Demon Slayer is a historical action manga that recently concluded on May 18, 2020. The story follows a young man named Tanjiro Kamado who starts to hunt demons after they kill his family and turn his sister into a demon. Since the start of Tanjiro’s adventure, Demon Slayer has received an anime adaptation, a movie production, and even promises of a second season. Demon Slayer has earned much attention, especially overseas, for a number of reasons.
Koyoharu, the author of Demon Slayer, employs whimsical expressions for many of the comical moments in the series. In somber and tense times, the expressions may portray the same emotions, such as sadness or anger; yet with a more serious style. One great example of characterization through expression is Zenitsu Agatsuma. Zenitsu is a deuteragonist who accompanies Tanjiro on his journeys alongside Inosuke, who are both demon hunters. Serving as the heart of the group, Zenitsu tends to be the most emotional, often depicted crying in an exaggerated and comical style. However, in times of great distress, Koyoharu depicts Zenitsu’s tears and expression in a much more realistic and subdued style. The realistic features of this style and the more evident details convey the seriousness of Zenitsu’s emotional status. This distinction between styles allow for Zenitsu to function as the comic relief, yet still convey serious moments in times of tragedy.
The story does a wonderful job at deceiving its readers. While presenting itself as a lighthearted tale, the reader can forget that everything is taking place in a world riddled with human-eating demons. However, when the audience’s minds are distracted by the bells and whistles, Demon Slayer twists the narrative, revealing the reality of what it means to live in such a turbulent world. Someone who encapsulates this notion is Nezuko Kamado, the sister of Tanjiro, who turns into a demon at the start of the manga. As the story progresses, Nezuko is able to subdue her desire for humans and teams up with her brother as members of the Demon Slayer Corps, and even has positive interactions with other characters. Although not like the other demons, the reader is reminded that Nezuko is still very much a demon, and without someone keeping her in check, she may revert to her animalistic instincts and harm another human.
While still a recent addition to the shounen genre, stories which cater to a male audience and include motifs of violence and action, many people agree that Demon Slayer may tell one of the best stories of the current year, and will be influential in marking the direction of storytelling for potential mangakas. The series presents a fully fleshed out setting with intricate characters for people to become invested in, all while not being too overbearing or depressing. It is a particularly good read, and I suggest you watch the 1st season of Demon Slayer if you are interested in getting into anime.
Timothy Kim Grade 10
Oakwood Secondary School