Kishibe, a Devil-Killing Mentor, is Chainsaw Man’s ‘Kakashi’

Let the highly cerebral warfare begin.

by J.R. Waugh
Chainsaw-Man-Kishibe
Image: MAPPA

Chainsaw Man is a fast-paced, brutally violent Shonen anime that, while strikingly original and fascinating, is loaded with references. While this can certainly be said about the opening title sequence more overtly, there are more subtle parallels that can be drawn between the series, its characters, and those of other manga and anime. One particular character newly introduced to Denji and the Chainsaw Man crew is Kishibe, a deadly devil hunter who gives off intense vibes, but one can’t help but pick up hints of Naruto‘s Kakashi Hatake, as he’s poised to be Denji and Power’s teacher.

Why Does Kishibe Remind Us of Kakashi in Chainsaw Man?

  • Chainsaw-Man-Kishibe-Kakashi
  • Naruto-Kakashi

Kishibe was tapped by Makima to train Denji and Power in episode 10 due to their unique positions as a devil and a fiend in Public Safety. This mentorship is comparable to that of Kakashi over his talented students, particularly Naruto and Sakura. Aki might be absent from the equation in this, but his parallel to Sasuke can also reasonably be placed, especially given their mutual relationship with curses.

Kishibe’s prodigious talent for killing devils, and his absolute confidence in his abilities, are also reminiscent of Kakashi and his genius-level shinobi mastery. He tasks Denji and Power with beating him in a fight, stating that as the best devil hunter there is, any devil who could beat him would therefore be the best devil. In Naruto, Kakashi tasks Naruto, Sakura, and Sasuke with stealing 2 bells, similar to this test of ability Kishibe issues to Denji and Power, with both allowing their students to use any techniques necessary.

  • Kishibe-Denji-Chainsaw-Man-Kakashi-Combat-Test
  • Naruto-Kakashi-Bell-Test

Furthermore, the students’ early attempts at passing those tests, Kakashi’s Bell Test in Naruto, and fighting Kishibe in Chainsaw Man, end in miserable failure for the students, their teacher proving too difficult to overpower or outsmart. Finally, they both have their vices that are often more just quirks, with Kakashi enjoying dirty books from the Make Out Paradise series, and Kishibe enjoying “booze, women, and killing devils.”

  • Chainsaw-Man-Kishibe-Booze
  • Naruto-Kakashi-Reading-Make-Out-Paradise

These characters remain functional despite these quirks, but they’re disarming qualities about them, yet strikingly similar to shonen anime characters.

How is Kishibe Different from Kakashi?

Kishibe and Kakashi are different not just on the obvious basis that one is a devil hunter and one is a ninja, but also in their methods. While Kakashi is certainly more than capable as a teacher and pushed his students to dangerous limits, he wouldn’t have injured his students to the brink of death shortly after meeting them. Kishibe’s methods are more ruthless, wishing to temper his students into the perfect devil hunters. He knows their immortality prevents death from otherwise fatal injuries, but he uses this to brutal extremes.

  • Chainsaw-Man-Kishibe-Teaching-Denji-Compared-to-Kakashi
  • Naruto-Kakashi-Years-of-Pain

Kishibe is also notably more arrogant and dour, while Kakashi is consistently light-hearted but serious when the moment calls for it. While they both demonstrate similarly efficient abilities in combat (and insane speed) Kakashi didn’t break the necks of his students, stab them, or cut their throats. Denji and Power team up far more amicably at first than Naruto and Sakura, amusingly channeling “nerd face emoji” vibes by wearing glasses when they try to fight smart to defeat Kishibe, but still failing.

While it might feel odd comparing the two franchises, since Chainsaw Man is typically intended for more mature readers, it’s difficult not to think of these parallels once they’re noticed. They both are published by Shonen Jump, and both feature an orphan bonded with a deadly demonic force that provides the basis for their power. That being said, Naruto has had far fewer instances of people puking into his mouth, so the parallels are not perfect.

Chainsaw Man released on Crunchyroll on October 11, 2022, with the English dub released later that month.

- This article was updated on December 15th, 2022

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