So if you handed a well-established weeb a Shounen that is breaking records what do you think will happen? Well turns out, a romance made in heaven. For anyone that has been out of the game for, well I don’t know the last two years there is a new sheriff in town. It overthrew the GoT level esc Attack of Titian in some respects. A simple show about a 13-year-old boy trying his best, a show known as Demon Slayer.
Shounen actions share a bias that has plagued the series for years. You gotta dude who is thrown into a world he didn’t want to be in, but he accepts cause of a girl he cares for. So you ask, what makes Demon Slayer different? Simple, Tanjiro doesn’t want to fuck the heroine. In a rare flex of imouto power Demon Slayer does an about-face I wasn’t un-only expecting, but I love to see.
Alright, so let’s get to this. Imagine a world where you are just vibing but then all of sudden you come to your family farm to find all of them dead, except one. Your dear little sister Nezuko, she looks the same but something is off, something about her has changed but you know right away the dear sister you knew is still alive in there somewhere.
Desperate to protect the only ‘living’ member of his family Tanjiro is approached by the unofficially addressed Demon Slayer corp. With nothing but the idea of blood on their mind and simple creed, clear all demons of this world, Tanjiro is thrown into a world where against all odds he has to go to extremes to protect his sister and prove that she is unlike other demons.
One of the first fantastic takeaways about Demon Slayer is just how god damn beautiful it is. The direction Haruo Sotozaki took the series is nothing short of a masterpiece. Every angel, every animation had me awestruck as time and time again the action scenes paid honor to anime of old but with a crisp new style.
This is added with a nice nod to Shounen classic of leaving cliff hangers post every episode, Demon Slayer sets a tone of tension very early on that a lot of shows attempt but in most cases, fall short to do. Time and time again even though I know Tanjiro will be fine, it has an atmosphere that seeds doubt that I was surprised had me worried scene after scene.
Another thing this show does very well is world-building, in the beginning, about the first 4 episodes it is rather, bland. A boy has his family killed by demons, demons who walk the earth eating humans to get stronger, he becomes a demon slayer to protect his sister and turn her back to a human. I actually watched the first three episodes, had to run to the store, and never picked it up again, it left little to no impression on my brain.
Then the movie broke a bunch of records, and the Internet, so I said fuck it, I will finish this series see what it is all about. And around episode 6 that is when the switch in my brain was flicked, and the binge ensued.
This was due to the fact the world-building really started to pick up around this episode. The demons have complex abilities that sometimes feed off of one another, they have their own stories, own feelings for doing what they do, a past that was once human and Tanjiro does a fantastic job in plot building to bring that to the front of the story. The same is done with the Demon Slayers as the story goes on, they have their own reasons for being what they are, their own powers, their own linage.
What this does is set a narrative that many shows (like Akame Ga Kill) tries to do but fails. It makes you feel empathy for both sides of the coin, the demons are bad, they kill humans, but some of them are thrown into this tragic world at no choice of their own, in some cases becoming nothing more than slaves forced to kill at the hands of stronger demons.
Working on the sound Yuki Kajiura and Go Shiina do a very good job at helping the world by adding atmosphere, sound ques plus the into and outro playing their part to add tension and emotion episode after episode.
All and all I love Demon Slayer, a witty, action-packed tragic story matched near perfectly with crisp animation and sound. It is rare for me to look at a Shounen series (even more so one that blows up internationally) and be like, this shit is good, like really good, like 8/10 good. But none the less Koyoharu Gotōge penned a series that breaks through my predetermined thoughts, leaving me full of anxiety for the film’s release in the US. And I am confident it won’t disappoint.
Thanks for the read!