“Demon Slayer” Review: Another Shonen anime that ‘slays’ its way into my heart

A new era of Shonen anime has arrived.

Tanjiro+Kamado
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“Demon Slayer” Review: Another Shonen anime that ‘slays’ its way into my heart

Tanjiro Kamado

Tanjiro Kamado

Tanjiro Kamado

Tanjiro Kamado

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As a pretty avid anime fanatic, I’ve watched a good amount of mainstream and lesser-known animes including “Inuyasha”, “Devilman Crybaby”, “the Promised Neverland”, “Bungo Stray Dogs”, and my personal favorite as of right now, “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba.” Some people have given the description that Demon Slayer is the dawn of a new Shonen era,

(Shōnen, shonen, or shounen manga is manga aimed at a young teen male target-demographic. Weekly Shōnen “Jump” is a weekly shōnen manga anthology published in Japan by Shueisha under the Jump line of magazines. It is the best-selling manga magazine.)

which I agree with. “Demon Slayer” is definitely a breath of fresh air within popular Shonen titles like “Naruto”, “Hunter x Hunter”, and “Fullmetal Alchemist.”

The first distinction is easily the art style. “Demon Slayer” is extremely colorful and not afraid to use very bright and vivid colors in it’s aesthetic — on the flip side there’s a lot of dark, rich deep colors as well. It’s an extremely beautiful anime. In addition, the shadows are more harsh and sharp compared to older anime art styles. The animation is considerably more distinctive as well compared to ‘traditional’ anime\; a lot more fluidity within the characters’ movements and fight scenes. With the character design, the first detail that immediately made the character design different were the eyes.

Overall, anime eyes are usually always big— that’s just the art style of anime — and “Demon Slayer” is no exception. However there is one key difference, and that is how the eyes are specific to each character. Now, obviously, of course, different characters have different eyes, however, the eyes on each character are all constructed individually. For instance, the protagonist of the show, Tanjiro Kamado, his eyes aren’t perfectly round, there’s a hint of a hexagonal shape. For Shinobu Kocho, a Hashira, her eyes don’t include a pupil, they’re just one color.

Next, the storyline is pretty original, but it does feel reminiscent of other animes where the protagonist goes on a journey with his friends and becomes super strong along the way. However, that isn’t good nor bad— I have enjoyed the story so far and it’s very entertaining. The plot of “Demon Slayer” is Tanjiro Kamado, the eldest in his family, who finds his family slaughtered by a demon with only Nezuko, his little sister, surviving. He becomes a part of the Demon Slayer Corps and the rest is based on that.

However, some episodes have felt very fast, and others very slow. The pacing of the journey isn’t always the best, which affects the storytelling varying ways. Especially in the beginning — when Tanjiro trains to become stronger, it doesn’t feel rewarded enough, which some other animes have a problem with too: the protagonist suddenly becomes a super-strong warrior for the convenience of the story.

Moreover, when Tanjiro encounters two powerful demons who work together, and they are seemingly very strong relative to other demons because of their status with Muzan Kibutsuji, the first demon to exist, the two are defeated pretty quickly and easily. To expand on this, Tanjiro defeats a former Demon Moon – extremely high-level demons — what seems to be effortless. However, when encountering other powerful demons in the forest a couple of episodes later, it’s drawn out more and Tanjiro seems weaker than before.

In addition, the way demons are explained and handled is a little bit incongruent. For example, the first demon he encounters is a very low skilled one, however after this one is killed, the show never touches on those types of ‘low skilled’ demons again. Tanjiro solely runs into very high skilled demons, which is very convenient for his journey.

On the other hand, the characterization of the four main characters is phenomenal. Sometimes, animes can gloss over minor characters, but Demon Slayer provides touching backstories for them. I care about Tanjiro, Nezuko, Zenitsu, and Inosuke (my favorite.) Each of the characters have their own definite personalities that complement each other. Alongside the characterization of the main characters, the protagonist can only be as good as the antagonist, and the characterization of the demons themselves is done very well.

There is one absolutely beautiful scene of Tanjiro killing a demon, and I honestly shed some tears because of how beautiful the death was. That scene only worked because the demon was very well executed as a character. I felt for them, I felt their pain and suffering. At the same time, the more malicious demons feel almost like traditional hard opponents for Tanjiro – witty lines of dialogue, the evil laugh, and always gets defeated. However, Muzan Kibutsuji, even though we’ve seen about a total of five minutes of him within the on-going series, is presented as a very evil and clever character. He reminds me a little bit of Naraku from “Inuyasha” which I don’t mind at all.

Overall, “Demon Slayer” has been very entertaining and I can see myself becoming very invested in the show. The show is on its first season, and it’s awesome so far. I highly recommend it to everyone– the art is beautiful and the characters are developed and personable. I rate “Demon Slayer” a B+.

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