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Chainsaw Man is an action manga series created by Tatsuki Fujimoto and serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump. The series follows the exploits of Denji, a teenager who merged with his demon dog and is now capable of using its chainsaw powers. Since its release, the series has gained a notable following online. In 2022, an anime adaptation of the series, created by MAPPA, premiered on Crunchyroll. Both the anime series and the manga have been widely referenced in memes online, as well as in fan art and other media.
The series is set in a world where devils exist, becoming stronger the more they are feared by humans and being able to do contracts with them. In it, Japanese 15-year-old Denji works as a demon hunter for the local yakuza alongside his chainsaw demon dog Pochita, in order to pay his deceased father's debt. One night, after being killed by the devil-controlled yakuza, Pochita merges with Denji and revives him, giving him the ability to transform into chainsaws by revving his chest's engine. After being rescued by the demon hunter Makima, Denji starts working for the Japanese government as a demon hunter, all while trying to find the dangerous Gun Devil.
Chainsaw Man by Tatsuki Fujimoto, previously known for his manga series Fire Punch, started serialization in Weekly Shōnen Jump on December 3rd, 2018. The English serialization of the manga started the same day by Viz Media. As of November 2020, nine volumes have been released so far.
On October 11th, 2022, the anime adaptation of the manga series, created by MAPPA, premiered on Crunchyroll. On the same day, the opening sequence for the series, which referenced various famous films, was uploaded to YouTube, where it accumulated over 10.2 million views in two days (shown below).
As of October 2020, Chainsaw Man has sold over 4.2 million volumes. As of September 2022, over 16 million copies of the manga were sold. On MyAnimeList, the manga had a 8.74 user score with over 283,000 votes as of October 2022.
Following the premiere of the first episode of the manga, Chainsaw Man ranked 9.00 out of 10 with over 58,300 user votes on MyAnimeList.
The dedicated subreddit, /r/ChainsawMan, was created on November 28th, 2018, gaining nearly 32,000 subscribers in the following two years. The same day, a Fandom wiki about the series was also created. On May 2nd, 2020, YouTuber ChensoFan uploaded a fanmade ending of the series, gaining nearly 350,000 views in the following six months (shown below, left). On May 14th, 2020, Redditor xX69ThotSlayer420Xx uploaded a page of the series to /r/animemes, gaining over 9,200 points (over 98% upvoted) and 80 comments in six months. On May 16th, YouTuber 宇治 uploaded a MAD of the manga, gaining nearly 900,000 views in the following six months (shown below, right).
The series also has a large following of animators. On June 17th, 2020, YouTuber Filip uploaded a compilation of fanmade animations, gaining over 230,000 views in the following months (shown below, left). A second part, uploaded on August 22nd, gained nearly 42,000 views in two months. On September 9th, Twitter user yoiyo_ii uploaded an animation featuring the character Himeno, gaining over 26,000 retweets and 89,000 favorites in two months. The animation was submitted on September 19th to the /r/manga subreddit by Redditor 1haru1, gaining over 10,000 points (99% upvoted) in two months.
The series gained a huge following online after the manga premiere. As of November 3rd, 2020, the Japanese artist community pixiv leads to over 7,400 results under the tag "チェンソーマン", and Twitter hashtags #チェンソーマン and #chainsawman led to both fan art and memes. Fandom presence can also be found on other communities like 4chan and Tumblr.
Following the premiere of the anime series, the franchise saw a major spike in popularity online as users shared clips and memes based on the opening sequence and the first episode of the anime. For example, on October 11th, 2022, Twitter account @Yuyucow shared a side-by-side comparison between cinematic references in the opening sequence of the anime and films that they referenced. The video gained over 3.2 million views, 54,900 retweets and 220,700 likes in two days (shown below). Later that day, Twitter account @ChainsawManPS shared the video, gaining over 10.1 million views.
Shingo Yamashita brought out Chainsaw Man's spirit with his opening. The barrage of references to memorable shots from all types of films doesn't just sum up Tatsuki Fujimoto's love of cinema & influences, but also matches his constant non-sequitur turns with an eclectic sequence pic.twitter.com/kTiUlrHznh
— kViN 🌈🕒 (@Yuyucow) October 11, 2022
Makima is a character from the Chainsaw Man manga series. As one of the leading figures of the devil-hunting organization Public Safety Devil Hinters, Makima is a manipulative figure controlling the main protagonist Denji and other hunters through any means and is one of the key characters of the series. The character gained popularity as a waifu, with fans often reacting to cosplay and fan art of Makima by barking.
 AnimeNewsNetwork – Shonen Jump Magazine Launches 3 New Manga in December
 AnimeNewsNetwork – Viz's Shonen Jump to Preview Chainsaw Man by Fire Punch's Fujimoto
 Otaku USA Magazine – Chainsaw Man Manga Has Over 16 Million Copies in Circulation