Arts anime review

Hunting demons to turn them back human

‘Kimetsu no Yaiba: Demon Slayer’ is a historical fantasy anime with captivating animation and character design

Kimetsu no Yaiba: Demon Slayer
Directed by Haruo Sotozaki
April 6
26 episodes

As one of the most popular anime of this past season, Kimetsu no Yaiba: Demon Slayer just finished its run, excelling in a compelling storyline with uniquely beautiful animation, catchy music, and a well-defined cast of characters. The season aired with 26 episodes, and the series announced a sequel movie with the same staff and cast. Even as an adaptation of the shounen manga, each episode of the series fit in with the overall story — there were no unnecessary or “filler” episodes. The anime stood out from other series this season because of the mix of comedy, fantasy, and tragedy in a historical time period, and the impressive amount of detail in character design. Inevitable spoilers for the first episode ahead.

Kimetsu no Yaiba tells the story of Tanjiro Kamado, a kindhearted, smart, and responsible boy who takes care of his family by selling charcoal in the village. After coming back from a delivery, he discovers that his entire family was massacred by demons (oni) except for Nezuko, one of his sisters. Nezuko transforms into a demon but is somehow able to keep her reasoning and human emotions. The plot follows the adventure of Tanjiro who wants to find a way to turn Nezuko back into a human and protect others from the tragedy he has experienced. He and Nezuko meet many different Demon Slayers, demons, and other humans on this journey, and the series successfully mixes the heavy themes of death and humanity with the lighthearted conversations between some of these characters.

The worldbuilding in Kimetsu no Yaiba is detailed and interesting. Set in the Taisho era of Japan, the supernatural blends in seamlessly with the historical era as the primary weapon of choice for the characters is the katana, a traditional Japanese sword. The Demon Slayers all have some element they specialize in, called forms of “breathing,” and these are portrayed with an element, such as water, animated as flowing from their katana in a stylized trail. The graphics of this animation for each character are quirky from the colorful, bold lines and dynamic movement. The different characters portray the “breathing” unique to themselves, and the personalities of the characters suit the different elements.

The soundtrack of this anime is superb as well. The tense scenes have background music that supports the scene without distracting from the main story. Often times the soundtrack includes traditional Japanese instruments or chanting mixed in with the orchestral or rock feel to the music. In addition, the opening theme, "Gurenge" (紅蓮華), is a catchy song starting with hopeful vocals with a piano that moves to and back from a fast-paced rock theme. Sung by LiSA, a Japanese singer known for themes in other famous anime series such Fate/Zero, Sword Art Online, and My Hero Academia, the opening is representative of her music style and powerful vocals. Overall, the music in the series was impressive and definitely a strong aspect of the series.

Kimetsu no Yaiba: Demon Slayer is a must-watch anime this season because of its unique animation and compelling world. The coherent storytelling of a historical fantasy combined with the details in the plot, characters, and music provides for a full experience of the story, especially since the series opted to go in-depth on some parts and leave the rest of the plot for a sequel movie. I would recommend watching the first three episodes first before judging whether to watch the rest since the main adventure begins after an introduction to this fascinating world, but I am fairly certain you will finish watching.