Manga Review: Chainsaw Man Volume Five

Chainsaw Man Volume Five sees a major development happen for Denji.

Chainsaw Man Volume Five
Written by: Tatsuki Fujimoto
Publisher: Shueisha Inc.
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: June 1, 2021

The volume opens with Aki up against Himeno’s Ghost Devil. At first, it seems like it’s going to choke Aki to death, but he remembers a memory of Himeno, which causes him to forget his fear. Himeno once told him that because the Ghost Devil doesn’t have eyes, what it sees is fear. By dissipating his fear, he’s able to defeat it. But there’s another surprise in store: Kobeni, the timid new recruit, comes up from behind and takes Akane Sawatari hostage. Unfortunately, we later learn that Sawatari committed suicide, which may have been involuntary due to a contract with the Gun Devil.

Meanwhile, Denji and Power come across a group of zombies, and Power takes them down. But Denji finds himself coming face to face with Samurai Sword, the grandson of the yakuza who drove Denji into a debt trap. Since they both have Devil powers, there’s an epic fight between these two characters. But in the end, Denj is able to overpower Samurai Sword. There’s a scene after Samurai Sword is captured and restrained, where Denji offers Aki the chance to beat him up since Samurai Sword was the one who killed Himeno. Denji and Aki are beating up on Samurai Sword together, and you can see that this was a cathartic release that Aki needed. Normally, I wouldn’t advocate beating the living crap out of someone, but this was something that Aki needed in order to start the healing process.

After such an action-packed fight, the manga slows things down a bit with Makima asking Denji to go out on a “date.” It turns out it’s a theater-hopping movie marathon. We see them watch a few films, and they both have the same reactions to each one. After watching the final film, Denji asks Makima if she thinks he has a heart, since this was something that was bothering him earlier in this volume. She reassures him that he does. After this “date,” Denji declares to himself that he’ll never fall for anyone besides Makima.

Well, let’s just say that Denji finds himself being put to the test after making this declaration. When he’s caught in the rain and finds shelter, he meets a high school girl named Reze, who invites him to the coffee shop where she works. After interacting with her, Denji gets the feeling that she likes him… and he realizes that he falls for girls who are nice to him, which causes him to struggle with his feelings for Makima and his potential attraction to Reze. Most of the rest of the volume focuses on Denji hanging out with Reze, and the two of them having a good time together. However, the reader learns that Reze isn’t who she appears to be, and that she’s not being honest with Denji. As I was seeing Denji and Reze having a good time, it felt like something was off. So when it was revealed that Reze has a secret that she’s hiding from Denji, it didn’t take me by surprise.

There’s also a section where we see that Aki is now partnered up with Angel Devil, and the two just don’t seem to be working together well because of Angel Devil’s laziness. After having some issues, Aki declares to Angel Devil that he can’t even pretend to get along with him. We don’t get much of these two in this volume, so hopefully their dynamic will be explored more in the next volume of the series.

After reading Volume Four, it really felt like the tone for Chainsaw Man had changed drastically, and I was concerned about what kind of tone the series would have going forward. Well, I’m happy to report that Volume Five returns to the tone that readers have come to expect from this series. I’m guessing the tone of Volume Four felt so different because of how much focus was on the changes in the cast due to death, as well as resignations in Special Division 4. Volume Five did have some serious moments, but the action and comedy outweighed the serious events, which is what readers of this series expect.

I’m very curious to see what kind of impact Reze will have, both on Denji and on the series as a whole. It will also be interesting to see if Aki can ever truly work well with Angel Devil.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

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