Chainsaw Man – Episode 5 – “Gun Devil”

If you have any Backrooms jokes to make, I suggest making them now before we move on.

Picking up from last time, Denji finally does it. He finally accomplishes his life’s purpose. After so much strife and pain, he finally gets to cop a feel of Power’s boobs. Three times, in fact!

…and he doesn’t really feel much of anything from it.

Trying to process the sense of emptiness after achieving his dream, he talks to Makima about the situation and what exactly went wrong. Makima then proceeds to get extremely flirty with our protag as she instills in him a lesson about the importance of emotional intimacy in the process of all that horny business. It’s then that she hits him with a significant request: Public Safety has for a while been on the hunt for a particularly terrifying entity called the Gun Devil. 13 years ago, a major terrorist attack in America caused it to appear and massacre millions of people around the world, up to and including the family of Aki Hayakawa. The department has been collecting fragments of the Gun Devil’s flesh from other Devils encountered, with Makima informing Denji that if he succeeds in killing it, then he can request one wish from her… a wish that’s good for anything. Anything. The ultimate blank check.

Later on, Special Division 4 is summoned to a hotel where a Devil sighting has been reported, and we’re given a more formal introduction to the other three members of the team:

-Himeno: Aki’s mentor from when he first joined Public Safety.
-Kobeni: a timid, easily frightened girl who nonetheless possesses ample skills as a hunter.
-and Arai who… exists!

The group of misfits struggle to keep on the same page as they explore the hotel, coming face to face with a minor-looking devil who’s quickly disposed of… only for them to discover that they’re seemingly trapped in a loop on the eighth floor.

I feel like Kobeni and Bocchi would get along… if either of them could even look each other in the eyes for more than a second, poor things.

Poor Denji, man. All that work, all that getting bloodied up by Devils… only for his ultimate goal to mean nothing when achieved. It’s one of the funniest moments in the series and is still hysterical to see animated, from the way Power exaggerates her sense of pleasure from it to the utterly vacant thousand-yard stare on Denji’s face in every scene afterwards (the series isn’t above having a bit of fun at his expense sometimes). For as funny as it is, it leads up to one of the more important character moments for him when Makima starts flirting with him. And the scene leans very hard into conveying the intimacy between the two: the way she runs her fingers between his, guiding his hand around her ear, biting his finger, all leading up to getting to feel up her chest and leading to this wildly intense expression of slightly confused passion from our protag (honestly this whole episode has a lot of top-tier Denji faces all around). The animation accentuates every subtle detail of movement, and the lighting of the sunset outside the office lends warmth to the scene, all to impart the lesson that sexy stuff feels better when you just get your partner on a personal level. Admittedly for most watching this can feel like an obvious “no shit sherlock” kind of idea that we figured out ages ago, but once again: consider Denji’s extremely isolated upbringing and his emotionally stunted mindset as a person. It’s wholly understandable that something like that is going to strike him as the most profound thing in the world: an important step in trying to grow as a person. Not to mention there’s one of my favorite Denji moments when he responds to Makima’s request with the utterly dorky line “It’ll be a peace of cake.”


We get more facts about the broader world of the series through the flashback of the Gun Devil massacre. There’s quite a bit of political commentary at play here, specifically on how America’s particular gun culture is the type of nightmare that can birth a nightmare creature like the Gun Devil and obliterate lives all around the world, and that’s before getting into the apparent censoring of news about violent crimes in the aftermath in a vain effort to curtail the fear of Devils. It was a truly a horrifying event and a traumatic one for Aki in particular that hardened his personality and motivated him to join Public Safety out of a desire for vengeance. Contrasting the warmth of the Makima/Denji scene, this flashback emphasizes snowy environments and an overall emotional coldness as young Aki tries to process watching his house get utterly obliterated, his parents and brother dying in the process. This attitude continues into his initial meeting with Himeno, speaking to her in a detached manner as she simply informs him to not go dying on her like all of her other buddies.

…which serves as quite the contrast when we’re back in the present day outside the hotel and Himeno’s behaving as an extroverted flirt in order to motivate the others to succeed in the mission. I’d say of all the facets of Chainsaw Man, scenes like this are the ones that feel the most like conventional shonen, in the sense of witnessing a small group of weirdo misfits wielding anime magic trying to get along and cooperate in tracking down an enemy target. Seeing the personalities of everyone bounce off of each other really lets the humorous side of Fujimoto’s character writing really shine: Denji and Power as chaotic siblings, Aki as the stern father figure trying to wrangle everyone on track, Kobeni’s extremely timid nature, and Arai… existing, I guess? Okay I’ll be completely honest: having read over the story several times over, to this day I’m honestly not sure why he’s here other than “we needed a sixth”, but that’s just me.

The shenanigans continue once inside the hotel, as Arai feuds with Denji over who gets to kiss Himeno once it’s all over, and Himeno even having to step in and wrangle Power’s chaotic personality into place. She’s revealed to have a contract with the Ghost Devil and uses its hand to choke out Power and stop her from causing problems, which leads to one of the funniest moments in the anime so far. It’s a split second moment, but immediately afterwards, you can see Denji smirking mischievously and chuckling like a little shit at Power’s brief misfortune, it’s hilarious. On a side note, the production really nails the unnerving vibe of the hotel, from the muted lighting and colors to the sense of liminal space to even the constant humming buzz of an old-ass air conditioning unit. It feels quite tangible and real, as in I’m confident that anyone reading this has more than likely been in this exact hotel before. It definitely sets up an interesting conflict for next week when the crew hopefully discovers what’s lying at the center of this strange hotel. Time for Syudou to play us out this time!

New episodes of Chainsaw Man premiere every Tuesday and can be streamed on Crunchyroll and Hulu.

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