The Chainsaw Man anime is finally here, and the whole world is talking about it. It features an array of exciting action sequences, a strong plot, and the ability to set new standards for the whole anime industry. But before the anime even beings, it features a ton of references to popular movies, artworks, and more in its opening theme. Unless you have a keen eye, it could be hard to keep track of them all. Lucky for you, we have compiled a complete list of all movie references in the Chainsaw Man opening and some bonuses too! Let’s see how many of them you spotted and missed.
Movie References in Chainsaw Man Opening (2022)
The movie references in the opening sequence of Chainsaw Man sneakily refer to the relations that the different characters share in the anime. For manga readers, these are a treat, as they already know how the dynamic between Denji, Power, Aki, and Makima will change over the course of the upcoming episodes.
Note: All the screenshots in this guide are only being used for comparison purposes. We do not own the rights to any of the images in this article. Their copyright belongs to the respective artists and studios.
1. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
When one thinks of scary chainsaws, the evergreen Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise comes to mind before Chainsaw Man. And while this franchise got another movie in 2022, the opening of Chainsaw Man takes inspiration from the classic 1974 film by Tobe Hooper. The same lighting style and tall gravestones behind the protagonist holding a round item are hard to miss.
2. Pulp Fiction Chainsaw Man Reference
Pulp Fiction is arguably one of the most popular Quentin Tarantino movies of all time. It features two mob hitmen (Travolta and Samuel L Jackson) who aren’t much different than our beloved devil hunters. That’s why the Chainsaw Man opening has a direct movie reference to this evergreen hit.
In the opening sequence, we see Captain Kishibe holding a gun toward the camera, just like Samuel L Jackson did in the movie. The iconic stone wall and the red sofa in the background strengthen the connection further.
3. Sadako vs. Kayako
Being a Japanese anime, Chainsaw Man isn’t solely focused on western movies for reference. We also have a recreation of a famous scene from the Japanese horror film Sadako vs. Kayako. In the opening, we can see Chainsaw Man fighting another character in the exact same location where Sadako and Kayako fight in the movie.
4. No Country for Old Men
Galgali, or the violence fiend (check out the difference between fiends and devils in Chainsaw Man here), is a mysterious character in the CSM universe. So it’s hard to relate it to Anton Chigurh from No Country for Old Men movie. And that’s what the Chainsaw Man opening does by making Galgali take his shoe off in a similar fashion as Chigurh, inside the same shady motel as him.
5. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
It seems like the anime creators are true fans of Quentin Tarantino as another one of his hit movies, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, gets a reference in the Chainsaw Man opening. We see two main characters (Denji and Aki) recreating the car scene from the movie. You could dismiss it for a random scene, but the hand on the backseat from both scenes is hard to miss.
6. Attack of the Killer Tomatoes
Chainsaw Man opens with the attack of a tomato devil, which opens up the possibility for a direct reference to the Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. CSM’s opening recreates the scene with four army officials one of them behind on top of the table. The anime also cleverly replaces the map of the United States from the movie scene with a chart describing the killer Tomato devil.
7. Don’t Look Up
Don’t Look Up or Joyurei is a bizarre classic Japanese horror movie where one character goes insane after behind haunted. As per the plot of Chainsaw Man, that haunting character in Denji’s life is Power (you will learn this as the anime progresses), and the opening displays it perfectly. It recreates a scene from the movie where the protagonist is scared, and then another character is screaming in the background.
8. Jacob’s Ladder
Continuing the celebration of classic horror movies, the Chainsaw Man opening scene uses an angel devil to reference Jacob’s Ladder. The opening recreates the staircase scene from the movie with extremely accurate lighting and color scheme.
If you have seen Keanu Reeves’ Constantine film, it’s hard to forget the iconic scene where the two main characters look into each other’s eyes at night with lights in the background. Chainsaw Man’s opening tests your memory by recreating that scene frame by frame but with CSM characters in focus.
10. The Big Lebowski
While most movie references in Chainsaw Man’s opening were direct and complete recreation of the scenes, there were some subtle ones too. One of them is the blowing alley scene where Denji is cleaning the bowling ball the same way as the character from The Big Lebowski movie. Even though this reference is not an exact copy, it is still a hilarious one.
11. Reservoir Dogs
Ultimately, Chainsaw Man is a story of misfits getting together to take on bad guys. While we don’t know how CSM will turn out, the movie that truly uses a similar plot was Reservoir Dogs. So, the anime’s opening pays tribute to the same by showing the main characters in black coats walking down a street. Their clothing and styles are undeniably the same as in the movie.
12. Thor: Love and Thunder
If you are an MCU fan, then this movie reference would be the easiest to spot in the Chainsaw Man opening. While showing Power, CSM uses the same font and textures as the poster for Thor: Love and Thunder. There is no other Thor reference in the scene, but the font is a clear reference to the hammer-wielding superhero.
13. Messiah of Evil
Keeping up the tribute to classic horror references, a scene from the opening seems to be a reference to the 1973 horror movie Messiah of Evil. This film revolves around a woman searching for her missing father and ending up in the world of the walking dead. Similarly, Denji from CSM is trying to pay off the debt of his dead father and ends up in a situation where he has to fight devils.
14. Goodbye, Eri Reference in Chainsaw Man
Leaving the movies aside, the opening also cleverly sneaks in many other references. So let’s go over each of them as well.
The opening sequence bids a farewell to the Goodbye, Eri manga, which was written by Tatsuki Fujimoto, the author of Chainsaw Man. That manga has multiple scenes involving explosives, with the main character walking away from them. The opening sequence shows Power walking away from an exploding building.
15. Dante’s The Divine Comedy
The very first scene of the anime’s opening shows Denji pulling the cord (read about Pochita and Denji’s devil origins) which turns him into the Chainsaw Man. At the same time, in the background, we can see an illustration from Dante’s The Divine Comedy. It is a historic Italian poem that is known for its use of mythological characters, including the devil.
16. C S M Letters in Chainsaw Man
While Chainsaw Man was nailing its references to other popular media, it didn’t shy away from a self-reference. Towards the middle of the opening, we can see Chainsaw Man crashing into different buildings three times. Each of these holes is cleverly shaped in the initials of the anime series — C, S, and M.
17. Leucochloridium Parasite
Devils in Chainsaw Man are known for taking over human bodies and controlling them for their own motives. The closest replica of such behavior in the real world is shown by the Leucochloridium Parasite, which gets a brief reference in the CSM opening. This parasite takes over the body of snails by infesting their eye stalks.
18. Neon Genesis Evangelion
Chainsaw Man doesn’t shy away from gore content, and with this scene in the opening, it seems like the anime even celebrates it. We get to see a subtle reference to a scene from Neon Genesis Evangelion anime where Eva 01 awakes inside Leliel and kills its black ball of a body to get outside.
19. Metaphor of Knowledge
If you are active online, you must have come across the media manipulation illustration. It shows a man standing on books while another man is looking directly at the beautiful scenery (aloof of what’s actually happening). The one standing on books has a realistic perspective of the world, metaphorically depicting the true value of knowledge.
That same illustration makes its way into the anime with Makima standing on a tower of books, while Aki stands beside her. This scene is acting as a second reference to an important plot twist in the series. We will avoid discussing it to prevent a major spoiler.
20. Mickey Mouse DogHouse Dance
The most unexpected reference in the Chainsaw Man opening comes in the form of dance moves. Towards the end of the opening, we see Power and Denji doing the same Hotdog dance as the characters of Mickey Mouse Club House. When viewed side-by-side, like in the GIF above, the resemblance is uncanny and the moves are in-sync.
Complete List of References In Chainsaw Man Opening & Ending
So how many of these references did you notice in the CSM opening? Tell us in the comments section! If you haven’t seen the first episode, make sure to check our guide on how to watch Chainsaw Man anime. We’ve included a complete list of streaming platforms for all regions where CSM is streaming right now. Having said that, don’t forget to share any other references that we might have missed.