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Demon Slayer Story Arcs Reviews In Chronological Order

Demon slayer first came to my attention because of the anime. Almost everybody that I know, and the strangers on the net, have nothing but praise for the series. I’m curious. How good can it be?

So I did what any avid manga reader would do. Skip the anime, went directly to the original manga, and read it from the first volume all the way to the last in one sitting. And this is my short story arc review of Demon Slayer by Koyoharu Gotouge. 

By the way, SPOILERS ALERT!

  1. Final Selection Arc: Ch. 01-09 | Vol. 01-02
  2. First Mission Arc: Ch. 10-13 | Vol. 02
  3. Asakusa Arc: Ch. 14-19 | Vol. 02-03
  4. Tsuzumi Mansion Arc: Ch. 20-27 | Vol. 03-04
  5. Natagumo Mountain Arc: Ch. 28-44 | Vol. 04-06
  6. Rehabilitation Training Arc: Ch. 45-52 | Vol. 06
  7. Mugen Train Arc: Ch. 53-69 | Vol. 07-08
  8. Entertainment District Arc: Ch. 70-99 | Vol. 08-12
  9. Swordsmith Village Arc: Ch. 100-127 | Vol. 12-15
  10. Hashira Training Arc: Ch. 128-136 | Vol. 15-16
  11. Final Battle – Infinity Castle Arc: Ch. 137-183 | Vol. 16-21
  12. Final Battle – Sunrise Countdown Arc: Ch. 184-205 | Vol. 21-23

1. Final Selection Arc: Ch. 01-09 | Vol. 01-02

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I really like how the story begins. No nonsense and straight to the point. The main characters are introduced and the goal is set, all in the first chapter. What a great way to start a story.

Tanjirou’s mother and four siblings were massacred by a demon. The only one still barely alive is his younger sister, Nezuko. Unfortunately, Nezuko starts to change into a demon and attacks Tanjiro. That’s when they encounter Tomioka, a demon slayer. 

Tomioka explains that the only way that could possibly turn Nezuko back to a human being is by defeating the king of the demon himself. Which means, Tanjirou has to be a demon slayer. This arc is all about his training and the exam to be a demon slayer. 

There are three things that I like in this arc. First is the conciseness of the story. Gotouge-sensei manages to set the foundation and declare the goal of the story as efficiently as possible. 

Second is how most of the characters told Tanjirou that rather than feeling depressed and doing nothing, he should try his hardest to do whatever it takes to save his sister instead.

There’s too many whiny shounen characters these days that it started to get on my nerves a bit. Yes, things are bad, but no amount of complaining would change it, so try to calm down and look for ways to move forward.

And lastly, the battle technique. I think this is the first shounen manga that I read where the battle technique revolves so much around the correct way to breathe. Sure it does add the fictional super powers, but being mindful about your breathing is basically the foundation of Yoga in real life. So there’s some truth behind the concept.

I am definitely intrigued by this first arc. Can’t wait to read more. 

2. First Mission Arc: Ch. 10-13 | Vol. 02

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This is one of the shortest arcs that I’ve ever read. But I suppose the main purpose of this arc is to thrust the reader directly into the action to see what a demon slayer battle and mission is entailed. 

Apparently the mission is more than just to come and kill the demon. There’s some investigation and detective work involved. Which means that a demon slayer is not only required to kill the demon, but also to gather as much information from the people who are close to the victim as well. 

And when it comes to the actual fight, they are also required to protect the civilians and minimize the damage as much as possible. 

After all, the demon slayer corps is not an official government’s branch of office. They are an independent organization, so they have to be extra mindful of how they do things.

This time around, the demon in question has a rather cool yet annoying ability. So Tanjirou needs to analyze the situation and decide the best course of action on the spot. This aspect adds a nice layer of thoughts and strategy into the awesome action sequences. Which is nice!

I quite like this arc. Concise and full of action with a slight human drama on top. 

3. Asakusa Arc: Ch. 14-19 | Vol. 02-03

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Tanjirou is on Asakura for his demon slayer duty. There he encounters two very important demons. One would be his crucial ally while the other one would be his eternal enemy, the king of Demon, Muzan Kibutsuji. 

I did not expect this encounter so early in the series. What an interesting decision from Gotouge-sensei. 

Anyway, there are several notable things happening here. The fact that Tanjirou is not only capable of calmly analyzing his opponent but also able to adapt his sword technique to suit any particular situation is very important for his overall growth as a character. 

There’s also the fact that Nezuko is fully capable of fighting one on one with a rather strong demon now. That is also quite an interesting albeit somewhat expected development. 

But the main problem of this arc is the villain. They’re simply not that interesting. What’s even worse, the ability that one of the two villains uses is a copy of the move from another character in a different manga. 

The ability to create and control arrow signs is a signature move of Medusa from the manga Soul Eater. Compared to this demon, Medusa has a lot more variety to her attacks. So I am not impressed at all with the enemies in this arc. 

Hopefully Gotouge-sense could come up with a better villain in the future. 

4. Tsuzumi Mansion Arc: Ch. 20-27 | Vol. 03-04

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We are introduced to two characters at the same time in this arc. The loud and whiny Zenitsu who uses the lightning breathing technique. And the wild and hotheaded Inosuke with the self-styled beast breathing technique. 

Anyway, all three of them encounter a strange mansion in the middle of a forest. Inside are demons who kidnap several boys. The master of the mansion is a demon who could control the whole mansion anyway he likes through the beat of his Tsuzumi drums.

This arc takes place in a single mansion, but despite such limitations, there’s enough variety going on to make everything still enjoyable. 

There are three demons to fight against the three demon slayers. The ones for Zenitsu and Inosuke are simply to introduce each characters’ prowess and quirkiness. 

The one for Tanjiro, however, is useful for his growth as a character. Because he has to face the strongest foe, in a very unique place, with broken bones left from the previous fight. 

I like the interaction between the three demon slayers. All of them have distinct personalities and fighting styles, so I think we can expect interesting stuff going on with the three of them as a team. 

5. Natagumo Mountain Arc: Ch. 28-44 | Vol. 04-06

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The enemy in this arc is a bunch of spider demons with the ability to control, capture, and slice up people with their thread. There’s also some other demons, but these are the most spider-like of them all. 

Anyway, as far as villains go, these demons are not the first ones that use that ability. There are lots of other characters in other manga that have used similar moves before. With the most famous example being Sasori from Naruto and Doflamingo from One Piece. 

It’s the same problem as the Asakusa Arc all over again.

And while the action sequences are still pretty exciting, it is still heavily reminiscent of the first arc. After all, both took place in a very similar setting. Thankfully Nezuko did something cool and rather unexpected here.

Both Zenitsu and Inosuke also didn’t take as many roles as I expected them to be. We did get to see a short flashback from both, but that’s it. Kinda hope they are utilized more in the story.

The only exciting thing happened near the end of the arc. Another new character pops up with another unique skill. And there also seems to be another exciting development that would happen in the next arc. So I’m certainly looking forward to that. 

All in all, it’s a pretty underwhelming arc.

6. Rehabilitation Training Arc: Ch. 45-52 | Vol. 06

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And finally, the staple of every shounen manga, the training arc. Well, as the name implied, this one is blended with recovery as well. 

As with most training arcs across tons of other shounen manga, the main purpose of this kind of arc is usually to slow the pace down a bit. Back to back fast-paced action would feel boring sooner or later. So a nice and slow training arc in between is a good thing to do once in a while. 

Other than the pace, the training arc is also useful for introducing new characters, settings, and ideas. And that is precisely the case with this current arc. 

We get to know more about the organization behind the demon slayers and also about the people who reside at the top. Knowing how Gotouge-sensei tends to use his characters, I think it’s safe to expect more top slayers, also known as Hashira, to join the story from now on.

Overall, this arc manages to achieve its purpose rather well.

7. Mugen Train Arc: Ch. 53-69 | Vol. 07-08

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As expected, the new characters that were introduced in the previous arc not only make an appearance here, but they also have a critical role both to the overall progression of the story and the development of the main character.

As the name implied, this arc takes place in a moving train. Gotouge-sensei seems to like a closed setting. And just like with the Tsuzumi Mansion Arc, there are lots of interesting concepts and storytelling approaches here. He seems to do great with this kind of setting, so I expect more things like this in the future. 

Anyway, Tanjiro, Zenitsu, and Inosuke are traveling together on a train with a flame Hashira called Rengoku. They plan to kill the demon who’s been taking the passenger’s life as of late. 

What they don’t know, however, is the fact that the demon in question is one that rules over the realm of dream. And thus begin an exciting quest filled with interesting action sequences. 

Gotouge-sensei is good at dropping surprises in the middle of a story. Just when you thought the story was going to go a certain way, he suddenly turned it the other way. Which is what makes his story arcs fresh and exciting. And this arc is one of the best examples of that. 

Absolutely one of the best one thus far. 

8. Entertainment District Arc: Ch. 70-99 | Vol. 08-12

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This is one of the most intense arcs in Demon Slayer thus far. The amount of tension jammed into this one arc is unreal. Holy Shit.

Alright, let’s back up a bit. This arc is about a Hashira who asked Tanjiro, Zenitsu, and Inosuke to go undercover and infiltrate the entertainment district. There has been a girl who mysteriously went missing in the district. And based on the information that he received, a high-ranked demon is likely involved. 

There are two parts to this arc. The infiltration part and the open fighting part. Each part could be further divided into a smaller chunk as well. Each chunk is interesting in its own way but as a whole, man…it is exhilarating.

When you zoom in on each and every little element of this arc, the infiltration, the detective work, the fighting, the adaptability, the growth, the villains, etc, most of them are things that you must’ve seen somewhere before. As the saying goes, there’s nothing new under the sun. 

But what makes them interesting is how Gotouge-sensei utilizes each part to achieve the perfect blend of suspense and excitement. The result is a story arc that would keep you at the edge of your seat from start to finish. 

If you are quite familiar with shounen manga, you’ll notice there’s a pattern going on when facing the villain. Usually, the friends of the main character would face the generals, while the main character would face the main villain. Each a one-on-one battle. 

Lots of popular shounen manga use this pattern. Dragon Ball, Naruto, One Piece, and especially Fairy Tail. And Dragon Slayer also uses this pattern to some extent. 

But there’s something different and sort of special in this arc. They all gang up on the villain. They work together and try to defeat the one villain by combining their strength. It is futile most of the time and when they thought they’ve defeated the demons, it turns out there’s a level two to the fights.

Honestly, I can’t take my eyes during the whole fighting sequence. It is just so freaking interesting. Definitely one of my favorites arc thus far. 

9. Swordsmith Village Arc: Ch. 100-127 | Vol. 12-15

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This arc is the combination between the Rehabilitation Training Arc and The Entertainment District Arc. After the devastating fight in the previous arc, Tanjiro needs to spend some time healing his wounds. After that, he goes to visit the Swordsmith Village to get his katana fixed. 

Similar to the Rehabilitation Training Arc, the first part of this arc is all about rehabilitation and training. While the second part of it is about fighting two infiltrating upper ranked demons at the same time. This time around, Tanjiro gets help from two Hashiras and another demon slayer that he met in the first arc. 

At first, I thought this arc would simply be a non-combat arc. Just to expand the world, introduce new characters, and also to slow down the overall pace. But I was dead wrong. 

Sure, it does seem like it at the time. But as soon as we are comfortable with the easy-going pace, Gotouge-sensei quickly revved up the pace and we are thrown into a high speed journey. 

While the two Hashiras have different fighting styles and techniques, the most interesting and quirky ones this time around are definitely the villains. 

The villains in this arc are definitely the coolest ones by far. Seeing all kinds of different fighting methods that the villains used and how Tanjiro and the other demon slayers try to analyze them and come up with the best strategy to defeat them is really exciting. 

Not to mention the new revelations and power upgrades that happened throughout. What a great read!

10. Hashira Training Arc: Ch. 128-136 | Vol. 15-16

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Unlike the previous training-related arcs, this one is entirely focused around training. And not just individual or group training, this one involved the whole demon slayer corps under the tutelage of every Hashira. 

The main focus of this training is so that more people could achieve elevated states like the one shown by Tanjiro and the two Hashiras from the previous arc. So in a way, this is not only training for the lower members, but for all the Hashira as well. 

Since it is a pure training arc, there’s not much going on here. We get to see more character interactions, get to know some characters even better than before, and also some growth to several familiar characters.

As I said before, the main goal for this type of arc is for character development and introduction, for world building, and to slow down the pace of the story. 

In that regard, I believe this arc manages to do it rather well. 

11. Final Battle – Infinity Castle Arc: Ch. 137-183 | Vol. 16-21

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The 11th and 12th arcs are actually a part of a larger final battle arc. The distinction is made based on two different settings of the battle. Not only that, both stories also follow a very different path. So it makes sense to talk about it separately. 

In this first half, Muzan, the main villain of the series, comes to the demon slayers’ headquarters and slaughters their leader, his wife, and two of his daughters.

To avenge their leader and to finish Muzan once and for all, the remaining Hashiras and every demon slayer in the area charge headlong to the enemy territory, an ever changing castle filled with lower and upper-ranked demons.

This arc is both exciting and devastating at the same time. It is a bloody struggle from start to finish. Lots of my favorite characters lost their lives in this arc. There are also tons of unique powers and new revelations scatter throughout this arc. 

And there are a crazy amount of flashbacks here. You’ll see a flashback once every several chapters. This helped a great deal in creating well-rounded characters that we could relate to. But it gets quite annoying after a while.

There are also loads of great action sequences here to keep me at the edge of my seat. This arc is truly a perfect prelude to the end of a great series. 

12. Final Battle – Sunrise Countdown Arc: Ch. 184-205 | Vol. 21-23

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What a marvelous final fight. All the demon slayers who are still alive are working together to kill Muzan. I really like this one aspect of the Demon Slayers series, everybody works together at the same time, fighting and ganging up against the villain. Just like a raid battle in a MMORPG. 

Nobody should leave unscathed after such a big fight. And sure enough, they endure a heavy causality in the process. Lots of people lose their life while others lose their limbs when facing Muzan. 

And that’s what I like about it, a touch of realism. 

Really, this final arc has it all. The mind blowing action sequences, heart-breaking character moments, the tension, the fast pace, the high stakes, surprising turn of events, the satisfying ending and the epilogue. All of them work together to create one of the best arcs in this series, and one of the best endings in Shounen manga.

But it’s not perfect though. I like epilogues. I believe it has a crucial role in presenting a proper end to a story. But the epilogue here is unnecessarily long. I feel that you could easily lose the last two or three chapters and it would’ve turned into a more tightly-wound ending. 

Other than that, it’s all going great. What a great way to end a great manga series. 

Demon Slayers is certainly one of the most outstanding shounen manga from the 2010s. It is filled with great characters, great concepts and also great storytelling. 

It sets the premise, introduces the characters, and declares a clear goal right from the start. Demon Slayer made a promise with the readers in the very first chapters and it fulfilled its promise splendidly and never overstayed its welcome. 

We know that the story will end when Nezuko turns back to human and Muzan is defeated. And once those two conditions were fulfilled in the 23rd volumes, Gotouge-sensei did end the series. 

Lots of shounen manga, especially the popular ones, tend to drag their story and stray away from the initial goal. So I really appreciate Gotouge-sensei for straying true to its promise and never stray from its lane.


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