It’s time for an anime review for the epic Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. Since its debut in April 2019, the anime television series for Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba has been nothing short of a phenomenon. Over the last three years, that phenomenon has only continued to spread and grow across the globe. Based on the original manga series created by Koyoharu Gotouge, Demon Slayer is a worldwide, global smash.
It’s not only a bestselling manga and globally successful anime TV series, but the Demon Slayer franchise also boasts the highest-grossing anime feature of all time. The theatrical feature continuation of the series, Demon Slayer: Mugen Train, has grossed $454.7 million at the global box office; with $49.5 million coming from US box office receipts.
With that in mind, today’s anime review blog is going to explore the Demon Slayer anime series and why this show is so special.
Demon Slayer Anime Review Table of Contents:
- The Demonic Tragedy
- Animation Quality
- The Verdict
Demon Slayer Anime Review – The Story
Demon Slayer is set in Japan during the Taisho Era. It’s the early 20th century. The setting is an interesting one because you can kind of still see the vestiges of an older, feudal Japan both clashing and converging with the modern era. The world and Japan itself are changing at an increasing rate. Young Tanjiro Kamado is the eldest son of a nice family of coal burners and sellers. He and his family were not wealthy or affluent, but they were happy and cared for one another.
Unfortunately, Tanjiro’s family are brutally slaughtered by a demon; a race of supernatural beings who prey on and devour humans. Only Tanjiro’s sister, Nezuko, survived. However, she’s been transformed into a demon herself. Somehow, Nezuko has miraculously retained her sibling love for Tanjiro; which stays the hand of the Hashira Demon Slayer, Giyu Tomioka, from eliminating her. After encountering Giyu, Tanjiro sets out to become a Demon Slayer; with the slim hope that he may someday cure Nezuko of her demon affliction and find the demon lord who slaughtered his family, Muzan Kibutsuji.
The worldbuilding of Demon Slayer is fantastic. It’s in-depth and immense. Gotouge has thought through the backstory of this entire world, its characters, its history, the hierarchy of the Demon Slayer Corps. and the demons themselves. The world of Demon Slayer is immersive, which makes the story more believable and compelling.
Despite all the tragedy and heartache the characters experience, the tone of the story is one of hope and optimism, especially against overwhelming odds. The Demons are overwhelmingly powerful, but the Demon Slayer Corps. are willing to put life and limb on the line to protect the weak and innocent.
When the story ramps up the action and the fights, Demon Slayer gets even wilder. That said, the show still has a fun sense of humor and mixes some nice levity in from time to time.
As immersive as the worldbuilding and setting for Demon Slayer are, those elements would not work as effectively without a strong cast of characters. Demon Slayer’s cast of characters is exceptional.
As the protagonist, you have Tanjiro. Tanjiro is this pure-hearted and kind young boy, who goes through many trials and tribulations. Tanjiro is so pure and kind-hearted that some might even call him a “goody-two-shoes,” which I recall Zenitsu even does at one point. Tanjiro is pure and kind, but that doesn’t make him boring. He’s put through many trials and tribulations. He experiences tremendous tragedy. Sometimes it’s difficult to watch such a nice kid like Tanjiro go through so much strife but seeing Tanjiro find the strength to endure and carry on is part of the rousing, inspirational part of Demon Slayer. Not to mention, Tanjiro’s journey is sparked by his love for his younger sister, Nezuko. That connection is the heart of Demon Slayer.
Zenitsu is in a word amazing. Some might find him annoying, but he’s one of the most fun and interesting parts of the show. Zenitsu is frightened by everything. He’s not a natural fighter or swordsman, except when he falls asleep, he somehow becomes a savant. Yet even Zenitsu, when the chips are down, will take up arms to help and protect his friends. You can see Zenitsu make progress and grow throughout the show.
Inosuke Hashibira completes the central quartet of Demon Slayer. Inosuke is an odd cat. He’s not very bright, but seeing his bond grow with his friends throughout the show is also quite joyful.
The other great thing about Demon Slayer is through the rest of the supporting cast, everyone else is so identifiable and interesting from the Hashira, to even one-off characters. All the characters are incredibly memorable and well-drawn.
The Demonic Tragedy
I believe another part of what makes Demon Slayer so compelling is the show’s villains, the Demons. Gotouge showcases the Demons as tragic figures. Many of the demons have lost their sense of reason or their memories from their past lives, but the catch of all the demons is that they were once human beings. All of them used to be human.
Since all of the demons were once human, the circumstances that cost them their humanity are just as tragic as many of the demon’s victims; or Tanjiro and his friends. In a way, the demons are also suffering. They are in pain, and Demon Slayer depicts that pain. Tanjiro pities and mourns for some of the demons as well, despite their terrible acts. The series shows that Tanjiro’s compassion is infinite Additionally, it depicts the tragic loss the demons themselves have experienced.
The Demons are not just soulless monsters. They have also experienced great tragedy and loss, which makes the melancholy that runs throughout Demon Slayer even stronger.
Some of the demons the heroes encounter on their journey are certainly violent, depraved, and they commit unforgivable acts. But even so, the story never forgets that they were once human and subjected to unforgivable acts themselves. It’s not a justification of Muzan or the Demons, but a better way to understand them. Life or the world was cruel to them. In turn, they become a cruel embodiment of that.
Demon Slayer Anime Review – Animation Quality
The animation work by Ufotable for Demon Slayer is a sight to behold. The series not only brings the manga to life in vivid, colorful animation, but it also has a unique visual look and style from the norm.
Now, there are a few instances now and again where the animation team does use some CG character models for long and wide shots when characters are casually walking. While some of these lesser CG model shots are noticeable at times, they are few and far between.
However, when you see moments like Tanjiro somehow unlocking Fire Breathing while fighting Rui, or Zenitsu figuring out a form of Thunder Breathing, the show is really on its A-game. The visuals the show pulls off with the action and making it both emotional and dramatic, so you are always connected to the characters during the fighting makes Demon Slayer an even more heart-pounding, visceral experience.
The animation that Ufotable Studio pulls off with this show is a testament to what anime is capable of. The animators for this show perform purely miraculous work.
The music and songs for Demon Slayer are beautiful. many of the songs for the show performed by LiSA are amazing, emotional experiences, especially “Homura” for the Mugen Train film. The way the show mixes traditional and modern musical elements is amazing. Much like the setting, it’s like a mix of the traditional, old-world version of Japan mixing with the new and modern.
But more than anything, just listening to the songs and LiSA’s soulful, wondrous voice makes me teary-eyed and joyful. The music is bittersweet, just like the series.
Demon Slayer Anime Review – The Verdict: 9.5/10
With amazing animation, characters, visuals, and a dramatic, compelling story, Demon Slayer is definitely in the realm of upper-tier anime. It’s a must-watch for any anime fan. The show seems to only continue to grow in popularity, thanks to the global smash success of the Mugen Train film and the continuation of the anime television series.
While the anime series is currently on hiatus, the next season has already been announced by Aniplex USA. Ufotable is already hard at work on the upcoming Swordsmith Village Arc for the Demon Slayer anime. However, it does not have a launch date or release period yet.
If you’re ready to dive into Demon Slayer after reading this review, the first season of the show is available to stream for free with English subtitles on Crunchyroll. However, the movie and Season 2 are currently behind a paywall and require a subscription. The first season is also available to stream subbed and dubbed on Netflix.
If you also want to check out Koyoharu Gotouge’s original manga series, three sample chapters are available to read for free on VIZ.com.
But what do you think of Demon Slayer? Have you given it a look yet? Has the story of Tanjiro Kamado and Nezuko captured your imaginations as well? Let us know what you in the comments below!