Chainsaw Man Chapter 116, Taste of Starfish Review: Endless Wholesomeness in the Endless Aquarium.

In my review for Chapter 114 of Chainsaw Man, one criticism I had was that it felt too similar to the Eternity Devil Arc.
Well, Chapter 115 began to fix this issue by having fantastic character build up and interactions.
Now, Chapter 116, “Taste of Starfish”, has completed this fix, delivering a wholesome experience in the endless aquarium.
“Taste of Starfish” begins in the starfish tank where Denji offered Asa a starfish to eat in the previous chapter’s cliffhanger.
The Kobeni clone is now there and licking the glass in a state of delirium but Asa and Deni ignore him.
Asa points out which of the starfish are edible and also explains the problem that they would have to boil the starfish to avoid their toxins.
Leaving and sitting down in a room with a lot of gathered hats, Asa and Denji cook the starfish.
As they cook, Asa questions Denji about the hats and he explains that he gathered them so he could sell them all.
No doubt remembering Denji ripping off homeless people for money and stealing money from the handbag, Asa questions why Denji wants money so bay.
Denji replies that he has a “Sorta-friend… sorta-little sister”, obviously referring to Nayuta.
He believes that she is smart enough to go to college so is trying to get the money to pay for it all, wanting her to live a good life.
There is a lot to read in Asa’s expression in the following panel, and I think she is showing a mix of surprise and guilt.
Surprise at Denji’s reason for ripping people off being such an understandable one, and guilt at how she was planning to weaponize him for a time.
The two then eat their starfish but something about her interaction with Denji gives Asa the courage to try fish as well.
The revolted faces she pulls as she eats causes Denji to laugh, declaring that she is fun to watch, despite being a bore.
Denji’s compliments cause a massive boost of self confidence in Asa, as she shouts that she is an interesting woman and glad he noticed, while blushing.
This self-boasting is very reminiscent of Power and Denji notices this too as he tells Asa that she “reminds me of an old friend.”
Asa asks if this is a good thing but, before she can get a response, she is distracted by the endless amount of hats Deni gathered and this leads to her thinking of a plan to get them out of the aquarium loop.
The first step in her plan is an unusual one: collecting money.
What follows is a wholesome montage of theft as Denji and Asa run across the aquarium in a panel very similar to Asa and Yuko running togethor in Chapter 100.
The two steal money and laugh as they go, until they have collected over a million yen.
Asa then tells Denji to give her all of the money for the next step in her plan.
Denji outright refuses, until Asa promise to grant him any request once they’re out, to which Deni instantly sells out.
Oh, Denji.
You may have had a lot of character development but some things about you just never changed.
Now with the money, Asa tells Denji to stand away and close his eyes.
Once Denji has done this, Asa again urges herself to be confident.
She then walks over to one of the tanks, places her hands upon it, lays down the money, saying she is using it to buy the aquarium, and then says “Aquarium Spear,” bringing an end to the chapter.
So Asa’s whole plan is to “buy” the aquarium with the money she and Denji stole, making it hers, and then turn it into a weapon, which will generate an endless amount of weapons due to the loop, which will they will then use to somehow kill the Eternity Devil.
It’s an incredibly creative plan that is pure Fujimoto.
As for whether it will work, I think the Aquarium Spear part will.
Like Asa said, “It doesn’t matter how crazy the logicis. It’s a matter of my own perception.”
Asa may not be capable of actually buying the aquarium but her performing a fake transaction could be enough to create the perception of the aquarium being hers, allowing her to weaponize it against the Eternity Devil.
It will be interesting to see how this weapon is used in the next chapter.
What I am more interested in, however, is the chance to see Denji and Asa interact again.
Their banter and growth this chapter was endless wholesomeness and really made me think Fujimoto might be going down the romantic route for the two of them.
Time will tell.