This year has given us some pretty good anime. From The Promised Neverland, which I already reviewed, to Dr. Stone, which I might do a review on when the current season is over. Today’s subject matter is an anime adaptation of a manga by Koyoharu Gotoge and is animated by the studio Ufotable. This is Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba.
Tanjiro Kamado lives with his mom and younger siblings in Japan, selling charcoal for a living. One day, his entire family was slaughtered by demons with the exception of his sister Nezuko, who was turned into a demon. Tanjiro decides to join the Demon Slayer Corps, an organization dedicated to fighting demons, in the hopes to find a way to turn Nezuko back into a human. When I watched the first episode, I was taken aback. Not because it was bad, quite the opposite, but because you see the bond that the Kamado family had and then it’s all taken away by tragedy. I felt bad for Tanjiro, losing his entire family and then his sister becomes a demon. And he uses that as motivation to train and get stronger as a Demon Slayer while working toward achieving his goal to reverse Nezuko’s transformation. He’s also retained his kindness, which is a common trait among shonen protagonists and drives his actions to the point where he feels empathy towards the demons he has to slay. Speaking of demons, even though demons are the bad guys of the series that are pretty much cannibals with a weakness to sunlight, a lot of them have tragic backstories, which are shown after their defeats. Nezuko is the most adorable demon ever created. She’s like a cute little puppy that’s stronger than the average man and despite her transformation, she retains part of her humanity and will protect her brother at all costs. Along the way, Tanjiro and Nezuko befriend two fellow Demon Slayers, Inosuke Hashibira and Zenitsu Agatsuma. Inosuke is a wild and crazy Demon Slayer who wears a boar’s head and he’s one of my favorite characters. His brash and aggressive behavior ended up being endearing for me. I initially found Zenitsu to be annoying as hell since he’s a coward who screams, yells, and cries nonstop. Funny thing is that he becomes a badass when he’s unconscious. While I still find him annoying, Zenitsu kinda grew on me and I have a feeling that he might become a better character.
The main villain of the series is Muzan Kibutsuji, who has an elite group of demons serve under him called the Twelve Kizuki. Tell me this dude does not look like Michael Jackson, from the hair to the fedora and the skin tone. Was that an intentional design choice by the manga artist?
One of the best things about Demon Slayer is the animation. Dude, Ufotable gave this anime some top-notch animation because it is gorgeous. I love how they utilized classic Japanese art techniques into the series, especially in the action sequences. Anytime Tanjiro uses the Water Breathing Technique, the slashes appear as stylized water and the same thing applies to other Breathing Techniques. Shit gets brutal in this anime. It’s not exactly 90s levels of brutal, but get used to seeing some blood, gore, and death. This darkness is balanced out by the humor in the show. I like how in the comedy bits, they give the characters simple cartoony designs that makes the scenes funnier. I knew some funny shit was going to go down when the characters have beady eyes. Tanjiro’s expressions alone are meme material. People have praised episode 19 as the best episode of the season and I agree, especially around the end. The animation in that scene is great and it’s made even better with the music playing in the background. Watch for yourself.
And that was Demon Slayer. With its stellar animation, likable characters, breathtaking action, and an amazing soundtrack to boot, it’s become one of my favorite anime series released this year and one that I’m anticipating more of in the future. The next arc of the series will be adapted into a movie that’s set for release next year and I’m hyped. For now, all 26 episodes are available to watch on all the streaming services if you want to check it out, plus the dub is airing on Toonami as I’m typing this. Next time, we’ll be talking about Dragon Ball Super and my complicated feelings about it.