What Is a Fiend in Chainsaw Man?
A fiend is what I turn into when I hear a rumor that the Girl Scouts of America have started selling Thin Mints in a store near me. One could say that I become “possessed” by the “devil” (or that I feel compelled to consume enormous quantities of sugar in order to make the happy chemicals in my brain start firing on all cylinders.) But that’s not what you’re asking. It’s similar, but not the same. You’re asking what a fiend is with regards to the hit anime series about a boy who cuts up devils with chainsaw hands.
Your interest might have been piqued due to your unhealthy obsession with Power (the character, not the thing that when absolute, corrupts absolutely. Though Power herself has no doubt corrupted many a young mind predisposed to horniness.) OR maybe you’re just a “casual observer” of Chainsaw Man and want to suss out if diving chainsaw-head first into the mythos is really worth your time. Whatever the reason, I’m here to help. Just bring me Thin Mints in exchange. One sleeve will do. Just one sleeve. That’s less than a shirt has. PLEASE IT’S ALL I ASK.
So WTF is a fiend anyway?
In the secular world, a fiend is a catch all term for anyone involved in chaotic, possibly criminal shit. In a theological sense, a “fiend” is a sort of catch all term for any sort of malign or demonic spiritual entity. The Arch-Fiend is an another epithet for Satan himself! The word “fiend” comes from Old Norse, and means “foe” or “enemy”. Just as the word “satan” means “adversary” or “accuser” in Hebrew. Like many of the infernal concepts of Chainsaw Man, many are borrowed straight out of Judeo-Christian beliefs. The Four Horsemen themselves also make an appearance, which anyone with a basic grasp of the more apocalyptic tenants of the Abrahamic religions know are equally based in scripture, and equally bad news.
But what exactly is a fiend in the world of Chainsaw Man? Well, before we get into that. We have to define a devil. A devil is a denizen of hell that is a manifestation of a specific human fear. Devils vary in terms of strength, and that variation directly coincides with the power that fear holds over the collective human psyche. The Tomato Devil, for instance, is not a very powerful devil. Probably because only one man in the entire history of the world has ever been afraid of tomatoes. They were probably an actor, and a bad one. However, the Darkness Devil is one of the most powerful devils OF ALL TIME because humans have been afraid of the dark FOR ALL TIME. Devils are able to manifest themselves in the human world, and take on monstrous aspects. While they primarily enjoy killing and torturing humans, they have also been known to make contracts with humans if the human has something that the devil wants. Devils are able to be harmed while they are manifesting themselves in the human world, albeit it is very difficult to do so. However, should a devil be wounded in battle, they may resort to turning themselves into a fiend in a last-ditch effort to avoid returning to hell.
So how do they make a fiend? Easy, by possessing a corpse. By reanimating the body of a dead human, devils are able to continue to exist in the human world. However, they have reduced powers as a result. They are no longer able to make contracts with humans, nor are they able to fight at the level that they were once able. The tradeoff is that they are better able to blend in with society in this weakened state. Even this is difficult however, as many fiends bear a physical mark of their former devil-hood. Most of the time, horns sprout out of their heads. And it’s pretty hard to cover those up with a hat. In order to better function in society, many devils decide to retain some of the original corpse’s brain. Some devils allow as much as half of the corpse’s brain to be left to the corpse itself. This causes many devils to lose their original personalities, and develop sort of a hybrid personality that is half devil and half the original owner of the deceased body. The Violence Fiend is one such example. Formerly the Violence Devil, one would expect VF to be a big fan of violence. However, due to the personality of the corpse it possesses, the Violence Fiend is actually a pacifist. Go figure.
Who are some fiends?
If you’re a fan of the anime, the most recognizable fiend at this moment is Power, the Blood Fiend. Power retains her demonic love of destruction and violence, as well as powers controlling blood. However, she also has a soft side. She is willing to cooperate with the Public Safety Devil Hunters in exchange for a life of comfort, and is also the proud parent of a sweet little cat named Meowy. It’s unknown if Power loves the cat because the corpse she possesses was a cat person in life, or because Power herself does in fact have a sentimental bone in her body. It seems to be the latter, as Power once planned to eat Meowy, but then fell in love with him as she was “fattening him up”.
Other notable fiends include the aforementioned Violence Fiend, and the Shark Fiend named Beam. Pingtsi is another fiend who is under the employ of the Devil Hunter Quanxi, and when I say “employ” I mean that she is a part of the latter’s harem, which happens to be made entirely of fiends.
One of the most important fiends in the story happens to be the only fiend where the possessed human host is still living. The character’s name is Asa Mitaka, who is the host of the War Devil named Yoru. The War Fiend is even more exceptional due to the fact that the War Devil is a member of the Four Horsemen, one of the most powerful groups of devils in existence. There are other important fiends in the series as well, but I don’t want this article to get TOO spoilery now do I?
In the real world, I am the Thin Mint Fiend. No one is afraid of Thin Mints, but they are afraid of what happens when I am DENIED them. Thus, the Thin Mint Devil was born. I hit her up because we both love Thin Mints, and thought we should share a body so I can eat as many as I want without getting sick. It’s working so far. We’re technically monogamous, but we may open our relationship up to other cookie-fiends in the future. Only time will tell.
(featured image credit: MAPPA)
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