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Demon Slayer

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Full Summary, Breakdown, and Character Analysis

Author: Wiley Gillam

Intro

The smash hit series, Demon Slayer, made its debut in April of 2019 where it instantly received widespread recognition from anime fans across the globe. The franchise was estimated to have reeled in roughly $2.7 billion as of December 2020.1 With the wildly successful film, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train, yet to release in North America, that number will continue to skyrocket over the next few months. The main questions on many anime fans’ minds right now is what made the series so popular and will season 2 receive similar attention. Although the answers may seem simple to those who have watched the anime, the questions remain valid for those who have not.

Demon Slayer

Demon Slayer is great because it takes aspects of some of the most popular shounen anime, like Dragon Ball and Naruto, and adds adorable, wholesome characters like Nezuko Kamado to the picture. In addition, the animation alone blows away nearly any other anime. As a shounen series, Demon Slayer competes in the most saturated arena of anime. The beautiful artwork is instrumental in capturing an audience amongst the thousands of other series. The next component of the anime series’ popularity is advertisements. This article will not go in detail about this as nearly all successful anime series begin with a massive budget. Unfortunately, it is very difficult for new series to receive exposure so the most successful are adaptations of manga (like Demon Slayer) which already have a large fanbase and funding for a marketing campaign. In the case of Demon Slayer, it likely would still have garnered incredible popularity, but the process was certainly expedited for the reasons aforementioned.

Summary

Tanjiro Kamado, our protagonist, is a youth whose family is brutally murdered by a demon. Although badly injured, his sister, Nezuko, is the sole survivor of the attack. Tanjiro rushes to town in a desperate attempt to find medical assistance for her. Along the way, she wakes and suddenly attacks him. As Nezuko attempts to kill him, an incredible swordsman appears. The man attempts to kill Tanjiro’s demon sister, but Tanjiro protects her with his life. He tries fighting the man but is utterly outclassed. He learns that the man is a member of an underground force, known as the Demon Slayer Corps. Although he loses the battle, Tanjiro gains the man’s respect through his valiant effort and is later recommended to train under the retired Water Hashira, Sakonji Urokodaki.

After several years of harsh training, Tanjiro heads to the final selection. This is an event in which all who compete must survive for seven days on the battleground, which is riddled with demons of varying power levels. There, he encounters his first powerful demon which he learns is responsible for the death of a dozen of Urokodaki’s other students. He eventually defeats it and detects that prior to becoming a demon, the man lived an incredibly tragic life. After completing the final selection, Tanjiro receives a crow which relays messages from the Demon Slayer Corps headquarters, a demon slayer uniform, and a black katana to wield in battle. He then embarks on his first mission as a demon slayer with Nezuko, thus concluding the first training arc.

After completing his first mission, Tanjiro heads to Asakusa, Tokyo where he stumbles into Muzan Kubutsuji. He links the scent of the man with that of the demon who slaughtered his family. Tanjiro attempts to confront him, but Kubutsuji creates a distraction by turning an innocent bystander into a demon. Kubutsuji escapes as Tanjiro is forced to deal with the situation at hand. Police begin to intervene, but are quickly halted by a demon known as Lady Tamayo. She explains that she is a doctor who works to treat injuries dealt by demons. Tanjiro asks Tamayo if it would be possible to revert Nezuko back to a human. She responds that if Tanjiro allows her to take blood samples from his sister and retrieves blood samples from powerful demons with similar strength to that of Kibutsuji, she may be able to help. Abruptly, two demons sent by Kibutsuji ambush Tanjiro. A long, epic battle takes place and our heroes come out victorious. However, Tanjiro sustains severe injuries during the fight. Regardless, his crow leads him to the next mission assigned by headquarters.

Demon Slayer

Along the way to the next demon, Tanjiro finds Zenitsu Agatsuma, a cowardly boy who also passed final selection with him. Together, they march onward to the next destination. Upon arrival, they discover two children shivering with terror after watching a demon abduct their brother. Tanjiro charges into the demon’s home and Zenitsu reluctantly follows. Although Tanjiro instructs the children to wait outside with his pack (in which Nezuko was sleeping), they run inside after the boys out of fear of the ‘scary noises’ coming from Tanjiro’s box. The group is then split up and Tanjiro and Zenitsu are forced to fight separately. Tanjiro finds a demon with multiple tsuzumis connected to his body. Each tsuzumi the demon plays results in a different attack. During this battle, Tanjiro meets Inosuke, a demon slayer with a boar’s head, who was also from his final selection. Inosuke attempts to fight Tanjiro, but is then ejected from the room with the demon’s power. Tanjiro continues his battle and ultimately prevails. He leaves the mansion to find Inosuke brutally beating his friend, Zenitsu. He quickly steps in and stops Inosuke. The crow then instructs the three demon slayers to head to a caretaking facility nearby where they can rest and receive treatment for their injuries.

After a few days of rest, the group heads up a mountain to their next mission. Here, they battle an entire family of extremely powerful demons with spider-like abilities. However, the group quickly learns that the mission is beyond their abilities. Specifically, they learn that one of the Twelve Kizuki is in their presence. Two Hashira, Giyu Tomioka and Shinobu Kocho, are sent in to rescue everyone. Tomioka saves Inosuke from certain death in his battle against a giant demon acting as the father of the family. Meanwhile, Shinobu helps cure Zenitsu who was injected with a poison capable of turning him into a spider. Finally, Tomioka rushes to Tanjiro who is in the midst of a life-or-death battle against the Lower Rank 5 of the Twelve Kizuki, Rui. After an epic showing, Tomioka finally intervenes, finishing off the demon. Shinbou then appears and tries to kill Nezuko, not knowing the context of the situation. A short scuffle between the two Hashira breaks out until the crow announces that they are to bring Tanjiro and his sister before the court to determine a course of action.

Tanjiro meets the nine Hashira, who are almost all calling for the execution of both Nezuko and himself. Fortunately, the 97th leader of the Demon Slayer Corps, referred to as Oyakata-sama, orders that Tanjiro and Nezuko are freed immediately. He explains that Urokodoki reached out to him explaining the unique circumstances surrounding Tanjiro and the acceptable behavior exhibited from his demon sister. After finalizing his decision, Shinobu decides to bring Tanjiro to her home for training. He spends the next few months working hard to become stronger so that he can defeat Kubutsuji. The season ends here after teasing the storyline of the movie, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train.

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Season 1 Analysis

Demon Slayer possesses all the necessary traits of a great anime. With high-paced story development, constant action, multi-dimensional characters, and state-of-the-art animation, it comes as no surprise that this series attracted so much attention since its 2019 debut. From the first few scenes of this series, viewers immediately notice the amount of effort and detail put into each and every frame of this anime. Complementing the beautiful aesthetics of the series is an incredibly strong voice-acting cast which helps to encapsulate the emotions of the dialogue. If you are a fan that typically watches anime dubs, you should escape your comfort zone for this series and watch in its original state because the work is flawless.

Demon Slayer

With a total of 6 story arcs and 26 episodes, it is clear that the first season packs a significant amount of information into each episode. This helps set Demon Slayer apart from other shounen anime that have hundreds of episodes and very slow, gradual story development. As a result, more viewers who begin the series watch to completion because there is a greater sense of gratification from each episode. Furthermore, this series strategically targets a wide range of anime fans with a PG12 rating. It appeals to both older and younger audiences alike. Older viewers find the gory visuals thrilling while younger fans enjoy the traditional samurai hero nature of Tanjiro.

Demon Slayer created an immediate impact on its viewers with a horrifying first episode in which Tanjiro heads home one day only to find the bloody corpses of his entire family spread across his home. This in addition to finding that his sister had become a demon were incredibly traumatic and forced him to mature at a young age. In spite of his anger toward demons, Tanjiro remains empathetic toward them. He adheres to a strict set of principles and never wavers from them. Tanjiro is the ideal protagonist with a kind heart and a strong spirit. He is determined to save both his sister and any others that have been converted into demons. This attitude makes Tanjiro the ideal hero. He frequently displays his care for others in the face of adversity. Tanjiro says multiple times that he values Nezuko's life above his own. This makes his character feel much more honest and admirable to viewers.

The next character that fans adore is Nezuko. She makes the anime feel wholesome despite the fact that death is a major theme underlying the series. Even without speaking, Nezuko serves as one of the most loved females in the history of anime. It is easy to forget when watching her sleep or crawl around on the floor that she is a demon. Her beauty amazes everyone she encounters and her brother takes great pride in it. Although Tanjiro does not mind insults directed toward himself, he is extremely offended if someone insults his sister. The bond between these two siblings is largely responsible for why Nezuko seems to still have control over her actions and impulses. In addition, this bond pushes both Nezuko and Tanjiro to get stronger in order to protect one another. Every time they fight together, they seem to elevate their abilities tenfold. In episode 19, during the fight against Rui, Tanjiro and Nezuko perform some of the most impressive attacks in all of anime. This entire battle along with the theme of sibling love results in a very powerful and emotional impact on the audience.

Demon Slayer

In addition to the lovable siblings, Demon Slayer also dedicates lots of screen time to two of Tanjiro’s battle pals, Inosuke and Zenitsu. Both of these demon slayers are very charismatic and add to the comedic element of the anime. Inosuke is a meat-head who spent his entire life training in a rural area of Japan, isolated from the rest of humanity. As such, he struggles with social interactions and initially expresses no concern for anyone but himself. However, his character rapidly develops after meeting Tanjiro who demonstrates that strength is not the only thing that matters as a demon slayer. Inosuke’s character shifts particularly in the Natagumo Mountain arc as he is forced to battle alongside Tanjiro in order to succeed against their powerful foes. It becomes apparent that Tanjiro motivates Inosuke to get stronger. From the moment we meet Inosuke, he makes it clear that his main goal in becoming a demon slayer is to become the strongest fighter in the world. Meeting a boy like Tanjiro who demonstrated strength superior to his own helps Inosuke surpass his limits.

In contrast, Zenitsu lacks self-confidence and only became a demon slayer to repay his grandfather who saved him from an enormous debt he assumed from a past relationship. Although Zenitsu believes he does not have the ability to slay demons, he possesses incredible strength. However, this power is only available to him while unconscious due to a strong mental barrier. In addition to training under his grandfather, a former Hashira, Zenitsu was struck by lightning giving him astonishing electrical abilities. While Zenitsu’s character is aggravating to viewers at times, he represents an important societal issue. Amid great competition, many struggle to believe in themselves thus devaluing their self-worth. This is especially true for teenagers struggling to settle on a career path. Many students tell themselves that they are not smart enough to become a doctor or work for NASA when all it would take is hard work and determination. Like Inosuke, Tanjiro is influencing Zenitsu and helping him gain confidence through training and experience. His development is certainly more gradual than Inosuke’s so this will likely become a more pervasive theme in the second season.

Demon Slayer

The great set of characters as a foundational basis for Demon Slayer, it already makes the series a pleasurable experience. However, with help from the jaw-dropping animation and captivating storyline, the quality of the anime elevates to a whole new level. Studio Ufotable did a wonderful job in developing both the animation and scripts for this series. It is often difficult to meet the expectations of fans with manga adaptations of best-selling series. However, from the dynamic backgrounds to the detailed character design, the anime brings out an element missing from the manga. Demon Slayer trumps nearly all other shounen in visual creativity. There is a stark contrast in color scheme of the background and characters to the attacks, which make them more eye-catching thus increasing engagement and attention levels of viewers. Some of the battles feel so immersive that viewers forget they are watching through a screen. It truly feels like you have been transported into another universe. As such, adrenaline levels surge at the climax of nearly every episode resulting in the viewer’s craving to watch more. It is certainly not uncommon to binge-watch the entire anime in a matter of a few days. With hardly any filler content, the series urges you to continue watching until reaching the conclusion, and even then waiting in great anticipation for the next season.

A tremendous sum of money was poured into the production of this series from the licensing to the voice casting and animation, but it certainly paid off considering the quality of the final product. Some companies dump millions of dollars into an anime, but still finish with a very mediocre result. Fortunately, this was not the case with Demon Slayer thanks to director Haruo Sotozaki and staff at Ufotable studio. With such a talented group of individuals masterminding the anime, the second season of Demon Slayer will likely turn out just as entertaining or even better than the first. In addition, with such great support from the fanbase, there will be no shortage of resources to draw from during the production of this new season. In light of the anime series and film’s enormous success, the budget will definitely be higher for this next season. It will be interesting what changes the studio decides to make in animation style. With how popular the initial animation techniques were amongst fans, hopefully we will find no major deviations in this department. One particular area I anticipate will receive some adjustments is the foley. Although there was nothing terribly wrong with the sound effects, a tremendous amount of music was used in lieu of the “natural” sound of the world.

Conclusion

Demon Slayer

Overall, Demon Slayer is an anime series worthy of praise. On a surface level, the characters are incredibly powerful and determined, but also easy-going with hilarious mannerisms and quips that ease the tension during intense moments. Fans certainly have a wide variety of options to choose from in choosing a “favorite character” which makes the series fun to watch with friends. Many people have differing opinions on certain characters and it is easy to enter a heated conversation as to whether, for example, Zenitsu is an annoying coward or an elaborate womanizer. In addition to the great character set, the beautiful artwork functions as a great accompaniment to the engaging storyline. Since 2019, Demon Slayer has been the most enticing series for non-anime fans. And it has certainly converted thousands of individuals into weeaboos. The impact of this series on shounen anime should not be understated as it will likely bring about a new era of anime for years to come. Taking into consideration all the information mentioned above, this series earns a score of 9.2/10. The only drawback in the series at present pertains to the foley work and a shortage of plot twists which makes certain events feel too predictable. Otherwise, the first season of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is the ideal shounen series and certainly deserves a watch from all those who consider themselves an anime fan.

Overall Score: 9.2/10

Work Cited:

1Wikipedia contributors. (2021). Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from Wikipedia.

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