It’s time to finally take a look at another review I’ve had on the backburner since 2020. With this one done I’ll finally have everything caught up to 2021 for the first time in well, I can’t even recall how long it’s been since I was caught up. Demon Slayer finished a while back with a pretty solid run of 200+ chapters. Whenever a big Shonen Jump title ends you can always look back at the series and appreciate how much it accomplished. Demon Slayer is definitely a solid title that I would definitely recommend.
The series begins with Tanjiro heading down the mountain on a pretty routine supply run. Unfortunately when he heads back up the mountain he finds out that his family have been murdered by demons. Only his sister Nezuko was able to survive and she has now been turned into a demon. She can no longer be out where there is sunlight and survives on humans. Fortunately she is an exception to the last part of the curse and is able to regain energy by sleeping. Unfortunately the Demon Corps don’t trust her and so Tanjiro has to take special care to protect her from all harm. His only chance is to find Muzan, the king of the Demons and get the cure from him. Can Tanjiro save Nezuko?
Along the way that does mean he will need to hone his skills and become a true Demon Slayer. The opening part of the series really doesn’t hold back with showing what a long process this is. He spends almost 2 years just training on using a sword and the opening breath techniques before going out there to fight with the demons. The opening storylines give us some opening battles and introduce Tanjiro into the grisly world of demons. From the start Tanjiro is a very likable main character. He’s determined to save Nezuko above all else.
He’s typically more of a peaceful guy but if anyone attacks her then he cuts loose. He’s also sympathetic to the people who have been turned into demons without hesitating at a crucial moment or doing anything that would put other people in danger which I think is important. It’s always pretty annoying if someone hesitates and then everyone gets injured as a result. Tanjiro never makes that mistake. His abilities continue to improve throughout the series and he always balances himself as a powerhouse who never forgets how he got there or his kind hearted nature. You can always count on him to be a solid lead.
Nezuko’s a very solid heroine. As Tanjiro’s sister she is always ready to step in and protect him. Her ability to resist the urge to eat people is also impressive especially considering how much a bunch of characters try to press the issue. As a demon her physical abilities are also very impressive and she comes in handy for a bunch of the fights. She may not be able to talk as a demon but she still has a lot of character just appears to be very heroic. She was always a lot of fun to have around.
Then we have the main villain Muzan. As the king of the demons you can imagine that he’s very powerful. He’s an interesting villain as he doesn’t tend to show malice towards humans as much as other demons. In a way you can say he’s always a lot harsher towards the demons as he destroys them with ease. For the humans he just does so automatically without thinking about it much. There’s a scene early on in the manga where he was even trying to walk away without destroying any humans but naturally they attacked him and kept bothering so eventually he just destroyed them. Muzan has a presence throughout the series and always looks very powerful right through to the end. He’s definitely a stand out character who has an intimidating presence.
The first really big battle I would say is with Susamaru, the soccer demon. She stands out with her superb strength. At the time it was pretty hard for anyone to stand against her. We also got to meet two demons who are actually good people in Yushiro and Tamayo. Tamayo was a solid healer and a good quality character. Yushiro may be a much meaner character but I do understand his life debt to Tamayo and why he is so dedicated to protecting her all the time. Susamaru’s partner is less memorable since the guy mainly didn’t do any up close battling but I do have to say that his ability to control movements through arrows is pretty great. If anything it’s almost a broken ability with how good it was. If the guy trained more then I think he would have done quite well here.
After that we get our first big arc with all 3 of the main characters. Tanjiro meets up with a scared soul named Zenitsu in the middle of the road and then heads into an ever changing mansion where a demon is going around murdering people. A fellow demon hunter named Inosuke has been trapped in here for a while as well. The three of them manage to beat the demons and we get to see all of their respective personalities. Inosuke is extremely into battles, Zenitsu avoids them like the plague, and Tanjiro fights because he has to, but not because he wants to. In that sense they all have a contrast there.
Inosuke is a fun character to have around. He’s always ready for a fight and is very confident in his own abilities. His unpredictable style also comes in clutch. He may not reach the heights that Tanjiro achieves and it’s rare for a rival to not be able to keep up from the start but he still fights well. He gets his share of hype battles and his final battle was also really solid. You can always root for this guy. The other main ally Zenitsu isn’t quite as spectacular. He’s always afraid of everything and can’t even fight until he’s asleep. He flirts with everyone and is the show’s main comic relief character so for the most part you can’t expect too much for him. He does get his moments by the end of course but he can’t keep up with most of the characters.
With the introductions out of the way the first big arc takes place in the forest. A group of spider demons have been causing general mayhem to the point where whole squads of demon hunters have gone to investigate but quickly vanished afterwards. It’s no surprise because these spiders are all pretty difficult. Effectively they form a very twisted family full of abuse and injury. Each character gets their own fight and we also get to see the Hashira fight seriously for the first time. You could say this definitely felt like the springboard to the rest of the series since we see what powers the heroes could hope to unlock in the future.
The Spider demons don’t seem to have names which is surprising with how big of a role they got, but they do leave an impact. They’re all quite twisted though. You’ll probably feel bad for the mother demon if anything since she seemed like the nicest one. I still get the feeling none of them could be trusted of course, but the son and father demons are definitely the most twisted of the batch. This was certainly the darkest arc at its time with all of these elements going on. I’m thinking it was to really contrast how different Tanjiro’s family dynamic is here. So I don’t like any of the Spider demons but their powers were solid.
Giyu is one of the Hashira and one of the best characters in the series. He suffers from low confidence at times despite his great skill but he consistently comes through when it counts. I appreciate that he is one of the only people to stick up for Tanjiro initially and always seemed a lot more heroic than the others. He also did really well in the final battles. I would rank him as one of the more powerful fighters. While I would say Rengoku is the strongest Hashira, Giyu has to be quite up there after him. He’s also my second favorite character in the series behind Rengoku. Giyu showed that the water breathing techniques are still very solid on their own since Tanjiro ultimately left the style.
Shinobu is another Hashira member. She’s far more ruthless than Giyu and goes all in with trying to murder every demon that she comes across. Ultimately this is the mission of the Demon Slayers of course and she has strong reasons to oppose them from her origin story. She was quite clever in deciding to use poisons to take down her opponents since her raw power was slightly under that of the other fighters. She has a lot of great moments throughout the series and with her steely resolve was also one of the better characters in the series.
From there we get to the next big arc involving a train. Technically there’s a little training arc before that which is good for development and such but no big fights there. Basically a lot of people have been vanishing from a train so Rengoku is sent along with the main 3 to put a stop to this. This demon won’t go down easy though as he’s one of the lower moons and can manipulate dreams. As solid as the main arc is, the ending part is definitely the highlight here as we see the first big upper moon fight with Akaza. Can the heroes stop him?
This arc is definitely a big standout one. For starters the Akaza vs Rengoku fight may very well be the best one in the series. It’s just an excellent fight between two of the best characters in the series. There’s a whole lot of back and forth here and it’s such a high level fight that nothing could compare with it for quite a bit with the skill levels here. Everyone got a part to play in the arc although Tanjiro was definitely a standout character for doing a ton of the legwork. Nezuko also has to take a lot of the credit because without her the heroes definitely would have been doomed.
Kyojirou Rengoku really made a name for himself in this arc. I would go as far as to say he became the best character in the series. His fire fighting style is epic and his personality is also very solid. He did everything he could for the Demon Corps and always handled his duty with pride. The guy was a tough fighter through and through. He had to go through quite
a lot of emotional battles in his origin but he always managed to pull through and also remain as a beacon of inspiration for everyone else.
After that Tengen gets his arc. Once again there are a lot of people vanishing. This time it’s at a nearby village so the 3 Demon Slayers go undercover to get to the bottom of this. The villain is another top member of the Upper 6 so the heroes will have to find a way to win this time around. Additionally the fact that the heroes have to go undercover will make things pretty difficult as well. While not nearly as good as the last arc we do get some solid fights here. I just remember thinking that I feel like going in disguise to the village seemed rather pointless. Was there really a reason they needed to do this to track intel instead of just rushing in there? I feel like that would be more efficient especially since we have a few members like Tanjiro and Inosuke who can sense demon’s presence when they are around. So that whole part felt like it was stalling for time and just putting people’s lives in danger. Fortunately they eventually see why this isn’t a good idea and jump into action.
So the arc got a lot better once the action went through. Daki was a powerful villain and easily one of the strongest at this part in the series. Her fighting style using clothing to block attacks was impressive. She has a prolonged battle with Tanjiro that also helped set the stage for Tanjiro to finally get on Hashiro level by using the fire arts. They really went back and forth a lot before Daki used her trump card of summoning her brother Gyutaro to help her out. It was nice to see a pair of demons with an actual bond this time around and this also gave the heroes multiple fighters to deal with. This also felt like one of the longer fights in the series for sure.
Tengen wasn’t one of the better Hashira though. He puts people into dangerous situations and just waits it out a while. His sheer strength also seemed to be on a lower level from Rengoku’s but to be fair it’s hard to reach that level. His resolve was lower than some of the others as well since he ultimately didn’t stick on the path. He’s a decent character and not the worst Hashira or anything like that but he definitely can’t compete with the best ones.
In the next arc we get some more training with Tanjiro as well as character development for Genya when the demons strike again. Hantengu is the next opponent and he has the ability to split himself into 6. Fortunately for the heroes they have several Hashira at the ready this time such as Muichiro and Mitsuri. Tanjiro has also improved his skills quite a bit so he is ready to help out as well which is good since this is certainly one of the more powerful demons.
I like that the arc really starts off quickly and from there the battles don’t cease. There is a ton of action in this one and all of the characters are pushed to the brink. It makes sense that the demons would take the offensive. If anything if they were to all attack at once then the Demon Slayers would have gone down really easily. They can’t hope to compete thanks to their limitations on stamina and such. By attacking all of the various swordsmen around the demons also did some lasting damage to the ability to summon backup. If anything it’s lucky for the heroes that the series was nearly over or else they would have really been feeling the pain. The arc essentially gets us over to the final one.
Genya got a lot of development here. He definitely wasn’t one of my favorite characters but I’ll say that he looked good here. He was certainly quite determined to help the Demon Corps out. So despite not having a lot of talent he found a way he could help through eating other demons. That’s definitely a lot of dedication and his backstory was certainly tragic as well. Kanao is another member who isn’t quite a Hashira yet but she does really well. From the start you can tell that her abilities are above that of an average fighter’s. She effectively trained Tanjiro and friends for a while after all.
She gets a full character arc to herself, a big battle in the final arc and even helps out in the climax. Kanao’s definitely a quality character so it’s always good to see her doing well here. By the end I would definitely rank her quite highly. Mitsuri also plays a role here. She’s decent but I would say she never really stands out. As a character Mitsuri is heroic and does her best to help out but doesn’t have a whole lot of depth beyond that. Her strength is also rather standard among the Hashira. She does have her moments to be sure but does end up getting outshined most of the others.
Muichirou also gets a big role here and he’s one character who had a solid arc. Initially he is more of a space case who can’t concentrate on anything going on but eventually Tanjiro helps to show him a more heroic path. From there he manages to reach enlightenment and becomes a real power hitter. He looks consistently good throughout the rest of the series and I would also say he proved himself to be one of the stronger members as he awoke before a lot of the others. The series does love to have its characters start out rather emotionlessly but in a world filled with despair and demons it’s easy to see why a lot of characters take that approach. Muichirou also has some memory loss as well so it makes sense that he wasn’t fully awakened for a while.
Then we make it to the final arc. Muzan finally unleashes a full assault against the Demon Corps. It’s him and the final members of the 12 Kizuki against Tanjiro’s crew and the remaining Hashira. The whole arc is essentially nonstop battles and I remember weekly liking the fact that it all started so suddenly. One second Muzan was just having a low key confrontation and the next second the whole cast was there ready to act. The stakes were high and of course the heroes know that if they take down Muzan the whole war is over. There’s no reason to wait. Of course Muzan is the strongest demon so they need the sunlight to beat him. Part of the tension is that they effectively have to fight all night.
The series does a good job of increasing the tension here as the heroes keep having to dig deeper and deeper to try and dredge up the strength to keep on fighting. It’s definitely difficult when your opponent can keep regenerating like this. That’s why poisons really came in handy here. In particular one character was instrumental in helping save the day. Sometimes brawn isn’t all you need to win in a fight after all.
Obanai is one of the Hashira who didn’t really get a full arc before now. He’s sort of like the one dragon slayer in Fairy Tail who didn’t get to do much. I wouldn’t say I particularly warmed up to this guy though. He’s one of the less impressive Hashira in general because he never really gets to show off his abilities. In the end it’s like he never ended up winning a really big battle. I was definitely glad when Gyu basically pushed him away from Tanjiro to show where that guy stands.
Then you have Sanemi who has to be the meanest of the Hashira. I’d put him as the worst one. He goes quite far. Now, I understand the case for destroying Nezuko since she is a demon but he goes as far as to try and murder Tanjiro as well as severely injure his brother Genya. By the end of the series he explains his rationale for this but it’s still way too drastic for you to buy into. He just takes things way too far. Still, the guy is undoubtedly a very strong member of the Hashira. He doesn’t get a whole lot of fight scenes but he makes his moments count to be sure.
Finally you have Gyomei. He is always crying which didn’t help him stand out for me. You can cry for emotional moments absolutely like Mega Man X or Naruto, but this guy is constantly tearing up which could be a bit much at times. I do like his unique fighting style though. Using the wrecking ball and scythe makes it difficult to predict his movements. He was even said to be the strongest Hashira. While I wouldn’t go that far, he does get a whole lot of hype during the battles which is well deserved.
One character who never gets to appear in the present but got a lot of hype was Yoriichi. It’s too bad because even by the end of the series it’s clear that he was the strongest character in the verse. He defied the very natures of reality and was able to take just about anyone down in a clean strike. You can see a lot of similarities between him and Tanjiro to be sure. He did get a proper flashback story and everything though so we learned all we needed to about him. He was definitely a fun character.
His story ties into Kokushibo’s. Koikushibo is one of the more impressive Kizuki members. His sheer swordplay and talent is quite crazy. While I would still say that Akaza was the most impressive fighter despite his lower rank, this guy would be my next pick for strongest. Not only was he holding back multiple Hashira members at once but he was doing so quite easily. I was definitely a big fan of this guy. He may have been one of those villains who ultimately ended up cracking but he definitely left an impact.
The second ranked fighter Doma is definitely a lot more on the twisted side. He doesn’t have an honor code like the others. In fact he has no emotions so he doesn’t even realize how twisted he is. I didn’t like the guy in the slightest. At least he did give us some pretty intense battles though. The guy was not an easy foe which makes sense since he got such a good rank. Then there’s Nakime. She isn’t really a fighter but her spatial abilities are so fierce that she still got a very good rank. She’s not someone you can hope to defeat very easily. I wasn’t a big fan but at least she was one villain so loyal to Muzan that he never even thought of destroying her. His whims change a lot though so I doubt she was ever truly safe.
Finally there is Kaigaku. He sort of comes out of nowhere but it made sense to have him so that every character would have an emotional matchup at the ready. His skills weren’t bad either but I have to say that he was easily the weakest from the upper Kizuki members. The fact that he could barely hold his own in a 1 on 1 fight definitely did not help his case. He had a great design though, certainly a memorable one.
Well, that takes care of most of the characters. There is quite a big cast here which is not surprising in the slightest. The series did last over 200 chapters after all. It’s a strong cast we got here. The writing is also on point and a really good thing is that the series really avoided fanservice pretty much entirely. There’s like one page out of the entire series which is exceptional. At the end of the day the series has really strong fundamentals.
I’d say the only thing holding it back from being in the upper echelons of Jump is that the series can get pretty over the top violent and dark with some of the backstories and events here. Because the series is about demons and demon hunters that means there is a lot of regeneration going on here so the wounds end up cutting pretty deep. Characters are constantly sliced to bits, even the humans tend to get pulled through the ringer. Some of these demons are quite demented as they behead each other for fun or go around ripping faces. Doma’s big entrance scene in the final arc for example is one of those disturbing moments along with his preference for eating. While the series is able to effectively create a very desperate environment for the heroes so you constantly feel the stakes, this is usually a side effect of that. A common theme here is you can win the day, but it will certainly come at a price.
Still, the overall epic nature of the series and quality fights keep the series at a solid level. You will have a blast reading through the arcs with all the battle scenes and wide range of characters. There’s a good amount of replay value here and it’s the kind of series you can definitely binge. It seems unlikely that we would get a sequel series unfortunately but at the same time I’d say there’s always a possibility for it. I’m sure Shonen Jump wasn’t happy to lose one of their big hitters that’s for sure.
The artwork is pretty solid here. The author isn’t afraid of having prolonged action scenes and keeping the quality of the art up. The characters are fairly distinct. The only times a character could be mistaken was Kanao with her two sisters but they are meant to look similar and they all have different head pieces to help distinguish them. The battles are top notch and the character designs are very memorable so the series did quite well here. The art for the humor scenes is also handled pretty well. The facial expressions the characters make is always memorable and distinct. The series is always able to shift gears rather quickly.
Overall, Demon Slayer was definitely a very intense title. It’s one of the few series where you really have a hard time knowing which characters will be safe by the end. Naturally you do expect a good chunk of them to live of course but where most characters might take out 1-2 big characters by the end this series wasn’t afraid to throw a few more in. At the very least I was surprised by 2 of the characters who didn’t make it out. With the whole regeneration angle the series is able to get a little more violent than a lot of the other big Jump titles and is closer to something like Titan than Bleach but a lot of times it is in a combat context. If you’re looking for a serious action title to read through with high stakes then this is definitely the one to check out.