The Makima simps of the world are no doubt going through rough post-season withdrawals now that Chainsaw Man Tuesdays are a thing of the past. If you’re in dire need of something to read that’s in the same wheelhouse as Tatsuki Fujimoto’s magnum opus, you’re in luck, because we’ve got a list of bizarre manga for you to check out.
The obvious avenue for “anime onlys” out there looking to get their next fix of bombastic Chainsaw Man-esque action would be to read Fire Punch (be warned: it’s depression personified) or take the plunge into the Chainsaw Man manga to see where the story picks up after the anime (you’re looking for chapter 39, btw). But if you’re looking for a new manga to read that’s just as bizarre and action-packed, here are 10 madcap manga that fans of Chainsaw Man should check out after finishing the anime.
If you enjoyed the monster designs of Chainsaw Man’s devils and have an affinity for Tokyo Ghoul’s story writing, you’d be wise to check out Choujin X. Created by Sui Ishida, it follows a hapless high schooler named Tokio Kurohara as he and his best friend Azuma Higashi are forced into a supernatural society where half-human, half-demons named Choujin rule. Similarly to ghouls in Tokyo Ghoul, Choujin are powerful beings with metaphysical powers who struggle to survive at the bottom rung of society.
Tokio’s supernatural Choujin powers transform him into a vulture-like creature. Much like Denji, he’s an atypical manga protagonist. Instead of being fearless and headstrong like his childhood friend, Tokio is a bit of a wuss who wants nothing more than to avoid conflict. Were this manga in different hands, Azuma, with his traditionally heroic qualities, would be the main character. Yet instead of grinding any enjoyment to a halt, Tokio’s struggle and accomplishments toward becoming a fully realised Choujin make this manga a must-read. Also, Ishida fans will be pleased to hear that he’s stepped up the creativity and clarity of movement here, which is awesome because it was a bit of a struggle to make sense of action scenes in the later parts of Tokyo Ghoul: Re.
Chainsaw Man fans with a hankering for space-faring adventures and wallpaper-worthy manga panels should read Dai Dark. Another joint by Dorohedoro creator Q Hayashida, it follows a teenager named Zaha Sanko who’s being hunted across the galaxy for his body parts: specifically his skeleton, which has the power to grant a being any wish. Obviously, no one wants to have their skeleton stolen while they’re still using it, so Zaha and his spooky scary skeletal compadre have to find the bloke who cursed Zaha’s bones so he can live in peace.
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If you liked the brutalist scenery and the charming-yet-offputting character designs in Hayashida’s Dorohedoro, Dai Dark maintains that same level of flair and quality, especially with its yoked-up Noi-equivalent character, Shimada Death.
Dandadan, by Yukinobu Tatsu, meshes the genuinely unnerving horror imagery from the best page-turns in a Junji Ito story alongside some of the funniest rom-com situational humour I’ve ever read. Dandadan is a story about Momo Ayase (the most popular girl in high school, who believes in ghosts), and Ken Takakura, (the school’s biggest nerd, who believes aliens exist). Momo and Ken become besties after inciting a schoolyard dare in which the two have to stake out a haunted site and disprove the existence of the paranormal. Unfortunately, the pair discover they’re both right in the most unfortunate way possible: by getting abducted by aliens and having a ghost steal their private parts.
If you found Denji and Aki’s nut-cracking requiem to Himeno touching, Dandadan is going to be right up your alley because it packs even more of that kind of humour within each of its bizarre yokai-hunting adventures while dishing out just as many heartfelt moments between the pair and their monsters of the week.
Devilman Grimoire, by Go Nagai and artist Rui Takatou, is one of the many retellings of the classic seinen horror manga, Devilman. However, unlike the Netflix series Devilman Crybaby, Devilman G evokes the more rounded character and monster designs from Toei Animation’s ‘70s anime. While the story by and large follows the same narrative as its other iterations, one vital change in Devilman G is the treatment of its heroine, Miki Makimura. Rather than serving as a powerless damsel in distress for Akira Fudo to rescue, Miki has powers of her own as an all-powerful witch. Another welcome re-imagining of Miki’s character is that her powers are what trigger Akira’s transformation into the demon king Amon. Let’s go, Miki.
Mappa’s anime adaptation of Hell’s Paradise: Jigokuraku is slated to stream on Crunchyroll this spring but that doesn’t mean you can’t bide your time by thumbing through its painterly manga panels. That is, if you can find any at your local bookstore, because those puppies sell out like hotcakes anytime they restock. And for good reason: Hell’s Paradise is pretty fucking good.
Hell’s Paradise, by Yuuji Kaku — Chainsaw Man creator Fujimoto’s former assistant — follows a group of prisoners and the executioners tasked with overseeing them as they explore a mysterious island named Kotaku (no, really) for the elixir of life in exchange for a pardon from the Shogun. Things take a turn when the manga’s suicide squad of convicts encounter the island’s deadly flora and their equally treacherous immortal residents.
If you’ve ever seen that internet meme of an anime character shaking down a terrified woman about how fire the latest chapter of One Piece is (based), that scene comes from Inuyashiki, a sci-fi manga with a lot more revealing personality checks than how liking One Piece means you’re not afraid of commitment.
Inuyashiki, by Hiroya Oku, is a sci-fi drama about a friendless baby boomer named Ichirou Inuyashiki. After having a good cry at the park while taking his dog for a walk, Ichirou discovers an extraterrestrial object that gives him a mechanical body. The rest of the story follows Ichirou’s harrowing journey as a neighbourhood superhero struggling to maintain his humanity.
Jagaaaaaan, by artist Kensuke Nishida and Blue Lock creator Muneyuki Kaneshiro, is a supernatural manga about a fed-up cop named Shintarou Jagasaki. Instead of protecting and serving, Shintarou dreams of the day he can unload the entire clip of his police-issued firearm into anyone who looks at him sideways. Art imitates life, as it were. Things take a turn for the worse when a man with a demon’s face kills his partner. Just when Shintaro is about to meet his ancestors, he shoots a bullet at the perpetrator from his fingertips.
Turns out that Shintarou was infected by a frog-like critter called a Mad Xenopus that can transform the physiology of human beings based on their strongest desires. Now the trigger-happy Shinatarou must use his newfound powers to deal swift “justice” to humans transformed into monsters and save his fiance from turning into one herself. You know how it goes.
Kaiju No. 8
Kaiju No. 8, by Naoya Matsumoto, boldly does what most shonen manga don’t: have its main character be an adult. Kaiju No. 8 follows Kafka Hibino, a 32-year-old sanitation worker who cleans up the aftermath of kaiju battles. Kafka never envisioned working a thankless blue-collar job. When he was younger, he dreamed of joining the military and fighting on the front lines alongside his best friend, Mina Ashiro, against the invading monsters.
One fateful day, Kafka comes in contact with a Kaiju that transforms him into a humanoid kaiju, à la Spider-Man. Now Kafka must hide his newfound abilities while pursuing his childhood dream of becoming a member of Japan’s Kaiju Defence Corps. Kaiju No. 8 is also getting an anime adaptation by Production I.G, which is expected to premiere sometime next year.
Parasyte, by Hitoshi Iwaaki, is an award-winning sci-fi manga about a high schooler named Shinichi Izumi who’s invaded by a parasitic creature named Migi. Failing to completely overtake Shinichi’s body, Migi instead initiates a codependent relationship with him by occupying his right arm. What ensues is an odd-couple connection between the two as they battle against other parasites. Parasyte is gross, strange, and sometimes surprisingly heartwarming.
The Promised Neverland
The Promised Neverland, by Kaiu Shirai and artist Posuka Demizu, is arguably one of the best new horror manga of the decade. It follows the lives of a bunch of children at a dystopian orphanage called Grace Field House. The carefree lives of these children take a turn when they discover the truth behind the auspicious “graduations” of their older siblings. Turns out, the livestock-esque brands on their necks are just that, and all the time they spent testing their mental fortitude was so they could be used as food for the eldritch beings living outside their compound. Needless to say, we won’t ever be in need of a Chicken Run anime, because The Promised Neverland already exists.
What follows is a game of lies, double-crossing, and mind games as its main characters, Emma, Ray, and Norman, stage a jailbreak from their orphanage. Season one of The Promised Neverland anime is a damn-near-perfect adaptation, but I advise folks to skip season two of the show and read the manga instead. For whatever reason, CloverWorks decided to speedrun through the source material and skip nearly 60 chapters of the manga, including the fan-favourite Goldy Pond arc. Yeesh.
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