ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Chainsaw Man,’ Volume 4

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Chainsaw Man Volume 4

In its first two volumes, Chainsaw Man lived in both horror and comedy, showcasing Denji’s narrow goals of happiness while also underscoring it with body horror and death. Last volume, readers saw nearly every member of Division 4 wiped out by partners of the Gun Devil, including a powerful and emotional death for Denji’s first friend. Now in Chainsaw Man Volume 4, the series doubles down on its high stakes.

Chainsaw Man Volume 4 is created, written, and illustrated by mangaka Tatsuki Fujimoto and localized in English by VIZ Media’s Shonen Jump imprint. This volume is translated by Amanda Haley and features touch-up art and lettering by James Gaubatz and picks up immediately where the last volume’s bloody events with most of Division 4 dead and Denji in immediate danger despite being in his devil form.

In this volume, the Devil Extermination Special Division 4’s remaining members are struggling to survive while the Gun Devil’s assassins aim to take Denji’s heart. With Aki barely clinging to life after using his devil contract, Denji being overpowered against the mysterious sword devil, and Power, well, she’s just run away, the future of the team is uncertain. But when Makima emerges unharmed, readers get the chance to see a sample of her power, which ultimately leaves them and the people around Makima wondering if she allowed the assault to happen.

While Chainsaw Man Volume 4 offers up action and intrigue, the best section of it is when Fujimoto focuses on Denji, Power, and Aki are pushed into becoming stronger. For Aki, that involves making a contract with the Future Devil, who tells him that he will face the most brutal death. And for our dynamic devil duo, Power and Denji, strength comes through receiving daily training from the top Devil Hunter. To gain strength, they must attempt to hunt and kill the hunter every day. However, each session ends with both of them “dead.”

This section of Chainsaw Man Volume 4 is fun to read, like any training montage section, but Fujimoto takes it a step further by using the training to showcase elements of who Denji and Power are as characters. As devils, they can’t die, or at the very least, regenerate after drinking blood, which makes them confront their opponent with abandon. As they continue to lose, they have to push themselves, and readers are shown their weaknesses. For Power, it’s her over-reliance on blood weapons that leaves her anemic and unable to keep up her strength in a longer fight. And for Denji, his inability to anticipate his opponent’s moves means that even when he attacks with full force, he’s always open to a counter-attack.

Fujimoto expertly illustrates action sequences and maps out a montage that I can’t wait to see in the MAPPA animated anime coming soon, but he also takes time this volume for self-reflection. While Aki takes time alone to weep at the loss of his friends, Denji begins to question his own emptiness. While he cried when Pochita died, he hasn’t felt the crushing sadness since. In fact, he questions whether or not he ever will again.

Overall, Chainsaw Man Volume 4 is a striking volume. Fujimoto shows the action and the horror of the series while also making sure readers know that there aren’t magic moments to bring back dead characters. It’s clear once a character is gone, they’re gone. Finally, Fujimoto sets the scene for a second confrontation between what’s left of Division 4 and the Gun Devil’s assassins.

Chainsaw Man Volume 4 is available wherever books are sold on April 6, 2021.

Chainsaw Man Volume 4
5

TL;DR

Chainsaw Man Volume 4 is a striking volume. Fujimoto shows the action and the horror of the series while also making sure readers know that there aren’t magic moments to bring back dead characters. It’s clear once a character is gone, they’re gone. Finally, Fujimoto sets the scene for a second confrontation between what’s left of Division 4 and the Gun Devil’s assassins.