Tatsuki Fujimoto Before Chainsaw Man: 17-21

Tatsuki Fujimoto Before Chainsaw Man 17 21 Cover

What was Tatsuki Fujimoto doing before Chainsaw Man became a worldwide phenomenon? Well, I’m glad you asked. This anthology contains four short one-shots from when Tatsuki was aged 17 to 21.

Tatsuki Fujimoto Before Chainsaw Man: 17-21

In this post, I’m going to look at the book titled 17-21 by Tatsuki Fujimoto. This is a collection of four one-shots from a time before Chainsaw Man was a reality. It offers a fascinating insight into Tatsuki’s mind and no doubt helped shape his style. I’m going to look at each of the four stories individually as they cover a varied genre and I also love talking about shorts. There’s something incredibly satisfying about being able to read a complete story in one sitting.

A Couple of Clucking Chickens Were Still Kickin’ in the Schoolyard

In the year 2019, aliens invaded Earth. They were able to change their shapes and become incredibly powerful. As such, humanity lost instantly and was almost entirely gobbled up as the aliens eat humans. They took a liking to life on Earth and have pretty much moved into the cities that humanity created. At one school, the aliens continue as normal. They even have a couple of chickens that they feed. However, these chickens are actually two humans in chicken costumes. Apparently, the aliens’ sight isn’t too good at distinguishing between animals and since they don’t eat chickens, they are not interested. Then, an alien from an area that does eat chickens is transferred to the school. When he hears about the chickens he loses his mind with hunger. However, one alien, who is sympathetic to the humans discovered they were chickens and tries to help them escape. He is killed, but then it turns out that one of the humans pretending to be a chicken was an alien pretending to be a human pretending to be a chicken so he could safeguard the human girl…

This is a pretty dark and twisted story and the big reveal was a great idea. I just wasn’t too sure about how it happened. Luckily, the story is fairly short so I was able to reread it a couple of times to see if I missed anything. I did not. So, while the clues were there as to the possibility of such a thing happening there wasn’t anything that pushed the story that way. It was good, although some of the language was a little clunky, but not intrusive enough to really bother me.

Tatsuki Fujimoto Before Chainsaw Man 17 21 A Couple of Clucking Chickens Were Still Kickin in the Schoolyard

Sasaki Stopped a Bullet

Sasaki is in love with his teacher. He’s even signed up for summer school even though he doesn’t need to simply because she is the teacher. They’ve developed an understanding ever since Sasaki failed to turn in an assignment about his dreams. He told her the others made fun of him so he didn’t want to write it down. Basically, his father was an astronaut and dreamed of going to the moon, but he died before he could. Sasaki wants to follow in his father’s footsteps because he believes his father is on the moon. His teacher doesn’t mock him for this, instead, she tells him she’s a god. She does this to point out that there is no such thing as a zero percent chance. We just convince ourselves there is because once it gets small enough we dismiss the idea.

Then, a former colleague of the teacher interrupts the class with a gun and demands she pay for declining his offer to date when they were younger. He blames her for all his problems. She agrees to do anything to save her students, even sleep with him. Sasaki is incensed by this and steps between them. The guy shoots, but then Sasaki does something incredible. He catches the bullet. Unsure of how he did it, he tells the guy he’s from the future and paints a picture where he turns his life around. It’s enough for him to give up his gun. Years later, Sasaki lands on the moon and finds that his father isn’t there, which he knew all along. However, speaking to his teacher, he tells her that he knows she really is a god and that it was her that stopped the bullet.

I really enjoyed this one. Sasaki is such a strange character with his goals and beliefs, but it all fits perfectly with the story. I loved the way his teacher said she was a god to make a point, but the point was that she was actually a god. Even so, the message about never giving up even when the odds appear to be completely against you is a good message. The art style definitely improved in this one too.

Tatsuki Fujimoto Before Chainsaw Man 17 21 Sasaki Stopped a Bullet

Love is Blind

The student president is about to finish high school and once he’s done, he fears he will never see his assistant, Yuri again. Before that happens he needs to confess his feelings for her, but that’s easier said than done. He asks Yuri to walk home with him as it’s a beautiful day. It wasn’t. It was raining. Then, a teacher tried to stop them as the president had some more things to do but gave in when he saw the conviction in his eyes. On the way home, he was about to tell her when they were mugged at knife point. Since they had no money, he offered the mugger his blazer and turned back to Yuri. Then, a flying saucer came down and landed behind them. The alien had come to hear any objections to Earth being destroyed for a highway. The president told them all that he didn’t have the focus for this as he needed to tell Yuri something. The mugger and the alien watched as he finally told Yuri how he felt. The mugger gave them some money for drinks to celebrate and the alien left. Moved by what he witnessed, he decided that today was not a good day to destroy Earth.

This was hilarious, however, the best thing about it was the inside joke between Tatsuki and his editor. Tatsuki was often criticised for taking 31 pages to show what could be done in 16 pages. So, this was their way of taking as long as possible for the president to confess his love to Yuri and it was brilliant. Really funny, really clever, and even better when you understand why they did it.

Tatsuki Fujimoto Before Chainsaw Man 17 21 Love is Blind


Shikaku isn’t like other people. She doesn’t have the social filters that most people do. As such, she found herself at odds with her parents growing up and was soon disowned. Later in life, she became an assassin who was known for always completing her missions. She was then hired by a wealthy businessman to kill him. He was willing to pay way over the odds if she could succeed. She threw a knife at his head. It didn’t work. She shot him with a shotgun, but his body reformed. It turned out he was a vampire who had grown tired of life, but he could not die.

He let Shikaku live as she reminded him of himself. Those thoughts bothered Shikaku enough that she came back and explained that there was an odd feeling in her chest ever since she met him. He told her to go to the hospital and not to bother him. However, at the hospital, surrounded by police, she discovered that it wasn’t an illness. She was actually in love with the vampire and decided to tell him how grateful he should be on a live broadcast as the police closed in around her. He laughed for the first time in centuries and decided that he would turn Shikaku. Maybe, she would be able to entertain him for many years to come.

This was another great story with some utterly insane characters. You can already start to see some of the characteristics that make the characters of Chainsaw Man so memorable. Shikaku was bonkers but that just made it that much more entertaining.

Tatsuki Fujimoto Before Chainsaw Man 17 21 Shikaku

Overall thoughts?

I read my first volume of Chainsaw Man back in September 2022 and since then, I’ve read the following ten volumes, seen the first season of the anime, and now I’m here diving into Tatsuki Fujimoto’s previous work. It’s safe to say I’m a big fan and have thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it so far. Luckily, I have the next volume of Tatsuki Fujimoto Before Chainsaw Man so I’ll be starting that next. These stories aren’t as good as Chainsaw Man, but I’m certain that if you like Chainsaw Man, you’ll enjoy these too.


English TitleChainsaw Man
Japanese TitleChainsaw Man
AuthorTatsuki Fujimoto
ArtistTatsuki Fujimoto
GenresActionDevils, Horror, Supernatural


English TitleChainsaw Man
Japanese TitleChainsaw Man
ReleasedFall 2022
Animation StudiosMAPPA
GenresActionDevils, Horror, Supernatural

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What did you think?