Demon Slayer : Kimetsu no Yaiba – Full Series Review (Countdown to Halloween)

demon slayer poster

 

  • Genre : Action, horror, supernatural, comedy
  • Episodes: 26
  • Studio: Ufotable

 

You just can’t trust the government. As soon as something’s inconvenient, they just brush it under the rug. For instance, most people don’t even know that at the turn of the 20th century, Japan was beset by a horrible outbreak of demon infestation that defeated the country side and ravaged the population. They were so set at keeping it under wraps that most people at the time didn’t even know about it, leaving them helpless and unprepared when disaster came to their door. And that’s exactly what happened to Tanjiro. One day, he just came home to find his entire loving family brutally slaughtered and his beloved sister no longer quite human. But the Kamado family are not your average villagers. Rather than succumbing to despair, Tanjiro decides to seek out a cure for his sister Nezuko which leads him to the Demon Slayer corp. Not to be outdone, Nezuko herself manages to shake off her Demonic instincts to become a staunch ally to humanity in its brutal war against demon kind.

Some of you may know that I have been reviewing this series weekly with Crow. It was quite the adventure! But I figured that if you’ve been waiting to binge it, it would be more practical to have a single series review rather than going over 26 spoiler filled posts. I also think this one is a pretty good pick for Halloween season!

Demon Slayer ep20-3 (3)

let’s get right to the creepy

Let me start off by saying I’m generally a fan of Ufotable’s works on the production side and Demon Slayer is probably the most polished an beautiful series I’ve seen from them. High praise indeed. Although it didn’t have as many symbolic visuals as some past works, it has some of the most detailed and distinctive designs yet. I was particularly taken by the demons throughout the series. All of them were not only very intriguing in form (closely adapted from the manga but still visibly different) but also imbued with fantastic colours that really added a lot to make the characters both vibrant be unnerving.

One of the studios greatest strengths in my opinion is its mastery with CG integration. Once again Demon Slayer stands on top of the heap in this regard. Movement is spellbinding, occasionally dizzying and always exciting. If nothing else this is a great anime to see. Whether it’s just as great to watch depends on your taste for action Shonen tropes and your tolerance for gore!

Demon Slayer ep 8 (2)

there should always be more Tamayo

For me, the first season of Demon Slayer (and this is very much written as a first of many) can be roughly decided into two parts. The introduction, which is essentially Tanjiro’s hero’s journey. That focuses on his plight and training. And the second, after he joins the Demon Slayers and meets up with his two sidekicks, Zenitsu and Inosuke, at which point the series starts to resemble most long running adventure Shonen in structure.

Let me say right off the bat, Demon Slayer starts off with one heck if a bang. The harsh nature of the first episodes led me to think this would be a seinen which would deal with more mature themes and approach. This is entirely on me. The show was advertised as a fighting shonen and that’s exactly what it is. Just beware, it can get brutal and I have a very high tolerance for these things. Basically, I wouldn’t show it to small children unless you don’t mind sleeping with all the lights on for a few months. I guess if this small children don’t live with you then there’s nothing to worry about!

Demon Slayer Ep14 (14)

you could show them Another after

However, there’s a simplicity to this anime. It’s easy to understand and follow. Sticky dilemmas are brushed aside and characters tend to be straight forward. Tanjiro for instance is pretty much a classic Mary Sue. A really lovable one who’s circumstances and attitude make him very easy to cheer for but nevertheless an irreproachable character. Not only does he seem to be of exceptional skill and dedication in all things, making him almost catch up in a single year, to characters that are supposed to be exceptional and with a lifetime of experience but he’s also both the moral and emotional center of the story.

In the first episode, Tanjiro chooses to protect his demon sister despite the potential danger she would cause to anyone around her. Don’t get me wrong, I would have as well. But this is a wonderful source of conflict. Nezuko is innocent but she is also capable of great harm and wanting to protect her could be seen as selfish and irresponsible. As someone who’s owned a Pitbull I connect with that. I knew my precious little angel would never hurt anyone, and never did. But I understand why my neighbour with the 4 year old kid that had a habit of running into my yard without warning, was unhappy about my decision to keep this breed.

Demon Slayer Kimetsu no Yaiba Episode 4 (35)

you can’t judge pets!

What I’m saying is that there could have been some great sustained conflict there but there wasn’t, because the show itself is clearly on Tanjiro’s side. Nezuko is presented as almost angelic in action, completely selfless and caring. Even her character design is the most purposefully cute one in the show. The audience is clearly supposed to be on Nezuko’s side of this debate, and therefore Tanjiro’s. Any character on the other side of the question is portrayed as an antagonist and if they become protagonists they also change their mind about Nezuko. And it’s like that with pretty much everything. There’s never been a fight where we could think that maybe Tanjiro’s not being entirely fair, or that we would have handled it differently. It’s not a nuanced story.

As for the other two main characters, Zenitsu and Inosuke, they’re two different versions of the comic relief sidekick and I think most viewers’ point of contention. They are both rather underdeveloped. Zenitsu does a bit better in that regard but it’s so uneven. And they both tend to provide “laughs” in the form of loud hysterics. Something that can get annoying to most people but can be very entertaining to small children.

Demon Slayer ep26-9 (7)

exactly

So am I saying Demon Slayer is bad? Not at all. But so far, the characters are it’s weak point and I think most people will agree that the character driven “comedy slice of life” type of episodes were the weakest of the season. The characters aren’t bad exactly but they aren’t that deep (so far).

It’s strength is tense action, of which there is a lot. It does this exceptionally well. When Demon Slayer gets serious, it’s difficult to look away. And it gets serious a lot. Once again, don’t expect some deep political intrigue (at least not this season). This is a show about young men fighting demons. And the deliberate nature in which it goes about those episodes is impressive.

Lately I’ve been reading a lot of negative reviews about Demon Slayer from my fellow bloggers. A lot of it is due to the “humour” in the series. Bloggers will still admit there are good elements to it. What I find odd is that so many people seem to think popular opinion is that the show is brilliant. I’ve read over and over lines like “c’mon people it’s nothing special” or “I don’t know why everyone thinks this show is amazing”…. Whereas I have had the opposite experience. I don’t think I have ever read a completely positive overall review and people were gently making fun of me for enjoying the show even back in the early episodes. So I may be compensating here. However, I do believe the show had more highs than lows and I would recommend it if you haven’t seen it. Especially if you’re looking for something a little Gorey and creepy just in time for Halloween.

Demon Slayer ep10 (35)

yes

Fave character: Yushiro…ok it’s Nezuko. Of course it’s Nezuko..!

What this anime taught me: I wish I had siblings

Our hearts were drunk with a beauty our eyes could never see.

Suggested drink: Green Demon

  • Every time Tanjiro takes a deep breath – take a sip
  • Every time we see Tamayo – cheeer
  • Every time we see Muzan – gasp
  • Every time a demon gets hungry – get a snack
  • Every time Zenitsu panics – get some water
  • Every time Inosuke rages – take a sip
  • Every time Tanjiro gets injured – take a tiny sip
  • Every time Nezuko is adorable – raise your glass
  • Every time the show gets loud – take a gulp

Demon Slayer ep10 (11)

 

Irina

I'm much nicer than I seem, we should be friends!

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26 Responses

  1. I feel like I’m the only person who thought Demon Slayer was just kind of average. It seems like most people online loved it, and there were a few folks out there who really disliked it. For me, the best part was definitely the animation and music, but the story and characters were lacking. I think if any other studio besides ufotable made it, people would have said it’s just another generic shonen anime and it would have flown under the radar. It has some interesting elements but I don’t think it’s anywhere near as great of a shonen series as say, My Hero Academia or Hunter x Hunter.

    That being said, Hunter x Hunter’s first story arc was also a bit slow to start so who knows, maybe season 2 will be amazing! Let’s hope

    • Irina says:

      Nah, I think most people think it’s average ith a few hardcore fans and a few hardcore detractors. It’s just that most people don’t really talk about stuff they find average I guess.
      I’m not sure if my review was badly written but I also thought it was an ok show with both highs and lows. Neither fantastic nor horrible.

  2. “Fave character: Yushiro…ok it’s Nezuko. Of course it’s Nezuko..!”

    I think Yushiro is a solid choice. He’s not cliche; he’s not clear cut. He adores Tamayo to the point of obsession, and woe be to anyone he thinks is between the two of them!

    I think you’ve probably suspected that I loved the series (I know — shocking, right?). Not only was it a blast to review with you, but I think there were some seriously amazing moments.

    I can rip any show apart, and being critical isn’t necessarily bad. But based on the fan’s reaction, I could easily see it becoming one of Big Shows. I’d argue its season 1 was stronger than Bleach’s season 1, though I give bleach the edge in soundtracks. Ultimately, it won’t be me or any other other reviewer that makes that decision. It’ll be the fans.

    Those same fans could utterly desert it at any time. I’ll still say I loved season 1.

    And there’s no denying the reaction that episode 19 generated. Our review of episode 19 is the third highest rated page on my site, just after the home page and a post I did about 5 more funny/light-hearted anime.

    Which I published in January 2018!

    “However, I do believe the show had more highs than lows and I would recommend it if you haven’t seen it. Especially if you’re looking for something a little Gorey and creepy just in time for Halloween.”

    Spider Mountain would be an amazing Halloween experience.

  3. Dawnstorm says:

    Hm, I’ve only seen the first two episodes, but what I’ve seen came across as fairly unexceptional shounen to me. (If you remember, I dropped it because of queasiness issues with the camera, not because of the show.) That said, I’ve followed your posts with Crow and from what I can tell, it’s the sort of show I’d probably have dropped anyway (or finished season 1 without coming back for any subsequent ones)

    If you ever go to a con with someone who talks too much, make ’em cosplay Nezuko. The muzzle’d come in handy.

  4. Lorro.Wuffy says:

    Hey man, I just started an anime blog too, can i please have a follow

  5. Lynn says:

    I think the blogging community was more critical of the series and rightly so in my opinion. However, if you look at social media or the ratings on streaming services, it has a very high score and quite the vocal fanbase, not to mention the manga readers that will ravenously defend characters like Zenitsu. Someone screaming and whining in a book is very different from someone doing it in an anime and should be judged accordingly.

    I’ve seen people calling it the next big shounen series taking over from One Piece, Bleach, and Naruto which is absurd after one season. It was a fun series and had a lot of potential, but it most definitely had its flaws too.

    • Irina says:

      Obviously I can only speak from personal experience but yours is probably one of the more positive opinions I’ve seen and it’s obviously less than enthusiastic.
      I remember the first season of all those shows and I can understand the parallels. They also had some pretty weak characters and stilted pacing at the beginning. For one of these I was actually pretty surprised it became popular at all although admittedly it also got much better.

      • Lynn says:

        Well, I always try to be positive. Totally, I’d be lying if I said that One Piece was without fault too, especially the first season which took forever get going.

        Personally, I just wish it had stayed the dark seinen series it appeared at the beginning, focusing on Tanjiro and Nezuko and having her struggle with her demon side and not just become a cute accessory.

        • Irina says:

          It could still go that way. There was plenty of foreshadowing for it. Or maybe it won’t go anywhere at all.
          You know I think a lot of people thought it was a seinen despite all the advertisement calling it a shonen. I blame the Ufotable aesthetic for that.

    • Karandi says:

      I’m with you on the view on social media. Anytime I tweeted anything even vaguely suggesting that an episode of Demon Slayer was weak or that the show had picked up after a few weak episodes I’d get a number of replies pointing out the show was awesome and never had any slow or less brilliant moments. These weren’t hostile tweets but very enthused fans who clearly didn’t want to hear that someone didn’t universally love their latest obsession.

      • Lynn says:

        I didn’t get anyone challenging my comments, but I definitely saw the over zealous defence of Zenitsu for one.

        • Karandi says:

          One tweet about episode 19 I made saying Demon Slayer had made a comeback had 4 replies all asking what it was coming back from with one going so far as to add ‘it’s always been at the top’.

          • Lynn says:

            They must have skipped the whole Wisteria House debacle!!!

            • Karandi says:

              I’m happy they were enjoying the anime but it makes it hard to have a real conversation about something when someone shoots your opinion down before the conversation actually starts. Though I think Irina is right, most of the reviews I’ve read, even the positive ones, have talked about the highs and lows of the series. The ‘universal love’ was definitely more on social media.

            • Irina says:

              When you don’t see both sides it’s always a little odd. I mean every comment I have ever had on the show were always more negative than positive. This post included. It makes it lobsided cause I really only see one side of the conversation so that’s the only thing I can respond to but that side has already been adjusted to respond to something else.

            • Karandi says:

              And I think you’ve just summed up the internet.

            • Irina says:

              Although to be fair it was my tweet on episode 3 that had people on twitter telling me the show was dumb and super cliche and that I obviously didn’t watch much anime if I could enjoy it… So maybe people are just mean to me…

            • Karandi says:

              Wow that sounds harsh. I thought the first 6 or so episodes were pretty brilliant. But then as you said the show kind of transitioned into standard shounen and with the introduction of various supporting characters who I found tiresome my general enjoyment of the show went down from that point.

            • Irina says:

              I agree but I guess some folks didn’t enjoy that part either.

  1. October 27, 2019

    […] not appreciate the post if you were a fan, but I found it pretty funny. Irina takes on reviewing Demon Slayer and discusses the highs and lows as well as the overall impression she’s found of the series […]

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