Emotions run high in the final episode of the Chainsaw Man anime, and not only because it’s the series finale. With every word that Aki, Denji, and Himeno utter, the heart pumps faster. Beautifully wrapping up one of the most anticipated anime of Fall 2022, I, like many of you, am now eagerly awaiting the release of cour 2/season 2!
In Episode 12, MAPPA expresses its admiration for Fujimoto, his creativity, and the fantastic universe of Chainsaw Man. All the love and attention the writers and producers poured into each episode paid off in this one emotional, terrifying, and hilarious 30 minutes.
It’s hard to write about this episode without mentioning the magnificent action sequence of Katana Man vs. Chainsaw Man and Aki’s developing feelings for Himeno. But there are nuances about their personalities that I want to highlight because they will be crucial in the story’s development.
First off, Aki x Himeno.
I never thought that merely gazing upon a cigarette—a known cause of suffering, estrangement, and death—could evoke such warm and fuzzy emotions.
Himeno’s decision to turn a minor into a lifelong smoker was unjustified. But her goals were straightforward; she simply sought a stronger friendship with the horned Devil Hunter. Unfortunately, she is blind to the fact that her prior “good intentions” led to disastrous outcomes.
Smoking may be lethal, but it’s better than confronting the Gun Devil head on. Though she didn’t insist on it, she did suggest making the transition to the Civilian Sector. Aki’s rejection sealed his fate (the Future Devil probably began to dance even more vigorously after that sequence).
It’s worth noting that the Future Devil has certain Ryuk-like qualities. Evidently, he or she or it enjoys entertaining themselves by imagining all sorts of crazy scenarios. Aki’s assurance that he’ll be joining Himeno soon demonstrates that, unlike Light Yagami, he isn’t afraid of his fate and places his relationships above his ego.
Himeno and Aki are both “normal” people who simply want someone to care about them. Why else would the eye-patched girl want Aki to sob uncontrollably after her death? As his superior, it is her responsibility to help him understand that death is unavoidable for all living being, and that it comes faster for those who work as Devil Hunters.
Fujimoto’s use of a cigarette to illustrate the correlation is particularly astute given that both being a Devil Hunter and smoking significantly reduce life expectancy. It’s also worth noting that Aki made a deal with the Curse Devil in exchange for his life to use the sword. The show examines the various “threats” to human health that can reduce one’s expected lifespan.
The cigarette also holds two different meanings – Aki passing on an unlit cigarette to Himeno represent power and control over his life, whereas he telling that he’d smoke only just once represent the notion that he’s given a part of his life to someone else, hence the phrase “I’ll join you soon Himeno”. Walking on flowers to sever the Ghost Devil’s head shows how rosy they’ve painted their lives by taking this job, eventually leading to a grotesque death.
It’s poetic that an item designed to shorten your life span actually has the words “easy revenge,” the motivation for Aki to “shorten his lifespan” and join the Devil Hunters in their pursuit of the Gun Devil. In a subtle way, it suggests that Aki’s desire for vengeance will shorten his life to zero.
Regarding “easy revenge,” the scene when Aki lights up that cigarette (which only appears in the anime) is a metaphor for the completion of Himeno’s revenge plan. A tear-jerking moment with hidden context in an otherwise silent scene.
The episode also had its share of comic relief. The amusing chemistry of the duo, which will continue to amaze us in the future, is on full show when a yawning Denji leaves a ruthless Power to go higher up in the elevator.
The nut-kicking competition was especially hilarious because Denji had picked on Aki in the same way on their first meeting. Teaming up like this to attack the Katana Man, the one who shortened the lifespan of so many people, symbolizes the notion that they’ve become friends for life (even if it remains only in memory in the end).
The showdown between Katana Man and Chainsaw Man in Episode 12 of Chainsaw Man was undoubtedly the most memorable moment. The Katana Man started out Round 2 with a disingenuous comment, implying that Denji had less of a human heart than himself.
It’s forbidden to take the lives of zombies, however killing innocent people or Devil Hunters is sanctioned. What a clever and amusing ruse. The fact that he keeps bringing up his grandfather (whom he obviously doesn’t care about much) as an excuse demonstrates how little he values genuine connections. Like Aki, Katana Man wanted vengeance, but he only did it for himself.
Finally, his greatest source of pride (his balls) took a serious battering, and it was delightful to see.
The episode’s Spiderman-esque action sequence aboard a moving train featured the best animation of the series thus far. Ryu Nakayama, who serves as both series director and key animator, did a fantastic job of giving each and every one of the episodes a cinematic feel. Any scene from the episode might easily be interpreted for a still from a full-length motion picture.
The set of exchanges on the train between the titular characters of the episode (at 11:00 minute) was particularly noteworthy as the camera angles and animation quality resembled that of the The Three Dimensional Maneuver Gear movements of Attack on Titan. It was smooth, clean and most importantly, there was NO drop in frame rates.
Eve, who famously did the opening theme for Jujutsu Kaisen “Kaikai Kitan,” sang “Fight Song” for the closing credits, creating an emotional finale sequence with wholesome glimpses of Aki, Denji, and Power. I wouldn’t mind watching a spin-off with the three of them going about their regular lives. Slice of Life’s upbeat vibe would be a welcome change of pace in the often gloomy brutal series.
Cleverly, MAPPA looped back to the beginning of the series with Episode 1’s final scene in order to explore the mystery behind Pochita’s “Do not open the door” warning once more in Episode 12. Is there something terrifying behind that door? Denji finally learns the truth that has been kept from him since he was a kid, and I can’t wait to see THAT moment adapted.
The final scene teased a certain character who will become the main focus of the next arc of the Chainsaw Man Anime. And let me tell you anime-only watchers, you’re in for quite a bomb!
Chainsaw Man Episode 12 rating: 10/10
So what do you think of Chainsaw Man Anime Episode 12? Let me know in the comments below!
CHAINSAW MAN © 2018 by Tatsuki Fujimoto/SHUEISHA Inc.
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