Spoilers don’t like to travel in boxes.
I wasn’t overly impressed with Demon Slayer when I started watching it. As the show progressed and the dynamic changed, I actually recognized this series has an amazing display of world-building skills. The lore is rich and savvy, but grounded in a fantastic reality where people die and demons are more than just human conceptualizations of depravity. I actually did not notice the fluid animation until it was pointed out to me, but by then I was already a fan.
Demon Slayer or Kimetsu no Yaiba is made by Ufotable Studios. The anime is directed by Haruo Sotozaki based on the manga by Koyoharu Gotōge. It is the story of Tanjiro Kamado on his quest to become a Demon Slayer with the intention of discovering the cure for his sister Nezuko, turned into a demon after the tragic killing of their entire family. It is not revenge that fuels Tanjiro’s resolve, but his determination to see his sister freed of her curse. Nezuko on the other hand, remains a silent partner who seems to display unusual attachment to his brother and restrains from killing humans. Their partnership is something unheard of, as nobody’s ever been able to revert back after becoming a demon.
Tanjiro was perhaps my biggest obstacle to overcome. He’s kind, he plays by his own sense of justice and never gives up regardless of how hopeless the situation becomes. But he’s not a blank slate protagonist. Tanjiro is inspiring to people around him, and his tenacious spirit has already overcome the tragedy of losing all his loved ones to the violent rampage of demon kind. He should be the strongest hater of all demons and yet, his humanity not only extends to his affected sister but even to the literal monsters he fights.
Although he eventually gains other companions for his travels, at the beginning he sets out alone. First to be trained by the mysterious Urokodaki in the technique known as Breath of the Water, and after to be allowed into the Demon Slayer Corps through a brutal survival test. After gaining the right to be a member, he sets out into the world alone with missions passed along to him by a Kasugai Crow. Later on he befriends Zenitsu Agatsuma, a cowardly slayer who only knows the first technique of Thunder Breathing, and Inosuke Hashibira, a brash and impetuous slayer who uses his own self-taught technique of Beast Breathing and wears a boar’s head mask. The other character who we rarely get to see but is always omnipresent, is the master of all demons, Muzan Kibutsuji.
The dynamic changes throughout the show, with Tanjiro and Nezuko being the only constant. Initially, Tanjiro focuses solely of getting help for Nezuko but after joining the Demon Slayer Corps, he travels with his sister inside a box. Although the first chapters have a lot of horror elements in it, the fighting is where the animation shines the most. It will not be until later that the atmosphere is lightened up with splatches of humor brought on by Zenitsu and Inosuke. This takes a little getting used to, but the darkness still permeates the battles as Tanjiro’s opponents are considerably getting more challenging. The new developments brought on by the last two episodes (ep 21 and 22) are potentially going to change the story again.
Highly recommended. At this point, no question, it’s been a show that has gone from appearing in my radar to becoming part of my top watchlist. Although I tend to root for side characters more than protagonists in action shounen like this one, this one is one that has made me a fan. The switch from pure supernatural action to the introduction of comedy relief required some adapting but given the last episodes, we’re not quite sure where we’re going now. Although chances are the show is going to eventually allow the entire traveling party to adventure together, there is no doubt the gravitas has been increased. I remain optimistic the adventures have only just started.
That will do for now.