*Note: this article is being written by an anime-only viewer of Chainsaw Man. The manga may disprove or further the points made here, or I could simply get some things wrong. I’m simply sharing my reactions to the character and analyzing why I feel she’s awesome and terrifying. Feel free to correct me if I get anything wrong, but please refrain from posting any major manga spoilers in the comments. Thank you :)*
Making a terrifying character is a difficult task. They need to be powerful enough to be a threat, unpredictable enough that you can’t figure them out, and chilling enough to immediately put you on edge. But that’s hard to do. Go too far and they become laughable. Don’t go far enough and you can’t get the desired effect.
Chainsaw Man’s Makima absolutely has the desired effect. Very few characters have made me feel as uneasy as her. Hell, I legit shot up in my seat and shouted “GOD DAMN!” the first time we saw her powers. This lady is terrifying!
And people are still horny for her. Honestly? Respect. If this person came onto me, I’d run for the hills screaming.
For all the good it would do me…
From the first moment Makima appeared on-screen, she immediately set me on edge. Her calmly walking in on a zombie massacre and fearlessly hugging a chainsaw devil person is one thing. But it’s shounen; I’ve seen my share of characters numb to violence and horror.
Rather, what struck me was her appearance. Orderly and collected, with a neat suit and tie, her hair done in a clean braid, she’s the very figure of power in modern society.
But then you meet her eyes. Those cold circles that almost have a hypnotic pattern to their rings. Whenever she smiles, or looks surprised, or anything, you can tell that the emotion doesn’t reach her eyes. Her facial muscles may be able to play at joy, but the eyes don’t lie. They’re always observing, analyzing, as if they’re dissecting you where you stand.
And correct me if I’m wrong, but have we ever seen her so much as blink? Cause if she has, I sure as hell can’t remember it.
It certainly helps that her voice actress, Tomori Kusunoki, absolutely knocks it out of the park. Her every line is delivered in the same soft and quiet tone; it almost sounds lifeless at times, like Makima can hardly even be bothered with what she’s saying. Yet she always has this sense of power in her words. Shouting is simply beneath her.
And all of that comes before the actual characterization.
At this point in the show, Makima is a walking mystery. We know she’s a Devil Hunter, the leader of Special Division 4, but that’s about it. Where did she come from? How did she rise up the ranks? What is it that she wants?
You might think that her goal is to eradicate the devils. She is a Devil Hunter, after all. And maybe that’s exactly what it is. Maybe she is the hero of the story and I’m getting on edge for no-
Nope. Never mind. There ain’t a heroic bone in this woman’s body.
Whatever she wants, Makima is relentless in her pursuit of it. She’s willing to crush anyone it takes to get what she wants. Such as when she found the families of various mobsters and plucked out their eyes just to make a point. Or how she’ll manipulate people with a sweet word or even, in Denji’s case, the promise of sex.
Would she ever actually deliver on that promise for Denji? Probably not. I’d bet she’d have him killed before she’d ever have to actually make good on that promise.
Or maybe she actually would, if she saw further use for him. That’s my point; I have no idea! Makima seems ready to cross any and every line she needs to in order to achieve her goals. You don’t know what those goals are, why she’s pursuing them, or even how she’s doing it. Watching this show, you genuinely never know what Makima is going to do next.
Whatever it is, she’s probably going to succeed. It’s clear that Makima is more than a few degrees smarter than those around her. When it comes to manipulating or deceiving people, or simply forcing them to do what she wants through fear, she’s a master of her craft.
It certainly helps that she can murder you from across the country with a thought.
Thus we come to the final piece of the terrifying puzzle: Makima’s power. Her personality and unpredictability already made her a chilling presence in any scene. But after we got a glimpse at how monstrously strong she is, it’s hard to feel anything other than blinding terror every time she shows up!
Being a shounen anime, Chainsaw Man has its fair share of combat. It’s also got an incredibly interesting power system involving devil contracts. Give a bit of yourself or something else to the devil you’re paired with, it’ll help you murder whatever monster you’re fighting.
Throughout the first season of the show, we’ve seen some pretty crazy and powerful stuff. But all of it was at least in the realm of comprehension. People turning into weapons, giving pieces of yourself to summon a monster, creating time loops, it’s all fairly standard stuff that you can wrap your head around.
Not Makima’s power. On the surface, it seems simple: she gives a life to take a life. But the mechanics beyond that are a complete mystery. What kind of devil do you have to make a contract with to be able to kill people in a completely different city just by rubbing your palms together?! Not just kill them, mind you, but actually flatten them or make them explode like a grape in a microwave!
Yeah, I think I’ll take on the guy with a chainsaw for a head instead.
Makima masterfully manages to check off all the boxes a terrifying character needs. From her chilling appearance, manipulative personality, unpredictability, to her overwhelming power, she truly feels discomforting and frightening. I haven’t so much dread over a fictional character since my first time meeting Griffith in Berserk!
All of that is what makes her such a compelling character to watch. Every time she’s on-screen, she demands your attention. I was just as fascinated as I was concerned, always curious to see what this terrifying walking mystery would say or do next.
I’m still in that state right now. Because from what I’ve gathered of the manga, we’ve barely scratched the surface of Makima’s true terror.
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