Demon Slayer follows young Tanjiro Kamado on a quest for knowledge and revenge. After spending the night in town after a long day’s work, Tanjiro returns home to discover that is his family has been slain. As Tanjiro tries to make sense of the carnage, his sister Nezuko shows signs of life. While traveling into the city, Nezuko savagely turns on her brother. Tanjiro fends off his sister, but her immense strength and fury reveal that she has somehow become a demon. Just as Tanjiro begs his sister to remain human, a katana wielding stranger steps in to separate the siblings.
Giyu Tomioka is a demon slayer. He explains how Tanjiro’s family had been killed by demons and that Nezuko’s transformation is due to demon blood entering her wounds. Giyu is set on killing Nezuko, but Tanjiro pleads for her life. He attacks Giyu, but is easily incapacitated. To Giyu’s surprise, Nezuko comes to her brother’s defense and protects him from the demon slayer. As Tanjiro wakes up, Giyu instructs him to locate Sakonji Urokodaki to begin his demon slayer training.
After a year of intense training, Urokodaki reluctantly approves Tanjiro to attempt the ultimate test to become a demon slayer. This life threatenting exam is known as final selection. Tanjiro makes his way to Mount Fujikasane where he must survive for one week among vicious demons. After ascending past the wisteria blossoms that contain the demons on the mountain, Tanjiro encounters a misshapen demon. The deformed creature was captured and trapped on the mountain by Urokodaki and is now hellbent on devouring all of his students. Volume 1 concludes with Tanjiro rushing the vindictive demon with his katana drawn. Will Tanjiro’s strike be powerful enough to slay such a monstrous demon? Find out in volume 2!
Demon Slayer plays with the mythos and abilities of demons with intriguing fashion. The spread of demon-kind through blood transfer gives an almost vampiric-zombie feel to the story. The concept that demons become stronger and develop strange abilities after devouring humans allows for truly original character designs. Although scarce, the action sequences are engaging and unique. While not quite thrilling, Tanjiro’s heightened sense of smell plays a key role in his survival and character arc. It’s not the most exciting ability, but it does set him apart from just being another strong swordsman.
While Demon Slayer has some solid elements, there are quite a few issues I have with the series. Giyu tells Urokodaki that Tanjiro wants to become a demon slayer, but Tanjiro never expresses that desire. He says he wants to find the demons that killed his family and discover a cure for Nezuko, but he never states an interest in being trained. It’s never explained why Nezuko falls into such a deep sleep. I assume that it’s due to fatigue from not eating human flesh, but it’s never overtly stated. The training sequence and time jumps are generic and feel like a required step rather than an integrated piece of the story. The training portion moves slowly and lacks excitement.
Even with these issues, the last 40 pages show off the potential of this series and raise my excitement for the next volume. I thoroughly enjoyed every page once Tanjiro made his way to final selection. His encounter with a demon that has eaten so many humans it has become a misshapen monstrosity is fantastic. Overall, Demons Slayer is a fun read with serious potential. Here’s hoping the story continues to expand on demon lore and capitalizes on the horror elements. You can buy your copy of Demon Slayer right here!
Note: Viz Media provided us with a digital copy in exchange for an honest review.