Screenshot from the opening to Chainsaw Man

The Film Reference-Filled ‘Chainsaw Man’ Opening Is Perfection

Help me I'm melting with giddiness.

The much-hyped anime adaption of Tatsuki Fujimoto’s Chainsaw Man has finally premiered. Expectations for the series are high, thanks to Japanese animation studio MAPPA, which gave us Jujutsu Kaisen and Attack on Titan. Maybe I’m a dummy, but I was so excited for the meat of the Chainsaw Man anime that I didn’t realize how giddy I was to see the OP until it was right in front of my face. That opening? Perfect. A perfect OP.

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As much as the internet was praising the first episode of the anime, even that seemed to take a back seat to everyone freaking out about the OP. The Chainsaw Man OP boasts beautiful animation, courtesy of director Shingo Yamashita, and a catchy-ass song, “KICK BACK” by Kenshi Yonezu. The vibe is both gritty and incredibly fun — it’s freaking Chainsaw Man. How thoroughly the OP nails it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise: MAPPA brought a ton of its Jujutsu Kaisen staff to Chainsaw Man, including Yamashita, who directed the second OP for Jujutsu.

This OP is so obviously a labor of love. It leaves a ton of easter eggs and dynamic character moments for fans to pick apart. Yes, everyone’s pointing out how there’s a shot of Makima walking Denji like a dog. But all I want to talk about is how Genius Power is in the OP. And how, the end of the OP, in which Denji and Power are happily dancing like idiots while Aki passively looks on, which made me laugh out loud, melt, and die.

In addition to showing a lot of care and love for the characters and the series overall, the OP contains a huge number of very specific, very well-placed film references. IGN, thankfully, has done the Lord Chainsaw’s work and caught most of them. If this seems out of nowhere, know that “crappy movies” becomes a recurring point of conversation in Chainsaw Man. But there’s that one movie of all the crappy ones which will change your life, to paraphrase Makima. The OP seems to be nodding to all of those movies in quick succession.

Honestly, it’s the newer ones like Thor: Love and Thunder and Once Upon A Time In Hollywood which surprise me the most. I was wondering what was up with the Power bathing suit moment, other than to provide fan service. Except MAPPA is not really one for fan service, so I can’t help but read the moment more as a joke. Power gets her “fan service moment” in the narrative, and she’s in full control of the situation. It makes this moment so funny to me.

However, the OP is not entirely fun and games. There’s at least one reference which definitely causes a different kind of reaction for those of us who have read the manga.

From both the OP and the episode itself, it’s as clear as ever that Chainsaw Man‘s anime is in excellent hands. As honestly, we all knew it was. Chainsaw Man is available to watch on Crunchyroll and Hulu.

(featured image: MAPPA)

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Kirsten Carey
Kirsten (she/her) is a contributing writer at the Mary Sue specializing in anime and gaming. In the last decade, she's also written for Channel Frederator (and its offshoots), Screen Rant, and more. In the other half of her professional life, she's also a musician, which includes leading a very weird rock band named Throwaway. When not talking about One Piece or The Legend of Zelda, she's talking about her cats, Momo and Jimbei.