Fans of the Chainsaw Man manga were finally given the chance to experience its anime adaptation on October 11th. It’s apparent that MAPPA placed a great deal of effort into bringing the story’s characters to life and, though some have yet to be seen, it can be assumed they receive the same treatment.
With the first episode of Chainsaw Man also came the debut of its incredible opening, directed by none other than the legendary Shingo Yamashita. To some, the intro may appear as nothing more than an amalgamation of nonsensical imagery, but most of the shots featured are used to reference different movies, comics, and pieces of literature. Though some are less known than others, it is hard not to appreciate how respectful each reference is.
10/10 Reservoir Dogs (1992)
The first shot of the intro depicts Denji. Makima, Aki, and Power walking across the Scramble Crossing in Shibuya. The camera pans from right to left, highlighting the faces of the story’s main characters while also alluding to the work of Quentin Tarantino.
Besides the scene where Mr. Blonde dances to Stealers Wheel’s Stuck in the Middle with You, the opening of Reservoir Dogs is arguably the most iconic scene in the entire movie. It documents the lead characters while they walk in slow motion toward the camera, just like the intro to Chainsaw Man.
9/10 The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
The second shot in Chainsaw Man‘s intro features the most suited movie reference in the entire opening. Denji is pictured cradling Pochita, the Chainsaw Devil, in what appears to be a graveyard. It seems to be a sweet moment, but the movie it references uses this scene to convey a completely different message.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre uses this shot to depict the brutality of Leatherface by highlighting how he treats his victims. Instead of Denji and Pochita, this scene features two mangled, decaying corpses. It is a terrifying image, but Chainsaw Man uses it to convey a sense of comradery.
8/10 Pulp Fiction (1994)
The third scene in the Chainsaw Man intro features a shot of Captain Kishibe pointing a pistol toward the left side of the screen. This image is used to present him as an intimidating figure of authority, similar to how it was utilized in the movie it was sourced from.
Pulp Fiction follows the story of two hitmen who pride themselves on the power they wield. Jules Winnfield, played by Samuel L. Jackson is as arrogant as he is dangerous, evident through his dealings with other people. The way he points his firearm in this Tarantino flick is mirrored by Kishibe in Chainsaw Man‘s opening.
7/10 Sadako Vs. Kayako (2014)
Sadako vs. Kayako documents the life of Natsumi, a young woman who doomed herself by watching a sinister videotape. She is given two days to outwit the evil spirits that pursue her, eventually coming up with a strange solution involving a different, less threatening demon.
The fourth shot of Chainsaw Man is brief, but its reference to Sadako vs. Kayako is hard to dispute. It pictures three individuals jumping into a well in the same vein as the cast of Sadako vs. Kayako. Unlike the movie, however, this interpretation features characters from Chainsaw Man.
6/10 No Country For Old Men (2007)
The fifth shot of the opening is a clear reference to No Country for Old Men. It portrays an unknown being wearing a mask while perched on the edge of a bed. The way they remove their booth is reminiscent of Javier Bardem’s Anton Chigurh who does the same thing while hunting Llewelyn Moss.
Shortly before this scene in the movie, Chigurh mounts an attack on a group of unsuspecting individuals residing at a motel. He believes they stole from him and decides to punish them mercilessly for their actions. Upon disposing of the group, he calmly sits down and begins removing his socks. Given Chainsaw Man’s love for gorey imagery, it’s no wonder No Country for Old Men made the cut.
5/10 Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (2019)
By the sixth scene in Chainsaw Man‘s intro, fans will likely begin to see a pattern. Aki and Denji are both pictured inside a car driving to an unknown destination. It may not appear to be a direct reference to anything at first, but the second viewing of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood will cement it as one of the best.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, directed by Quentin Tarantino, follows the story of the actor Rick Dalton and his stunt double Cliff Booth. Though the two have their own lives, they spend much of their time together and are commonly seen driving around Hollywood in Cliff’s car. Not only is the angle of this shot the same, but the car’s surroundings are nearly identical.
4/10 Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes (1978)
Like its title implies, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes documents what befalls a small town when tomatoes become sentient. The movie was created to poke fun at B movies for how laughably bad they usually end up being, gaining somewhat of a cult status among fans of the unique genre.
The overall movie is a barrel of laughs, but one of the most comical moments sees a group of officials struggling to hold a conference in a tiny room, with one even attempting to climb over a table. This scene is mirrored perfectly in Chainsaw Man‘s opening, injecting some much-needed humor into the intro.
3/10 The Big Lebowski (1998)
As if incorporating Attack of the Killer Tomatoes wasn’t comical enough, Chainsaw Man goes a step further by reanimating one of the most ridiculous scenes in The Big Lebowski. The scene pictures Denji polishing a bowling ball while Aki hurls his ball down a nearby lane.
Though the shots aren’t exact replicas of the movie scene, disputing the source of this reference would be pointless due to how similar both scenes are. The silly manner in which Denji prepares his bowling ball is a clear homage to the Dude’s polishing methods.
2/10 Thor: Love & Thunder (2022)
The Thor: Love and Thunder reference doesn’t openly refer to a scene from the film, but rather the logo used to advertise the movie. Love has been shown several times throughout the intro by this point, but this shot allows her to take center stage.
The logo for Thor: Love and Thunder was heavily influenced by bright and vivid colors while the font mimicked the original comic on which it was based, but that didn’t stop Chainsaw Man from using it for its own purpose. It’s a subtle reference, but a reference nonetheless.
1/10 Fight Club (1999)
Towards the climax of David Fincher’s Fight Club, a group known as Project Mayhem devises a plan to ruin a local landmark. Their target happens to be a giant golden ball that, when interfered with, begins to roll down a nearby street into a coffee shop.
The most notable portion of the Chainsaw Man trailer sees the protagonists utilizing a similar golden ball in combat, with Power even striking the ball with a mallet before sending it in the direction of an enemy. The collision results in an explosion and, though it’s far more impressive than the explosion in Fight Club, it’s an obvious reference to the movie.
MORE: Chainsaw Man: Side Characters We Wish We Saw More Of