Zenitsu and the tiny spider demons are healed by the Demon Slayer Corps Servants. We continue with Shinobu’s assault on Tanjiro and Co. After knocking out an already tired Tanjiro, Shinobu pursues Nezuko. Much to her dismay, Nezuko comically dodges all her attacks, by shrinking her size. Giyu intervenes stopping Shinobu, and the two share some comical banter. Shinobu uses the moment to (literally) get a leg up on Giyu, but not before the intervention of the Messenger Crows. The new orders are to spare the siblings, and to bring them back to the Demon Slayer HQ for trial.
Tanjiro awakens, tied up. It is here where the rest of the Hashira are introduced. They vocalize their displeasure of the siblings. This stops when the leader, Kagaya enters the fray. Kagaya welcomes the siblings and accepts them into the corps regardless of Nezuko being a demon. This angers the Hashira, in particular resident extreme edgelord Sanemi. Sanemi really hates demons, so much that he considers the siblings abominations. He pulls all types of interesting stunts to prove this, like stabbing through Nezukos box, and even cuts his arm to tempt her into biting him. While the temptations fail to make Nezuko react, it does prove that Sanemi is a grade-A dillbean. Our favorite siblings are eventually carried away by servants to be rehabilitated after their grueling experience on the mountain.
Tanjiro reunites with his buddies, the wild boar Inosuke and the sleepy swordsman Zenitsu. The reunion is bittersweet, but the three had to gather their wits in order to overcome their next challenge: physical therapy. We then are introduced to the Butterfly Estate, a location used for Demon Slayer rehabilitation. New characters Kanaou, Shinobu’s adopted younger sister and the determined Aoi are oversee the boy’s recovery. Hilarity ensues, of course as the boys must adapt to their new surroundings and pass a series of tests. The test although simple serve as quite a challenge for the boys, but our Tanjiro finds very unconventional ways to progress. For example, he has some of the servants beat his covers with rods in order to get him to properly focus breath during sleeping.
The advancing of his breathing technique helps improve bodily functions such as his reflexes and endurance. He can successfully complete his therapy at a faster rate than Inosuke and Zenitsu, and even makes a bunch of new friends in the process including Shinobu. Elsewhere at the Demons hideout we get a glimpse into how main villain Muzan keeps his demon underlings in check: fear and control. It turns out that he can read their minds, even at great distances. He even knows now where the Demon Slayer HQ is due to Nezuko being made from his blood, which we find out all demons are.
We also learn that the Demons are organized in a ranking system depending on strength. Those in the upper ranks have a number engraved in both eyes, but those in the lower ranks have a number in only one. Muzan kills four of his fellow underlings and leaves only one named Enmu alive as the volume ends.
The beginning of this volume wraps up the boy’s rehabilitation. Tanjiro says his goodbyes, and then heads out with Inosuke and Zenitsu via train. Tanjiro encounters the enigmatic Flame Hashira Kyojuro. During their conversation we get more information regarding breathing techniques in the Demon Slayer world and how they are divided: Tanjiro keeps trying to gain information about the relation between his father’s dances and the flame breath techniques, but Kyojuro avoids the subject – instead, he tells Tanjiro that he wants him as an apprentice!
Next, we are giving one of the wildest ply points than I have seen in a while. The ticket collector Start walking up to them from the back, but our heroes notice something is wrong. Plus, the train starts speeding up a little bit more. Kyojuro Mentions that he is on the train on nearly to investigate the disappearance of about 40 people. Just then the collector turns into a demon surprising everyone on the train. Kamado handles it easily.
The passengers cheer for the flashy victory, and our main newbs are left amazed. Later when the passengers go to sleep it is revealed that there is indeed foul play at work, as the demon that survived Muzans purging, Enmu is behind it all. It is revealed next that there are passengers that are being controlled by him. Soon we are given a ton of dream sequences that the cast experience. Through one of them we get a glimpse at Kamado’s inspiring back story. Essentially, he is the eldest brother and his family’s line of demon slayer.
His mother passed away when he was a lot younger and he made her a promise to become strong to use that strength to protect other people. It is Revealed that everyone on the train has been put to sleep by Enmu, and that his servants are trying to essentially attack a spiritual core that keeps human’s consciousness alive. In Kyojuro’s dream one of the servants tries to attack his core. He stops her because of his strong will, but remains in the dream. The servants also try to attack Inosuke and Zenitsu, but because they also have strong wills, they both prevail by scaring the hell out of their attackers.
Tanjiro also ends up breaking free of the dream spell totally by slitting his own neck in his dream world. He knocks the servants out as he recovers, and then chases after Enmu with Nezuko following him. Enmu stands impressed with Tanjiro’s ability to break out of his sleep. Tanjiro solo’s his attacks but is put back to sleep, but not for long as he breaks out once again. He beheads Enmu, but the head is caught by the train. He then reveals that merged his boy with the train, and the servants serves as food for his body to feed off of.
This volume is only going to get stranger, I promise. Tanjiro calls for back-up and Inosuke answers the call while slashing up the train. It is also revealed that Rengoku has also broken free and goes to protect the other cars on the train. Nezuko and Zenitsu help out as well. The two links up and find Enmu’s neck bone in the front of the train under the floorboards. Enmu keeps trying to put Tanjiro to sleep, but he keeps breaking out of the dreams. He is also stabbed by one of the servants. Despite all the obstacles, Tanjiro destroys it using a fire breathing technique as the volume ends.
The train derails, hard. Enmu’s train/demon body freaks out and muscles thrash about, as the train falls over. A wounded Tanjiro is woken up by Inosuke, and Enmus body fades away with hateful regret. Tanjiro falls back to sleep but is awoken by a cheerful Kyojuro. He shows Tanjiro how to stop the bleeding from his stab wound using concentrated breathing. Kyojuro congratulates Tanjiro and encourages him to get stronger. This talk is interrupted by the introduction of Akaza, Upper Rank 3 of the demon forces.
Akaza wastes no time, as he attempts to attack the grounded Tanjiro. Kyojuro defends him. Akaza, impressed by Kyojuro’s strength offers him the chance to become a demon. Kyojuro refuses and then a bombastic slug fest ensues. The two combatants waste no time with each other in this fight. Unfortunately, Kyojuro is hit with a critical blow, but that doesn’t stop him from cutting Akaza’s arm off. Akaza splits from the fight, noticing that dawn is fast approaching.
Tanjiro gives him a going away present in the form of a katana through the body. Akaza is hit but not killed. Tanjiro also berates him as he continues to run away, and also breaks down in tears. Kyojuro consoles him and gives him information on how to pursue the flame dance techniques. He asks Tanjiro to deliver messages to his family and encourages Tanjiro one last time as he succumbs to his injuries. Time passes and the news of Kyojuro’s death hits the Hashira like a brick. Well, all except Giyu.
We then see Akaza reporting back to a dissatisfied Muzan. It turns out that Muzan wanted all the Demon Slayers on the train to be eliminated, not just a Hashira. Muzan takes his anger out on Akaza furthermore displaying the hold he has on his demon underlings. Akaza swears vengeance on Tanjiro as he licks his wounds.
Back to the HQ everyone panics looking for Tanjiro. It turns out he went to go pay respects to Kyojuro’s (dysfunctional) family. His brother Senjiro greets Tanjiro with kindness and tearfully mourns the loss of his brother. Kyojuro’s drunken father Shinjuro isn’t so nice. He starts by making a statement that one’s capabilities are set at birth and cannot be changed. He then berates Kyojuro, calling him talentless and worthless.
Tanjiro engages the old man verbally, at least at first. Kyojuro notices Tanjiros earrings and blows a fuse. It turns out they are symbols connected to the School of Sun breathing, the first breathing technique. He starts wailing on our hero and Senjiro tries to step in and intervene. His father hits him, pissing off Tanjiro. The two fight until Tanjiro headbutts Kyojuro, knocking him out. Later Tanjiro and Senjuro talk a bit. Tanjiro let’s Senjiro know that his brother died valiantly and Senjiro hands off a document to Tanjiro regarding the successive generations of the Hashira. The two share a goodbye and Tanjiro heads back to the HQ.
Four months pass and our main trio of slayers continue rehabilitation. Tenzen Uzui, one of the Pillars, shows up and causes a ruckus looking for mission recruits. He tries to kidnap Aoi and Kanae tries to stop him. Tanjiro intervenes and offers his help for the mission. As the volume concludes, Tenzen smiles and accepts his proposal.
Demon Slayer volumes 6-8 continue to keep my interest in this series. It’s fascinating how Kyoharu Gotouge finds a way to balance world building and character development. The rehabilitation Arc was a great break from the serious nature of this story, but it also proved to be very important and a great way to give us the readers a more information on how the Demon Slayer Corps works. This was followed by the Demon Train Arc was awesome, which delivered our first major death of the series, and really emphasizes the power and threat that our heroes are battling against. The exploration of different side characters and their backstories is extremely solid. I loved Kanae’s extra chapter and how it explains where her inability to make decisions comes from.
I also love how she is inspired by Tanjiro’s advice to follow her heart and helps Aoi. The Hashira also prove to serve as interesting foils for our characters and a representation of how strong they can be if the work hard. I didn’t expect Kyojuro to be killed right as soon as we got to know him, but I love how he went out like a champion. My only criticism is that I would like to get inside Nezuko’s head a little bit more and see how she thinks and feels. Although Gotouge does great with conveying her nonverbal’s to the audience.
There have been solid art improvements as well. Action scenes don’t come off as confusing as they did before. Battle scenes are more concise and contained, but that doesn’t stop the author from going nuts with the art. It’s so fluid and smooth. There’s not much more that I can say about it and by no means is that a bad thing. If possible, I would be praising the evolution of the art forever.
Demon Slayer volumes 6-8 shaped up to be spectacular. I highly recommend this as a must-read in 2019.