This Week in Anime
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is the Breakout Spectacle of the Season

by Andy Pfeiffer & Steve Jones,

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba offers a gory take on the Shonen Jump formula with a gorgeous production effort from famed studio ufotable. This week, Andy and Steve discuss their favorite parts of the premiere and their hopes for the story's future.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the participants in this chatlog are not the views of Anime News Network. Spoiler Warning for discussion of the series ahead. Not Safe For Work warning for content and language.

@Lossthief @Liuwdere @A_Tasty_Sub @vestenet


You can read our weekly coverage of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba here!

Steve
Hey Andy, I'm just starting this anime about a bright-eyed young lad and his large n' adorable family! I don't see what could possibly go wrong.
 
 
Andy
Welcome to the most wholesome show of the Spring season.It's rough going for a single mom and her six children, but they all do their part to help out!
Especially our very good boy Tanjiro. Lookit this little soot boy.
I'll admit it's kind of a low-key premise, but I honestly found it quite comforting and--aw crap, not again. Tanjiro got hit by the shonen protagonist curse.
God damn it Tanjiro, why did you have to talk like it was your last day on the force?

I guess this is why it's called Demon Slayer! (Although the demons have done most of the slaying so far.)
Boy have they ever...
I gotta commend ufotable for stepping out of their Fate: Gyo wheelhouse and giving us something different, because god damn is this show beautiful in every way. You know from the start that Tanjiro's life is gonna get worse somehow, but you don't exactly see this level of horror and violence coming from most Jump anime.
Yeah! It had some big shoes to fill coming on the heels of Promised Neverland as this season's flagship Weekly Shonen Jump production, so I'm pleased that it's proven to be a compelling successor so far. Tanjiro is a perfectly affable, strong-willed, Natsuki Hanae protagonist, but for me the real hook is that his sister Nezuko is along for the ride. Cuz she's a demon now.
I sure hope her voice actress enjoyed her few lines and takes proper care of her throat as she huffs and growls through the rest of the show.
She's very good at those grunts tho.
Damn straight. You can tell she's fucking hungry.
I also appreciate that we see her relent before Giyu shows up to remind us that deep down, we all love a hardass edgelord with a heart of gold. This show literally bleeds empathy for its characters, and it rocks.
Nezuko and Tanjiro's uniquely fraught relationship is totally my favorite part of the premise. He saves her because she's the only survivor of the demon attack that wiped out the rest of his family, only to find out that she's been infected with demon blood. So now she embodies both the creature that robbed him of his family and the last lifeline he has to his family. It's a rough situation to put it lightly, but he doesn't think twice about putting his life on the line for her.
And thankfully, there's enough of Nezuko left to do the same for him.
Fully agreed, but we can't just skip over this dude and his sword either.

It's very to the point.
HE HAS ONE JOB AND HE'S HERE TO GET IT DONE (except that he doesn't).
Giyu is one of the titular demon slayers who protect the villages of Japan from these man-eating monsters. Except he kind of messed that up big time. Whoops!

I feel this might be a constant struggle in his life. Show up. Find dead bodies. Kill demon. Repeat. The new thing is not only finding a survivor, but one who's actively trying to protect a demon from him, and to his credit he's pretty damn considerate about the whole thing. If he's gonna crush what remains of this poor kid's life, then he wants him to understand exactly why he must.
True, but geez, he sure exacerbated Tanjiro's
already bad day.

Tanjiro is having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day if there ever was one. He's a complete mess just barely keeping it together at this point.

Thankfully familial blood is thicker than demon blood, and doubly thankfully, Tanjiro is a crafty little bugger when he's cornered.
That was such a cool move, and I'm glad they managed to animate it correctly because there's so many ways it could've lost impact from page to screen.
Credit where it's due, I also want to commend Giyu's nice Mikiri Counter. (Sorry, Sekiro is still the only thing I can think about.)
 
 
While you were carrying charcoal, he was mastering the blade. And man, if Sekiro has some of the stuff we're in for down the line in Demon Slayer, I guess I'll finally have to break down and play it.
I'm excited to see what's in store! I've only read the manga up through the second episode of story, but the anime strikes me as a straightforward but solid adaptation of the material that's so far doing it justice.
The pacing and tone is dead-on, and I hope they don't mess with the formula they've established. I know the first five episodes were shown together a few weeks ago, so I expect if we see any changes in quality, it'll be after those. Anyway, episode 1 wraps with the shonen classic of burying your mom and leaving home to find the secret to getting your sibling's body back.
Except instead of a suit of armor, Nezuko is a gremlin now. So don't feed her after midnight and keep her the hell out of the sun.

I like that it's moving in the direction of not just having Nezuko around as a basket gremlin Tanjiro has to carry (although that is very cute), but having the two of them buddy up as an unstoppable demon killing team.
 
 
That boot kick was amazing.
I love the genuine shock and awe in Tanjiro's face.
Episode two is pretty much exactly where you decide if this show is for you or not. I'm not going to say it has tone problems, because I think it weaves in and out of them expertly, but I can totally see some people not being on board with the quick switches from gore-induced ravenous hunger to comical guillotine kick to a creepy attacking head.
But if it works for you, it's a darkly funny combo.

The straight-up slapstick of Tanjiro just throwing the fucking axe away is both a genius move that's delightful in its common sense and hilarious in practice.
Yeah, personally I was super pleased to see it getting so weird already.
This is some near-Jojo's level shit already in the most basic fight of the series.
This first encounter is a great starting point to show both how fearsome demons are and how outside-the-box these fights are going to be. JoJo's is the perfect comparison, and that's what I want to see more often.
Also, Tanjiro wins by headbutting the unstoppable demon. Bad. Ass.
I would not be shocked at all to learn that Koyoharu Gotōge likes Araki's work, because the way I've sold some friends on this is with the hook "Have you ever wondered what Jojo's would be like if it expanded on Hamon and Vampires instead of shifting to Stands?"
Ooh, I like that a lot. And speaking of Gotoge, I want to highlight that this is a WSJ series written and illustrated by a woman! That's sadly a rarity, but boy howdy does her style stand out.
Since we're on the topic, I wanna point out how awesome it is that the next episode previews are animated directly on top of manga panels. You get 'em next episode, tiny Nezuko!

Give me all those tiny Nezuko faces.
Gotoge has a super-distinct style, and this further shows how carefully they've adapted it. Shifting gears a bit, I want to mention Tanjiro's special skill outside of having a thick skull. While Nezuko can now grow or shrink slightly and possesses some sweet demon kicks, Tanjiro has an excellent sense of smell. It's certainly one of the weirder quirks a Jump protagonist has ever had, and the way it's used in-story is super interesting.

I think it serves as another good example of Gotoge following the standard shonen arc fairly closely, but injecting some signature weirdness into the formula to keep it from feeling stale. For instance, ol' Tengu Mask shows up as the gruff and begrudging mentor figure, who puts Tanjiro through a test in order to see if he's strong enough to take on as his disciple.
That's a device we've seen dozens of times before, but Tanjiro specifically needs to navigate an entire mountain full of traps that he can only detect with his inhumanly good sense of smell. It's a unique twist on an old favorite.
Now, Tanjiro is a perfect cinnamon roll puppy that I deeply love and want nothing but happiness for...
10/10, would protect.
But with that said, the scene of him struggling down the mountain while getting slapped silly by various ninja traps is amazing. Bless this sturdy boy.
 
 
If you love seeing cute boys getting owned, I bid you a warm welcome to Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba.
And in case all those little comedy reprieves made you forget what this story is about, here's a quick reminder:
 
 
Thanks for the pep talk, Tengu Dad!
But I do appreciate the emphasis on the stakes of Tanjiro's mission, and I'm eager to see how he and Nezuko figure out how to navigate her condition. Because I mean. She's gonna get hungry.
There's so many little hooks in these two episodes alone, and the OP gives us a lot to anticipate with so many unknown characters and glimpses of intense situations. And when we got the actual ED, it was so goddamn mean. Demon Slayer is here to hurt you.

Bring on the pain, I say!
But please, protect these precious babies.


discuss this in the forum (11 posts) |
bookmark/share with:

this article has been modified since it was originally posted; see change history

This Week in Anime homepage / archives