Part of my brain tells me to stay away from the Fox Devil… and other parts tell me to scritch all of its fur.
Picking up in the aftermath of the Bat Devil fight, Denji succeeds in rescuing Power and Meowy, himself ecstatic that fulfilling his bargain with her means he’ll be able to cop a feel… until the pair are unexpectedly ambushed by yet another devil, the Leech Devil. Taunting and teasing our hero for his sleazy “ambitions”, the two engage in a heated fight that’s only settled when Aki obliterates the enemy with a Devil of his own, bringing in the rest of his team to help resolve the aftermath.
Denji wakes up in the hospital fully recovered, with Aki waiting to browbeat him for his lack of ambitions and inability to stay out of trouble. Additionally, Power is being held in handcuffs in the outside hallway as everyone is attempting to straighten out what to do with her given her deceitful actions which nearly got our protag killed. The following day, Aki and Denji are going about their normal everyday business at the apartment, only for the door to be aggressively busted down by Power, having been given approval by Makima to live with the two. She very quickly proves to be an obnoxious nuisance, so much so that Aki and Denji are on the same page for once. While attempting to clean out the toilet, Denji is approached by Power who reminds him of their agreement, and the episode ends on Denji preparing himself to finally fulfill his dreams.
One of the major recurring motifs emphasized throughout this episode is the nature of relationships between humans and devils. This starts off on an admittedly bizarre not when the Leech Devil shows up claiming to be the girlfriend of the recently slain Bat Devil. To this day since first reading it in the manga, it’s still a really weird thing to try and think about (…do bats and leeches shack up in the wild? …never mind, I’m not sure I really want to know), but nonetheless it creates interesting implications about how devils can share relationships that are very similar to those humans share between each other. On a brief tangent, the fight itself is presented incredibly well here. The anime staff features quite a bit of crossover from the same studio’s adaptation of Jujutsu Kaisen, and the Leech Devil fight shares the most overt stylistic similarities so far. Specifically, it has the same kind of energy as the Yuji-centric fights, emphasizing intense visceral movement as Denji parkours all around the environment and on the tentacles of his enemy, trading physical blows with the hideous devil (and maybe a touch of the Devilman Crybaby run for good measure). The adaptive scripting really nails the intense banter between the two throughout; good dialogue adds so much to a fight, and Hiroshi Seko’s adaptive scripting leans hard into the trash talk here. Denji’s dialogue in particular reflects his blunt simplistic nature really well, with a comically intense serious conviction in his desire to touch boobs, letting out an explosive outburst for everyone mocking his small-minded ideals.
The theme of relationships is repeated through other scenes like the opening flashback showing Power’s developing acceptance of Meowy, keeping the soft precious cat floof safe as she proceeds to maul and munch on the remains of animals in the forest, and the further exploration of Devil contracts. After Aki summons the Fox Devil, he explains to Denji in the hospital that he has a contract where he feeds pieces of his flesh to the Devil in exchange for being able to use its powers, a transactional dynamic that’s not too far removed from how Denji himself has been forced to interact with the world for almost all of his life. Although at the very least, his devil contract prolonged his life and well-being instead of removing organs and skin like with Aki’s.
There’re a few additional bits of connective tissue thrown in from the corresponding manga chapters, mainly focusing on Aki Hayakawa as he attempts to navigate the aftermath of the incident through a meeting with Makima and a sequence focused on his morning routine at the apartment. The latter is honestly a really pleasant addition to the episode. While it’s not an extravagant scene or anything (although there certainly is some very detailed animation used in these parts), it’s calming and quaint just to see Aki go about a series of chores: brushing his teeth, washing the laundry, preparing lunch, and even having a morning smoke.
…that makes it all the more hilarious when Power busts through the front door, literally busting the doorknob out of its slot before asserting her presence and bring the quaint serenity to an end. You can practically see the look on Aki’s face as he calls Makima about all this, the kind of expression that says “I’m clearly questioning several of my life choices right now.” And as previously mentioned, her irritating presence causes him and Denji to be on the same side, and this does lead to one of the more interesting moments early on in the series run. When Power is having a tantrum over being served vegetables, Denji retaliates by very specifically claiming that it’s hugely disrespectful to the farmers who worked hard to grow them. Considering that Aki was chewing him out earlier for having no understanding of social graces, it’s a strangely mature moment for someone like him to care about the hard work of farmers. However it does make quite a bit of sense given how often he lived on the edge of starvation: when the only thing you can justify having for dinner is a slice of white bread, it definitely makes sense that he has a strong appreciation for the value and importance of food. Of course the ending stinger will lead to quite the shenanigans next week, so time for Tooboe to play us out this week!
Oh right, I wanted to mention one last thing: as of this writing, the first two episode of the English dub for the series are available, and so far it sounds pretty great. Of course the highlight is Ryan Colt Levy in the lead as Denji; he’s giving a really strong performance, going the extra mile in capturing every facet of the character’s personality, from his emotional desperation to his aggressive instincts and especially his more humorous moments. The way he delivered the line “A Testicle Devil appeared and went apeshit on his [Aki’s] nutsack, ma’am” honestly had me howling, it’s fantastic. Of course, the rest of the current cast is doing wonderfully here, from Reagan Murdock’s quiet intensity as Aki to Sarah Wiedenheft reveling in Power’s chaotic personality. I can’t wait to hear how the rest of the characters sound in the dub!
New episodes of Chainsaw Man premiere every Tuesday and can be streamed on Crunchyroll and Hulu.