Remember kids: always respect your elders… because you have no clue if they can end your existence.
Aki awakens in the hospital after the initial events with Katana Man, with Denji and Power waiting there as they inform him of Division 4’s numerous casualties. The two of them leave Aki to his devices as he struggles to process everything, breaking down in tears before being paid a visit by Kurose and Tendo. The two of them inform Aki that Public Safety will need to invoke some contracts with stronger devils in order to stand a chance against this new threat (especially considering how the Fox Devil has abandoned working for him). As the two leave him be for now, Aki is visited by a mysterious woman.
Meanwhile Denji, struggling with his own lack of feelings towards the recent fatalities of his coworkers, is summoned by Makima to the Devil Hunters graveyard alongside Power. The two of them are assigned special training by the best Devil Hunter in Public Safety, the previously seen Kishibe. After a quick assessment, he proceeds to spend the day beating the two with ease, constantly gaining the upper hand and demonstrating their lack of skills against an experienced veteran. Once the two are left alone, Denji and Power attempt to devise a plan to outsmart their mentor. The next day, Kishibe visits their apartment to test them again, but the two planned an ambush… that quickly fails as Kishibe takes the two of them out before heading off for drinks. Back over with Aki, he’s taken by Kurose and Tendo to an underground facility containing devils captured by Public Safety, as the episode ends with him coming face to face with the Future Devil in order to make a contract.
There’s quite a bit that can be said about this week’s episode of Chainsaw Man, but the most immediate thing of note is that after two episodes of emotional devastation and menacing plot developments, it’s nice to see the series delve back into its more darkly comedic aspects for a bit. And much like with the infamous first kiss from episode 7, the humor of this episode is derived heavily from tormenting Denji as well as Power. After some flashback teases in prior episodes, we finally get some substantial screentime with the elderly Kishibe, and I have to tell you all… I love this magnificent bastard so much. How could you not? He’s a grizzled hard-ass old guy who drinks all the time and spends half the episode beating the shit out of Denji and Power and showing them why he’s the best. He’s a man who definitely lives up to his stated ideals about how the best devil hunters have a few screws loose.
The idea behind his training is the perfect way to highlight his character: the way he sees it, being the single best devil hunter means that any devil who gains an advantage against him must somehow be the most powerful devil. But he blatantly admits that he only came up with this idea while knocking back a whole lot of liquor, so one can be forgiven for doubting whether or not there’s any logic to what he’s saying. …Then again, he very well might have a point, especially when the apartment ambush happens. There’s some pretty killer animation during this scene, highlighting Kishibe’s quick reflexes as he dodges out of the way of Power’s blood spears and Denji’s attacks. He’s definitely not someone to fuck with, as evidenced in his parting words to our protagonist: “Beasts should never trust anything a hunter says.” It’s also hysterical how the terrible twosome think that they’re able to somehow “outsmart” an alcoholic when the two of them combined pretty much have the IQ of a shovel and two candy bracelets. Denji can’t even read but he thinks he can win in a battle of wits, and that’s damn funny, as well as Power overlooking the flaw of becoming anemic from wasting as much blood as she does in the ambush.
The hilarious misfortunes of the chaotic devil duo can almost make one forget about the emotional angst and torment of the other half of the episode. Despite opening on them arguing like children in Aki’s hospital room over some apples, the second he’s left alone, he just absolutely breaks, trying to light a cigarette before the memories of Himeno hit him like a truck and he bursts into tears. To add onto this further, the mysterious visitor Aki receives in the hospital turns out to be her sister, who delivers him letters that Himeno sent back home, which all revolved around one sentiment: trying to save Aki from the dangers of working in Public Safety, giving him the strongest sense yet of what exactly it was she felt towards him all this time. Just one more gut punch on top of an ever-persistent series of misfortunes in the man’s life, punctuated further by the Curse Devil’s revelation that he now only has about 2 more years left to live after having used the sword. The conversations about needing to form contracts which may necessitate further sacrifices certainly doesn’t help, especially when viewing the underground facility where the Future Devil is being housed, but we’ll have to wait until next episode to see how things play out between Aki and the Devil. But for now, it’s time for People 1 to play us out with “Dogland!”
New episodes of Chainsaw Man premiere every Tuesday and can be streamed on Crunchyroll and Hulu.