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Why Is Denji Driven By Perversion?

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Chainsaw Man’s Denji appears to be devoid of any long-term aspirations for the future or meaningful purpose in life. In this way, he’s much different from the typical hero protagonist such as Naruto, whose dream is to be Hokage in order to be acknowledged by the villagers, or One Piece‘s Luffy, and his quest to find One Piece to become the Pirate King. Denji doesn’t seem to be motivated by anything other than the potential to have physical intimacy with those he’s attracted to. Even his teammates perceive his motivations to be shallow, immature, and absurd.


What’s most intriguing is that he’ll put his life in danger for these same motives — a chance to touch some beautiful women. But it’s not as if he completely objectifies women, as when Meowy was taken away from Power, Denji showed some strong sympathy for her feelings. He was capable of empathizing with Power, comparing her beloved Meowy to Pochita. Denji is more than capable of having other reasons for fighting such as protecting people from the devils mercilessly slaughter innocent lives, but Denji’s main goal is completely driven by his primal needs.

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Denji Struggled For Years — and Now Has His Needs Met

Chainsaw Man Episode 4 Denji Eats Bread With Jam

Denji had an atrocious childhood, barely capable of meeting his basic needs such as food and shelter. His father was in debt with the Yakuza, and ended up hanging himself when Denji was a child. His father’s debt was then passed on to Denji, who, when Chainsaw Man begins, is still being forced to work to pay them off. Denji sold his own eye, kidney, and one of his reproductive organs for this debt. In terms of basic needs, he lives in a shack, and sleeps on a mattress with no bed covers or blankets, it’s also assumed he’s been eating plain bread his entire life as he’s only just heard that other people put jam on bread. There was also a hint of Denji having a heart disease, and that he was also doomed to die an early death.

As a result, he often talked about a normal life to Pochita as if it’s just an impossible dream, telling Pochita that he doubts he’ll pay off the debt before he dies. It’s clear he’s given up on any chance for a normal life at this point, and that this debt has understandably put him in a state of learned helplessness. This means he had given up all hope of trying to change his situation or get out of it. In a state like this, it’s difficult to think the situation will ever change, and so he’s never thought about actually having a future past the debt.

This kind of negative thinking doesn’t allow room for ambition or meaningful long-term goals to pursue, so once Makima takes him in, and fulfills his two first stages in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, basic physiological needs and feelings of safety, the things he struggled to achieve day-by-day, the only thing he can think of about obtaining is the next stage up the pyramid — love and belonging, something he’s never quite experienced before except from Pochita. While it appears at the start of the series that he is chasing a dream simply to touch women, what he has always craved subconsciously is intimacy, a sense of connection with others, and meaningful relationships.

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Denji Often Dreamed About Having a Girlfriend

Chainsaw Man Episode 1 Denji Talks About Having A Girlfriend

This seemingly childish obsession isn’t actually that absurd after a rewatch of the first episode. In the Episode 1, Denji often talks about wanting to flirt with a girl and desiring a girlfriend. He talks to Pochita about things like bringing a girl home, being unable to have money to bring her on dates, playing video games with her, and falling asleep cuddling with her. He even says the one dream he wanted to come true was scoring with a girl before he dies.

None of this is strange or childish. It is human nature to want to love and be loved, to enjoy the company of others, and to have pleasure and reproduce. Especially when struggling to meet basic needs day in and day out, there needs to be something to get that oxytocin and dopamine fix that the body craves — the bit of happiness and love at the end of the day. This is why Denji dreamed of having a girlfriend every time he wasn’t out making money. Although Denji does look like a mature adult in that dress shirt and tie, he’s still a teenager around the age of complete puberty — the age of raging hormones.

Denji Made a Deal to Show Pochita His Dreams

Chainsaw Man Pochita Makes a Deal With Denji Gives Up Heart

At the end of the first episode, Pochita decided to give Denji his heart in exchange for Denji fulfilling and showing his dreams to Pochita.

After Makima took him into the Public Safety Bureau, he had shown Pochita all the dreams he talked about, except scoring with a woman. This could be one of the reasons he instinctively fought so hard to take down the Bat and Leech devils, especially after the latter mocked his dream.

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Denji is Trapped in a Life Debt He Can’t Escape

Chainsaw Man Episode 5 Denji Makima Gun Devil Talk

Even though Denji’s been freed from the debt of the Yakuza, he’s now stuck in a life debt with Makima and the Public Safety Bureau. He isn’t allowed to behave on his own, quit being a Devil Hunter, or run away from the Public Safety Bureau, or they will kill him — as the Yakuza would have done to him for the exact same reasons. Denji must follow every order of the Public Safety Bureau and do whatever they say, or he’s dead. It’s debatable whether he had more or less freedom than when he owed the Yakuza. There really isn’t much reason to have ambition or future plans if he’s stuck in another life debt, so chasing pleasure and love is a better motivation to get things done than no motivation to live at all. He also doesn’t inherently have any blind hatred for devils, as Pochita was the closest thing to family or friends to him, so killing devils alone aren’t something he can motivate himself to do.

While it is evident that Denji is interested in doing intimate things with women, it does not appear to be in the same creepy way that Naruto’s playboy senior character, Jiraiya, is attracted to women. In the flashback of Denji as a child, his mother wasn’t mentioned or seen, it can be assumed that she had died early due to having the same heart disease as Denji. He’s also never been to school and doesn’t seem to have any female friends — or any friends at all before the start of the series. As a result, Denji has most likely never met any females in his life, and spending a lot of time with attractive women like Makima, Power, and Himeno puts him in a situation where he can experience something new and exciting in life.

Chainsaw Man’s Denji’s seemingly perverted mindset is widely misunderstood. He’s simply at that age where he wants to start exploring things like sexuality and romance, and experience the concepts of love and relationships. Being driven by the desire to experience love and intimacy is not as shallow, immature, or absurd as one might believe.

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