Welcome to another installment of 31 Days of Halloween! This is our chance to set the mood for the spookiest and scariest month of the year as we focus our attention on horror and Halloween fun. For the month of October we’ll be sharing various pieces of underappreciated scary books, comics, movies, and television to help keep you terrified and entertained all the way up to Halloween.
Chainsaw Man has grown to be one of most must read manga of the past few years. Despite what its amusing crude and juvenile nature may imply, the series has hit some extraordinary depths in its characters and writing that leave people shocked and moved. Let’s see what the newest volume brings us this time, one year since it first debuted in trade form.
According to the official description provided by Viz Media:
Denji’s gotten too famous! After a news program broadcasts Chainsaw Man’s heroics, the whole world now wants in on the action! Can Denji’s new protection detail keep him safe from all the talented assassins that have assembled in Japan to take him down?!
The seventh volume of Chainsaw Man is a curious one. After the action-packed, rather emotionally hitting and heartbreaking volume that came before, this one feels almost like a step back or, at least, a break in a way. Denji, Makima, Aki, and most of the cast take a backseat as a bunch of assassins come into town to capture/kill our protagonist. The shift in focus moves mostly to them with occasional looks back at our main cast. It’s an odd direction and those wanting to see more with our leads and the story itself will be left a little disappointed.
However, that’s not to say this little change of direction is bad. For one thing, the story definitely does seem to be moving forward, appearing towards the end and calling back to other subtle and overt things throughout the series thus far. Secondly, the cast of characters introduced here are all of whom are interesting and memorable in their own ways.
The “immortal” brothers, Quanxi and her Fiends, Tolka and his master, and Santa Claus all stand out well. The Brothers are perhaps the least interesting, though after a certain point the youngest brother undergoes an interesting development. Quanxi doesn’t do much at first, but when she does she is a force of nature. She is also the one with the most characterization; her goals are specifically to help her Fiend girlfriends and also have a deeper connection with some of our regular characters. Tolka and his master have a very sweet relationship that is incredibly personal, one that almost makes you want to root for them to a certain degree. Santa Claus is the least explored of them all, but is a very uncomfortable figure that makes one hell of an impact regardless with his power.
The writing remains strong in the manga, despite the main plot and pacing slowing down a bit. The character writing is still really excellent, even if the focus is more on the assassins and the others get pushed a bit to the side (though Power and Kishibe have their moments). Despite how heavy things can get, the series remains strong at balancing its many different tones and moods (see most scenes with Power). The only issue that really jumped out is that chapters tend to end very abruptly, but that’s a nitpick ultimately.
The artwork is fantastic, just continuing to improve with every passing volume. In particular, I find the flow and motion of the manga to be better than ever. It’s not even just in the action anymore, which is still incredible and awe-inspiring (Chapter 60 for example). It’s in the little things, the smaller moments. The scene with the younger immortal brother and him talking with a certain character comes to mind. Just the way the panels shift and flow into each other to the subtle and overt changes in expression and mood are a treat. This is a manga that really raises the bar on what you would want in your manga artwork.
Is It Good?
Chainsaw Man Vol. 7 is a slower burn before it bursts into a fiery inferno at the end as everything starts coming together. While its leads take a backseat for most of the book, the enticing new characters and epic showdown are more than enough to make for another engaging volume of the series. While a stepping stone to something bigger on the horizon, Vol. 7 was a great time. Do not miss out on this.
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