Tatsuki Fujimoto Before Chainsaw Man unsurprisingly collects the stories of Tatsuki Fujimoto before he created Chainsaw Man. This volume collects four of his stories, that show he was a fantastic writer with a wild imagination straight from the start of his career.
The first story, A Couple Clucking Chickens Were Still Kickin’ in the Schoolyard, is set after an alien invasion of Earth, where the human race has been almost eradicated from existence. The aliens take a liking to human life and start to live on Earth as humans did before them, living in homes and going to school. Except, in the schoolyard, there are two humans still alive, dressed up like chickens and the aliens can’t tell the difference. It’s a strange and quirky short story, around forty pages long. Fujimoto makes the most of those pages, building the backstory of the alien invasion, and propelling the story onwards. It does feel a little rushed towards the end, but it’s still a good little story. There’s an interesting twist that does add to it, and he tries to end the story on a poignant moment while still being funny. It’s interesting to see that even at his beginnings Fujimoto was able to create something both heartfelt and funny at the same time.
Following up that story is Sasaki Stopped a Bullet, a more compact story that mostly happens in the span of a few minutes. It’s about a student, Sasaki, who’s obsessed with his teacher. While in a class, someone breaks in and threatens to kill the teacher for rejecting him when they were in school together, blaming her for ruining his life. Sasaki uses that moment to protect his teacher. This story is a bit more juvenile than the first story, although you can definitely see how Fujimoto would go from this to Chainsaw Man. It starts as a seemingly normal story, but it quickly spirals out into something completely different. People aren’t what they seem, unbelievable things happen, and there are much larger things happening. It’s the creativity within the story that really stands out. Without spoiling anything, it’s just really out there and completely unique while also being completely satisfying as a short story.
Love is Blind is the third story in the collection, which is a funny wacky story, that you can’t help but fall in love with. Ibuki is the class president and is in love with Yuri and has decided that today is the day that he’s going to confess his feelings to her. Unfortunately everything that could go wrong does go wrong. There’s constant interruptions from a teacher, a mugger, and even an alien who wants to invade. It’s a silly story that’s very quick to read, with some nice art and plenty of funny moments. Maybe not that memorable, but still entertaining.
To round of the collection is Shikaku, the longest story in the collection. It’s about a psychotic assassin, who spent her childhood pulling the legs of spiders. She’s hired by a vampire who wants to die, except she can’t kill him. The stand out part of this story is the character Shikaku. She’s a strange assassin, who loves killing people, but doesn’t want to hurt them. She’s completely self-obsessed and egotistical. It’s a fun little story.
All four stories included in the collection are fun, and for fans of Fujimoto’s later works, it’s an interesting to see the stepping stones to things like Chainsaw Man and Goodbye, Eri. They’re also just fun stories in their own right. They’re all filled with wacky imagination that takes everything as far as possible. There’s a second volume out very soon, containing other stories from before Chainsaw Man, and I’m sure that one will be just as good.
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