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Demon Slayer by Koyoharu Gotouge: A Manga Review And Recommendation

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  • Alternative name: Kimetsu no Yaiba
  • Author: Koyoharu Gotouge
  • Demographic: Shounen
  • Genre: Action, fantasy, historical
  • First published: 2016
  • Length: 205 chapters; 23 volumes
  • Manga database: MyAnimeList, MangaUpdates

What is Demon Slayer about?

Tanjirou Kamado just lost his mother and siblings to a demon. Fortunately, one of his sisters is still alive. Unfortunately, she started to turn into a demon. 

She is the only family member that he has left, so he will not give up on her no matter what. There must be a way to turn a demon back into a human being.

Later on, Tanjirou finds out that the only way to to turn her sister back is by killing the only demon who’s blood could turn human beings to a demon, the king of Demon himself. 

And thus he decides to join the demon slayer corps and goes on missions to kill demons with his sister on his back. Gathering the information about the king of demons in the process.

The story of Demon Slayer

Premise. Demon Slayer is a revenge story first and foremost. While the premise itself is nothing new, the way Gotouge-sensei quickly introduces the characters, the world, and setting up the goal and motivation in the very first chapter resulted in one of the best beginnings in any manga that I’ve ever read.

Character development. The story of Demon Slayer is told in the span of roughly three to four years from beginning to the end. But despite that brief time, we still manage to see the development of some of the characters, especially Tanjirou. His growth as a character is simply outstanding.

World building. The world building was done rather sporadically in this series. Some chapters provide such a great chance to expand the details of the Demon Slayer’s world. While other chapters don’t really show anything new to us. Lots of wasted opportunities in this regard.

Pacing. The pacing has been blazing fast from the start to finish with an occasional breather in between. The premise demanded a fast paced story and I can gladly say that Gotouge-sensei managed to execute that beautifully. He knows when to slow down and when to move forward at top speed.

Story progression. Despite one or two chapters that feel like fillers, most of the story arcs in Demon Slayer move the story forward towards the goal. And just like other shounen manga, it is a linear journey for the most part. I also like how Gotouge-sensei didn’t drag the story any longer than needed. He ended it when it needed to end. I appreciate it a lot. Read more.

The art of Demon Slayer

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Anatomy & perspective. I didn’t notice any problems at all when it comes to perspective. But there’s a small anatomical problem here, especially in the early part of the series. The character’s hands and feet tend to be a tad too small compared to their whole body, particularly in a wide and medium shot. But everything is more or less on-point in the latter half of the series.

Landscape & building. Although there are lots of indoor and outdoor scenes in Demon Slayer, for the most part, Gotouge-sensei likes to contain the settings of the story. What’s more, he rarely shows any wide shots at all. It’s either medium or close-up shots. So there’s not much to be seen when it comes to landscape and building illustrations.

Expression & movement. These two are the most stand out aspects of Gotouge-sensei’s artworks in Demon Slayer. You could easily tell what a character is feeling even from afar. As for the movements, my God, everything looks glorious. After all, the sword techniques depend highly on the movements of the characters, so they are certainly the vocal point of the artworks.

Vehicles & clothing. Since the story takes place during the fictional feudal Japan, there’s not much vehicle that could be seen. But the ones that I saw, especially the train, were executed perfectly. As for the clothing, there’s not much variety going on here. After all, most of the characters are all part of the same organization. The only noticeable difference would be the different kimonos design, which is quite good.

Panels & originality. For the most part, Gotouge-sensei uses the conventional panel shape and arrangement with an occasional double spread here and there. The flow from one panel to the next is also great. As for the originality, Gotouge-sensei has a very recognizable artstyle, especially his character design. But the eyes of his characters remind me of Rumiko Takahashi-sensei’s Inuyasha for some reason. 

Where to buy Demon Slayer

When I write this article, there are only three versions of Demon Slayer books that you could choose from. The digital version is certainly cheaper and doesn’t require any physical space. But a physical book is always the best way to read a manga. 

And there’s also the boxset where you could get the whole volumes at once with a much affordable price. Not to mention the extra goodies inside. Definitely a must buy for a collector. 

Click below to get the digital version of Demon Slayer from Amazon

Click below to get the paperback version of Demon Slayer from Rightstufanime

Click below to get the boxset version of Demon Slayer from Amazon

Manga similar to Demon Slayer

Fire Punch by Tatsuki Fujimoto

Fire punch recommendation mangadigest

Fire Punch is another manga where the main character is willing to do whatever it takes in order to avenge his sister. But unlike Demon Slayer, this manga is set in a dystopian world with eternal winter. 

One day, Agni and his younger sister were burned by a man that possessed the power of eternal fire. Unfortunately, Agni has a strong regenerative ability. As a result, he is being burned to death over and over again but just unable to die. 

He finally learns to cope with the pain, and walks across the blizzard as the man clad in eternal fire. Looking for the man who killed his sister and destroyed his life.

Dororo by Osamu Tezuka

Dororo recommendation mangadigest

Dororo is the work of the Godfather of Manga that tells the story of a young man who was cursed at birth by 48 demons who took 48 parts of his body. 

Against all odds, he manages to stay alive and is now set on a journey to slay the demons in order to regain his body parts back. Similar to Demon Slayer, Dororo also took place in Japan’s fictional feudal era. 

That being said, although swordfight is a crucial part of Dororo, it puts the emphasis more on the mystery and adventure rather than on the battle and action sequences.

Happiness by Shuzo Oshimi

Happines recommendation mangadigest

The demons in the Demon Slayer look and behave just like a vampire. And when it comes to vampires, Happiness is one of the best ones that you can read. 

Makoto leads a terrible and unfulfilling life. Constant bullying, lack of friends, and loneliness. That is until he met a thin pale girl one day that offered him the most important choice in his life. 

After that, he can’t no longer stand the sunlight, the food started to feel like shit in his mouth, and he also suffered an uncontrollable thirst. And that is when he finally realized what he has become. 

Afterthought

One of the most stand out things to me about the main character, Tanjirou, is the sheer amount of empathy that he could give. Not only to his friends and peers, but also to the demons that he just killed. 

He stands in a quite peculiar position. On one side, a demon massacred his entire family. So the anger and vengeance that he harbors is very much justified. On the other hand, his sister is now a demon as well. 

So he knows that for most demons out there, they used to be a living human being. And now that they’ve become a demon, they don’t have any control over their urges. 

But it doesn’t mean he’s a naive boy. He won’t hesitate to kill a demon, especially if it has killed lots of people, in a heartbeat. In fact, he feels like killing them as quickly as possible is the best course of action to take. 

The fact that he has his toes sort of dip in both worlds reminds me a lot of Kaneki from Tokyo Ghoul. Another character that could empathize to both warring species who’d like to kill each other. Why? Because he’s been living in both worlds. So just like Tanjirou, he understands what went through their heads.

The ability to empathize with your enemy and try to see deeper into the issue rather than be blinded by his rage is some of the things that makes Tanjirou appealing to me as a main character. 


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