Kimetsu No Yaiba or it’s counterpart English name “Demon Slayer” was an anime series with 26 episodes that have aired, the pending release of a movie and an ongoing manga series that is currently on chapter 202. I managed to watch 24 episodes within one Sunday and watched the remaining 2 episodes on the Monday after. However, that was a few months ago.
The anime series struck me as brilliant yet incomplete due to the fact that no more episodes were released. The situation is similar to the Bleach series where only a portion of the story has been released as an anime with the subsequent arcs limited to the manga. However, unlike Bleach, movie that is soon to be released shall continue from where the anime stopped.
I could tell that Demon Slayer was a brilliant anime from the get go. The whole theme and feel of the anime just screamed quality. The OP itself felt quite meaningful and intense already serving as an omen of good faith for the awaited episode. The classic Japanese art style and story telling style is distinct from the first episode that would have made hard core and seasoned anime fans alike tingly all over. The whole old school classic Japanese ambience of Demon Slayer felt similar to that of Dororo.
Visuals and Audio:
The visuals in this anime were well done. Starting of with the way that the characters within the anime series were designed. They were well thought out and drawn. The art style used for the design of the characters again contributed to the classic Japanese anime style. The choice of colours used to contrast and complement each other was well thought and used. The colour used in the world around was also rich and plentiful. At times the choice, brightness and intensity of the colour used was skilfully done to add to the desired atmosphere and moment of certain anime scenes.
I was surprised regarding the versatility of colour used for Demon Slayer because of the type of anime that it was. Demon Slayer is an anime that is centred around demons and the supernatural so there is no shortage or horror or gore. Anime similar to this like Tokyo Ghoul and Dororo normally employ a darker palette of colours to help set the theme and feel of the anime. However, Demon Slayer chose to employ darker palettes of colour during appropriate scenes, similar to Shingeki no kyojin (although the anime style is different).
With regards to the audio, it was well done. The OP prepared you for the 21-23 minutes of awesomeness that you were about to experience and the ED reinforced the emotions that you experienced during the episode. The audio employed for the characters were well done, properly conveying the emotions of the character (although this can only certainly be said for the eng sub versions). The audio employed during the battle scenes, important plot moments and throughout the anime was appropriate and just.
The Plot: Up Until The Anime
Demon Slayer is styled in the traditional Japanese anime style which means that the plot needs to be exceptional. And Demon Slayer does not disappoint at all. The plot style is as simple as it is deep. The anime pulls us in as soon it begins. It does this by forcing us to invest our emotions into the anime which is a good strategy. As the anime begins and progresses, there are mysteries that do arise with some being solved immediately and others at a later time. Some mysteries or plot based questions are so well buried that we forget about them until they’re suddenly answered.
I must say that I really like the way that the Demon Slayer plot flowed. The one thing that I really appreciated was the amount of information that was shared with us as the anime/manga progressed. Anime/manga like Shingeki no kyojin that do a pretty bad job at this, where hordes of information is just pumped to the fans and it’s just convoluted and confusing. It’s bearable for fans to understand to this in anime format, but much more difficult in the manga format.
Demon Slayer also employed the technique of building on existing plot elements, characters or events. This added the depth to existing plots and characters that we already knew but may have underestimated in some way.
Demon Slayer is set in an in between time period, that of the traditional past where shinobi, samurai and demons reside, and that of industrialization where steam trains exist. At the start of the anime we are introduced to Tanjiro and his family. His entire family except his sister Nezuko is slaughtered by a demon. Despite Nezuko being alive, she has become a demon and attempts to kill Tanjiro. Tanjiro is saved by the demon slayer Giyu. Before Giyu is able to deliver the final blow to Nezuko, Tanjiro stops him pleading with Giyu to spare his sister.
A short brawl ensues between Giyu and Tanjiro. Tanjiro with a bit of luck and skill manages to land a blow on Giyu. Eventually despite Giyu’s reasoning, Nezuko is spared. Giyu instructs Tanjiro to take Nezuko and visit Urokodaki. And from there the anime series takes of.
Tanjiro (the protagonist) is initially portrayed in the way that Deku from My Hero Academia is. Tanjiro is not shown to have any latent ability or talent, at least at first. Tanjiro is the protagonist that builds himself through hard work and endless training that is fuelled by a positive outlook on life. As Tanjiro himself says, “Hard work is the sum of daily effort”. We see Tanjiro employ this logic throughout the anime.
After visiting Urokodaki and going through harsh trainings, Tanjiro sets of to take a life or death exam to earn the right of becoming a Demon Slayer. During this 2 year period, Nezuko is asleep with Urokodaki using a form of suggestive hypnotic therapy to make her protect humans instead of devouring them. Tanjiro passes the Demon Slayer Corps entrance exam with some difficulty. It is at the end of the exam that we are introduced to some of the key characters that will later play important roles. Tanjiro returns home awaiting the forging of a sword and then sets of with Nezuko.
Along his journey, Tanjiro meets and is accompanied by his weird and wonderful companions Inosuke and Zenitsu. Together they face a series of challenges and demons overcoming several obstacles and becoming stronger. The anime stops after an especially terrifying run in with demons from the “Lower moon rank”. Lower moon rank demons are a set of powerful demons selected by their master. The battle with the Lower moon rank demons leaves Tanjiro and his friends quite battered both physically and mentally.
Shortly after the fight with the Lower moon rank demons, Tanjiro is introduced to the Hashira. The Hashira are an elite set of Demon Slayers capable of vanquishing powerful demons. It is here that Tanjiro learns that Giyu is a Hashira and Urokodaki is a retired Hashira. The Hashira don’t take kindly to the fact that Tanjiro is sheltering his demon sister Nezuko. They wish to exterminate Nezuko but are stopped by Ubuyashiki, the Master of the Hashira. After a small test, Nezuko is allowed to accompany Tanjiro.
Tanjiro is taken to the residence of one of the Hashira named Shinobu. After Tanijro and companions recover, they are trained by a girl called Kanao. Kanao is the apprentice of Shinobu and we learn about her past during this time. During this time of recovery and training, Tanjiro attempts to find out more about a certain fighting technique that he used in the fight with Lower moon ranks, but he cannot seem to find any answers. He is instructed to pursue the Flame Pillar Hashira named Rengoku.
It is at this point in the anime that the plot stops, with the arc supposedly resuming in the soon to be released movie. The plot however continues in the manga, so if you want to avoid spoilers, please skip this section or stop reading.
The Plot: From The Manga
The manga has an explosive continuation from where the anime stopped. On the infinity train, Tanjiro, Inosuke and Zenitsu face off against the Lower moon rank one demon. Together with the flame Hashira pillar named Rengoku, they over come the Lower moon rank one demon. However their victory is short lived as they come face to face with a Upper moon rank 3 demon. A single upper moon ranked demon has the power of at least 3 hashiras. At this point in the plot, Tanjiru is approaching the level of Hashira but does not yet have that power and is still developing his powers.
The battle is fought predominantly by the team of Tanjiro and Rengoku against the Upper moon rank three demon. The battle is fierce and drawn out. Tanjiro and Rengoku were already battered from the previous fight and shows in their fight against the Upper moon rank three demon. The upper moon rank 3 demon also possesses a battle sense that can be compared to the “observation haki” from the anime “One Piece”. As the battle reaches it’s conclusion, Rengoku is severely wounded and the Upper moon rank three demon flees.
After the battle, Tanjiro along with Inosuke and Zenitsu are taken to the Hashira Shinobu’s residence to recover. Tanjiro makes his way to Rengoku’s residence to deliver his final words. During this arc we learn more about Rengoku and his struggles. The passing of Rengoku really hit Tanjiro, Zenitsu and particularly Inosuske hard. Inosuske is noted to have adopted Rengoku’s last words and reminds Tanjiro and Zenitsu not to wallow in despair and to move forward.
It is also important to note that during this arc, Tanjiro and Nezuko earn the acceptance of Rengoku despite Nezuko being a demon.
The next arc that follows is similar. This time Tanjiro, Inosuske and Zenitsu accompany the Sound pillar Hashira named Uzui. He is a flamboyant warrior from the extinct clan of Shinobi that allegedly died out during the edo period. He also has 3 smoking bombshell wives (how lucky can one get). Apparently not lucky enough as his 3 wives who initially infiltrated demon territory had gone missing. Uzui was on a mission to determine their status and slay the demons present.
Tanijiro, Inosuske and Zenitsu infiltrate the village posing as labour girls. Immediately the entire village feels off and Tanjiro and his friends detect trouble. Zenitsu is initially captured and his whereabouts are unknown. Tanjiro’s identity as a male is discovered by a lady, however she is kind as she is pretty and does not reveal his identity. Shortly afterwards, this very same lady is about to be consumed by a demon. Tanjiro bursts in to save the day. Tanjiro and Uzui engage the demon in battle while Inosuske discovers and rescues Zenitsu.
The identity of the demon is revealed to be the Upper moon rank number six. During the fight Tanijro and Uzui initially defeat the Upper moon rank number six demon only to find out that there are two demons instead of one. The fight takes a turn for the worst when Uzui is poisoned. During the fight between the Demon slayers against the Upper moon rank number six demon pair, the Demon slayers continuously swap in and out. The Demon slayers eventually defeat the Upper moon rank number six demon pair. Nezuko manages to heal Uzui of the poison and Uzui accepts Nezuko despite her being a demon. However, Uzui is unable to fight anymore and is forced into retirement due to the severity of his injuries.
After the clash has subsided it is revealed that the pair of Upper moon rank number six demons were brother and sister. After the tragic backgrounds are revealed, it becomes apparent as to why they became demons. And even after all the evil that they had done, I personally felt really sorry for them. People treated the Upper moon rank number six siblings like trash when they were alive, and in a way it’s kinda like the humans were repaid by their own karma. As the Upper moon rank number six demon siblings die, they are shown going to Heaven.
This becomes a prevalent theme as more powerful demons are slain. Each demon has a tragic background that explains how they ended up that way. And it’s hard not to sympathise with them. The fact that they’ve murdered numerous people is probably unforgivable by human standards. But once their tragic backgrounds are revealed, it depicts how people shabbily and mercilessly treated them. And that’s why I was glad that when they passed on, they found peace and went to a better place. Tanjiro unlike most Demon slayers is able to understand the Demon’s emotions in their final moments. It is why he is able to slay demons without hesitation yet mourn their deaths respectfully.
Shortly after this, Tanjiro is recovering at Shinbou’s home again. His Katana has broken yet again and needs to be mended. This plays a major role in the next arc as the Upper moon rank number four demon. The Upper moon rank number four demon ruthlessly devours the swords smiths. Another intense battle ensues between Tanjiro and his friends against the Upper moon rank number four demon.
In this arc, we are introduced to Genya and the Hashira mist pillar named Muichiro and the Hashira love pillar named Mitsuiri. There are several important things that occur during this arc.
The first is that through the collective efforts of Tanjiro, Inosuske, Zenitsu, Genya, Muichiro and Mitsuiri, the Upper moon rank number five and Upper moon rank number four demons are defeated. In the process of this, several swords smiths die, Muichiro regains his memories and the demon slayers inadvertently awaken their “Demon Slayer” marks. Most importantly is the fact that Nezuko despite being a demon is able survive in sunlight. Demons wither out of existence when exposed to the sun regardless of their power. This is therefore a big deal.
The news of Nezuko immune to the sun despite being a demon reaches the ears of the Demon master named Muzan, who looks a lot like Micheal Jackson. Muzan has awaited for a demon immune to sunlight so that he devour such demon and obtain the immunity to sunlight. After Muzan learns of the Nezuko’s immunity to the sun, he ceases all demon attacks in preparation for final confrontation. The Demon slayers corporation in turn begin training Demon slayers and the Hashira pillars work hard to try and develop and maintain the demon slayer mark.
Muzan confronts Ubuyashiki to find out where Nezuko is being hidden. Ubuyashiki who instinctively knew that Muzan would personally kill him calmly welcomed Muzan. Ubuyashiki is very sick and seems defenceless against Muzan. However, Ubuyashiki anticipating Muzan set up an ambush trap, planting an explosion that killed him. However, this explosion left Muzan vulnerable leaving him vulnerable to a planned assault by Tamayo. Tamayo is a demon with the goal of taking Muzen down.
Upon hearing the explosion, the Hashira along with Tanjiro and friends rush to the scene. They attempt to finish of Muzen, however he escapes into another dimension. The Hashira and Tanjiro follow after him. After this, the respective Hashira pillars face of against the remaining demon ranks.
Shinobu sacrifices herself against the Upper moon rank number two demon. The Upper moon rank number two demon consumes Shinobu. Kanoa and Insosuke then clash with the Upper moon rank number two demon. As the battle drags on, the Upper moon rank number two demon attempts to retreat to deal with more pressing matters. However, he suddenly begins to decay for no apparent reason. In his confusion, Kanoa and Inosuske finish of the Upper moon rank number two demon. It is revealed that Shinobu’s body contained a poison that activated once she was devoured by the Upper moon rank number two demon. Shinobu instructed Kanoa to finish the Upper moon rank number two demon when he was weakened.
Zenitsu faces of against the new Upper moon rank number six demon. The battle is an emotional one as the new Upper moon rank number six demon was once a fellow student alongside Zenitsu. The battle is short and Zenitsu is able to briefly over power the Upper moon rank number six demon. This is due to two reasons. The first reason is that Zenitsu used a new technique that he himself had developed. The second reason is that the Upper moon rank number six demon recently obtained his powers and was therefore not familiar.
Giyu and Tanjiro face of against the Upper moon rank number three demon. This was the demon responsible for the death of Rengoku the Hashira Flame pillar. During this battle Giyu the Hashira water pillar notes that Tanjiro has become quite skilled and is Hashira level powerful. It is also noted that Tanjiro has switched completely from the Water breathing technique to the Fire Breathing technique, also known as the original breathing technique. During the battle, Giyu and Tanjiro save each other countless times. As the fight progresses, Tanjiro eventually figures out how the Upper moon rank number three demon fights. Giyu and Tanjiro just barely manage to defeat the Upper moon rank number three demon.
As was the case with the Upper moon rank six demon siblings, we learn of the tragic backgrounds of Upper moon rank number three demon. Again it’s quite sad and apparent as to how Upper moon rank number three demon came to be. After Upper moon rank number three demon dies and finds peace, Giyu and Tanjiro move forward battered and broken.
Upper moon rank number one demon faces of against Muichiro, Genya, Sanemi the Hashira wind pillar,and Gyomei the Hashira rock pillar. Together they manage to barely defeat Upper moon rank number one demon. This is achieved at the cost of Genya’s and Muichiro’s life. It is also revealed that the Upper moon rank number one demon was originally the brother of the Demon slayer who created the Fire breathing technique, that is the original breathing technique.
Iguro the Hashira snake pillar and Mitsuri feign their deaths to reach Muzen. Muzen who is now newly evolved faces off against Tanjiro and the remaining Hashira. The battle is long and strenuous taking it’s toll on the half dead Hashira and Tanjiro. During the battle, there are several limbs that are lost from the Hashira and Tanjiro as well. In addition, several Demon slayer foot soldiers give up their lives serving as a literal shield between the Hashira and Muzen. The battle subsides once the sun comes up burning Muzen up.
Sometime during this battle, Nezuko senses that her brother Tanjiro is in trouble and rushes to find him. In the aftermath of the battle, the wounded are tended to. In the final moments of Iguro and Mitsuiri, they confess their feelings to each other declaring that they would marry each other in their next life. Gyomei is also shown to be drawing his final breaths. In the midst of all the confusion, Muzen transfers his remaining consciousness and cells into Tanjiro. Tanjiro suddenly regains consciousness and is now attacking the remaining survivors while undergoing a demonic transformation.
Nezuko who seems to have reverted back to a human thanks to a drug created by Tamayo is desperately trying to pin her brother down. Inosuske gets a clear strike at Tanjiro but is unable to hurt his friend. And that’s pretty much where things are right now.
My next blog shall focus on the characters themselves.
Until next time, ciau.
Jai Sri Krishna