Earlier this year, after watching enough students reading Demon Slayer, I started reading it. And I’ve now finished it.
Twenty-three volumes isn’t super long, particularly by manga standards, but it is long enough to let a story ruminate and develop. At the same time, it turned out to not be monster-of-the-week, Spider-Man-endlessly-fighting-bad-guys. At a certain point, I realized that a single story arc was emerging.
Here’s the elevator pitch: After almost his entire family is slaughtered and his sole surviving sister becoming a demon, Tanjiro Kamado joins the Demon Slayer Corps. From there, he and his true companions slay demons.
But Demon Slayer subverts many of my expectations.
First off, Tanjiro is a grade A, all-loving hero. I’ve said that before and I’ll keep on saying it. I think that’s become more common than it used but I’m used to hot-hotted idiots or arrogant anti-heroes. Tanjiro as a sweetie is fun to me.
Although just because he empathizes with everyone doesn’t keep him from chopping demon heads without hesitation.
However, Demon Slayer’s exploration of character development isn’t limited to just Tanjiro and his nakame. (And, yes, I only know that word thanks to One Piece) Other demon slayers and even demons get their backgrounds and motivations fleshed out. Usually when they are dying.
There’s lots of dying in Demon Slayer. And, near the end, I decided that Tanjiro, whose father died young, poverty stricken family was almost entirely slaughtered by demons and only remaining family is a demon, had one of the happiest backgrounds.
And the entire giant ensemble approach really plays in the plot and the overall theme of Demon Slayer. The demon slayer corp isn’t just about slaying random demons. They have the long term goal of killing Muzan, father of demons, which will end demon kind.
And, spoilers, they do. And while Tanjiro plays a crucial role, it takes everyone working together to do it. I was expecting a series focused on one character and got a giant, interconnected cast instead.
Demon Slayer, fun series.