Bloodthirsty demons lurk in the woods, and nobody dares to venture out at night, save for the demon slayer of legend. Surviving in this harsh world, young Tanjirou takes it upon himself to protect his family–until the day that everything is taken from him in a vicious slaughter. Now, all he has left is his sister, and she’s not even human anymore.
Demon Slayer was the hyped series of the season it aired in for one and only one reason: The colors were pretty. Ufotable was flexing in every episode and the result was a beautiful piece of work that envelops a mediocre shonen. If you seek anything other than cool animation, you won’t find something out of the ordinary. Sure, it may feel fresh because the main character is not a Naruto clone that constantly yells and wants to be the best in the world at something. There are no schools or academies or contemporary societies. But all that are surface level and don’t manage to change the completely simple plot and cast.The characters are all defined by a single trait to the point of becoming caricatures. The protagonist for example is the definition of a boy scout. He is always being kind to everyone and wants to help out as much as he can. And that is all there is to him. His quest to cure his sister and avenge those who were killed by the monsters goes completely unnoticed because he was not affected by the tragedies he experienced and remained a vanilla boy scout. The lead female has absolutely no personality besides being cute and emotionless. Without any depth to her character and by being brainwashed so she will forever be docile and obedient, she ends up being more of an object than a character. Not only that, she ends up being waifubait for the thirsty audience than a character you can care about or respect. It can also get very annoying when the single trait of a character is presented in an over the top manner. Many viewers dropped the show when the scared stereotype named Zenitsu was introduced. The only thing this guy was doing was being obnoxious, loud, and terrified by everything and everyone. He completely shattered all sense of fear and seriousness the show was going for up until that point. Further damage was done by the introduction of the Pillars, as beyond their status as top demon hunters, they are cartoony when depicting the single trait that defines them. Another problem is the very weak background stories. Nobody’s history can make you care more about them, partly because of how mundane it is, and partly because of how quickly it comes and goes. It’s especially laughable when it comes to the monsters, as their background stories are revealed to the audience literally a few seconds before they die. It’s impossible to care about any of them when there was no build up to their character. Adding to the list of simplicity we have the battles. They have amazing choreography, but the way they play out is fairly typical and predictable. Most of them are won with the good guy losing, then remembering something out of nowhere that gives him resolve, and then using some fancy looking special effect that makes him win in a second. No amount of pretty colors can hide that simple fact.Then there is a power system, a staple of most shonen, and despite being simple like every other element, they somehow managed to mess it up. It starts by telling you the only way to kill a demon is to decapitate him with a special sword. Then it proceeds to have demons that don’t die when you decapitate them, or that die with ways other than just decapitation. It takes real talent for managing to screw up something so simple. And that brings us back to the actual main problem of the show. The only good thing about it is the cool animation, and even that could have been used better in a much more complex or nuanced show. There are lots of interesting themes, the atmosphere can be gripping, and the violence can get fairly graphical at several points. But because the characters have the complexity of the Smurfs, all that feel wasted because they are used in a by the numbers shonen that has nothing to offer beyond the barebones of a typical action adventure.It’s like Kermit the Frog expecting from you to take him seriously as he talks about the meaning of life with that silly voice of his.
*This contains some talk of or reference to the manga, though it's still primarily a review of the anime. StoryIf I could sum it all up into a very short version, I can say with confidence that it's your shounen story done damn right. I'm aware that people before me have said this about KnY before, but I'm saying it to iterate that it's true. As the summary says, the story centers around a young boy named Tanjirou who loses his entire family... except his sister, Nezuko, who had turned into a demon. After finding out that the culprit is - in fact - a demon (not just any demon though), he trains under a man named Urokodaki to participate in the life-or-death Final Selection in order to earn a place in the Demon Slaying Corps to kill the demon that killed his family and turn his sister back into a human. It sounds like a very typical shounen story. It is. So, what's so special about it? Like I said, it's your shounen anime done right. It follows that typical, familiar shounen-esque storyline (and comedy), but the combination of characters, background, and pacing really come to enhance the story. And the story is realistic. Tanjirou was a normal protagonist, but he didn't just go poof! overnight to become an OP character killing demons left and right. No, he spent months training, shedding his blood, sweat, and tears, and the anime didn't bother to cut those scenes out. Not only does this make Tanjirou as a character more well-rounded, it also adds to the story as well. This shows Tanjirou's story of struggle and how it has shaped him to be who he is. Also, this is a story with much anticipated action in it, but at the same time, it does have its fair share of emotional moments as well. It's a story that will get you thrilled for the action scenes but a little heart-wrenching or teary in the emotional scenes. And the way they execute these more emotional or sensitive scenes were done well, in general and in my opinion. That said, the catch is that I feel the main plot of Tanjirou's adventures in the Demon Slaying Corps don't really start until around Episode 05 or so... I would give it some time to get to the main, main "dish". The exposition is important for Tanjirou's development and some background as well, but I would say not to expect to be blown out the window at the story presented at the first episode of the anime and to give it a chance by watching through several episodes first. Oh, and also, this could be me, but I personally really like the setting. I think it's really cool to see the story take place in Taisho, an era where Japan is just beginning to Westernize, so you see people wearing a mix of traditional Japanese attire and Western clothing along with Western technology like high-rise buildings and telephone boxes in places like Asakusa. AnimationI mean... it's ufotable, first of all. That should already say a lot about the animation, haha. The art is really well-done and fleshed out. You can tell they really pay attention to detail (ie. in facial expressions) when bringing it over from the manga pages to the anime screen. I really found myself enjoying the action scenes, with what how the camera shot moved. It really enhances the viewing experience and - of course - the scene itself. Attacks were spot-on and the animation on those attacks were nothing short of beautiful. Really, this show is easy on the eyes with regards to animation. You could watch this just for the art and animation, if for nothing else. SoundFirst, the voices. I admit I was a little worried at first that we were going to have like Asta No. 2 or something, but thankfully my worries were unfounded in the end. Natsuki did a good job with portraying the battle scenes without coming off as annoying. With all the voices we've heard so far, I think everyone really nailed the character they were portraying nicely! (You may have noticed - Genya [the one who demanded for his sword] actually shares the same voice actor as Bakugou from BNHA! Those two characters are kinda similar in that they do seem to share that "rough along the edges but a bit insecure on the inside" personality. Needless to say, Nobuhiko's doing great〜) It sounds like everyone's enjoying themselves when acting, and I've got no major complaints; I look forward to hearing other characters! The music was also quite memorable. Maybe it was the instrumentation, or maybe it was the timing, but the music did stand out to me more. That's a good thing! The music is nice to listen to, and it really fits the air and setting of the story as well. Kudos to the musicians! Plus, they got LiSA to sing their songs. She's such a great singer! I fell in love with her voice after hearing her in Angel Beats! CharactersI absolutely, positively love the characters in this show. I could talk a long time about characters, but I don't want to delve much into spoiler territory. Anyway- First, Tanjirou is really well-rounded. He faced a tragic situation in which his family was slaughtered, but he's overall a compassionate character. He's kind-hearted, and he sympathizes with demons and humans alike. In this sense, this makes him (1) likeable and (2) relatable. Plus, it gives way to emotion as well. It really felt like his struggles were real in the anime, and Sabito and Makomo really pushed him to his limits as well, though they ultimately held good intentions. Speaking of which, even though Sabito and Makomo were minor characters, they had their role in the story and they sure did add emotion to the story as well! I like how the characters are realistic. Tanjirou is strong in multiple senses of the word, yes, but he's not really OP. Nor did he get his strength overnight - it was over the course of a couple intense years of training in the mountains, where the air was very, very thin. The other characters seem just as resilient as well. Anyway, I did read the manga, and I can say that the protagonists (and most of the Pillars) are well-rounded, have gone through their share of tragedy, and have those quirks that give the story it that shounen-esque comedy, which may sometimes be a little bit cheesy or derpy but nonetheless just as charming. While I think the protagonists are well-done, where I think this really stands out in this department is the antagonists. This is more like an execution thing, but when Muzan Kibutsuji appeared in the anime, it was really intense, and I loved it because it suits his character, which they didn't waste any time showing us: very powerful yet ruthless and cruel. But there are also the Twelve Demon Moons (a group of 12 of the most powerful demons [6 'Upper Moons' as the top 6 and 6 'Lower Moons' as the bottom 6] serving Muzan - I know at least the Upper Moons appear in the OP as silhouettes). As established with the flashback of the Hand Demon in Episode 04–05, every demon used to be human. They lived a human life before becoming a demon, and their humanity was taken away from them when they become a demon. It's the exact same for these powerful, seemingly very inhumane demons. They were very much once human - and I did find myself feeling bad for most of them, one way or another, by the end. Not just any show or manga can do that. They may have a backstory for an antagonist, but it takes quite a bit for me to actually feel bad for them. In KnY, some of them, I really can't bring myself to hate by the end, and others I just feel outright bad for. Obviously, not every single demon insinuates these emotions inside of me, but a lot of them do, and those ones do a good job! You can tell that the author has put in thought about their backstory -- in other words, the antagonists are not mere story dolls to ramp up the action... though that's undeniably definitely part of it! But, they also have their history, their story, that has shaped them. (In fact, call me emotional, but a couple of them even made me shed some tears-) So, I think, especially if you read the manga, you'll be surprised at how well-rounded these antagonists can come to be in KnY. And maybe, like me, you'll find yourself not really hating the villains in the end after reading their backstories. (:
Oh it was going so well... then we got some lamer characters that failed to add much to the story as well as the feeling of extreme drag. The premise was so good but then it just went downhill from there. I was really enjoying this for the first several episodes until I got to the demon house. Then it was just odd.
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