Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba (Spring 2019) – Slay the Demons, Protect the Remnants

Shounen is probably my least favorite scope. It’s a genre, or demographic, where I have difficulty accepting it as one of the most popular in anime. When it comes to shounen, I don’t see what’s special about such a thing. Even though I speak through my bias perspective, I always stay away from them besides ecchi and harem. Maybe I just liked such works when I was a kid where I still enjoyed watching “Naruto”. Maybe I liked it when I was a teenager where only “Fairy Tail” I love the most. After that, it’s nothing more than that. But, I appreciate shounen because you don’t need to think about the complexity of the background. Shounen is about the action where the anime wants to keep you watching until the end.

And all this is back again with “Demon Slayer”, a popular shounen anime that broke everyone from any level. Twitter is on fire because of the spectacular experience of episode 19. Even Richard Tyler Blevins a.k.a. Ninja, the guy who always plays “Fortnite”, tweet that this is his favorite anime. This is one of the special gifts of the season. It combines a dark fantasy style and demons with an influence somewhat similar to “Sekiro: Shadow Twice”. At least for me. With 26 episodes, it proves that shounen is one genre I want to appreciate more than the others.

Adapted from a manga by Koyoharu Gotouge, “Demon Slayer” is a vision of anime, a quality beyond the realm. This show goes beyond what people always say about shounen. It’s about the tragedy. Such a simple story can make you feel all the feelings. The demons in this show don’t feel like they’re bad people. On the contrary, you feel sorry for them. It creates a line of hatred between humans and demons. Fantasy like this, which prefers to explore between the protagonist and how he sees the world, is hard to direct. You must be able to balance the world in your fiction. So, it continues to be relevant to the characters. With a much straightforward plot, you get more than the premise itself.

It tells about Natsuki Hanae as Tanjirou Kamado. After seeing his family die tragically, he has to deal with bitter facts. He had to watch his sister, Akari Kitou as Nezuko, become a demon. However, the unique fact of his sister who had become a demon didn’t make him feel hopeless. Because of that, Tanjirou became a demon slayer. He wants to find medicine for his sister and transform her into a human again. The first episode further emphasizes the picture of this brother and sister relationship. The show just wants to make it better understand what the initial premise is. It also makes you understand how the protagonist goes through it. It makes anything clear how he doesn’t fall into the hole of hatred. He doesn’t hate demons after seeing what happened to his family.

“Demon Slayer” is similar to other works such as “Parasyte”, “Tokyo Ghoul”, and even “Blade Runner“. This kind of story about the relationship between humans and Android, between humans and monsters, etc, is nothing new. However, this is different from such works. This anime doesn’t rely on an optimistic yet pessimistic view of humans and demons. This is what emphasized even more from Tanjirou’s point of view. Yes, he is a demon slayer but what distinguishes him from other demon slayers is how he sees demons. While on the way he kills demons, he learns the demons weren’t evil at all. You feel bad for them because of what makes them demons. It’s not what they deserved. Along with the series, the story uses that format to emphasize the ideology of the main character.

Along with the series, we know there is the main villain. Introducing Toshihiko Seki as Muzan Kibutsuji a.k.a. Michael Jackson. He is a cold-hearted psychopath, manipulative, and one of the dangerous characters in this show. Demons are also submissive and very, very afraid of him. This is what it comes to next Tanjirou’s main obstacle is meeting with Kibutsuji to cure his sister. Although like that, most of his characters didn’t show how terrifying and evil the characters are. He also doesn’t appear too much other than playing from behind. All of the participating characters are pretty well with the story. There are Zenitsu and Inosuke, another demon slayer who also helps Tanjirou on his journey to kill demons.

Zenitsu is another cry baby character who is the most interesting in this show. Interesting because you only see it as a coward who always whines to cry, idiot, and pervert. Just like most shounen characters in general. However, he can be the most powerful character like Tanjirou and Inosuke. When it comes to how he defeats the demons, you know if you judge the character wrongly. Inosuke is different from the two characters earlier. He is more like an antagonist but with more competitive characteristics. At first, he seems like a douchebag who doesn’t care about the people around him. He never listens to people and doesn’t think of himself either. But, as the show shows more on the bright side, he is the most interesting character in this show too.

While the show introduces many new characters, all of them didn’t show their performance much on screen. “Demon Slayer” also not only has many characters with personality. But, this anime is great when it comes to animation. Seeing the final fight scene in “Fate/Zero” reminds me of how ufotable is one of the underrated studios. But, they produced well-known anime. In this anime, there is nothing bad episode. Everything pays off in terms of quality and cinematics for an anime or even a TV show. While the design characters are similar to “Assassination Classroom”, the movement when the action sequence is memorable and fascinating.

Probably, ufotable is one of the studios that use CGI uniquely and correctly. The animation uses realistic scenery when they transform into a 3D fight. Still, there is no corny moment. I remember how the Inception sequence feels like you don’t watch an anime in general. The demon and character design as well are unique, diverse, and memorable. If you still don’t consider the greatness of this anime to be in animation, just watch episode 19. The music and soundtrack remind me of a PS2 game I once played. It’s a ninja game where you also fight demons. If I ain’t mistaken, the game was “Shinobi”. The opening and ending theme song creates an aura you never miss but is still in your head.

“Demon Slayer” is a work of art, probably, one of the best anime from shounen and fantasy. While the end of the first season is anti-climax, gratefully they also immediately announced a sequel. On the other I appreciate the anime, there is some moment I can’t stand it. I have to go through it forcefully. The jokes always drag you too long and most of the humor consists of annoying sounds. It just doesn’t know where the punchline is. However, I also laugh sometimes. Besides, this compelling show is a redeeming quality. Need more spectacle like this especially shounen.

4 out of 5 stars.

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