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Abara: Why the manga that influenced Chainsaw Man is a must read (Image via MAPPA Studios)

Abara: Why the manga that influenced Chainsaw Man is a must read

One of the biggest discussions behind the Chainsaw Man anime and manga series is what author and illustrator Tatsuki Fujimoto’s biggest influences were in creating the story. The dark-fantasy ultraviolent anime and manga series is so unique in almost everything it does that even the most manga-knowledgeable have a hard time picking it apart.

Yet suddenly, one particular panel towards the end of the first part of Fujimoto's manga looked strikingly similar to another mangaka’s work. This work and this mangaka were Abara by Tsutomu Nihei, better known as the creative mind behind Blame! and Knights of Sidonia.


Follow along as this article fully breaks down why Nihei’s Abara, the manga which seems to have influenced Fujimoto’s Chainsaw Man manga the most, is a must-read for fans of the latter.

Disclaimer: Chainsaw Man and Abara manga spoilers below.

Fujimoto’s Chainsaw Man and its influences from Nihei’s Abara may clue readers of the latter into former’s trajectory

Why Abara is a must-read for Chainsaw Man fans

tonight i read Abara by Nihei Tsutomu cause i read fujimoto said it was one of his inspirations for CSM and all i gotta say is yeah we wore his inspirations loud and proud lmfao the art is absolutely INSANE however i think thats the only thing it has going for lmfao

Nihei’s Abara follows protagonist Denji Kudou, someone with the power of Black Gauna. Set in a post-apocalyptic world where humans mutate into a monstrous species known as White Gaunas, Denji and the Black Gaunas were made as a way to counter them. Black Gaunas are human-Gauna hybrids, with the abilities and power of a white Gauna while maintaining their human minds.

Denji, along with another girl named Nayuta, were the first to be experimented upon, with a control device implanted in the latter due to her being the first to be experimented on. Denji, however, was able to escape before having a control device implanted, killing several people in the process. Already, the inspirations for and similarities to Chainsaw Man are clear.

Both protagonists are named Denji, and find themselves in situations where someone is trying to control them, with Denji Kudou’s master being Kagen House and Denji’s being Makima. Both Denji’s are also able to transform into monstrous beings which retain their human minds, having been turned into these monsters with the help of others.

@GvukkYorselfz @yrfreakyneighbr If you liked CSM I'd also recommend Abara by Tsutomu Nihei.

It directly inspired CSM and it's pretty short. The story is kind of weird but the art is great.

Another major similarity between Chainsaw Man and Abara comes in the form of both series’ Nayutas. Whereas the latter's Nayuta is being controlled by Kagen House, Fujimoto’s Nayuta is the reincarnation of the Control Devil.

Furthermore, with Fujimoto’s Nayuta being placed into her Denji’s care, both Denjis and Nayutas are linked as a team by the end of either their series or first major story section.

The character designs for each Denji's more monstrous forms are incredibly similar as well, with this similarity being what first sent readers down this investigative path. In fact, the panel in which Fujimoto’s Denji takes on a form awfully similar to Denji Kudou’s Black Gauna form is positioned and illustrated in almost the exact same way, clearly paying homage.

Beyond these obvious influences and similarities, Abara’s ending may be able to tell Chainsaw Man readers something about Fujimoto’s goal for the end of the series. While unlikely to be an exact replicant, the introduction of what seems to be additional Horsemen Devils and the beginning of their fight versus Denji are further supporting a potential similarity in the two series’ progressions.


Abara’s art, penned by Nihei himself, is also a major reason for Fujimoto fans to check out the series. Like Fujimoto, the violence and gore Nihei present in Abara is fairly over-the-top, not quite at the level of ultraviolence but certainly close to it. Abara's overall tone also strikes the dark-fantasy-turned-mad tone which Fujimoto’s flagship series has become so famous for.

For all these reasons and more, fans of the flagship series owe it to themselves to check out Abara for its massive influence on the work.

Follow along for more Chainsaw Man anime and manga news, as well as general anime, manga, film, and live-action news as 2022 progresses.

Edited by
Abhipsa Choudhury
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