Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba review

David Eckstein-Schoemann, Reporter

As I was looking for anime to go over, a fan recommended that I go over “Jujutsu Kaisen.” Unfortunately, I was still attempting to discover where to watch it, so I moved it to a later date. However, along the way, I came across another title called “Demon Slayer.” Based on a first glance, it seemed cool and short enough to where I could review it. I decided to watch it instead. After finishing the season, all I have to say is — this show is amazing! If you want my summed-up thoughts right away, then here they are. I think this is one of the coolest, darkest, and engaging anime’s I’ve seen in a while. 

 Courtesy of Funimation.

The series centers on Tanjiro Kamado, a kind-hearted boy who lives in the mountains with his family. His life takes a dark turn when he comes home to find his family murdered by a demon, save for his sister Nezuko who herself has been transformed into a demon. After protecting Nezuko from demon slayer, Giyū Tomioka, both are surprised to see that she still retains her human memories and defends her brother. Giyū then recruits Tanjiro into the Demon Slayer Corps, whose main goal is to secretly protect humans from demons, most notably the head demon Muzan Kibutsuji. Tanjiro is then sent to be taught by demon slayer veteran Sakonji Urokodaki. After two years of grueling training, Tanjiro sets out on his quest. Along the way, he comes across colorful characters such as fellow demon slayers Zenitsu Agatsuma and Inosuke Hashibara, who join him as he sets out to turn Nezuko human again and avenge the deaths of their family.

The anime is smart in how it eases you into its world and how it works. It doesn’t unload a ton of information on you right away. It instead gives you one piece at a time so that you can have time to take in the bigger picture of this world, both from the demon slayer’s and demons’ point of view. The main characters in this are all likable, each one has their own unique personality and design. Are there some over-the-top characters too? Yes. But what anime doesn’t have that? Some characters you might be unsure of at first, but they still give them enough likability to where you warm up to them very quickly. I also find it interesting how while a lot of them aren’t given a ton of backstory, you spend enough time with them to where you know what they’re all about and want to follow them on their journey.

The animation here is pitch-perfect! The colors and movements leap off the screen. They are so incredible to look at. The battles and duels in this are some of the most fast-paced, cleverly laid out scenes I’ve seen in any anime. They’re all creative, filled with energy, and get you hyped as all get out. This aspect alone makes this series a must-see.

Though what I love most about this anime is the characterization of the characters, particularly with the villains. Even though they’re portrayed as these horrific monsters who have done disturbing things, they’re still given depth, so you know who they were and why they do the things they do. This is not to say there isn’t a big bad in this series, there definitely is. I’m just saying that the conflict here is portrayed as a grey area. One where everyone, including the protagonists, have to do violent acts for the greater good against these nightmarish creatures.

I was pleasantly shocked with how well this aspect was handled, as the main protagonist does see the tragedy of this conflict. Even when these demons are struck down, you feel the sadness in their deaths. It could have been so easy to have them portrayed as something like stormtroopers, just expendable goons that are taken out with no remorse. Thankfully, they openly acknowledge how these are people who have become corrupted and are suffering in their own way. Of course, this point of view flies in contrast with the other characters, particularly other demon slayers who see things in black and white. It’s made no better by the fact that he has to protect his sister from people who see her as a threat, even though she wouldn’t harm any human.

 Courtesy of Funimation.

I was also shocked by the amount of violence here. It’s so rare that I get scared when something violent happens on screen, but there were a lot of times where my jaw dropped at how gruesome some of these scenes got. I know that’s to be expected from a show where you have swordsmen kill demons, but when things get violent, they pull no punches. I feel like people who want to watch this anime need to be aware of the amount of violence because the body count here is insane. You think it’d be like “Danganronpa” where they get past censors by changing the color of blood or cutting away from the gruesome scenes. But no, they don’t shy away from showing these people being mutilated, cut up, and torn apart on screen. It reminds me a lot of “Game of Thrones” as no one, not even the main characters are safe.

This show really has fun with the different types of opponents it creates. Each demon has a distinct character and unique power that’s both creative and intimidating. It also helps how as the series continues, they always up the ante with the dangers and threats the characters come across. Every time they barely defeat a demon, there’s a new opponent even more dangerous than the last in the next episode.

I feel like it all works because this show also knows how to balance out the harsher moments with the more light-hearted ones. There are big moments all throughout, but when it needs to let the characters breathe and take everything in it does that great. They even have mini clips at the end of each episode where the characters talk about their thoughts on the story’s events. It sounds silly, but it surprisingly works.

It’s funny because I only found out about this series a week ago. But from episode one I was instantly hooked. I want to see more of this world and characters and see where the story leads. It’s so rare that a show makes me feel that way.

So yeah, I was pleasantly surprised with how awesome this anime is. It has good characters, a mature story, and enduring themes that any die-hard shonen fan should check out.

Rating: 5 / 5 Spinnaker Sails.


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