Chainsaw Man Episode 4 Is An Action-Packed And Heartfelt 'Rescue'

Now THIS is "Chainsaw Man!" The first three episodes were great, but they felt more like appetizers meant to give us a taste of the different elements that make up the show. This week we get our first actual meal, mixing stunning action, great moments of juvenile humor, exquisite animation, and a lot of heart. The result is absolutely delicious.

"Rescue" begins with a flashback showing Power making a life with her cat Meowy, living in the woods and hunting wild bears for food. After Meowy is kidnapped by the Bat Devil, Power contemplates why she is actually going along with the devil's plan, and risking her life to find him a human to feed on just to save a cat. Despite her being a fiend, and despite her manic behavior, Power genuinely cares about her cat, and after a gross speech about her desire for blood, she realizes she actually does enjoy spending time with those she cares about.

When we return to the present, Power asks why Denji saved her despite her trying to kill him, to which he responds by simply pointing at her chest and doing a squeezing gesture with his hand. Granted, Power may not genuinely care for Denji just yet, but she does show her appreciation and grants him his wish of fondling with her chest. Sadly, Denji's exhilarating celebration is cut short when a demon blows up his arm.

Turns out, Denji is attacked by the Leech Devil, here to avenge the death of her love, the Bat Devil. This is truly an exquisite fight, with Denji lacking enough blood to fully transform into Chainsaw Man and only able to summon a baby version of his forehead chainsaw. 

Dream battle!

Tatsuya Yoshihara returns to direct his first episode of anime in three years, and he makes this worth his time, delivering an outstanding half hour of TV. The fight between Denji and the Leech Devil is not as visceral as others we've seen on the show, but Yoshihara counters the lack of guts with fantastic choreography, with Denji's movements appearing more feral, like the dog his co-workers consider him to be.

In the middle of the fight, the Leech Devil starts mocking Denji for his dumb goal of touching some boobs, bragging about her own shared dream with the Bat Devil of killing all humans. This makes Denji the angriest he's been so far on the show, frustrated that everyone keeps making fun of his dreams for not being serious enough, or noble enough, or selfless enough. He cares about his dream just as much as Aki, and he is willing to fight for it, challenging the devil to a dream battle to decide whose dream is better. Herein lies the heart of "Chainsaw Man," that even behind all the gross jokes and the gore and guts, Tatsuki Fujimoto's story never downplays the characters' feelings. Denji may be a horny teenager, but he is not your typical anime pervert, and the show makes that distinction very clear. Like, come on, the man chose to defend his co-worker with only two boobs rather than try to negotiate with the gross devil with six, give him some credit.

Just when Denji is about to lose his fight, along comes Aki and beats the devil with a little help from his own devil — the Fox Devil, who quickly eats up the giant leech. Afterwards at the hospital, Aki scoffs Denji for once again defending a devil, as Denji covers for Power and doesn't mention she tried to kill him.

One last day of normalcy

Though Aki would hate to admid it, Denji did something good, and we see the people he saved (except that one dude Denji threw inside his car) praise the Chainsaw Man during a TV news broadcast in what may very well be the closest we've come to a more regular shonen anime with a hero protagonist who gets praise instead of punishment for his actions. 

After, we follow Aki to a meeting with Makima to deliver his report. Of note here is that Aki is just as smitten with Makima as Denji is, as he stops before her office door, catches his breath and combs his hair before stepping in — surprisingly enough, Aki sticks his neck out for Denji and Power. Then we get what is undoubtedly the most impressive scene in the entire show so far. No, it is not a fight scene, but a simple sequence in which Aki goes about his daily routine, brushing his teeth, making coffee for breakfast, doing laundry and vaccuuming. The brief toothpaste shot alone has the fluidity of animation of a Ghibli film, and even if the rest of the scene lacks the detail of a fight scene, it feels much more cinematic. 

Every subtle movement in that sequence is given a lot of weight, and the shot composition feels like it belongs in a feature film, with interesting choices of angles and blocking that are very deliberate and serve to paint a picture of Aki and what he values. Like Denji, Aki also values the small pleasures many take for granted, and this scene shows the last moments of respite Aki will have for a while, because who walks in after obliterating the door? Power herself!

He did it!

Much to Denji's disgust, Aki accepts taking in Power in his spare bedroom (man, Public Safety must pay very well) the moment Makima calls him to tell him she only trusts him to control Power. What follows is pure "Chainsaw Man" comedy, with the boys absolutely tormented by the fiend living with them, who doesn't flush the toilet, or takes baths, or knows a single thing about being clean or organized. This whole scene is animated much differently than the previous episodes or even the first half of this very episode, with warmer and more vibrant colors compared to the cold and muted palette of the premiere, as Denji starts accomplishing his goals. 

Except, he hasn't, not yet. While Denji is cleaning the mess Power left in the bathroom, she arrives to present him with his recompense for saving her and Meowy. She grants him three squeezes of her breast, one for Meowy, one for killing the Bat Devil, and one for not ratting her betrayal to Aki. Again, the scene manages to walk a fine line between funny, creepy, and sad. We get the most fan service the show has done so far, but it works as comedy because of the sheer absurdity of a corpse possessed by a devil telling a horny teen that he has earned the right to feel her breasts, while the corpse recognizes that this is both stupid, but still a bit creepy. The episode ends but with the simple shutting of the door behind Denji as he, presumably, claims his prize and becomes one of the fastest shonen protagonists to accomplish all his goals. The episode ends with a new ending theme that is all, appropriately enough, about Power herself.

This was a phenomenal episode that truly elevated the material and improved upon it, and we are still just getting started.