The first official trailer for the Dandadan anime has only been out for a few days, but anime fans have already taken to starting a tried and true discussion. More specifically, they’ve posited whether or not the series will be “the next Chainsaw Man”.
At first glance, it’s a fair discussion to have. After all, both offer a wildly irreverent take on the usual Shonen framework through exaggerated perversion, wild spins on world-ending threats, and less than noble protagonists. Heck, Dandadan‘s creator Yukinobu Tatsu was even an assistant to Tatsuki Fujimoto during the creation and publication of the first part of Chainsaw Man, so surely his breakthrough work takes heavy inspiration from the series he worked on in the past.
All of these are fair assumptions to make, at least on paper. And yet, when it comes down to it, Dandadan will never be the next Chainsaw Man; mainly because it doesn’t want or need to be that.
Since it first started its run in 2021, Dandadan has stood out thanks to the fact that it isn’t like most other series out there. It revels in flaunting its own special blend of zany comedy while exploring the vast world of cryptids and the supernatural, and doesn’t mind leaving some readers behind in favor of ensuring it doesn’t sacrifice it awkward charm.
Where other shows might focus on introducing a central villain or core premise, Yukinobu’s manga would rather dig into how wild it would be to fight a laser-blasting Loch Ness monster within a pocket dimension of a school. While its contemporaries aim to make deep and immersive power systems, it instead focuses on the spectacle and insanity of spectral beings and extraterrestrials duking it out for the fate of an unsuspecting populace.
Are the broad strokes of the Shonen genre still plain to see? Undeniably. But it still presents it in a way that hasn’t been seen in a good long while; even when one considers the insanity that is Chainsaw Man.
Not only that, but it does so without delving into the darker themes and tone presented by Fujimoto’s hit series. For every scene where Chainsaw Man subjects its characters to repeated tragedies and deaths, Dandadan provides a more hopeful message of being able to overcome most anything by working together. Even the most cursed poltergeist, or the most minuscule rebel in a battle with a galactic threat, can find redemption and support so long as they reach for the hands offered to them.
Again, this isn’t exactly a concept that’s foreign to the Shonen genre. But because so many series have veered into dark and dismal themes in recent years, it stands out all the more and helps Yukinobu’s work stand as one of the more optimistic works manga fans can dig into.
Suffice to say, Dandadan is its own entity and should be seen as such. And even past that, it’s worth considering: Why does Dandadan need to be the next Chainsaw Man when the Chainsaw Man series is still very much present and ongoing?
It’s all well and good to hope a series will become a new must-watch anime, and that it’ll hit the same benchmark of quality. But it’s strange to see shows so readily tossed aside before they’ve officially ended, passed over for the newest show or project instead.
Even if it might be a bit before Chainsaw Man Season Two sees the light of day, it was only a little over a year ago that the first season blew anime fans away and the series is nowhere near being fully adapted. Not only that, but the manga is chugging along too, with Part 2 now moving into the buildup toward its climax after months of setup. It’s more than likely said climax will be just as explosive as Part 1’s was, and that it’ll only give the anime more great material to work with for years to come.
To already be looking for the “next Chainsaw Man” feels premature, but also ignores the fact that there doesn’t need to be one uncontested best show in anime that blows the roof off the medium, Shonen or otherwise. There’s room for more than one amazing series for fans to enjoy, and the wider sphere of anime will only be made all the stronger if there are a wider variety of great shows to choose from.
So don’t bother trying to figure out if Dandadan will be the next Chainsaw Man. Enjoy the show for what it is once it airs, and revel in the fact that we could be on the verge of a new golden age of anime where we’re spoiled with a number of great adaptations.
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