Oh hell yeah, we’re hitting up the local izakaya!* … *Translator note: izakaya means—
Picking up from last time, Denji transforms into Chainsaw Man and faces off against the Eternity Devil, hacking away at its expansive mass for about three days. As he slices its flesh to pieces, the resulting blood continuously fuels his powers, to the point where the Devil eventually yields and surrenders the core of its being. Denji annihilates it, freeing Special Division 4 from imprisonment in the hotel. Shortly after, the team decides that a party is in order so that tensions can be smoothed over. Everyone seems to be in high spirits, partaking in good food and tons of drinking, bonding as a way to take their minds off work.
Makima even shows up for the occasion, soundly defeating Aki and Himeno in a drinking contest, rendering the latter so inebriated that she finally holds up her bargain with Denji and giving him his first kiss… which concludes with her vomiting right into his mouth.
…no I’m not including a screenshot.
Once things wind down at the bar, everyone heads their own way, with Himeno carrying Denji back to her place while she’s very hungover and still in a flirty mood, as the episode ends on her offering to have sex with Denji.
The conclusion of the Eternity Devil fight is another fantastic action set piece for the season so far, mainly being carried by the surreal imagery of Denji’s opponent. It’s genuinely creepy and unnerving to be fighting a Devil whose physical form is all-encompassing: there’s little to no tangible shots of the environment as our protagonist goes to town, just an indistinct mass of flesh, limbs, and facial organs all around. There’s a nice touch with the music here as Maximum the Hormone’s ending theme from episode 3 appears during the battle, and it works pretty well (not to mention there’s a little moment where Kobeni gasps at the action in sync with the “Kon” lyric from the song which I think is neat). Additionally, the resolution to this arc is pretty hilarious in the kind of way that Chainsaw Man is known for. The fact that Denji’s idea boils down to “swallowing the infinite pools of flesh and blood from the Devil to continuously fuel himself and his attacks up until his enemy finally waves the white flag and gives up” is just about the most Denji way possible to come out on top, and the sudden cut to the team exhausted but finally exiting the hotel is very funny.
As far as character development, Himeno’s attitude towards her fellow devil hunters and her own job take center stage here, the crux of which can best be summed up from the flashback scene at the Devil Hunter’s gravesite between her and her superior, Master Kishibe. The opening line of their conversation from him gets at the heart of things rather succinctly:
“The Devil Hunters that devils fear most are the ones with a few screws loose.”
Himeno’s attitude is frequently portrayed as carefree and casual (even telling Aki at one point that she thinks Denji needs to lighten up over all the murder attempts aimed at him in the hotel), but at her core she’s deeply emotionally wounded by the day to day events from her job. Kishibe points out that constantly visiting the graves of her deceased teammates proves that her head is still firmly in place. As much as she tries to be all nonchalant about things, her emotional attachments are still in place, firmly evidenced by when she’s offered to transfer to the private sector and tries to bring Aki along with her. It’s a job position that’s less risky than working with Public Safety and would even allow for more free time between the two, but his determination to kill the Gun Devil motivates him to stay with Public Safety… and this severely worries Himeno, because as she says herself: “Aki is cool and serious and kind and normal.” In other words, exactly the kind of mindset that causes devil hunters to die in the line of fire, and a complete contrast to our protagonist who is (to use the technical term here) kinda batshit insane. Her attitude even extends to the party at the bar, where someone brings up the death of a devil hunter and she just drunkenly skirts around it.
Speaking of which, the gathering at the bar is one of my favorite scenes in the series, for a few reasons, chief among them being the character interactions and overall casual vibe of it all. One of my favorite things about series like say, One Piece, is that whenever most major arcs wrap up, instead of immediately jumping to the next big thing, our heroes are given a chance to chill out in their present location: sight-seeing, shopping, eating, etc. Buffers like these are great for seeing the characters bounce off each other in a very relaxed context outside of huge important plot events, and that feeling exists at the bar. Drinks are being pounded down all around the table, the characters are enjoying all kinds of food from fried chicken to horse meat sashimi (… is that actually a thing?), and everyone gets to learn a thing or two about each other. Kobeni likes eating tasty things and comes from a very large family, Denji is illiterate and apparently doesn’t entirely remember his own age (“16, if I remember correctly”), Power brags about her IQ to a comically absurd extent, and that one other dude from Special Division 4 is really into haiku… Arai, that’s what his name was! The drinking contest is another humorous moment between the cast, with the punchline of the vomit kiss being the darkly funny icing on the cake. As a brief aside, the second soundtrack EP dropped this week, and the song during that moment is called “kick ass!”, which also plays during the Denji/Aki fight and the scene where Power offers some chest fondling for our protag rescuing her cat. So I assume that piece is essentially the “serious-sounding track that ironically underscores a humorous scene”, and it’s top-notch, no notes.
The last thing of note is the ending, where Himeno is drunkenly laying on top of Denji and prepared to do the deed. If the psychologically broken/desperate nature of her character wasn’t fully clear by now, her drunken rambling should put any doubts to bed. Her attitude bounces back and forth between joking/joyous and just utterly desperate, even openly wondering why Aki seems to be more interested in Makima than herself, it’s kinda sad in a way. …And yes, I’m fully aware of the questionable nature of a grown woman drunkenly offering sex to a teenager. We don’t need to be reminded of that a million goddamn times; and for the record, thinking that she’s an interestingly flawed character doesn’t mean approving of all of her actions. Take that nonsense to tumblr, we do actual media analysis in these parts.
…Sorry that’s been bugging me personally for months now.
But we’ll see the aftermath of all this next week, so time for Ano to play us out with “Chu, Tayōsei!”
New episodes of Chainsaw Man premiere every Tuesday and can be streamed on Crunchyroll and Hulu.