Summary (Spoilers Ahead!)
Volume 4 kicks things off with Zenitsu displaying an uncharacteristic amount of courage – it appears there is more to him than meets the eye. He does his best to protect the box that Nezuko sleeps in from the wild powerhouse Inosuke. He fails of course, but luckily our boy Tanjiro intervenes. Tanjiro and Inoske engage in a scuffle that ends in a concussion for Inosuke. The group soon gets some R and R, bonds at bit then heads out to Mount Natatagumo for their next assignment.
It turns out there’s a family of spider demons in the mountains causing havoc. The group first encounters the “mother” – who uses strings to control other demon slayers, having them fight and kill each other. This part is particularly messed up, giving readers some disturbing images to take with them. If that wasn’t bad enough, she brings out a “doll” in order to help her keep the main cast at bay.
After some head-scratching and strategizing, our heroes outsmart her and back her into a corner, but the mother escapes. She is then killed off by her ‘son’ or as we the readers learn the true mastermind behind all of this madness – Rui.
After Zenitsu is poisoned, we get to take a peek into this cowardly Demon Slayer’s history – something I’ve been really curious about. In the flashback, we see that Zenitsu has often been a shy and cowardly kid, but his love for his grandpa motivates him to be better. Despite wanting to make his strict grandfather proud, he constantly attempts to flee from his training. One day, he’s struck by lightning while running away, which infuses his hair with the distinct yellow color. It also gives birth to his unique “sleep style” attacks: being characterized as a lazy warrior, it seems fitting (and hilarious) that he unlocks his true potential while sleeping! Using these skills, he exterminates the spider demon threat around him before the story goes back to Tanjiro and Inosuke – who discover the massive and intimidating “Father” of the family.
Volume 5 starts off with the battle against the ‘father’ demon. Unable to stand toe-to-toe with the beast in terms of strength, the boys use their heads to outsmart him. It appears to be working well – that is, until Tanjiro takes a huge blow that shoots him across the forest. With a lot of skill (and a little bit of plot armor), our boy protects himself at the last moment before wishing Inosuke good fortune as he flies off into the distance to find the real enemy.
We then transition back to a slowly dying Zenitsu, who reflects on his brief time with the Demon Slayers. It appears that he’s beyond saving…that is, to everyone except the Butterfly warrior Shinobu, who is eventually revealed to be one of the Pillars. Inosuke continues to struggle against the father demon but eventually he reaches his limits and is almost killed. He is saved by Giyu, who not only kills the demon effortlessly, but scolds Inosuke for his recklessness.
Tanjiro lands and fights Rui, with help from Nezuko. Even With a broken Sword and Nezuko bound up in deadly webs, the pair manage to do a critical blow against their foe (brought to life so beautifully in the anime). Meanwhile, Shinobu fights the ‘sister’ demon with her deadly poison abilities. She toys with the demon, faking friendliness in a very American Psycho-type way, and slowly delivers a final devastating technique killing her prey.
We then jump back to the Rui fight, where it is shown that Tanjiro and Nezuko’s joint attack wasn’t enough to bring the demon down. Rui recovers and almost wins. Giyu intervenes, and stylishly takes Rui down in a matter of seconds.
We then get a glimpse of Rui’s tragic backstory. He was a sickly child, and one day head demon and resident jerk Muzan came through and turned him into a demon. His parents were terrified of what he had become (and his eating habits) and his father tried to kill him. Rui then killed both of his parents, thinking they didn’t care anything about him. He thought that though their family bonds were fake, and sought to create a ‘real’ family resulting in his creation of spider demons. However, in his final moments he remembers that his parents did love him and were sorry for the fate that their son had to endure, which is why his father tried to kill him – it was to spare him from a horrible fate. Furthermore, they were planning on committing suicide as well so they could all die as a “family”. Distraught by the revelation, the dying Rui weeps as Tanjiro comforts the demon. Eventually, he passes on to the afterlife, uniting with his parents.
Giyu shows up and discourages the compassion within Tanjiro. Tanjiro refuses because even though he is a Demon Slayer, He still feels sorry for those who were once human, but were taken advantage of by Muzan.
Demon slayer volumes four and five continue to push the story forward at a breakneck speed. It doesn’t waste any time, and continues to give characterization to both demons and humans in (nearly) equal measure. Koyoharu Gotouge does an excellent job with the progression of characters and does some impressive world building.
A great example of this is Zenitsu’s development. I love the way that even a seemingly joke character like Zenitsu has time to shine. I am also hyped at the integration of the more experienced demon slayers, the Pillars, into the story and uses them as a sort of symbol of how powerful our main protagonist can become. Every good shonen series has the far-off goal to strive for, and this is Tanjiro’s.
I love how the characters are always challenged even when they get stronger or learn a brand new technique. I will say that the fights can feel a little drawn out at times, but personally I enjoyed every moment of them. The art is phenomenal it is some of the most beautiful free-flowing art that I have seen in a very long time. The only exception is that sometimes the art can come off a bit confusing when characters are using special moves. Regardless, it is still a sight to behold.
Demon Slayer Continues to be a fast-paced and interesting shonen manga series, and I cannot wait to see where the story goes from here.
Look for my reviews of volume 6 and 7, coming very soon!