Every ‘Chainsaw Man’ End Credits Sequence, Ranked
Chainsaw Man is, in my opinion, not only one of the best anime of 2022, but it’s quite possibly one of the best anime I’ve ever seen. Everything about it was strong: the animation, the voice acting, the pacing. I loved it all. An absolutely incredible opening sequence added even more to the whole package.
You would think MAPPA would be satisfied with all of that. But no. Each of Chainsaw Man‘s 12 episodes also had its own unique ending. We’re talking unique animation and unique song. It’s an unprecedented stunt—and it paid off brilliantly. It still boggles my mind that they had the funding to do this, especially considering the high caliber of musicians involved. But most mind-boggling of all, the vast majority of these endings are absolutely incredible. So let’s revisit them, one by one, and celebrate them as we also rank them. Because the internet likes a ranking.
Spoilers ahead for the Chainsaw Man anime!
12. “Chainsaw Blood” (Ending 1)
Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Vaundy (he wrote “Backlight,” my favorite song from One Piece Film: Red), but I don’t think this is his best song. And the fact that there’s no unique visuals to this ending automatically puts it at the end of the pack, even though all the animation it showcases from the stellar first episode is, of course, great.
11. “Violence” (Ending 11)
Music: QUEEN BEE
Ending 11 looks beautiful. It’s entirely black and white, and it oscillates effortlessly between its characters, who are stuck on landscapes that feel very digital—almost Matrix-like—and the skyscrapers of Tokyo. The city itself, and the mountains which lay beyond it, feels incredibly distant until it’s suddenly not. However, personally speaking, this one doesn’t really work for me. Chainsaw Man is set vaguely in the ’80s, so the digital-seeming cubes don’t feel like they’re from the same show. The song, too, seems to exist separately from this ending. And … I don’t love the song.
10. “Dainouteki na Rendezvous” (Ending 6)
This is the second Chainsaw Man ending to tie M.C. Escher references to the Infinity Devil. In hellish, angular rooms right out of one of Escher’s famous works, our Devil Hunters climb uncertainly. Their memories—symbolized as portraits—are thrown to the endless depths of an infinite staircase. The expansiveness makes you uneasy, and that’s what the Infinity Devil desires. I particularly enjoy the completely mad look on Himeno’s face as she watches Denji fight the Infinity Devil. Alas, if you watch these endings in sequence, Ending 6 kind of comes off like a less rich version of Ending 5.
9. “first death” (Ending 8)
Music: TK from Ling tosite Sigure
“first death” is the ending you get right after, well, the series’ first major death. Seeing those crosses immediately following that moment is gutting. There’s a lot of very cryptic symbolism in here. In particular, the rows and rows of people in Public Safety Devil Hunter uniforms, shortly followed by the rows and rows of unmarked graves, are chilling. Makima stands alone in an expansive room of light—the only unmitigated sunlight afforded in an otherwise very cloudy, overcast set of scenes. Himeno sits in the nude in a forest, the canopy of which is thick enough to prevent most of that sunlight from entering. As a whole, it’s very grim. The song, though, is notably awesome.
8. “DOGLAND” (Ending 10)
Music: PEOPLE 1
Considering that one of the stills from the opening that fans initially seized on was Makima walking Denji like a dog, this ending was bound to get some smirks. The beginning feels like a scene straight out of the manga, and one the anime hasn’t gotten to yet. You’ll find that quite a few of these endings reference things in the manga that haven’t happened yet, actually.
The style here is fascinating, blending sketchy animation with highly stylistic, overexposed live-action surroundings. Because of its unique style, it’s arguably one of the most memorable endings of this whole pack (dog pun intended). It also features the only song to dip its toe into hip hop. The combination of the song’s pacing and the animation inspires claustrophobia and panic. You definitely feel like you’re in Denji’s shoes for this one.
7. “Zanki” (Ending 2)
I have two major weaknesses when it comes to the visuals of these endings. If they highlight Tokyo and feature Denji, Power, and Aki hanging out, I’m all in. Ending 2 does this. Its version of Tokyo runs the gamut of symbolic splendor (the ever-present Tokyo Tower), teases the alluring flashiness of the underbelly (the neon signs, presumably of the red light district, Kabukichō), and shows the griminess at the bottom (Denji sleeping on some goddamn garbage bags in an alley). While much of Chainsaw Man doesn’t showcase obvious landmarks like Tokyo Tower, that full socio-economic contrast is something the series showcases as well.
The animation style here is also markedly different from the series, and I love it. It feels light and playful on the surface, which contrasts beautifully with the rainy atmosphere.
6. “Deep Down” (Ending 9)
Just as there are two Infinity Devil endings, there are also two Himeno’s death endings. And like the two Infinity Devil endings, there’s a clear winner (to me) between the Himeno death endings.
Ending 9 is incredibly unsettling, just like the episode which precedes it. Makima exploding people remotely, popping them like a balloon, and reducing them to a burst of blood is quite possibly one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever seen animated. This ending grapples with a more “poetic” version of that. Makima’s manipulation of blood is tied to the death of Himeno—a death which robbed her of her flesh-and-blood body. Himeno’s legs are shown slogging through this sea of blood, inhibited by what looks to be ropes made up of intestines. What about our bodies make us weak, vulnerable, alive? And what are we if we have no body at all? This is all tied together by a characteristically excellent performance from Aimer.
5. “In the Backroom” (Ending 5)
Now we’re getting into the S-rank endings—and the fact that I’d consider almost half of these endings to be S-rank, speaks to the ridiculously high quality of this whole project.
Ending 5 feels like you’re walking through an art museum from Hell. There are a lot of references to M.C. Escher, the artist famous for his infinite staircases. A fitting reference to cap the episode which introduces the Infinity Devil, no?
Honestly, this ending is definitely smarter than I am. There’s Salvador Dali references alongside Biblical references alongside Renaissance Art references alongside freaking Neon Genesis Evangelion references. The symbolism here is deep and profound. This piece chases a lot of them, but beware that it contains major spoilers.
4. “Chu, Tayousei.” (Ending 7)
This song is S+++, if that’s even possible. And that’s because the chorus has the funniest wordplay imaginable. Ano is singing, “Ge-ge-gero, ge-ge-gero, gero chuu.” The subtitles translate this as, “Get get get on, get get get on, get on kiss.” A cute, fun song about having your first kiss, right?
You’ll be delighted to know that there’s another meaning to this chorus. “Chuu” is kiss, and “gero” is indeed a colloquial way of saying “get on” in Japanese. But “gero” has another meaning: “vomit.”
“V-v-vomit, v-v-vomit, vomit kiss!” Considering which episode this ending comes after, S+++.
The visuals here as fantastic as well, imagining what Chainsaw Man might have looked like as a classic SNES game. The pin-ups of all the female characters feel very “of that time,” too, and are stylized enough that I don’t find them cringey. (Also, damn, Himeno is ripped! You go, girl!) Then the chorus kicks in and we get to one of the most memorable, repulsive, incredible visuals I’ve seen in a long, long time.
3. “Jouzai” (Ending 4)
“Jouzai” is delightful as hell and pokes fun at the way female anime characters are often merchandized as figures with niche, hilariously unrealistic concepts. Power as a … sexy cop! Power as a … sexy maid! Power as a … sexy nurse! Power as a … sexy bunny-ear lady! (Which is now an actual figure.)
But what makes this so great is that it’s very clear Power is doing whatever the hell she wants and doesn’t give a shit what anyone thinks. We’re all under her thumb. The fact that this comes immediately after Power sits on the toilet and tells Denji he can touch her boobs underscores this even further—and makes it even funnier. Also, the little zoom in on Meowy while Power’s sitting “provocatively” on the toilet brings me a lot of joy.
This ending premiered right after Halloween, and I was upset because I would have absolutely dressed up as Rock Star Power. Watch out, 2023 cons.
2. “Fight Song” (Ending 12)
Ending 12 seems specifically designed to make me faint from how perfect it is. What I love most in any anime series is, weirdly enough, not the big fights; it’s the little moments of the characters just hanging out, doing normal shit. Chainsaw Man gave me a lot of this kind of thing (see: Aki’s morning routine), which is part of the reason I love it so much.
Ending 12 is just this vibe. We follow Aki, Denji, and Power as they walk around Tokyo. They go to a temple, they go to a park, they buy ingredients for dinner at the market. They bathe themselves and share a meal together, talking and laughing, then collapse from how full they are. The way Power coddles Meowy, in particular, makes me die a little bit. This whole thing is so goddamn adorable. And it’s all underscored by my favorite Eve song since their immortal contribution to the first opening of Jujutsu Kaisen.
1. “HAWATARI NIOKU CENTI” (Ending 3)
Music: Maximum the Hormone
Everything about this minute-and-a-half track is deeply, deeply my shit. You will not be surprised to learn that this song is brought to you by the same band which gifted us “What’s up, people?!” the absolutely incredible second opening track for Death Note. This song is three completely different songs in one. It’s frantic and disorienting and pulls the rug out from under you multiple times—all in 90 seconds. It fucking rules.
The bizarre, freaky, colorful, psychedelic tessellations of the characters feel like they’re out of a bad acid trip. This ending, hands down, has my favorite animation on this list. You can’t look away from the screen for even a millisecond. Plus, the sleeping Pochita toward the end has been my phone background since the day this ending premiered. He’s so precious.
(featured image: MAPPA)
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