Tanjiro’s family were killed by a demon. Only his sister, Nezuko survived and she’s no longer human. His only hope is to track down the demon responsible and find a way to change Nezuko back.
What did you watch?
Twenty-six weeks ago, I was starting my second season of episode reviews. In my first season, I chose to cover The Promised Neverland and had a lot of fun discussing it with other bloggers. So much so, that I decided to do two shows the following season. They were Fruits Basket and Fairy Gone. Then, as a last-minute addition, I added Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. At the time, I knew nothing of the series, including how long it was going to be. Needless to say, I am supremely glad that I added it and have had a lot of fun watching and discussing this show. Now, I’m going to try to condense all of my thoughts into a single post. This is going to be tricky and packed full of spoilers.
Tanjiro returned home from selling charcoal to discover that his entire family had been murdered. There was so much blood, it looked like an animal attack. Then, Tanjiro noticed that his sister, Nezuko was barely still alive. He threw her onto his back and raced down the mountain to the town. On the way, Nezuko appeared to wake up and then tried to attack Tanjiro. He tried to reason with her and then had to protect her from a stranger with a sword who told him that Nezuko was a demon now and it was just a matter of time before she killed Tanjiro.
When the stranger saw Nezuko protecting her brother, he took a chance and sent Tanjiro to see a man named Urokudoji who would train him. If he was to find a way to return Nezuko’s humanity, he would have to become a Demon Slayer. The path was dangerous and would require more hard work than many could handle, but not Tanjiro. If nothing else, Tanjiro is no stranger to hard work and if it meant that he could save Nezuko, he would never give up.
What did you think?
I loved this series from the first episode. The tone was dark and mysterious, the animation was stunning, and Tanjiro was not your normal shounen protagonist. It had it all. Sure, there is a lot of heavy-handed storytelling and some characters that really don’t fit, but if you let that slide, the action and entertainment are outstanding. And then there are the demons. The demons are incredibly varied and brilliantly designed. No two missions are alike, which means we are treated to real dark situations that just seem to get worse and worse until you have no idea how they will get out alive.
What was your favourite moment?
I feel like a lot of people will agree with me on this one, but that just shows how good it was. My favourite moment was the whole of episode 19. That was the episode where Tanjiro was fighting against the Lower Five Kizuki, Rui. He was massively outclassed and it looked bleak, but then Rui noticed Nezuko protecting Tanjiro and gave him a chance. Give Nezuko to Rui and Tanjiro would be free to leave the mountain. Of course, Tanjiro said no, so Rui took her anyway and prepared to kill Tanjiro.
At the last minute, Tanjiro recalled his father’s teachings and united the fire breathing technique with the water breathing technique that Urokudoji had taught him. It gave him a chance, but Rui was still too strong. Then Nezuko, tangled in Rui’s webs finally unleashed her demon blood art – exploding blood and together they managed to remove Rui’s head. The fluidity of the animation and the pace of the battle was incredible. It was truly stunning to watch. I’m pretty sure, I held my breath for half of the episode.
What was your least favourite moment?
The introduction of Zenitsu left a lot to be desired. It was just before the Tsuzumi Demon arc which saw Inosuke come into the story too. Before that point, it had remained fairly dark and serious with the occasional moment of comedy that sat well within the story. It was too much and felt more natural. Then we had Zenitsu going completely over the top with his crying and whining and Inosuke charging around and challenging anyone and anything to a fight.
The moment of peak ridiculousness came at the Wisteria House when the three were recovering. Zenitsu had just learnt that Tanjiro keeps his sister in the box and was running around the room chasing Tanjiro. Then Inosuke came in and started chasing Zenitsu. It shattered my view of the series to see the three stooges take over the series. If this had happened much sooner in the series, I think I would have dropped it.
Who was your favourite character?
The obvious answers here seem to be Tanjiro or Nezuko, so I’m going to go with Muzan Kibutsuji. No one expected the big bad to appear in episode 7. That would be crazy. It was even crazier when we learnt that none of the Hashiras have had a single encounter with Muzan. Has there ever been a more brilliant entrance for the villain? He appeared as the family man, hiding in the middle of a huge city, then when he realised that Tanjiro had found him, he infected a random passerby with his blood, turning him into a demon. It was so cool and calculated. Muzan was not to be messed with.
Then as the season went on, we saw a little more of Muzan’s influence over the demons and what would happen to them if they ever mentioned his name. The whole time, I was playing with the idea that Muzan wasn’t necessarily evil and that he was being unjustly harassed by the Demon Slayers, but the final episode of the season pretty much killed that idea. Muzan, now in a female form with a new aura, murdered the remaining Lower Six Kizuki, only saving the Lower One who played to his ego. Muzan is an incredible villain and I can’t wait to see how this all ends.
Who was your least favourite character?
I’m sorry, Zenitsu fans, but I’m also not sorry. Zenitsu calm into the show screaming and crying like a fully formed baby and stayed that way for a very long time. Even now, at the end of the first season, he still hasn’t quite recovered. He’s better than he was, but still some work to go there. I read online about how we should wait and give Zenitsu a chance because he had a tragic backstory, but then we saw his backstory and it wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d hoped. If anything it just made him a worse character.
There are a few moments where Zenitsu loses consciousness and his other side takes over. This is the Zenitsu we need and not the whinny screaming baby. I understand he can’t be like that all the time, but now that he’s mastered Total Concentration Constant, maybe he can be? Either way, his presence has not improved Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba.
Would you like some more?
I would very much like some more and luckily for me, a movie has been given the green light and will no doubt be coming to select cinemas. Hopefully, one near me and at an accessible time too. A second season hasn’t been announced yet, but I’m fairly sure that’s a formality at this stage. I’m really looking forward to seeing the Upper Six Kizuki as it’s been the same six demons for over a century. There is going to be some epic battles and I can’t wait. Despite the occasional blemish, this has been an incredible season and I’ve really enjoyed talking about it.
What have you learnt?
What is there to learn about shounen series that others haven’t already shown us? Not a lot really, but what this series has shown us is that you can take all the tropes and expectations from a shounen series and as long as you do them well, there’s no reason for it to not succeed. Tropes exist for a reason. It builds familiarity and oftentimes, it’s what the viewers are expecting. If you don’t conform to their expectations you can get a backlash. Of course, it’s possible to play the tropes and use it to change the story and influence their expectations, but that comes from having a good understanding, to begin with.
Other Posts in the Series
- Season One