A New Quirky Protagonist: Chainsaw Man Volume 12 Review

Chainsaw Man Vol. 12 Review
Credit: Tatsuki Fujimoto / Shueisha / Viz Media

Chainsaw Man Vol. 12 Review
Credit: Tatsuki Fujimoto / Shueisha / Viz Media
"We're kind of like manga characters, don't you think?"

Chainsaw Man Volume 12 was the series' most self-conscious and self-referential installment so far. If you've waited for Volume 12 to become available in print, you're up for many surprises!

RELATED: Why Does Everyone Want Denji's Heart?

Chainsaw Man's New Heroine Is Unlike Any Other

While Denji is by no means removed from the picture, Chainsaw Man Part 2 has a new main character who will be getting almost as much attention as Denji from now on.

She's Asa Mitaka, a lonely girl who attends the same school as Denji. Her life has been one of endless misfortune as her parents were eaten by a Devil.

Moreover, Asa's clumsiness and poor social skills get her in trouble more often than not.

Chainsaw Man Vol 12 New Character
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Credit: Tatsuki Fujimoto / Shueisha / Viz Media

When Asa accidentally kills her class's mascot, a Chicken Devil, the class president turns against her, making a deal with the Justice Devil to murder her.

Asa Mitaka survives with unexpected help from the War Devil. Unbeknownst to her, this makes her Denji's worst enemy.

Chainsaw Man Volume 12 Is Full of Self-Conscious Fun!

Chainsaw Man Vol. 12 Review
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Credit: Tatsuki Fujimoto / Shueisha / Viz Media

Arguably, some readers might have been a bit worried after the conclusion of the Public Safety arc.

With most main characters dead or out of the picture, what would be left for Chainsaw Man to do?

The New Arc Is Distinct But Still Very Much Chainsaw Man

Chainsaw Man Volume 12 Review Denji
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Credit: MAPPA

Volume 12 had a lot to live up to. It feels very different, but it's just as weird. The new arc doesn't reveal its secrets all at once, and we don't want to spoil too much.

It suffices to say that if Denji's flaws make him the best worst shounen protagonist, something similar can be said for the new protagonist, Asa Mitaka.

Asa is quiet and shy but not in an exaggerated manner. There's no attempt to portray her as exceptionally cute or pure.

Asa Is a Dynamic Protagonist Like Denji

Chainsaw Man Volume 12 Review Asa
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Credit: Tatsuki Fujimoto / Shueisha / Viz Media

While not as outrageous as Denji, Asa is selfish and cares about her self-image.

Her misfortune has condemned her to a life of solitude, but she still craves company. She is trying to ensure that her heart is in the right place but makes selfish mistakes.

Based on later chapters, many fans have concluded that Asa Mitaka is autistic, and if so, this is a surprisingly good representation in a medium that often stereotypes its female characters, neurotypical or not.

Asa Mitaka's Interesting Nuances

Chainsaw Man Volume 12 Review Asa and Yoru
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Credit: Tatsuki Fujimoto / Shueisha / Viz Media

Asa's circumstances make her a protagonist and an antagonist at the same time.

Her connection with the arc's apparent big bad, the War Devil, is an interesting one, as Asa tries to maintain her integrity in impossible circumstances.

It will be difficult to surpass Makima's smiling menace, but the War Devil is an equally controlling and capricious threat.

Another fun aspect of the new volume is its recognition of Chainsaw Man as a cultural phenomenon; those who observe him in-universe have varying opinions, same as real-life manga readers. And Denji loves the publicity!

Chainsaw Man Volume 12 Review Score
Chainsaw Man Volume 12 features a surprisingly heartwarming friendship, new Devils, a main character you may come to love, an old acquaintance, and Denji living his best life before the world goes wild again!
9 out of 10

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