There’s a reason people love action shows. Something about some good fight choreography and visually striking cinematography gets the adrenaline pumping in a way that satisfies an almost animalistic urge. Sometimes what a viewer really needs is a chance to relax into something more down-to-earth and realistic. Episode 7 of chainsaw man, “The Taste of a Kiss,” offers a nice contrast to the high-octane carnage the show is often associated with in order to connect the audience to its characters through a family situation. In doing so, the series may have signaled a hurdle it will need to overcome in the long run, setting itself up with a new challenge if it wants to keep things fresh.
Episode 7 unsurprisingly begins with its central character, Denji, brutally ripping apart a devil in a grotesque blood fest. The fight is animated in such a way that it feels like it could go on forever, with each graphic hit adding a minuscule splash of red to the bottomless sea of blood, appropriate for the battle against the Devil of Eternity. Even so, this conflict only lasts for the first third of the episode before getting to the real substance: an incredibly ordinary drinking party with the members of the Public Safety Devil Hunters, with no violence or physical altercations.
At first glance, one might attribute the pacing to the flow of the original manga’s chapters, as the show has followed a fairly consistent pace with the source material. However, the attention to detail and smooth animation at the drinking party shows that the staff under the direction of episode director Makoto Nakazono wanted to highlight the easily recognizable event of drinking with coworkers. By treating typical events with the same level of detail as other episodes, Studio MAPPA shows the same respect for the everyday world and the fantasy world. In doing so, they drive home the idea that they are producing an anime that is more about human interactions than the bizarre setting in which it takes place.
In large part, the juxtaposition of the largely jovial, low-stakes reunion against the deadly showdown with the Devil of Eternity illustrates the flexibility of the narrative. The episode starts off looking like it’s going to be more of the same slasher horror stunt seen earlier in the season, but viewers will be pleasantly surprised when it tones down the savagery for something more down-to-earth. While the move provides a subtle subversion of expectations, it also sets up a potential conundrum for future episodes.
Even with the abundance of effort put into the horror elements of Episode 7’s opening moments, the visual similarities suggest that the animators borrowed some similar fights from earlier in the series. This is likely so that the shift to the last half’s “slice of life” content can work as a palate cleanser, promising much more than the routine splatter film the title has become known for. Still, though the decision helps the episode stand out and reinforces chainsaw manThe image of being innovative also sets a standard for the show to resist fully indulging in its more animalistic tendencies.
Regardless, this week’s focus on the more mundane aspects of its characters’ lives is not without its own twists, and Studio MAPPA meets each one in turn. There is a particular case where the conversation between the Public Security agents changes towards a more serious content, during which the original frame of the animation serves to underline the strange terror of their situation. Conversely, a later segment cleverly uses pixelation censorship to accentuate both the hilarity and utter disgust of the truly disgusting non-partying that the episode is named after.
Soon, chainsaw man It continues to exceed expectations, both for its broader genre and demographics, and for the image that has been created. By demonstrating his renegade approach to storytelling, he has raised the bar in a way that will demand similar inventiveness for the rest of his career. With all the hype the anime received prior to the adaptation’s release, there’s definitely a chance it could sell out before its conclusion. With that in mind, hopefully the latest installment is a sign of more to come rather than a promise that won’t be kept.
Chainsaw Man streams on Crunchyroll weekly, with new episodes streaming every Tuesday.