While Chainsaw Man’s creator, Tatsuki Fujimoto, is lauded as a great new storyteller, he is also a self-identifying cinephile who takes inspiration from everything he watches and reads. In fact, Chainsaw Man has many inspirations, as highlighted by Fujimoto himself.
If you’re scratching your head wondering why Chainsaw Man is so popular, part of it might be how Fujimoto stitches together the universal language of TV and cinema in a way that still feels incredibly fresh and unrestrained.
The sheer range of inspirations listed below is a great example of Fujimoto’s unique tastes.
Note that this list is spoiler-free, so you don’t need to worry if you thinking about reading Chainsaw Man or watching the anime.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
For Chainsaw Man’s origins, perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that it was born out of cinema’s most famous chainsaw.
Fujimoto said during a MAPPA 10th Anniversary event that the American story had inspired his interest in chainsaws which, eventually, led to this hit series.
The Monogatari series has widely been lauded for its storytelling, unique direction and visuals. Kizumonogatari, a film trilogy first released in 2016, had a crucial influence on a key moment in the Chainsaw Man story.
According to multiple sources and what is believed to be Tatsuki Fujimoto’s Twitter alias, he was inspired by one of the big final fights in Kizumonogatari – Shinobu vs Araragi – when creating a major final battle in the Chainsaw Man manga!
Abara is a much smaller series than Chainsaw Man, only releasing two volumes. However, it was quite visionary, being nominated for an Eisner Award and clearly leaving an impression on Fujimoto.
Abara translates as ‘Ribs’ in Japanese, and the dark action series revolves around people who can create bone-like armour and weaponry around themselves. Similar to Chainsaw Man himself, Abara is filled with people who appear to have weapons bursting out of their bodies.
When Chainsaw Man reached 3 million copies in circulation back in 2020, Fujimoto referenced Chainsaw Man as a ‘pop Abara’, along with the next inspiration in our list.
Furi Kuri – or FLCL – is a cult-classic anime, especially in the United States. Back in 2020, Tatsuki Fujimoto called Chainsaw Man an 'evil FLCL'.
Not only did FLCL inspire Chainsaw Man generally, but it’s rumoured that it may have inspired some of the characters, including Makima, who has many similarities to FLCL’s enigmatic Haruko Haruhara.
Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade
Jin-Roh is a psychological action series revolving around Kazuki Fuse, a special-unit soldier who fails to kill a young terrorist before they blow themselves up. The incident scars Kazuki, who ends up forming a relationship with the terrorist’s sister.
Jin-Roh was remade in 2018 in Korea, altering parts of the story and setting.
Fujimoto has said that Jin-Roh inspired Chainsaw Man’s Reze, along with her arc in the story.
The Big Lebowski
It turns out that one of Chainsaw Man’s most-loved characters was directly inspired by another much-loved American movie classic, The Big Lebowski’s Walter Sobchak.
Stubborn, overly aggressive and slightly deluded, Walter Sobchak was a big inspiration to Power, Denji’s arrogant, fiendish sidekick, according to interviews Fujimoto gave at Jump Festa 2021.