Demon slayer which aired in early April 2019, took many otakus by surprise as it gave us a fresh and out of the box twist to our usual shonen anime. We follow the story of Tanjiro Kamado, a below-average character who sells coal to keep his family afloat, while also taking care of his younger siblings. One day, the simple life he grew to cherish changed after returning home late due to a freak storm. To his devastation he returned to the horrific aftermath of what appeared to be a demon attack.
His younger sister, Nezuko was the sole survivor of the massacre, but at the cost of becoming a demon herself. Tanjiro’s only hope of saving his last family member is to cure Nezuko’s demonic transformation before it’s too late. To do this our boy must become a Demon Slayer himself and acquire the blood of the demon who attacked his family to reverse the curse.
Demon Slayer provides a dynamic yet unique take with its storytelling, as it doesn’t just follow a conventional plot to give our main protagonist ridiculous plot armor. Everything Tanjiro has established was bestowed to him after enduring gruesome battles, trials, and mental griefs to overcome his current limits. While packed with sword breaking action in nearly every episode, Demon Slayer isn’t hesitant to break the tense atmosphere to include a fair share of laughs thanks to Zenitsu Agatsuma, and my personal husbando Inosuke Hashibira. Both are also Demon Slayers who happen to be Tanjiro’s best friends & teammates.
The setting of Demon Slayer primarily takes place in a fictional adaptation of the Taisho-era. The anime goes out of the way to emphasize visual and audio cues of the landscape, culture and traditional wear. This gives us a sense of when events are taking place thanks to the atmosphere created. The animators fine-tuned its graphic design to entice viewers with vibrant colours and smooth animations.
Hold your breath, because the anime uses interesting application of breathing techniques to grant each character their own style of swordsmanship.
Each style is indicative of an existing element, and grants its bearer the ability to fight on par with demons. The choreography of each stance, slash and waver of swords have so much detail etched into their core that no matter how many times a character may use a breathing form, it holds you at the edge of your seats when they take their battle stance.
One philosophy which always stands to be true with anime, is that a great antagonist makes for an even greater protagonist, and tells an enticing story. This sets the stage for the delayed gratification of the final fight between our hero and villain. The main villain within the world of demon slayer is none other than the smooth criminal himself, ready to steal your soul and turn you into one of his undead underlings, Michael Jack… Muzan Kibutsuji.
Muzan’s origins are still unknown in the anime, however all we know is that he was the first demon who ever existed and is currently the strongest amongst his kind. He is also the same demon that attacked Tanjiro’s family and started the events of the anime. If it’s one thing this demon god is known for apart from looking like a particular pop star or cross-dresser, is that he purposely goes out of his way to terrorize humans and wants to put an end to the demon slayer corp.
What makes this anime stand out so much is that it takes a slightly different route to most mainstream anime, while having us second guess the protagonist’s ability. Tanjiro’s kind-hearted spirit and lack of experience shows that he has yet to hone his slayer’s instinct in the way he barely escapes serious battles with his life. The look of the animation and detailed artwork had me mesmerized at nearly every frame. There were some instances where the use of CGI made it slightly cringy, but they never overstayed their welcome.
This anime rest high on most viewers’ recommendations even though only the first season of the anime has aired. Overall, it is an amalgamated blend of drama, action, suspense, and comedy. It’s something you can re-watch and never lose that sense of excitement during each battle or intimate conversation with each character.