Demon Slayer anime

Review: ‘Demon Slayer’ is lighthearted with dark undertones

Want to know what it’s like going toe to toe with a blood-thirsty demon? Kimetsu no Yaiba aka Demon Slayer is the right anime to start binging on for this upcoming Halloween season. Released on April 6 in Japan, you can catch the highly anticipated anime on streaming platforms like Crunchyroll, Funimation and Hulu.

Made by production company Ufotable, the show gives the viewer an opportunity to witness the irony of brutality accompanied with kindness. Demon Slayer’s story is much different from any of the previous animes they’ve released (Fate Zero, Tales of Zesitria the X, God Eater). With twenty-six episodes in its first season, Demon Slayer has a action packed start.

Official Trailer

Warning: Spoilers ahead!

Summary

Eldest son of six Tanjiro Kamado (Natsuki Kito) starts his day working to provide for his family. As he makes his way back from work Tanjiro comes to a gruesome scene at his home. His entire family has been slaughtered and the only survivor is his younger sister Nezuko (Akari kito). However, Nezuko does not appear to be herself, instead she becomes aggressive and tries to kill her brother. Turns out his beloved sister has been turned into a full on demon! Overtime, Tanjiro sees that his sister can control her lust for eating humans and realizes she’s not like other demons. This discovery sends him on his mission to turn his sister back into a human and join the demon slayer corps to hunt down the demon that hurt his family.

Main Squad

Tanjiro Kamado

Credit: Ufotable

Our main character with the mightiest nose of all time. His sense of smell allows him to sniff out who is human and who isn’t. Along with a great nose this hero also has the biggest heart. After slaughtering a demon, Tanjiro is able to sympathize with them to the point that he makes the demons cry due to the kindness he displays towards them.

Nezuko Kamado

Credit: Ufotable

The younger sibling of Tanjiro, Nezuko is a sweet demon that will protect her brother at all costs. Since she doesn’t eat humans she is able to feed herself and become stronger by sleeping for long periods of time. She also sports a little bamboo muzzle to bite down on when tempted to bite! 

Zenitzu Agatsuma

Credit: Ufotable

One of the most chaotic characters in the series, Zenitzu (Hiro Shimono) is one of the more unique demon slayers. Zenitzu is the funny guy with insane power qualities when it comes to the battlefield. He’s a huge chicken and fears almost anything, but once he is at the point of total fear he turns into a total badass!

Inosuke Hashibira

Credit: Ufotable

The second most chaotic character in the series that just happens to wear a boar head 24/7. Inosuke (Yoshisugu Matsuoka) may be a bit slow at catching up with information, but fights with all the willpower he has and fears no demon.

Other Characters

Credit: Ufotable

Through the series we meet major characters that help Tanjiro and his friends out. The Hashiras, a group of demon slayers that are of the highest rank of the corporation. Each has their own set of unique abilities. They’re also the only ones who get to have meetings with the head of the demon slayer corps, Kagaya Ubuyashiki. Giyu Tomioka (Takahiro Sakurai) and Shinobu Koche (Saori Hayami) are two of the crucial Hashiras whom have a personal encounter with Tanjiro. Master Urokadaki (Hochu Utsuka), a former Hashira, trains Tanjiro to become a demon slayer, he’s also the one that was able to train Nezuko to protect humans instead of eating them.

One great thing about the characters that are introduced is that they all feel like a major piece to the puzzle. The characters above had a vital revelation that peaked my interest and kept me engrossed and attached to their character even if they were only present for a couple of episodes.

The Villain

Muzan Kitbutsuji

Credit: Ufotable

Muzan (Toshihiko Seki) is the main villain of the series and the one Tanjiro is after. In addition to this, Kitbutsuji is also the only demon that can turn Nezuko back into a human. One frightening ability he possesses is killing demons from afar. If a demon speaks his name they die a painful and gruesome death. Similar to the Hashiras, he has a group named the Twelve Kizuki, high ranking demons with insane amount of strength and unique powers given to them by Kitbutsuji.

Frightening Demons

Credit: Ufotable

Other major demons are Rui, a member of the Twelve Kizuki, Teaoni a demon so disfigured from all the humans he’s eaten, Kyogai a past member of the Twelve Kizuki who wants to reclaim his spot, and Yahaba and Susamaru a unique duo. While there are some bad demons, there are also a few good ones like Lady Tamayo and Yushiro; these two want to help study demons to see how they can turn Nezuko back into a human again.

Bad Demon, Good Demon?

Throughout various arcs in the series, Tanjiro comes across a variety of demons, in particular.  As a demon slayer, his purpose is to hate demons and destroy them no matter what. However, Tanjiro’s gentle soul allows him to have compassion for his enemies. After killing a demon he is able to have a glimpse into their past life when they were still human. Each demon has a heartbreaking backstory involving various issues including abandonment, belittling, and death. The show does a great job at making you feel sympathy for the demons as their backstories unfold, along with visuals of the demons crying, one cannot help but to feel for them.

Humor in Darkness

Credit: Ufotable

While the anime has its tense scenes of life or death situations, there are lots of funny moments that shine through the intensity of some of the episodes. Most of the comedic relief comes from Zenitzu and his over-the-top dialogue. His animated body movements for his freakouts help emphasize and add more humor to the funny moments. Inosuke’s loud yelling voice and misunderstanding of basic information gives humor to conversations that are somewhat serious. So while you’re on the edge of your seat you can still look forward to some goofs from a couple of the demon slayers.

Commentary

The overall development of the story in the series is revealed through different arcs Tanjiro faces with his team. The growing friendship between the four main characters is one that is forbidden in their world, but makes for great showcasing of accepting differences and learning to grow. We see this when Tanjiro and Nezuko come face to face with the Hashiras, who hate demons for various reasons but have to learn to coincide with each other for the sake of the future of the demon slayer corps.

Credit: Ufotable

The danger the demons pose in the series is not played down either. Each demon that comes along feels like a huge threat. Seeing the behavior of the demons is chilling and helps add a serious tone to set up the fighting sequences. As each demon the characters encounter becomes stronger and more of a threat we are able to see how the characters’ personalities, strengths and weaknesses evolve each time they face a new danger.

The fight scenes are executed beautifully with crisp animation from Ufotable. Some scenes, where we see each demon slayer activate their power techniques, have stunning visuals. Zenitzu’s lightning strikes look sleek in the animation, especially when he is moving around at a high-speed rate.

Credit: Ufotable

While the animation itself is good, some of the computer graphics used for setting purposes, like the water moving and some of the background CG trees, don’t look as high quality. Sometimes this causes a scene to be a bit off in the background, but it’s not a major issue that brings down the entire animation.

Conclusion

Credit: Ufotable

We’ve had quite a lot of shounen anime in recent times, but Demon Slayer has its own personal spark. I  would highly recommend this anime to anyone that wants some lighthearted fun with a lot of dark tones. For fans of Naruto, Parasyte The Maxim and My Hero Academia, this anime will satisfy all your needs.

If sub isn’t your vibe or if you just want to see how the characters will sound with their English speaking voices, the Demon Slayer dub is coming right up. The first episode of the dub will be premiering soon on Toonami, on Saturday Oct. 12!

You can watch Demon Slayer on Crunchyroll and Hulu. If you’ve seen this anime, let us know what you think!

Featured image credit: Ufotable

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