Chainsaw Man: MAPPA Addresses the Anime's Expectations and Audience Demands (Exclusive)

If you have seen Chainsaw Man pop up on your feed this week, it is hardly a surprise. The series made international headlines with its big comeback, and creator Tatsuki Fujimoto is only getting started. The franchise will welcome its own anime adaptation this fall thanks to the team at MAPPA. And not long ago, ComicBook got the chance to speak with several studio executives about the high-profile adaptation. 

As you can read below, MAPPA CEO Manabu Otsuka took time to speak with ComicBook alongside script writer Hiroshi Seko and producer Makoto Kimura. It was there the trio spoke at length about what makes Chainsaw Man stick out as something special, and despite all the expectations from fans, the team at MAPPA are taking the anime one episode at a time.


It would put things lightly to say fans are excited for Chainsaw Man. I feel the panel this morning proved as much. First, can you three each tell me how you were introduced to the series? And what about the story strikes you the most?

Hiroshi Seko: I wasn't reading the manga before, but I had been hearing about an incredible series called Chainsaw Man for a while.

Manabu Otsuka: I began reading the manga pretty early on. Well, around the first or second volume when they came out. It was actually coincidental that I picked it up, but after I saw it, I knew that I needed to make anime. I knew I wanted to work on it. What really attracted me about the story is I noticed how each of the chapters ended each week was really surprising. It has a very different way of ending each chapter so it's sort of like, 'Oh, you're finishing it here?' I thought it was a very like modern thing, a modern way of closing off chapters. It's also really interesting to see the sort of duality between reality and fantasy. Like you have, demons right out in the world, but then you also see them in the town and in the city.

Seko: What attracted me was Denji's character and his personality or the reason why he is fighting is very different from your usual hero or protagonist you see in these titles. Usually these heroes are fighting for something that they want to protect or there's clearly a bad guy and they're fighting them. It's not anything where they are very true to their inner needs. Denji is fighting to make end's meet. He's fighting to eat food and meet women. That's like the driving force behind his character and you don't see that that often.

Makoto Kimura: The part that really attracted me to the title is how something we've mentioned a bit. Denji has a a very different hero image. Usually when you have a Shonen Jump title, there are three traits heroes exhibit: perseverance, friendship, and loyalty. But here, it's very different. Denji is not something that you would see in those titles. He even laughs like a villain, you know? It's just a different perspective of what you see in a protagonist. So, I thought that was going to be really interesting.

And to Otsuka-san, the visuals we've seen from Chainsaw Man so far are from another world. How much were you involved in crafting the anime's style? And can you talk about that visual-design process a bit?

Otsuka: As for the visuals, the minute details are usually left to the director [Ryu Nakayama]. The director is mostly involved with visuals while I mostly check everything. It's not something where I was part of the visuals from the beginning, but I see it as it comes through. I think the most important thing in terms of the visuals is to keep in mind what the fans are expecting from the original series? Like, fans want to make sure the series actually incorporates what was there from Fujimoto-sensei's original art. I want to make sure that the appeal and charm of his art is incorporated into the visuals themselves.

Chainsaw Man is one of – if not by now – the top selling manga series in the United States. Its sales in Japan and globally are huge. Can anyone here speak about how the series' popularity has influenced or impacted production on its anime? Or was the team able to block out the hype?

Otsuka: Honestly, it didn't really effect anything. We have worked on titles like Attack on Titan for instance and Jujutsu Kaisen that are big. Honestly, all series are popular in sense. It doesn't bother any of us that titles are very popular when we are adapting them. I think everybody is just working towards creating something good for the fans.

Chainsaw Man is based on an adorable chainsaw demon dog who buddies up with a guy who is down on his luck. If any of you could make your own human-demon combination, what would it be?

Seko: Honestly, Kishibe's power is something I'd be interested in. 

Otsuka: I'd become Bed-Man. I'm pretty jet lagged right now, so I think I'd like to be something restful. 

Kimura: Blood, just like Power.