Aki the Gun Fiend: The Irony of the 4th Division Devil Hunter

Tatsuki Fujimoto is no stranger to writing tragic stories. From “Niwa ni wa Niwa Niwatori ga Ita” to “Goodbye, Eri”, he has often dabbled with the theme of loss. Some may be more prevalent, but the feeling is always there. His masterful weaving of conflict and emotions is what made his one-shots into masterpieces. Best of all, he never goes overboard. His writing is subtle but palpable. He captures a realistic portrayal of anger and sadness on paper. To the point that reading is uncomfortable.

His portrayal of Hayakawa Aki from Chainsaw Man is no exception. Spoilers ahead!

The Importance of Aki in the Story of Chainsaw Man

It is easy to forget the side characters when your main hero captures the attention. Such was the case with Kurosaki Ichigo and Uryu Ishida. Despite their rivalry, Ishida is often forgotten and turned irrelevant. I have previously thought this is going to be the case with Aki. His first introduction didn’t exactly leave an impression.

Yet, Chainsaw Man surprised me by making Aki feel alive. The character was living inside the page. He had his own story and was affected by the consequences of the main events. In later chapters, we could even see it weigh on him! He began to sacrifice more of himself to realize his goal. However, the conflict didn’t end there. His pursuit of the Gun Devil was soon challenged by his feelings. As he grew closer to his team, he realized he didn’t wish to see any of them die. In a moment of character growth, he withdrew his team.

The Importance of Aki in the Story of Chainsaw Man

Aki’s reactions in the series are painfully human and for a good reason. Most characters and villains in the series are Devils. They have already lost their humanity a long time ago. None of them would give a good moral lesson to learn from. This is what makes Aki important. Without Aki, there would be no emotional impact on the story.

What Happened to Aki in Chainsaw Man?

The story of Aki in Chainsaw Man is a tragic and ironic one. He has been connected to the Gun Devil since his story began. However, the details aren’t told to the readers. There is not a chapter dedicated to exploring his past. Instead, it is peppered across chapters. Through these bits and pieces, we are left to postulate about what happened to him.

Childhood Events

The earliest memory we could revisit is Aki’s time in Hokkaido back in November of 1984. This was thirteen years before the events of Chainsaw Man (1997). He lived in a remote quiet town where there was plenty of snow. His parents could be described as caring. They were both seen looking after his sickly younger brother with great care. However, they could also be quite neglectful. While we never got the name of his parents, we did get the name of his younger brother: “Taiyo”.

What Happened to Aki in Chainsaw Man?

The memory featured a younger Aki being upset at his father for not playing with him. It appeared that this was a daily occurrence since Aki mentioned this wasn’t the first time his father said no. Both parents wanted to look after Taiyo. Aki was visibly getting upset until Taiyo, bless his soul, volunteered to play with Aki. This surprised Aki and the parents who let both of them go on a condition. Taiyo was to return home if he was feeling bad.

The bonding time between the two siblings was rocky at first. Aki found Taiyo annoying. From what we could guess, he thought Taiyo was taking all the attention. He threw a snowball at the younger sibling which started a fight between the two. Eventually, Taiyo feels that his fingers were cold and Aki instructs him to get a glove. Both siblings seemed to have reconciled during the snowball fight. Aki was smiling as he watched his brother happily walk towards the house.

That was when disaster struck. By the time it hit 10 AM, the Gun Devil hit Japan for 26 seconds. It killed more than 57 thousand people including Aki’s family. Aki was the only one to survive by sheer luck.

This is when Aki grew his hatred for Devils.

Pre-Chainsaw Man Events

While the events that happened after are not clear, we can piece them together. By the details in Chapter 14, we can conclude he is roughly the same age or older than Denji when he became a Devil Hunter.

What Happened to Aki in Chainsaw Man?

In the few snippets of his past, we could see who Aki was. He was a hollow of a man. Impolite and closed off, he cared little about what was around him. He simply focused on his goal to kill the Gun Devil. He was also rather logical in his thought process. He refused to smoke since it will rot his bones. He also took revenge on someone because “they need proper payback”. During this time, he mentored under Himeno who became a great influence on him. It was because of her that Aki eventually grew to care for the people around him.

Finally, we can safely assume that Makima met Aki sometime after. Whether when he was a teenager or a child during the event is unclear. Fortunately, we can still conclude that Makima is responsible for setting Aki on his path. To the latter’s admittance, he owed his life to her. The Control Devil had likely manipulated him from the start, leading to the events of Chainsaw Man.

How Did Aki Become the Gun Devil?

Aki’s turn into the Gun Devil was unavoidable. Control Devil had set him up from the beginning by making him owe his life to her. This put him under her control and allowed Makima to arrange things however she pleased. It was likely that the events in Chainsaw Man were to prepare Aki to become the Gun Fiend.

Ever since the beginning of the series, Makima was baiting Aki. She put him in charge of finding the Gun Devil Fragments because she knew he wouldn’t refuse. Aki’s desire for revenge against the Gun Devil was so strong that he was willing to use anything. He even had four Devil Contracts throughout the series. The Control Devil likely knew of this, which was why she put him in charge of babysitting Denji in the first place. By making Aki stronger, he was getting a better chance of being possessed as a vessel for the Gun Devil.

Who is Power in Chainsaw Man?

The rest was just a matter of waiting. By letting Aki develop a close bond with Denji and Power, he grew desperate enough to protect the two of them. Makima likely predicted this development. She had been pushing the three of them together since the beginning after all. After forcing Aki into a contract with her, she gained the capabilities of four Devils. On the same day of their contract, Makima fought the Gun Devil.

Most specifics of how he became the Gun Fiend happened off-screen. It is likely that Aki died during the battle against the Gun Devil and had the latter possess him. Makima then sent him off to fight Denji.

Why Did Aki Become the Gun Devil?

Even though we covered the specifics of how Aki became the Gun Fiend, it is unclear why. There is a good chance that Makima chose him since he was the easiest. He had no family ties, a strong desire for revenge, and little regard for his own life. He was the perfect pawn for Makima’s 4D chess game against, well, the world.

Why Did Aki Become the Gun Devil?

It could be argued that he was the only choice. The other humans in the series all died in quick succession. Makima didn’t see them as useful enough since she just let them die. In comparison, she stepped in to save Aki’s squad. Others had different goals. For example, Kobeni prioritized her life despite her capability as a Devil Hunter. From Reze (a spy) to Denji (her “dog”), Makima has a preference for choosing those who wouldn’t ask too many questions. She prioritized loyalty and easy personalities that she could manipulate.

This is the reason why she never chose Kishibe. Makima didn’t choose him because she respected him enough. She didn’t see him as a pawn unlike the other humans.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Aki a Devil?

Is Aki a Devil?

Aki is not a Devil. He is human for most of the series. It was only after the Gun Devil possessed him that his physiology changed. However, even with the changes, he is still not a Devil. Aki is a Fiend similar to Power and Asa. He is a human that a Devil has possessed.

Can Aki Come Back?

Can Aki Come Back?

The sad answer is no. At the end of the day, Hayakawa Aki is human. No human in the series has ever been shown to come back from the dead. He probably will show up as a flashback, but that’s it. Of course, unless Tatsuki Fujimoto retcons this.