As some of my readers might know, I wrote a preliminary review of Kimetsu no Yaiba/ Demon Slayer at the 3-episode mark. At that point, I didn’t like it at all. It was all painfully average, except for the artwork– that was pretty good, it’s just that I wasn’t used to the style. I picked the show up again after reading some interesting episode reviews, this time prepared to accept the unusual artstyle. My opinion of Demon Slayer had shot up from 5.4/10 in episode 3 to 6.8/10 by episode 8. I regret dropping this after only 3 episodes. In light of Demon Slayer actually being good, I’m reviewing the first 13 episodes.
I’m not a big fan of the story concept of Demon Slayer, since it has little originality. It’s the most standard dark shounen you can have this day and age. Demons kill boy’s family. Boy becomes Demon Slayer. The one little bit of originality comes from the fact that Tanjiro travels and fights alongside his sister Nezuko, who has been turned into a demon, but who controls herself and doesn’t eat people. It wasn’t a good move narrative-wise to skip ahead 2-3 years in episode 3. At least, it bugged me. The narrative does try to explain things that clearly happen for plot convenience, such as Nezuko sleeping for 3 years, or Tanjiro fighting with broken bones, but it seems very forced to me.
In this art-style, the characters are 3DCG for most full-body shots involving any movement, and only 2D on close-up shots. That took me a long time to get used to and honestly it’s still not something I like. I didn’t mind Ajin too much because I know it was long-budget, and because every character was consistently 3D. There’s none of this switching around like in Demon Slayer. Still, I have to compliment ufotable studio for being experimental and making something visually unique. Also, the action sequences in this show can be fun to watch, and that’s largely because of the incorporation of 3D.
The sound components are pretty good. Natsuki Hanae, best known for playing Kaneki Ken in Tokyo Ghoul and Arita in Your Lie in April, plays main character Tanjirou. Well-known voice actors have shown up as supporting characters, such as Takahiro Sakurai as Giyuu and Houchuu Ootsuka as Urokodaki. Hiro Shimono, who I know best as Connie Springer in AoT, plays Zenitsu. The instrumental music for Demon Slayer often escapes my notice, but it has a few epic-sounding pieces for battles and big moments. The opening is catchy and it’s nice to hear LiSa’s strong voice. I have no feelings about the ED one way or another.
In Demon Slayer, the characters are fairly likeable, but not as deeply developed as I’d like to see optimally. The lead characters Tanjirou and Nezuko are especially endearing and have this quality that makes you cheer for them. Nezuko is terribly cute, but doesn’t have much personality besides loving her brother a lot and wanting to be helpful. One can’t help but admire Tanjirou, with his traits of kindness and empathy, courage and resilience. Zenitsu is annoying, but he’s funny, and I can sympathize with his fear. He still tries to protect people even when he’s terrified, so he’s a very good person, really. I loved the character Tamayo, the doctor who was also a demon, and I hope she shows up again in the future.
So what did I enjoy? The action scenes are entertaining. The music is great. Nezuko is adorable. Tanjirou is understandable. The demons are pretty creepy. All these things. I’m still not in love with the art-style or visuals, and I think the story is predictable and unoriginal, but every anime has some flaws. My increased enjoyment is what upped my rating of the series at the 13-episode point.
This the breakdown for my rating. Numbers range from 1 to 10 with one being apalling/ shouldn’t exist, and 10 being perfect. Story: 6/10. Art: 7/10. Sound: 8/10. Characters: 7/10. Enjoyment: 7/10. To get the series ranking (so far), I take the average of those numbers. So, overall = 7.0/10. Anything in the 7s category is “Good/ Entertaining.” I’m glad I picked up Demon Slayer, and I’m grateful for my blogger friends who kept posting awesome episode reviews that got me interested in the series again. I’m also ever so grateful for your attention to this post, my readers. Thank you! Ja, ne!