This article is presented in paid partnership with Crunchyroll.
New anime hits emerge every year, but staggering levels of love have surrounded Tatsuki Fujimoto’s Chainsaw Man. The anime’s inaugural season has already become one of Crunchyroll’s biggest 2022 additions. Audiences have been quick to commend the anime’s ultra-violent atmosphere as it chronicles Denji’s journey as the blade-wielding monster known as Chainsaw Man. However, beneath the grisly gore and heightened aesthetics, there’s a real heart and humanity to Chainsaw Man’s characters and their world.
Chainsaw Man’s Denji is a powerful protagonist who takes down incredible Devils. He’s also a dejected, debt-stricken loner who views every free day as a blessing. Simple pleasures like loose change for a can of soda feel like miracles to Denji, and Chainsaw Man truly celebrates the beauty of the little joys that make life worth living, albeit juxtaposed against delirious displays of supernatural violence. Some anime characters are driven by an altruistic desire to avenge loved ones, protect their community, or eliminate evils, yet Denji’s motivation come down to…more juvenile desires. But his puerile passion also humanizes the character in a world that’s full of grandiose demons.
Power, another central Chainsaw Man character with a blood-thirsty Devil background, is driven by the simple need to protect her cat, Meowy. This demonic figure learns to love through the unadulterated joy of animals. Chainsaw Man conjures similar feelings between Denji and Pochita, his dog-like Chainsaw Devil. In an anime that’s obsessed with blood and guts, there’s also an overwhelming passion for pets that’s rare to see. These larger-than-life personalities are immediately grounded through this deeply human quality.
Most demon-hunting anime feature some central police force of esteemed exterminators. Chainsaw Man is no different in this regard, with its focus on the association of Public Safety Devil Hunters who have big-picture goals to wipe out all of the Devils and save society. However, Chainsaw Man examines this massive corporate conglomerate through its distinct employees so that the audience bonds with this group on a more personal level. They’re not just a nebulous company who are supposed to be trusted and praised.
Chainsaw Man is an absolute delight that doesn’t disappoint when it comes to action, horror, and wild world-building, but the anime makes sure that its characters and their emotional truths always come first. You can’t spell “Chainsaw Man” without “Man”, after all.
If you’re fan of Crunchyroll’s latest hit, here’s a deeper dive into what else you should watch on the streaming service after you’re done with Chainsaw Man!
Airs: Weekly on Saturdays
Football anime sensation BLUELOCK is one of Crunchyroll’s latest fast-paced bursts of adrenaline that celebrates sports. The series tells the story of Yoichi Isagi, a conflicted high school football player who’s suddenly thrust into the opportunity of a lifetime. Isagi can lead Japan’s national football team as their star striker, but the only catch is that he just needs to defeat 299 equally determined football savants. BLUELOCK takes the typical excitement of a football anime and combines it with the addictive serialized elimination tactics of a battle royale or death game series.
BLUELOCK finds strength through its unconventional exploration of football, and its approach is a masterful example of how anime artists can use sports as a subversive storytelling tool. Anime can celebrate the nitty-gritty details of these sports in a realistic manner or take them to the opposite extreme with exaggerated versions that could only be possible in this medium.
There is no shortage of anime series that explore every sport imaginable, from synchronized diving to ping-pong to skateboarding. No sport is too subdued for an anime makeover. BLUELOCK is just one of the many sports anime that Crunchyroll has to offer.
Airs: Weekly on Saturdays
Think Mr. and Mrs. Smith meets Modern Family. Two top spies must pretend to be the perfect couple and loving parents to an unsuspecting orphan in this twist on the family sitcom. SPY x FAMILY is a perfect blend of espionage and slice of life family sweetness.
Airs: Weekly on Wednesdays
Mob Psycho 100 III brings back everyone’s favorite humble heroic psychic for more supernaturally surreal shenanigans. Shigeo “Mob” Kageyama possesses intense psychic abilities that could reshape reality, but Mob’s priorities revolve around his sub-par social status and teenage woes. This series is the perfect combination of adventure and apocalyptic antagonists.
Airs: Weekly on Saturdays
The superpowered theatrics of Izuku “Deku” Midoriya reach unprecedented heights as My Hero Academia’s heroes and villains clash in all-out warfare. Six seasons in, the Paranormal Liberation War arc pays off on years of growing conflict. There’s always lighthearted fun to be had in this subversive superhero series, but season six pushes the show into dark, mature territory.
Airs: Weekly on Sundays
An abandoned boy struggles to survive in a barren world alongside a wolf that just so happens to be a supernatural shapeshifting deity. To Your Eternity is a fascinating twist on fantasy and survivalist storytelling that’s almost like what would happen if Hayao Miyazaki were to direct The Revenant. Season two catapults the timeline forward nearly half a century for a powerful meditation on legacy.