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The Ending Of Chainsaw Man Season 1 Explained

"Chainsaw Man" is a manga that kicked off in Weekly Shonen Jump in 2018 and has now been adapted into one of the best anime series of 2022. The series, created by famed animation studio MAPPA, has introduced new audiences to this surprisingly heartwarming tale of a down-on-his-luck teen boy and the chainsaw demon that loves him. Featuring over-the-top fight scenes, an ensemble cast of often unlikeable but always endearing characters, and some genuinely heartfelt love for pets — regardless of what form they might take — the anime has done stellar work telling this bonkers story to new viewers while hitting all the major notes manga fans were searching for.

"Chainsaw Man" has always had a deceptively straightforward premise. "I turn into a buncha chainsaws," Denji explains with little in the way of follow-up in Season 1. Still, there is surprising complexity to the story, with Denji's poverty and the actions that come from it spurring much of the series while his love and genuine kindness for his dog-like Chainsaw Devil Pochita is the foundation of the story. Though he insists on being overly simplistic, this is a character experiencing complex layers of trauma, which is what gives this overly girl-obsessed kid a lot of his charm. 

With Season 1 in the bag, we have learned a lot about Denji and his crew. Here is the wild finale of "Chainsaw Man" explained.

Denji's wild ride

Denji is told upon the death of his father that he owes a seemingly unpayable sum of money to the yakuza, over which a surly boss promises to kill Denji if he doesn't start paying immediately. Denji finds an injured Pochita, who growls at him out of fear. Denji recognizes that the creature is in dire straights and feeds Pochita some of his blood, leading to the two becoming best friends. This comes crashing to a close when the end of Denji's debt is finally in sight and the boss chooses to simply kill him and Pochita, leading Pochita to physically become Denji's heart in hopes of allowing him to fulfill his dreams of leading a "normal life."

This merge also grants Denji the ability to transform into the terrifying Chainsaw Man, which leads him to be found by the mysterious Ms. Makima and her organization. Enlisted in the Public Safety Devil Hunters, Denji enters a high-stakes life of fighting Devils to contain their constant looming threat to the world. 

If the anime follows the steps of the manga in this regard, we're going to find out a lot more about Denji's deadbeat dad and the extremely chaotic circumstances of Denji's early life in the episodes ahead. For now, Season 1 mostly revolves around Denji developing a crush on Ms. Makima, befriending Aki and Power, as well as showing us his complicated moral code along with his willingness to empathize with the most unlikeable of creatures.

How does the manga play into all this?

Though some changes have been made in adapting the manga into an anime series, much of Season 1 of "Chainsaw Man" follows the first leg of the comic's Public Safety arc. From iconic bits of dialogue to the over-the-top action sequences and the devoutly basic outlooks of Denji and Power, this is an adaptation that takes its work bringing the original story to the screen seriously. One major change occurred at the beginning of Episode 1, in which a scene that wasn't seen until much later in the comics opens the series. Denji cautiously approaches a door only to see an eye peering back at him, then wakes up, apparently from a nightmare.

This change may entail that some of the later revelations of the book will be pushed forward a bit overall, but as of this season, we haven't seen much of that. Outside of extended, bloodier fight scenes and a few incidental creative flourishes, this is all pretty true to the series. The manga's Muscle Devil has been removed, moments of narrative tension are added, and Denji and Aki's roommate relationship gets more fleshed out. Other than that, the comics serve as a pretty solid guide for what occurs in the anime. 

For readers of the comic series, the anime will remain very much worth watching due to its wild violence, while fans of the anime would be doing themselves a favor to catch the chaotic fun of the manga.

Division 4 death and resurrection

The Public Safety Devil Hunters seem like a pretty dubious organization from the start, paying extravagant wages to their employees but apparently seeking out very young people in poverty who have little choice but to take jobs that will almost inevitably lead to their early deaths. Case in point, this season saw several Denji's coworkers bite the dust in high-stakes battles against Devils. Perhaps the most shattering of these deaths was Aki's close friend and partner Himeno, whose constant encounters with death begin to shatter her mental health, but other characters with smaller roles also perish along the way.

While the hapless Kobeni is still with us despite leading the kind of life that would cause just about anyone to pray for an early death, she's just about the only one outside of our central three — Denji, Aki, and Power — who survives. Indeed, there are so many deaths in the first season that Divisions 1 through 4 are forced to merge into Division 4, with new trainers Kurose and Tendo appearing on the scene to recruit and push more characters into this unenviable job. 

We haven't seen how this is going to play out quite yet, but chances are that we're going to be meeting a whole new slew of Devil Hunters in the second season. We're going to try not to get too attached to any of them this time, though.

The mystery of Captain Kishibe

We first meet Kishibe through Himeno's flashbacks as she mourns fallen comrades. The exchange between them tells us more about her than about him, but even then, it seems clear that we're going to be meeting Kishibe in the main timeline soon. This comes to fruition in Episode 10 when Ms. Makima informs Power and Denji that they'll be training with the impassive, unmovable Kishibe. Though Denji and Power are delighted and hope to make short work of the scarred, drunken older man, they are quickly put in their places as he kills them, not once, but dozens of times in a single day before leaving them to find their own ways home.

This continues into Episode 11, with Denji and Power hilariously attempting to take an intellectual, high-minded approach to fight Kishibe, only for him to politely commend their efforts after killing them both again. Though we learn very little about Kishibe in this season, we know that he's very powerful and has been doing this for so long that it's left him with visible scars and a clear alcohol problem. Oddly, he expresses sentiment for Denji and Power, noting that he's worried about them despite finding them overall quite repulsive. In "Chainsaw Man," just about every character shows hidden complexity, but Kishibe is one of the oddest additions so far.

Aki and Future Devil

When it comes to characters that have truly gone through it this season, Aki rates pretty high. We meet him as a stern, unflappable young man who judges Denji as useless. Aki beats Denji up to deter him from pursuing a life in Public Safety and is shocked when Denji comes back at him and knocks him into submission. Though overall quite stoic in his quest for vengeance on the Devils that took his family from him, Aki is emotionally complex and shows a great deal more remorse and sorrow over the death that constantly surrounds him. This makes him the perfect counterpart for the insistently shallow Denji.

Though we learned quite a bit about Aki through flashback sequences this season, there is still a lot about him that we don't know. When his trainers encourage him to quit and he receives a letter Himeno wrote her sister hoping that Aki would free himself of his life as a Devil Hunter, his determination only grows. 

Aki accompanies Kurose and Tendo to a prison where captured Devils are kept and meets the Future Devil. Though warned against this ominous creature, Aki quickly makes a deal with him. Future Devil is willing to do so, chuckling that Aki's death will be "epic." Aki has grown on us over these last episodes, so we're sad to hear it, but at this point, even with his developing fondness for Denji and Power, he seems set on joining Himeno in death.

Ms. Makima is terrifying

Even the most hopeful and naive viewer has probably pieced together that Ms. Makima isn't necessarily a great person, and there's definitely a lot going on with her that we simply don't know about by the end of "Chainsaw Man" Season 1. However, what we see in the final episodes gives some pretty unsettling glimpses at not only her incredible power levels but also her sheer callousness when it comes to the lives of others. Though she is clearly in pursuit of the evil Gun Devil, the means through which she pursues him are highly questionable. Equally questionable is her bizarre treatment of Denji, who she often refers to as a dog despite expressing attraction to him.

While we have some concerns about the dynamics between Makima and Denji, Ms. Makima has shown herself capable of killing people at a distance and taking out several in one go, which leaves us with significantly more questions than even her relationship with Denji does. How did she become affiliated with Public Safety, and how did she rise up the ranks to her current position of power? For some reason, we get the feeling that there was some dubious stuff happening along the way. Still, even though she's not exactly the kind of person we'd like to hang out with, she's a fascinating character, so we're looking forward to finding out more.

We still don't know what Gun Devil is up to

Among all the Devils, the Gun Devil is said to be one of the most fearsome. Despite being the catalyst for so much of Season 1, we have yet to even meet this Devil, and with good reason. After manifesting in the fallout of a terrorist attack, the Gun Devil lashed out in turn and killed well over a million people in a short series of blasts, including Aki's family. This led our hero to vow revenge at all costs, but finding the Gun Devil is just as hard as fighting him. He was defeated by an unknown entity and his pieces were scattered across the globe, though they have remained active enough to continue causing problems.

We might not know where or what the Gun Devil is, but we've certainly seen his minions in action throughout this final season. In the last couple of episodes, Ms. Makima uses a number of convicts to chant the names of yakuza bosses affiliated with the Gun Devil, drawing up the power to eliminate them from where she stands. Meanwhile, Denji and Power enter a Gun Devil affiliated yakuza den with other non-human members of Public Safety and end up in a bloody fight for their lives against a zombie horde. 

By the end of Season 1, Akane is brutally killed to prevent her from revealing intel on the Gun Devil, while Ms. Makima proudly wields a new piece of the Gun Devil that promises to reveal his location.

The new Devils

The Special Divisions were once mostly populated by humans, but as of Episode 11, we see this has changed. Captain Kishibe calmly blocks the entrance to the yakuza den and informs the human members that Division 4 is mostly made up of non-human Devils and Fiends at this point, making it a good idea to simply stand by and wait this one out. That's when we meet a whole new cast of characters, including the Shark Fiend, the Violence Fiend, the Angel Devil, and the Spider Devil. What kind of role this crew is going to play going forward is hard to say, but their introduction is completely off-the-wall as they tear through the basement of a warehouse filled with zombies alongside Aki, Denji, and Power.

Kishibe helpfully informs us of the skillsets of these new characters. We learn that the unstable Shark Fiend can literally swim through solid objects and structures, as well as transform into a mutated shark form. Next, we meet the masked Violence Fiend, who still has a connection to his human self. The Spider Devil seems specifically in service to Ms. Makima and embodies the fear of spiders, while the Angel Devil appears unintimidating but represents the fear of angels and the holy host, slowly draining the life force of those that come too close. 

These new Fiends and Devils will no doubt be popping up again soon, but for now, they've definitely piqued our interest.

Denji's mirror

When it comes to weird and wild antagonists, "Chainsaw Man" has got us covered, introducing the concept of Devils that can embody just about any random thing, from animals, like the Leech Devil and the Bat Devil, to weapons, like the Gun Devil. With Denji wielding chainsaws, it only makes sense that his arch-nemesis would be another blade Devil. However, Katana Man is a mirror image of Denji in more ways than one and harkens back to Denji's early experiences. The mob boss that betrayed Denji and nearly ended his life only to die by Denji's hand after transforming into a monstrous entity turns out to have been a bit of a family man.

Despite making poor Denji's life a living Hell and forcing him to work for next-to-nothing while starving and suffering from an untreated illness, the boss seems like a pretty great grandfather to his grandson. However, this leads the grandson to seek revenge upon Denji after his grandfather's demise. Considering that all we know of this man is that he horribly abused and then killed our protagonist at the start of the story, thus kicking off the chain of events that gave us Chainsaw Man to begin with, it's a surprise to see someone stepping up to avenge him at the end of Season 1.

The dream

The season begins and ends with Denji's weird door dream, in which his much younger self approaches a door. In Episode 1, he looks into the keyhole only to see an eye peering back at him. The finale, Episode 12, shows him back in the dreamscape. He thinks to himself that he has this dream all of the time but he always forgets it when he wakes up. Convinced that Pochita is waiting for him on the other side, he happily reaches for the handle, declaring that if it's a dream, at least he'll be able to pet his beloved Devil once more. Pochita shouts at him not to open the door and the camera rapidly pans out, leaving us to wonder what just happened.

However, the door story isn't introduced until much later in the manga and has some definite reality-bending qualities to it that will reveal terrifying new secrets about Denji's early life. Pushing it up to the beginning of Episode 1 might mean that it's going to be a more developmental moment for the next season, but for now, all we've got are questions about how this is going to play out. Though manga readers have a fairly good idea of the story the door will likely represent, nothing is written in stone, so we're just as much on the edge of our seats as anyone else trying to piece this one together.

Saying goodbye for now

We've still got plenty of things to think about in the wait for Season 2 of "Chainsaw Man" — including if there even will be a Season 2 of "Chainsaw Man." We met and said farewell to plenty of major characters this season, including the wonderful Pochita, the goodest Devil boy there is. The weirdly likable Himeno may have perished, but we're glad that at least Aki was able to take a moment to say a silent goodbye to her at the end of the finale. Still, even after all of that, we've got plenty of questions plaguing us.

Will Pochita make a return in his original form? We'd love to see Denji snuggle his boy again, even if only in a dream. Likewise, what's going to become of Meowy? Power's bond with this cat is incredibly adorable despite her otherwise mostly reprehensible qualities, and we'd love to see more of them together. For that matter, who was Power before she became a Fiend? That's something we just might never find out. Is Kobeni ever going to get enough money together so that she can quit this job before it kills her? We sure hope so. What's Aki's epic death going to be? 

The fact is, we've got plenty of things to keep us busy thinking of while we wait for "Chainsaw Man" to continue. For now, we're going to go ahead and hit play on Episode 1 again.