Devils, fiends and hybrids form the crux of the scary and amazing world that Tatsuki Fujimoto created in Chainsaw Man. For first time readers, these concepts can often get confusing. The nuances of these form holds a lot of importance in understanding the events in the latter half of the story.
Among these three, Fiends and Hybrids especially are hard to distinguish as both are formed by some sort of devil and human merging.
However, there are some very prominent features that allow us to draw a distinction when it comes to all three species. Let’s take an in depth look at what Devils, fiends and hybrids are, in this blog. And maybe answer a couple of questions when related to certain characters’ identity.
Warning: The article has spoilers for part 1 of Chainsaw Man manga. Read at your own risk!
Devils are supernatural beings that exist in the world of Chainsaw Man. Devils come into existence due to humanity’s collective fear regarding the concept behind their name. Their abilities are often synonymous with the fear that conceived them.
The Gun Devil manifested out of the fear surrounding guns and their usage. And hence its appearance as well as its powers are related to the fear that it embodies. The stronger the fear, the more powerful the devil becomes. The primal devils, which embodies humanity’s primal fears, are insanely strong.
It is never possible to erase a devil’s existence completely. According to Angel devil’s conversation with Aki in chapter 53, as long as humans continue to fear its name or concept, the devil will continue to exist.
Even if someone were to burn a devil of ashes or shred it beyond redemption (in short kill it), they would still revive. But instead of earth, the devils would be reborn on hell.
And if they get killed in hell, the devils would then be born on earth. So, the cycle of revival continues as long as the fear exists. However they do not retain memories of their past lives.
Controlling the fear that surrounds a devil is the only way to weaken it. When the Gun Devil made an appearance after the terrorist attack in America, strict Gun Laws were adopted by all nations and coverage of violent crimes were restricted in order to mitigate the spread of fear.
Similarly, when people began looking up to the Chainsaw man as a hero and a savior, its powers reduced (according to Makima), because the fear associated with its name was going down.
One way to completely erase a devil would be to eradicate the fear that surrounds its name. The other way is to get the devil eaten by the Chainsaw man.
Consuming the blood of humans, devils or other creatures can help a devil to recover from its injuries. Similarly, consuming the flesh of stronger devils can help weaker ones increase their strength.
In chapter 90, Power apparently consumes a part of Pochita (or drinks its blood) in order to get stronger and revive as a devil again.
Devils are also able to bestow some of their powers on humans in return for a sacrifice. A contract is formed so that humans can borrow the powers.
In exchange for letting Aki use its powers, the Fox Devil takes a part of his body. Himeno sacrificed her right eye so that she could use the powers of the Ghost Devil.
However, the contracts always need not include body parts or senses of the human using the powers as a sacrifice. It only needs to be something valuable. Children or citizens that a person is legally responsible for can be sacrificed while making a contract with a devil.
Devils are also able to merge or possess humans in some form, creating fiends and hybrids.
A fiend is a devil that has taken over a human corpse. It is also known as devil possession by the hunters (and sometimes devilman or a human devil too). The heads of fiends have distinct features, as the corpse inherits some physical traits of the devil that possesses it.
This is often referred to as having special marking on the head, or the head being a “distinct shape” (as Aki explains in chapter 4). In short, it is easy to identify a fiend.
Power, the Blood fiend, and Long (one of Quanxi’s fiends) looked the closest to humans, but even they had horns, which made them stand out. The Shark fiend Beam had distinctive features of a shark (gills and all) on his head. The same can be said for Pingsti and the other devilmen in Chainsaw man.
Fiends also have the same personality as the devils which possess them, making most of them hostile towards humans.
In rare cases where the brain of the corpse is still intact, the fiend may retain some of the human’s memories and its personality too. The Violence fiend’s is the best example for this.
In chapter 56, the Violence fiend tells Kobeni that he remembers the school he went to as a human and his favorite place for cheap eats. He also has the personality of a peace lover, a complete opposite for someone who is possessed by the violence devil.
It’s that, or the violence fiend playing tricks. But then, we know what he did against the Darkness devil, so…
In Chainsaw Man chapter 30, Kishibe mentions that fiends and humans have the same bone and muscle structure. And hence, the physical attacks that work on humans, work on fiends too. However, he also calls them semi immortal, meaning they are harder to kill.
Fiends are viewed in the same vein as devils by both the hunters and civilians. They too are targets for extermination. It becomes evident when Makima asks Denji to keep Power out of the public view in order to avoid a scene.
Once a devil becomes a fiend, it stays the same till it dies. The transformation is permanent. In terms of power, fiends do not match up to their devil counterparts. They also lose the abilities to form contracts with other devils or humans. However, they retain their ability to recover by drinking human blood.
This brings us to an important question. If devils end up getting the short end of the stick, what pushes them to be a fiend?
The most popular answer is that devils become fiends in order to avoid death. It might be a devil’s last ditch effort to save its own life, or an extreme measure taken in case they are unable to find human blood to replenish their powers or heal themselves.
It is better to sacrifice some strength and survive instead of being reborn in hell without any memories.
There is another theory that interests me when it comes to fiends. Since not being able to form contracts is something unique to a fiend, could it also be possible that devils purposely be a fiend to escape from some kind of a contract which they are put under?
We’ll probably get a concrete answer to this question when part 2 of Chainsaw man comes out or more details regarding fiends come to light.
Is Denji a Fiend?
No, Denji is not a fiend. He is a human-devil hybrid. Many suspect that Denji was dead by the time Pochita possessed him. That’s unfortunately not true. Though he was cut into pieces, Denji was still alive when Pochita decided to be his heart. That makes Denji a hybrid, which is a very unique case, as mentioned by Makima. Both Denji and Pochita are alive! The same goes for Quanxi, who is a hybrid similar to Denji.
Is Makima a Fiend?
No, Makima is not a fiend, she is the Control Devil herself. Doubts arise because she looks perfectly human with no devilish traits or features. However, she is simply a devil who looks human. This also explains why she is not very hostile towards humanity and has goals which revolve around making the world a better place for them (if I were to believe what she says).
Hybrids are the rare cases where humans merge with devils. It is very different from a devil possessing a corpse. Both the human and devil stay alive when a hybrid is formed. Though the human involved seems to be the dominant one in such a relationship.
Makima was able to tell Denji was different by their unique smell. The Fox devil said that the Katana man tasted different, not like a human or a devil. They clearly are not devils or humans.
In chapter 87, Makima said that the name that referred to the hybrids was eaten and erased by the Chainsaw man, but surprisingly their existence wasn’t. But again, the lines are blurred when it comes to this statement. Did the chainsaw man eat the “hybrid devil” (or whatever it was), or did it consume the names of the weapons devils?
Well, looking at how the names “Katana Devil” and “Bomb Devil” have not been erased, it seems that the name that referred to the hybrids is the one that was consumed. It is one of those intriguing plot points left open by Tatsuki Fujimoto. Hopefully, this will be addressed in the future arcs of Chainsaw Man.
Hybrids can form based on a contract, however the terms behind the mergings are still hazy. In some cases, hybrids are also formed by implanting a part of the devil in the human.
Reze became a hybrid after a piece of the Bomb devil was placed inside her. In Denji’s case Pochita becomes Denji’s heart, turning him into a hybrid. However, there was also a contract made between the two. It seems like Denji was a special case indeed.
It is not known if hybrids are stronger or weaker than their devil counterparts. They are able to access the powers of their devil and undergo partial transformation using a bodily trigger.
Denji pulled the cord (Pochita’s tail) in order to transform into Chainsaw Man. Reze pulled the pin in her neck to enter her Bomb devil hybrid form. Quanxi does the same by pulling out an arrow and transforming into her hybrid form.
However, hybrids lose their ability to transform when they are running low on blood.
Unlike fiends, hybrids retain the personality and memories of the human that has taken part in the fusion. While the devil continues to stay alive (mostly as the heart of the human), their consciousness or will is mostly hidden away.
They seem to have no control or say in how their powers are being utilized ( unless they are drawn out?). Pochita never interfered or made an appearance as the chainsaw man until Denji was totally broken and called forth by Makima.
It is probably the same with other hybrids too, as there are no conditions applied for the use of their supernatural abilities.
As I said before, humans seem to be the dominant ones in this relationship. Is it because of the terms of the contract? These hybrids seem to have given their hearts to the devil as part of the contract formed (Katana man mentions this to Denji). Are hearts so valuable to devils,considering how heart is the vital organ that pumps blood and all? Or is it something else entirely? Why would the devils agree to help the humans wholeheartedly anyways?
An interesting theory suggests it could be because these devils, instead of being a manifestation of humanity’s fears, could be the manifestation of devil’s fears. They could be to devils, what devils are to humans. This would explain their willingness to become a hybrid and lend their power to a human.
Like devils and fiends, hybrids too can recover and regenerate by consuming blood of humans or other devils or fiends. But their regenerative abilities are on a totally different level when compared to fiends, making the hybrids nigh impossible to kill.
Denji and Quanxi survived even after their heads were cut out. They are shown to revive if they have an adequate amount of blood available to consume. Seems like immortality is really their trait.
I believe I have been able to explain the traits of Devils, Fiends and Hybrids properly. If you guys have any doubts, hit me up in the comments section and we can have a discussion about it!