking of Denji himself, it is interesting to see that he is seemingly not the main character of Part Two.
I wonder what he has been up to, along with the other surviving character from Part One, like Kobeni, Kishibe, Nayuta and Yoshida?
Overall, Chapter 98 of Chainsaw Man “Bird and War” was a eggcelent start to Part Two… I know, I’m sorry, but I couldn’t resist the dumb chicken puns.
In all seriousness, I am incredibly impressed about how Fujimoto made me invested in Mitaka and her story in just a single chapter and I am excited to see where she goes as a character, whether as a protaganist or antaganist or anti-hero.
The chapter was so good that the only criticisms I have of it, those being some of the exposition delivery and the Justice Devil’s design, are so minor that they are barely an issue, showing how great this start was.
The future of Chainsaw Man is looking bright and I am looking forward to more crazy, gory and introspective scenes from Fujimoto
Chainsaw Man is one of my favourite mangas and is written by my favourite mangaka, Tatsuki Fujimoto.