Hello again! Walske Suggests is back! We only have one recommendation for you this week, but it’s a doozy.
Chainsaw Man Vol. 1 by Tatsuki Fujimoto (Translated by Amanda Haley, lettered by Sabrina Heep, and edited by Alexis Kirsch)
Denji is young, destitute, and deep in debt to the yakuza for money his now dead father owed them. He slowly chips away at his debt by doing oddjobs, selling his organs, and hunting and killing monsters known as Devils with the help of his faithful Devil-dog, Pochita, an adorable pink bundle with a chainsaw for a nose. But when Denji is killed by those same yakuza as a tribute to another Devil, Pochita gives his life so Denji will come back to life. All that remains of his loyal pup is cord coming out of Denji’s chest. And what happens when he pulls this cord? Why, he grows chainsaws out of his head and arms and uses them to fight devil for a shady and mysterious agency, because what else would happen in a series called “Chainsaw Man”?
How does Chainsaw Man exist? How does a series this grimy, weird, violent, and potentially off putting become a hit in Weekly Shonen Jump, the must cutthroat and hard-to-succeed-in-magazine in the Japanese comics industry? By being really good and really unexpected, that’s how! Chainsaw Man is both a well paced, superbly drawn series about power, relationships, and what people are willing to do for just the hint of a normal, stable life, and also a dumb, crass shonen series where the lead character dreams about meeting a girl who’ll let him touch her boobs. It is both much smarter than it appears to be and also exactly as trashy as it appears to be. It’s kind and cynical, touching and violent, as likely to melt or break your heart as it is to make you pump your fist in the air or make you feel queasy at what’s going on. It may be the biggest surprise hit of the manga industry in the last 5 years and it may end up concluding before it even gets adapted into anything. There are comics similar to Chainsaw Man, but there’s nothing quite like it and even if it’s not your speed, it is worth checking out for at least a volume. You may even find out that it’s your new favorite series.