The first two episodes of Chainsaw Man started off Mappa’s adaptation excellently but, in my opinion, it is Episodes Three and Four where the quality really gets into high gear.
Directed by Hinori Tanaka, Episode Three, “Meowy’s Whereabouts”, prepares us for the excellent quality of animation we are going to see right from the get-go.
“Meowy’s Whereabouts” begins simply, picking up in the aftermath of Power destroying the Sea Cucumber Devil.
Makima is disappointed in Power for killing the devil since it was already being taken care, and in Denji for not controlling Power.
Makima then questions if Power is cut out to be a Devil Hunter.
This scares Power, who attempts to place the blame all on Denji, causing an argument, which comes to an end when Makima calmly asks them to quiet down.
Despite the calmness of this request Power is again terrified into submission, as she timidly agrees to work with Denji.
Although this opening scene is a simple one, animation wise, I was still amazed by simple details like Makima resting her face in her hand.
Even little details like her fingernails were much more detailed than in other anime, preparing us for the fantastic animation that is to come when Denji eventually faces off against the Bat Devil in the back half of the episode.
“Meowy’s Whereabouts” then goes about setting that fight up with its next scene, as Denji and Power are hanging around some vending machines.
A cat approaches Power and she uses this as an opportunity to talk about her own cat Meowy, who was kidnapped by a devil.
Denji seems uninterested, focusing on his goal of touching boobs.
This results in a good laugh when Power manipulates Denji into helping, saying she would let him touch hers if he saves Meowy, causing Denji to act outraged that the devil stole the cat and vowing to save it.
Yet, he is completley unaware that Power has just lured him into a trap.
Although, so is the audience, at that point.
Following the intro, Denji and Power head off to save Meowy, with Denji attempting to relate to Power by talking about Pochita, saying he is sad he cannot pet him because he lives in his heart.
However, much like Denji dismissed Meowy before Power made her offer, Power too dismisses Pochita, believing Denji is just saying that as a way to get through his grief.
It is interesting how despite having a similar love for their pets, Power and Denji still do not get along at this stage and dismiss each other’s feelings, something that will be resolved as the episode progresses.
Before that can happen, however; the scene cuts to Makima being interviewed by her bosses about her squad, to which she describes Denji as “interesting”, while she and her bosses use plenty of dog metaphors for him again.
On the drive back, Aki questions Makima about finding Denji “interesting”, and it is here that we get one of the first big lore dumps of the series, as Makima describes how devils work.
She states that every devil is born with a name and how much that name is feared determines how strong the devil is.
So, for example, a coffee devil would be rather weak but a car devil would be pretty strong since there is a common fear of being run over.
Therefore, a Chainsaw Devil would have to be powerful as well, which is the implication Makima gives for why she finds Denji so interesting.
Aki still insists on Denji being unhelpful and what happens next initially proves him to be right.
As Denji and Power approach the abandoned house where Meowy is being held hostage, Denji wonders why Power is approaching with him because she said the devil would kill Meowy if she got close.
This causes Power’s entire story to fall apart and, once Denji realizes he has been lured into a trap, he lunges forward, only to be too slow as Power whacks him over the head with a hammer made from her blood.
She then drags the injured Denji inside the house where the Bat Devil is waiting for her.
The Bat Devil’s arm was cut off by a Devil Hunter so he uses Denji’s blood to revive himself, only to be disgusted by the taste.
Therefore, he decides to punish Power.
By this point, one could be forgiven for thinking that Power had lied to Denji about Meowy but it is revealed she was telling the truth as the Bat Devil has taken Meowy hostage.
His punishment for Power is for her to watch as he swallows Meowy hole, while she looks on in horror.
We then get a flashback to show how the bond between the two formed.
After the Blood Devil became the Fiend known as Power, she killed and ate everything she came across.
This was until Meowy found her, after Power had killed a bear.
However, Meowy was skin and bones so Power began to feed them in the hopes of fattening them up so she could eat them.
What she did not count on, however, was becoming attatched to Meowy.
It was after she had this realization that the Bat Devil took Meowy hostage, ordering Power to find him a human to eat to save her cat.
Power ran off to do so, only to be eventually captured by Makima off screen.
With the flashback done, the scene changes to present day, where we finally get the first moment of conciliation between Power and Denji, as Power states that she now finally understands how Denji felt when he said that he could no longer pet Pochita.
The Bat Devil’s punishment for Power continues, as he eats her next.
He probably should have chewed, however, because seeing Power and Meowy trapped in the Bat Devil’s stomach makes Denji rush to save them by catching a ride on the Bat Devil.
“Gimme my tits back!” He humorously shouts, calling back to his deal with Power.
But Denji’s reasons for trying to save Power does not fully conform with this dream as he also wants to save her because he has finally come to sympathise with her, just like she did him.
As Denji pulls the rip cord on his chest to unleash his chainsaw powers, he recalls a time when he lost Pochita and became scared that he had eaten by a devil, only to find him when he came back home.
He and Pochita then slept beside each other and Denji remembers how relieved he felt, before wondering how scared Power must have been sleeping while knowing the Bat Devil had Meowy.
This thought concluded, Denji begins his rescue attempt for Power and Meowy in spectacular and gory fashion, as the chainsaw rips through his own head as he transforms.
He then cuts off the Bat Devil’s arm again, causing the two of them to fall from the sky, crashing into a building, nearly hitting a woman.
Denji urges the woman to flee before she gets eaten.
A gloriously animated fight then follows between Denji and the Bat Devil, during which Denji also saves a father and daughter, both of whom should look familar to manga readers.
This is because they are the father and daughter from Chapter Two who were cut from the anime.
However, even though Denji does save them, he could care less about other people, as he throws a car at the Bat Devil with a man still inside.
The man barely manages to get out in time, thankfully.
Afterwards, the Bat Devil seems to be put an end to the fight, defeating Denji with a sonic sound wave, which has great sound design, by the way.
The Bat Devil is then about to begin feasting on humans once more, only for Denji to emerge from the rumble of a building, angrily declaring how mad he is about not being about to cop a feel yet.
It is quite hilarious to hear Denji’s voice actor, Kikunosuke Toya, scream so passionately about this.
The Bat Devil is also stunned by this because it causes him to drop the person he was about to eat.
The question is if he dropped the man out of fear for Denji or because he was stumped by how stupid Denji is.
My money is on both.
Denji then easily kills the Bat Devil in bloody fashion, ripping him open, as blood rains down on him in a killer shot that brings an end to the episode.
We then get our third ED “Hawatari 2-oku Centi” by Maximum the Hormone, which is my favourite so far, with its visuals and foreshadowing for the future.
The entire fight between Denji and the Bat Devil this episode was absolutley excellent, with incredible animation throughout.
I am extremely glad that it was Mappa who was chosen to animate Chainsaw Man because of how great of a job they have been doing and I cannot wait to see more.
Manga Spoilers Section:
One thing I enjoyed about how “Meowy’s Whereabouts” adapted the manga was how well it translated Power’s fear of Makima.
From the animation of her reaction, to Fairouz Ai’s voice performance; all of this does a great job at foreshadowing how Makima is bad news.
Another nice detail was the inclusion of the father and daughter from Chapter Two, who are saved by Denji from the Bat Devil here, instead of the Muscle Devil.
This meant that they could be used for an Episode Four scene, where Aki flashes back to them talking about how Denji saved them.
I will talk about that scene in the review for that episode, which I will be releasing alongside this one.