Chainsaw Man episode 1: Denji's dream, Makima's introduction, and more

The two main players of Chainsaw Man
The two main players of Chainsaw Man's first part are introduced in the anime's pilot episode (Image via MAPPA Studios)

The long-awaited, much-anticipated release of Chainsaw Man episode 1 has finally arrived, with the episode premiering on Crunchyroll on Tuesday, October 11 at 12 PM EDT. Living up to the hype in almost every way imaginable, the episode is truly a masterclass in production with the amazing MAPPA Studios at the helm.

Chainsaw Man episode 1 also manages to string together a fantastic pilot episode in the process, emphasizing that no substance is being sacrificed for flair and flashiness. With a clear, well-explained introduction to who Denji is and his ideals, fans are perfectly prepared to follow his trajectory throughout the rest of season 1.

Follow along as this article recaps Chainsaw Man episode 1 in its entirety.

Chainsaw Man episode 1 makes a major splash as one of the most engaging pilots so far this season

Chainsaw Man episode 1: Denji and Pochita introduced

Chainsaw Man episode 1 opens with the scene of someone walking through an otherwise-empty alleyway. As they take a turn in the corner, a door appears with several pieces of paper on it. Based on the shadow that appears, whoever is approaching the door seems to be a child, as a hand reaches out and is shown gripping the doorknob before the screen cuts black.

Chainsaw Man episode 1 then sees protagonist Denji waking up in a tiny, messy shack, before saying it’s time to head to work as a bark is heard in response. Fans then see Denji traversing various roads and paths on his way to work, as he begins pricing out the various tasks he does, the organs he sells, and how much everything is valued at.

As Denji speaks, what appears to be the legs of a dog with orange fur skitter along as he concludes he still owes 38 million yen. The "dog" is actually shown to be Pochita, later established as a Devil. Pochita growls in fear as a Devil approaches, prompting Denji to pick him up and activate his chainsaw powers.

As he comments on how Devil Hunting pays the best, the Tomato Devil senses the pair’s presence and looks towards them, mouth wide. He successfully kills the Devil off-screen, when a Yakuza member arrives to tell Denji he did good work. He then "pays" Denji 400,000 yen but adds in so many fees and costs that he ends up getting paid 70,000 yen, which becomes 1,800 yen including the bills Denji has this month.

The Yakuza member, apparently a boss, then explains to his worker that Denji works to pay off his "deadbeat old man’s debt." He further states that Denji’s non-official Devil Hunter status allows him to sell the corpses to the Yakuza, adding that the best part about Denji is that he does what he’s told.

The worker tests this by offering Denji 100 yen to eat a lit cigarette, which he accepts and does before the former speeds off. After spitting out the cigarette, Denji excitedly says to Pochita that the 100 yen keeps them afloat for an extra three days. The two then return to their shack, where Denji complains that normalcy is a pipe dream for them, and that he might not even pay off his debt before dying, let alone find a girlfriend.

He then says the one dream he’d want to come true before dying is to get intimate with a girl, before Chainsaw Man episode 1 changes scenes to a young Denji standing in front of a grave. The Yakuza boss explains that Denji’s dad hung himself before paying that month’s installment, telling the young Denji that he needs to manage 70,000 yen or he'll die.

The young Denji then hears a chainsaw revving and turns around to find Pochita, who is injured. After seeing an image of what’s likely his father after hanging himself, he offers his blood to Pochita so he can heal. However, Denji turns this act of kindness into a contract, saying that the two will help each other since he doesn’t want to die. The next scene sees Denji giving the Yakuza boss a Devil corpse, asking to become a Devil Hunter for them.

Chainsaw Man episode 1: One career ends and another begins

Chainsaw Man episode 1 then transports viewers to Denji and Pochita’s shack, where the latter is resting on the former’s chest, who says he can’t sleep. Denji describes how being unable to sleep causes a chain reaction of thoughts, stating that one of his dreams is as simple as sharing bread and jam with Pochita.

Shockingly, he then coughs up blood, scaring Pochita in the process before elaborating that his mom apparently died from a disease that made her cough up blood. The two are interrupted by a knock at the door, where the Yakuza boss says he has work for Denji. In the car on the way to the Devil, Denji laments that he’s not even allowed to dream by his employers.

Denji and Pochita follow the Yakuza boss into the warehouse, where Denji points out that the Devil doesn’t seem to be there, with no response back. The boss then stops, expressing their gratitude to Denji before revealing that they made a deal with the Zombie Devil. In the process, Denji and Pochita are stabbed by one of the zombified Yakuza lackeys.

The Zombie Devil then reveals itself, explaining how they manipulated the Yakuza into luring Denji and Pochita here. Following a brief chase scene in which Denji attempts to outrun the zombies, he is caught and stabbed to death. He laments not having had a normal life before dying and having his remains and Pochita's corpse thrown into a dumpster.

However, a drop of Denji’s blood manages to slip into Pochita’s mouth, reviving the Devil as a result. Chainsaw Man episode 1 then shows Pochita thinking back to a time when he and Denji were out chopping trees, and Denji says that if he ever dies fighting a Devil, he wants Pochita to take over his body and live and die freely, happily, and normally.

Chainsaw Man episode 1 then takes readers back to the sight of the dumpster, where chainsaw-like tendrils are reconnecting Denji’s chopped-up body. Pochita’s body is then seen almost being absorbed by Denji’s, with Pochita’s head beating like a heart as this process takes place. Denji then awakens, being greeted by Pochita.

Denji asks Pochita if he took his body like he said, prompting Pochita to respond (by speaking words) that he always loved hearing Denji talk about his dreams. Pochita then offers Denji a contract, giving him his heart in exchange for being shown Denji’s dream. As Pochita finishes this sentence, Denji awakens in the dumpster, with Pochita nowhere in sight but a ripcord eerily similar to Pochita’s tail sticking out of his chest.

The Zombie Devil, realizing that Denji has revived, rants about Devil Hunters briefly before ordering his zombies to go after him. As Denji questions why people always want more and thinks of how he should’ve been satisfied with his life with Pochita, he concludes that everyone dreams of stuff like that. After a short delay, Denji then transforms into Chainsaw Man after pulling the ripcord.

Chainsaw Man episode 1 then centers on Denji using his newfound powers to defeat the Zombie Devil and the zombie Yakuza members in an incredible animated fight scene. The anime truly lives up to the manga in this scene, elevating nearly every aspect of this fight by bringing it to the small screen.

After maniacally slaughtering the Yakuza lackeys to eliminate his debt fully, Chainsaw Man episode 1 shows a car pulling up to the warehouse where Denji fought the Zombie Devil. None other than Makima is introduced here, entering the warehouse flanked by two Public Safety employees. She comments on how someone went there before them, noticing Denji’s presence shortly thereafter.

She approaches Denji, telling him he has a strange smell that’s neither human nor Devil before asking him if he did this. As he falls backward, he asks her to hug him, which Makima obliges as Denji’s Chainsaw Man form melts away. Makima concludes that he’s both human and not possessed, eventually offering Denji a job with Public Safety instead of killing him like a Devil.

Her exact phrasing makes it sound like he’ll be her pet, with Makima even promising he’ll be fed every day if she "keeps" him. Denji asks what’s for breakfast, with Makima rattling off several items which, to Denji, would be considered luxurious. In Chainsaw Man episode 1’s closing scene, he says that sounds awesome, affirming his choice to go with her.

Chainsaw Man episode 1: Final thoughts

Overall, Chainsaw Man episode 1 is an excellent introduction to the series, establishing who the main characters will be throughout. While there are still plenty of introductions to get through for the season 1 cast, fans can count on the second episode beginning to work its way through that long laundry list.

Chainsaw Man episode 1 also does a fantastic job of faithfully adapting the manga, with virtually nothing changed about the core elements of the story in anime form. Much to the shock of viewers everywhere, even some of the cruder lines that fans had suspected may have gotten cut were left in.

Although it’s a small sample size, Chainsaw Man episode 1 truly does seem to give fans something to be excited about for the rest of the season. If MAPPA Studios and the adaptation team are able to maintain this level of quality throughout, the series will prove itself to be one of Fall 2022’s most popular and well-made offerings.

Be sure to keep up with all Chainsaw Man anime and manga news, as well as general anime, manga, film, and live-action news, as 2022 progresses.