Chainsaw Man has such a wacky story that, sometimes, you can forget that its setting is quite ordinary! However, looking into Chainsaw Man’s timeline shines a light on bigger events taking place around Denji and the others.
When Chainsaw Man takes place defines much of the series’ aesthetic. While Fujimoto doesn’t reveal much in terms of specifics, we can piece together the details based on what has been revealed so far.
Spoiler Warning: I have tried to avoid major spoilers for anyone watching the Chainsaw Man anime here, but this article does contain some minor spoilers and backstory elements.
When Does Chainsaw Man Take Place?
The story of Chainsaw Man primarily takes place in 1997. The date is revealed later in the manga when certain seismic events take place.
It’s not been confirmed why the story takes place at this time, although it’s likely connected to the inspiration Tatsuki Fujimoto took from 20th-century American cinema.
However, Chainsaw Man’s timeline isn’t that simple. The world in which Chainsaw Man takes place includes some significant differences from our reality – you could almost call it a parallel universe.
In Chainsaw Man, the Soviet Union still exists as a global superpower and has the strength to cause problems for nations such as the USA and Japan.
There are also some other peculiarities due to the devils, particularly the Chainsaw Devil. Chainsaw Man’s ability to eat and erase devils from existence has led to certain major events, such as WWII, ceasing to exist.
Chainsaw Man’s Timeline
Unfortunately for timeline geeks like myself, Chainsaw Man is quite light on fixed dates and trustworthy characters. However, there are a few moments we can pin down, which give us some indication as to how the key events play out.
- C. 1981* – Denji is born.
- November 18th, 1983 – The Gun Devil appears and kills vast swathes of people in countries across the world. Aki’s family is killed during the massacre.
- C. 1988** – A young Denji is forced to work off his deceased father’s debts to the yakuza. He comes across a wounded Pochita and becomes friends with the Chainsaw Devil.
- 1997 – The story begins. During a fight against the Zombie Devil, Pochita gives his heart to bring Denji back to life as Chainsaw Man.
- September 1997 – Events in the Gun Devil Arc take place.
*Denji is believed to be 16 when he joins the Public Safety Division at the start of Chainsaw Man, although this isn’t explicitly confirmed due to him being unsure himself.
**When we see young Denji meet Pochita, no clear age or date is specified. However, many fan theories put his age at this point somewhere between six and eight.
As with most stories, what we see of Chainsaw Man is just a snapshot of the bigger picture that’s been unfolding for many years before!
Even with little information in terms of when exactly certain moments take place, this hopefully gives you some more insight into the wild world of Chainsaw Man!
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