Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba anime series cover art
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba

Overview

Although Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba (Kimetsu no Yaiba / 鬼滅の刃) was one of the better anime of the spring/summer seasons, I wouldn’t say it’s as good as most people would have you think. MAL currently has it rated at 8.94, and in my opinion that’s way too high for this series.

Demon Slayer is currently one of the most popular shounen series, right up there with the likes of My Hero Academia — though I think that one has dropped more recently. After all, especially in the shounen battle series world, whatever’s new is usually the most popular.

The series follows a trio of demon slayers as they travel the land and do what their titles imply, slay demons. However, our protagonist, Tanjirou Kamado, has a unique relationship with the demons — his younger sister is one of them.

While most other demon slayers view the demons as something which must be destroyed at all costs, that isn’t true for Tanjirou. His goal is to one day save his sister and return her to her human form. And if he were to view all demons as inherently evil, then it would mean his sister is incapable of being saved.

But while the story is alright, I’m not really sure if that’s the main draw for anyone. It seems that most people were drawn to the series thanks to the animation done by ufotable (which is the same studio that made Fate/Zero and UBW). And then there’s me, who just likes battle series with abilities I can break down and theorize about.

And while I won’t be getting into any ability discussions here, there’s plenty of that in my weekly episode reviews.

Characters

While I’d like to discuss the supporting characters because they’re actually a lot more interesting and less annoying, I should probably keep to the main cast for this review. If you’ve already seen this series, you might as well just skip down to the next section.

Tanjirou Kamado is a brand new demon slayer whose goal is to defeat the big bad guy of the series: Kibutsuji Muzan. It’s heavily implied, if not outright stated, that Kibutsuji was the one who turned Tanjirou’s sister into a demon, and also slaughtered the rest of their family.

Each demon slayer also has a “breathing technique” they specialize in, with Tanjirou’s being the water breathing technique. I should also mention that despite how these breathing techniques look, they are simply styles of swordsmanship and don’t actually have any elemental properties.

Shinobu Kochou from the anime series Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
Shinobu Kochou

Nezuko Kamado is Tanjirou’s younger sister who was turned into a demon. However, unlike “most” demons, Nezuko still has a sense of self and isn’t merely a bloodthirsty monster. And I put “most” in quotes, because as we’ll see, that’s not actually the case at all.

Zenitsu Agatsuma is Tanjirou’s first companion, aside from Nezuko. He’s terrified of literally everything other than cute girls, and that basically sums up his entire character. 99% of the time Zenitsu is insufferable, and the other 1% of the time, when he uses his lightning breathing technique, he’s the coolest character of the series.

Inosuke Hashibira is the third member of the demon slayer trio and uses the beast breathing technique. Like Zenitsu, he’s also often extremely annoying, but at least he’s not a coward. Inosuke charges into any fight head first while yelling with both of his swords drawn.

Strengths and Weaknesses

What does Demon Slayer do well? The biggest thing is the visuals. I was surprised by the amount of people who had never heard of ufotable before Demon Slayer. Out of any animation studio, they’re just about the only ones who can actually make 3D CGI animation look good. And they’ve been doing it for years.

I’m not going to say this series is a visual masterpiece, but for the scenes that really matter, I’m not sure there’s anything better within this genre.

The other big thing I liked about this series is that it gives us a lot to theorize about: the blade colors, breathing techniques, and blood demon arts are just a few examples. However, this is also tied into one of the things I think the series did poorly, which is world building.

Giyuu Tomioka from the anime series Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
Giyuu Tomioka

Once we get to the end of the season, the world building does get better, but for most of the season it doesn’t make a lot of sense. We’re given information on a lot of things, but we’re not given a lot of information on any one thing. This leads to an issue where the rules of the world are constantly changing.

Over the 26 episodes I believe the answer to the question, “how are demons created?” is changed about three times. It’s like the author of the series kept revising the world mechanics he previously laid out. And that’s not the only example.

Like I mentioned earlier, the same is true for the idea of Nezuko being the only “sane” demon. In actuality, the vast majority of demons we see in the series retain their sense of self. There’s actually very little about Nezuko that’s special other than the fact that she’s stated to be special.

Conclusion

This assumption isn’t limited to Demon Slayer, but I’ve had people claim that the reason I don’t like the world building in this series is because it goes in a direction contrary to my initial assumption. That’s not the case. I don’t like the world building in Demon Slayer because a new world is built with every episode.

It’s all contradictory, which is a sign of an author who doesn’t have a plan laid out from the start. These changes in the world weren’t made out to be revelations, they were simply stated as fact despite conflicting with prior facts. And no characters reacted to these changes even when they were drastic.

So in the end Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is a 7/10 from me. It was a good anime, but it had enough problems to keep it from getting into the 8 or above territory — mainly surrounding the main characters being insufferable and the world building being contrarian.

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2 Replies to “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba”

  1. I also feel that this anime is so overvalued it a lot, however the reason for that was specifically due to the animation and technical values, being a shonen series and more focused on action than in history and especially in fights, it is where more highlights the animation unlike another mor.e complex series such as babylon or psycho pass that does not have many moments where the animation can look good considering that today people are so superficial it does not surprise me.

    1. Well, you can’t really expect it to be as complex as a psychological seinen series. It’s a battle shounen series. So I wouldn’t hold that specifically against it.

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