Arts & Culture

Demon Slayer Anime Lives up to Praise

Nick Tocko, contributor
Color pencil drawing of Tanjiro from Demon Slayer drawn by Nick Tocko in fall of 2020

While I have my own personal complaints about how the manga “Kimetsu no Yaiba” (“Demon Slayer”) ended in such a rush, author Koyoharu Gotouge at least finished the series, which is more than I can say about some of my other favorite shounen anime currently on permanent hiatus (cough “Hunter x Hunter”). 

The 26-episode debut season of the anime adaptation made it to a number of “anime of the year” lists and was even voted Crunchyroll’s “anime of the decade.” I believe it holds up to a lot of the praise it has received. While it fills many of the same roles as previous and ongoing shounen anime, “Demon Slayer” has refined its pacing with those tropes and traditions in mind. The story itself is more streamlined, as the cast of characters is composed of only a handful of characters up until the very end of the season. 

The story begins with the murder of Tanjiro Kamado’s family, the only survivors being Tanjiro himself and his younger sister, Nezuko, who has mysteriously been turned into a demon. The survivors then cross their first of the Demon Slayer Corps, Giyu Tomioka, the strongest Demon Slayers alive. Giyu notices a difference in Nezuko’s nature as a demon and promises Tanjiro that he will spare his sister. 

Tanjiro realizes that he must become a Demon Slayer himself in order to turn Nezuko back into a human, as fighting back against the demons is the only path to answers. After the pilot episode, we immediately begin to follow Tanjiro in his training to become a Demon Slayer. As he hones his mind and body, he learns new techniques with a sword. These techniques, or total concentration skills allow Tanjiro to manifest certain elements through his swordplay, this is an example of simplicity becoming an advantage of the story. 

The total concentration animations within the anime are simply breathtaking. Just seeing these skills used in battle so expertly by Tanjiro, along with the breathtaking visuals that come along with it, was an incredible experience.

As the story continues, we follow Tanjiro as he completes his quest to become a Demon Slayer. Tanjiro is a likable protagonist, being that he has a set goal of returning his sister back to her human form; he also has the goal of spreading as much love and positivity as he can to those around him. “Demon Slayer” has its first movie HD English release soon, meaning that the best time to catch up on this modern shounen classic is now.

The breathtaking animation combined with the superb storytelling make this anime worth the watch and made me question what the future of animation has in store.