Chainsaw Man has been taking the anime world by storm recently, with an increasingly popular manga and bombastic new anime adaption. While an anime called Chainsaw Man is just as absurd as it sounds, what makes the series so appealing is how it manages to combine absurdity, hyper-violence, and genuine character development into one potent package. There’s a ton of depth hidden underneath the gory veneer. With the series’ explosive popularity it seems only natural that a video game adaption happens at some point. Considering the tone and style of Chainsaw Man, there’s one legendary game creator that’s perfect for the job: Suda51.
Goichi Suda, better known by his nickname Suda51, is one of the few video game “auteurs,” a designer known for his unique vision and style in games like No More Heroes, Lollipop Chainsaw, Let it Die, and more. Suda has built a name for himself on utterly ridiculous violent games, which also usually contain some incredibly off-the-wall humor.
Each of Suda’s games feels like they’re instantly primed to be a cult classic, and more often than not that is exactly what happens. No More Heroes revolves around a lazy assassin named Travis Touchdown who has to fight his way to the top of the “Assassin Rankings.” Lollipop Chainsaw features a cheerleader turned zombie hunter. Michigan: Report From Hell is played entirely from the view of a news camera, and follows a news crew investigating paranormal phenomena.
The underlying quirkiness of Suda’s writing shines through in everything he does, and it’s what has made him such a popular figure over the years. Chainsaw Man already feels like an idea that could have sprouted from the mind of Suda, but the similarities also mean no one would be better equipped to make an adaption.
For the perfect evidence, look no further than one of Suda’s most beloved games: Shadows of the Damned. Mixing punk rock, psychological thriller, and Westerns into one package, Shadows of the Damned is an utterly unique experience that tells the story of Garcia Hotspur, a Mexican demon hunter who essentially travels to Hell to save his girlfriend. Compare this to Chainsaw Man, which focuses on a young man named Denji who ends up fusing with a devil named Pochita to become a demon hunter, and in the process has to learn how to live life outside of his basic urges and needs.
The narrative similarities are uncanny, and both feature foul-mouthed, brash heroes that grow in meaningful ways despite leaving buckets of gore in their wakes. Another interesting similarity is how both Suda and Tatsuki Fujimoto, the creator of Chainsaw Man, are tremendous film buffs that love to sprinkle in homages. Suda’s games have featured dozens of references, from David Lynch films to Godzilla.
Similarly, Chainsaw Man’s opening is an amalgamation of film references from things like The Big Lebowski, Pulp Fiction, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, and more. Suda also already has experience making anime adaptions, working as director and writer for two adaptions released in 2006, Samurai Champloo: Sidetracked and Blood+: One Night Kiss.
Recent anime games like One Piece: World Seeker, have seen creators return to craft original stories, and in an ideal situation that would happen for Chainsaw Man. With Fujimoto creating an original story and Suda working on gameplay design, a Chainsaw Man video game could really turn out to be something special. Anime games, in general, have long had a problem with lackluster adaptions and simple fighting games, and a bold Chainsaw Man title led by a visionary creator like Suda could be just the antidote to fix that.