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Demon Slayer Anime: Review

Author interested in a wide range or topics including history, art, television, and geo-politics.

Facsimile drawings of Nezuko from Demon Slayer. Drawing by  MelabunniDesigns. Fascimile is fair use.

Facsimile drawings of Nezuko from Demon Slayer. Drawing by MelabunniDesigns. Fascimile is fair use.

Demon Slayer is an anime series based on the manga of the same name. The story is about a corps of Demon Slayers who fight… demons. Set in Japan of approximately the 1920s. Demons in the mythology of the show are former humans who were killed and turned into demons and now prey on people. The story is a typical call to adventure of a would-be-hero, Tanjiro, who is forced into his circumstances by tragedy. The demons are almost all universally evil; though there are some nuances involved. I'll be careful with spoilers, but the beginning is much like Star Wars or Batman's origins. Only our hero's raison d'etre is to save his sister, Nezuko, who has become a demon herself, but somehow resists turning evil.

Like many horror genre tropes, Tanjiro must find a cure for his sister while becoming a Demon Slayer himself and fighting the very thing his sister has become. Tanjiro and Nezuko protect each other and find that they are somehow special, along the lines of the chosen-one. The story progresses through several arcs while our heroes develop their skills and find mentors, friends and rivals along the way. Notably, they meet fellow Demon Slayers: Inosuke, who wears a boar’s head and is fearless and arrogant almost to the point of stupidity; and Zenitsu who is essentially the opposite of Zenitsu and initially cowardly, though there is more to his character. Tanjiro’s sister, Nezuko, is considered evil by other Demon Slayers until she demonstrates that she does not attack humans and can resist her urges to kill and will often save her brother and other humans from her fellow demons.

Demon Slayer is a story that resonates because it's so archetypal; though this means the story is very familiar at its core. The animation is very good and often beautiful and immersive. The world building and setting are interesting as is the tensions of a Demon Slayer trying to save a demon. Of course, to better relate to the setting and story you need to be more immersed in Japanese culture.

The only drawback for me is I’m not a huge fan of horror. Also, the story can at times fall into common tropes, which is not necessarily bad but can make the story more predictable. Also, some of the characterizations tend to be exaggerations like Zenitsu and Inosuke, who can be annoying at times. However, these elements would be expected for a show intended for teenagers and young adults.

Overall, I give the show 4 out 5 stars: worth watching and a must see for Anime fans or those interested or curious about watching Anime; and a good choice for horror fans.

© 2022 August Rex

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