Chainsaw Man Episode 3 Is Action-Packed, Funny, And Gnarly

There's three key elements to the winning formula of "Chainsaw Man," all perfectly balanced things that so neither go overboard — 2000s sex comedy humor, extreme violence, and a poignant and bleak world with gravitas. We've seen the first episode dive into the latter two, introducing us to a dark and violent world; the second episode leaned into the first, showing how immature its protagonist is. Now, the third episode mixes the show's signature horny humor with extreme violence for a funny, gnarly, thrilling episode that still finds time to touch on the bleak reality of its world — and make lots of boob jokes.

We start right where we left off after Power obliterated the Sea Cucumber Devil and smashed it to bits. Makima scoffs at them for making a mess, as they could get in legal trouble for the destruction of property. "Chainsaw Man" is continuing to paint the image of a world that is the absolute worst, one where the typical anime elite organization can't even get into big fights in public without getting in trouble for destroying a few measly buildings. This reinforces the idea of Denji being a sort of anti-shonen protagonist, as every "gift" or "power up" he gets is more of a punishment than a true gift. Sure, he is eating actual food and sleeping in a bed, but at what cost?

Also, as if last week's introduction of Power as a manic girl who loves killing wasn't enough of a hint that she may not be the best possible person, here she instantly blames all the destruction on Denji. She even goes as far as saying it is true because devils can't lie. Thankfully, Makima either doesn't believe her or doesn't care, and insists that the two must work together. 

Denji's one goal

Of course, they can't work together, because their goals are polar opposites. It turns out Power does care about more than just killing, as we learn she is only working as a devil hunter to try and rescue her precious Meowy from a demon. Meanwhile, Denji doesn't give a single crap about some random cat — though things would be a bit different if it was a dog — because all he has in mind right now is fulfilling his new life goal of touching any consenting girl's boobs. Things change the moment Power offers Denji a deal: if he rescues her cat, she will allow him to "fondle her chest." 

To the surprise of absolutely no one, this is enough to make our horny teenage devil hunter boy do a 180 turn, put on his most astonished look and share his disgust and anger over a devil kidnapping a poor, defenseless cat, before he vows as a devil hunter to kill that devil.

If it wasn't clear already, this episode reaffirms Denji, and by extension "Chainsaw Man," is essentially what would happen if Morty from "Rick and Morty" got out of his grandpa's yoke and gained the powers of a chainsaw devil. That has its ups and downs, of course, and it is very possible the humor will get very old very quickly, but so far it works wonderfully. Denji is just the dumbest anime protagonist, but without the childhood innocence of someone like Gon or Luffy, and with the insatiable horny drive of Morty Smith. The reason it works is because of the tone of the story and the world of the show call for a dumb and horny protagonist.

Unleash the chains!

You see, unlike something like "Attack on Titan," which is just as bleak as this, but is treated with (at times too much) seriousness, it is clear that "Chainsaw Man" is supposed to be not just bleak, but absurdly bleak. This is a world that's closer to our own in just how stupidly dark it gets that you can't help but laugh. That is the whole point of the manga and now anime; when the world is hell, the best coping mechanism is to laugh it off, think of boobs, and go on your merry way. Though he acts like he doesn't care, we are reminded that denji is still deeply hurting for the loss of the one thing he ever cared about, pochita. we get an adorable flashback to a baby pochita.

Anyway, Denji goes to a remote farmhouse with Power, who predictably, unavoidably betrays Denji. It turns out it is a Bat Devil who has the cat, and he demanded that Power bring him a human to feast on or he'd kill Meowy — which he does anyway because he is still a devil. It isn't until after the devil also eats Power that Denji has enough, and unleashes his chains once more.

Hironori Tanaka, who storyboarded the episode and directed it, does an incredible job of selling the absolute carnage that comes with the titular Chainsaw Man. The fight between Chainsaw Man and the Bat Devil looks like a movie, with intricate movements, fluid camerawork, an eye for background detail, and just a rain of blood and guts. Most importantly, it shows how Denji is a different kind of hero, one that may save a kid and his grandpa from a devil one moment, then throws a car with someone still inside at the same devil the next. This is pure chaos, pure violence, pure "Chainsaw Man."