(Note: Spoilers follow.)

The story follows the intertwined destinies of Fujino and Kyomoto, two future mangaka we meet as high school students. (It’s no coincidence that the first character in “Fujino” and the second in “Kyomoto” make up the name Fujimoto.) The artists pursue their ambitions together, then separately, in a harrowing tale of rivalry, jealousy, of creative passion and friendship.

In a climactic scene, the art school where Kyomoto studies is attacked by an ax-wielding man who kills 12 students, including Kyomoto. As he attacks him, he accuses him of plagiarizing his art – an echo of the accusations the Kyoto Animation arsonist has leveled against the studio.

Fujimoto made a name for himself with a one-shot manga series, which he began publishing when he was still a teenager. He has two works serialized to his name: Gunshot and Chainsaw Man, the first part of which was in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump through December 2020. Over 11 million volumes of Chainsaw Man are in circulation as of June 2021, and Mappa is producing an anime adaptation.

The attack on Kyoto Animation destroyed one of its studios, killing 36 and injuring 33. The suspect was charged in December 2020. The company eventually resumed operations after the fire and began recruiting again in July 2020.