Fan bases are extraordinary facets of society. It’s beautiful to witness how many people can come together to support an interest they share. What’s even more interesting is the characteristics all members of a fanbase have.
The most remarkable common trait I observed in recent years is the number of people in the “Chainsaw Man” fan base who remember nothing about the manga.
The fandom’s poor memory of their beloved series shows in different ways. It ranges from mischaracterization of key characters to forgetting entire arcs. Every day, there is another Tweet or TikTok in the rough format of “I can’t believe I forgot this happened in ‘Chainsaw Man’???”. It’s almost a universal experience. It seems like the only thing that stays in anyone’s mind is the feeling of reading the manga, but nothing specific.
Before coming back to Reno for the fall semester, I had a little outing with a friend from high school. She read the series and wanted to share her thoughts with me in-person. We discussed the manga over lunch, and I came to the realization that I remembered only one-fourth of the manga. I did remember key details on world-building to clarify what happened, but she had to describe specific events to spark any type of recollection from me.
It’s a shame that fans can hardly remember the narrative of Fujimoto’s most popular work to date. Fujimoto proved himself more than capable of writing fantastic stories in his one-shot releases like “A Look Back” and “Goodbye Eri”. Why does it feel like everyone was ordered to forget everything that transpired in “Chainsaw Man”?
A few theories come to mind.
“CSM” can be a little confusing to read. The first part’s absolutely breakneck pace is brutal on people who speed read manga, which is tempting when there are only 97 chapters. Anecdotally, a good portion of CSM readers decided to complete the series in a day or two because of its relatively short length. Unfortunately, the short length does not mean it is easier to digest. It’s a short yet powerful first part. It’s a lot to remember, and most people usually cannot take in that much information about a new series so quickly.
People may like to live in delusion. “Chainsaw Man” is a heart-wrenchingly tragic series. By the end of the first part, the reader probably went through the five stages of grief at least one time. Sadness appears to be a key characteristic of Fujimoto’s work, but sometimes people just like to pretend like everything is okay. No one died. There is no sadness – just everyone living peaceful lives with their loved ones. There is nothing wrong in the CSM canon.
My final theory is that Fujimoto’s attractive character design made people forget the story. All of the characters are well-designed in their own ways, but most people tend to land on them being wildly attractive anime characters. Some characters are favored based solely on their design. It’s a shame – all of the characters have interesting stories and personalities. Reducing a “CSM” character down to their design should be considered a crime.
If anything, the anime should serve as an excellent recap for people who cannot remember where the second part started from. Episodes for the anime release every Tuesday on Crunchyroll and Hulu.
Jessica Cabrera can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @jessicabrera.