It feels like anime gets better every year and “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba” showed us yet another advancement in just how good animation has become. Animated by Ufotable, “Demon Slayer” has become the studio’s second-most popular franchise, right behind the seemingly-endless “Fate” story. Ufotable were also in charge of “God Eater,” “Tales of Zestiria,” and the “Kara no Kyoukai” series. The common theme is their specialty in combat animation, which was put on display yet again with their most recent project.
“Demon Slayer” tells the story of Tanjiro Kamado, who is essentially the man of his family after the passing of his father. He watched, supported, and cared for his mother and his siblings all the way until the fateful day after his trip down the mountain to a town to sell off some charcoal. In his absence, his family was ravaged by demons, leaving all but his sister Nezuko dead. Nezuko had a separate problem, in that she was transformed into a demon herself. This leads to Tanjiro promising to avenge his family, as well as find a way to turn his sister back into a human. This led Tanjiro to join a mysterious organization called the Demon Slayer Corps, and that’s where the story really begins.
“Kimetsu no Yaiba” covers all the bases that the most mainstream anime cover, like Naruto, Sword Art Online, Attack on Titan, and Dragon Ball Z. It hooks you in with promises of exciting action sequences and supplements it with an engaging story that you want to see the conclusion of. That being said, “Demon Slayer” went above and beyond what I felt during any of the anime listed above.
Ufotable executed the basics perfectly, delivering fantastic fight scenes that flow like butter. They translate the show mechanics of water breathing, lightning breathing, and others into works of art that simply would not be possible without their expert interpretation. If we were looking through the eyes of the characters, we would see nothing more than sword-swinging, but Ufotable made it so much more. The camera work only added to the spectacle, highlighting the character’s movements in such a way that you understood the intensity of every moment. Some action anime rely on the inherent unbelievability of the moves, but “Demon Slayer” took normal fighting and interpreted it into something beautiful.
The surrounding story is straightforward, yet elegant. Tanjiro has a clear goal in mind and every move he makes is a clear step towards it, but “Demon Slayer” still found a way to incorporate both major and minor side characters. Zenitsu is a somewhat cowardly character who has his own journey of discovering how to fight for what’s important. Inosuke is ferocious and needs to learn that using his head is probably a better idea than slamming things with his head. There’s also an introduction of Shinobu and the rest of the Hashira, the top 10 elite demon slayers in existence.
What really gets me about this show is how excellent it’s paced. Being a 26-episode anime, it hit its story climax well before the end of the series, leaving people to question exactly what they wanted to fill that time with. I was shocked when I noticed how important every bit of the wind down and resolution was before the writers prepared us for the next big adventure. That next step will take the form of a movie, whose release date has not been confirmed.
Overall, I think “Demon Slayer” has the potential to be the next truly massive story that could carry the same legacy that Naruto did to me when I was 12. I wouldn’t just recommend it to anime fans, but to anybody who enjoys some form of media, as I think there’s something to gain for everyone.