If you’ve made it this far, you’re likely already a convert to the weird and wonderful world of Chainsaw Man. The series, following the exploits of human/devil hybrid Denji, continues to provide fans with jaw-dropping action and adventure in its third volume, which delivers bloodshed and character growth in equal measure.
Devil Without End, Amen
Volume 3 picks up where we left off, with Denji & Co. trapped by the Eternity Devil who promises to free everyone else in exchange for Denji/Chainsaw Devil’s life.
While one of his companions attempts to accept the offer, she’s quickly incapacitated. The other Devil Hunters with him soon realize that their own attacks merely enrage and empower the Eternity Devil, who continues to grow, forcing them into tighter spots and leaving them with few options…
…until Denji busts out his chainsaws and throws himself into the Eternity Devil, hacking away at the mass of flesh, searching for his opponent’s core.
Their battle lasts for days, a bloody back and forth that is prolonged by Denji’s realization that he can drink the Eternity Devil’s blood (ew) to replenish himself when his injuries begin taking a toll.
Once he has this realization, the end result is basically a foregone conclusion. There’s some back and forth between the two Devils and, though Denji is at one point incapacitated by his foe, he’s quickly revived by Devil Hunter Himeno and finishes off the Eternity Devil. They acquire a piece of the Gun Devil and go on their merry way, all happy and healthy.
While the battle wraps itself up fairly quickly, the artwork is, as always, a delight, with plenty of gore and horror-inspired imagery to satiate fans.
Drinks and… Other Fluids
While this novel is bookended by action setpieces (with the Eternity Devil on one end and the Katana Devil on the other), the middle portion is devoted to something more lowkey: the Devil Hunters go out for drinks after a job well done.
While any other manga would use this solely for character development, Chainsaw Man prefers to eat its cake and have it too, inserting one of the grossest panels in the entire series into this fun, relaxing evening among friends. It comes as Denji is finally receiving his first kiss, as promised by Himeno earlier on in the series, but his companion has had a little too much to drink and, instead of a sweet little French action, she vomits in our hero’s mouth.
It’s a haunting image.
To make matters worse, it happens in front of Makima, Denji’s boss and potential love interest. While she brushes it off (and, sweetly (?), lets Denji have a lollipop she’s been working on to help him get past the taste of puke), Denji will likely carry the trauma of this with him for… a long time.
But, it does lead to Denji and Himeno making a pact the next morning to help one another be successful in love, as Denji pines for Makima and Himeno for her Devil Hunter partner, Aki. It’s a sweet, quiet moment of the sort Chainsaw Man doesn’t have many of, and a nice respite from the series’ usual carnage.
Enter: Katana Devil
Unfortunately, the tranquility doesn’t last long as the Gun Devil, who is being set up as the ultimate villain of the series at this point, launches a plan to bring down the Devil Hunters. He assassinates Makima and launches attacks on the other Devil Hunters simultaneously, unleashing the Katana Devil to take out Denji and his allies.
The Katana Devil has the same conceptual design as the Chainsaw Devil, except instead of Chainsaws sprouting from his face and arms, he has (you guessed it!) swords. His appearance leads immediately to tragedy as Himeno is forced to sacrifice herself to save Aki.
Things pick up the pace at this point, with the volume ending on a cliffhanger (as all shonen manga volumes must) and the stage set for a Denji v. Katana Devil showdown, with the emotional weight of Himeno’s sacrifice hanging over the entire affair.
A Choppy Good Time
While Volume 3 is a solid entry into the Chainsaw Man story, it suffers in its piecemeal presentation, bookended by the end of one fight and beginning of another. While this is par for the course for this type of manga, it does feel like you’re missing something when the action is cut up like this, barely finishing one battle and barely beginning another. Still, what we get of each showdown is enjoyable in its own right, well-staged and reveling in gore the way Chainsaw Man is wont to do.
Of course, this volume is more concerned with character growth and development, which I can only applaud it for. The quieter moments are the strongest here, with Denji and Himeno’s pact making her demise that much harder to take.
And the preceding kiss, gross as it may be, is certainly a memorable moment in a series filled with them.
The third volume of Chainsaw Man delivers all the excitement fans have come to expect from the shonen series, albeit chopped up and against two completely different opponents. The volume’s standout is the interlude that occurs between action setpieces, allowing for welcome character development that adds meaning to the carnage that follows.
As always, I’m fully committed to the madness of this manga and a huge fan of what Tatsuki Fujimoto has accomplished here. With art this cool, a story this strong, and characters this devilishly entertaining, Chainsaw Man remains a Must-Read Bloodbath.
When Volume 4 drops I’ll be first in line to pick it up because, at the end of the day, when a guy has a CHAINSAW for a FACE… I just can’t help myself.
You can purchase Chainsaw Man, Volume 3 here.
You can check out Austin Zook’s review of Chainsaw Man, Volume 1 here.
To see more of the books we’re geeking out over, check out Geek Guy Buys: Read!