Wednesday, April 27, 2022

So that’s why the kids like Demon Slayer

 After I kept seeing multiple students reading Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba (and I’m going to call it just Demon Slayer from here on out), I finally asked one what was so special about the manga. I was told that they really liked the character development.

So I got the first few volumes out of the public library so I could read it for myself. (As someone who is old enough to remember when the United States was given Mazinger Z as Tranzor Z and when Robotech was actually a good thing, I think we live in an age of wonder as far as manga and anime is concerned)

Here’s the one sentence pitch: After a demon ravages a boy’s family, the boy devotes himself to slaying demons and restoring his demonic sister’s humanity.

So, the actual plot isn’t that unusual. Tanjiro and his true companions fight the monster of the week. New powers show up as necessary. If you’ve read any Shonen stuff, it’s familiar.

However, I found the character of Tanjiro to be unlike what I was used to in Shonen heroes. To be fair, I’m a dabbler and far from up to date on developments. But I’m used to hot-blooded idiots or cynical anti-heroes. 

Tanjiro, on the other hand, is very sensitive and empathetic. I’m fact, his sensitivity helps fuel his fantastical sword fighting.  He mourns for demons’ intrinsic tragedies. (He still slays them on any day ending in Y, of course)

It is very easy for me to see why some students would really take to Tanjiro. He is a character that they can relate to and has traits they probably aspire to.

(All that said, the fact that Nezuko, the most significant female character, has been reduced to a child mentally and has to wear a bamboo gag feels problematic for me, no matter the story justification)

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