Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Koyoharu Gotōge. It follows Tanjiro Kamado, a young boy who becomes a demon slayer after his family is slaughtered and his younger sister Nezuko is turned into a demon. The manga was serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump from February 2016 to May 2020, and its chapters collected in 21 tankōbon volumes as of July 2020. It is published in English by Viz Media and simulpublished by Shueisha in English and Spanish on their Manga Plus platform.
An anime television series adaptation by Ufotable aired in Japan from April to September 2019. Following the airing of the final episode, was announced and is scheduled to premiere in October 2020.
As of July 2020, the franchise had over 80 million copies in circulation, including digital versions, making it one of the best-selling manga series. Meanwhile, the anime series has received critical acclaim, with critics praising the animation and fight sequences. It has been considered one of the best anime of the 2010s, and has received numerous awards.
SettingThe story takes place in Taishō-era Japan. It follows protagonist Tanjiro Kamado and his sister Nezuko Kamado as they seek for a cure to Nezuko's demon curse. Tanjiro and Nezuko become entangled in the affairs of a secret society, known as the Demon Slayer Corps, that have been waging a secret war against demons for centuries.
The demons are former humans who sold their humanity in exchange for power, they feed on humans and possess super natural abilities such as super strength, magic and regeneration. Demons can only be killed if they're decapitated with weapons crafted from an alloy known as Sun Steel, injected with the poison of a flower called Wisteria, or exposed to sunlight.
The Demon Slayers, on the other hand, are entirely human, however, they employ special breathing techniques, known as breaths, which grant them superhuman strength and increased resistance.
Premiseis a kind-hearted and intelligent boy who lives with his family in the mountains. He has become his family's sole source of income after the passing of his father, making trips to the nearby village to sell charcoal. Everything changes when he comes home one day to discover that his family has been attacked and slaughtered by a demon. Tanjiro and his sister Nezuko are the sole survivors of the incident, with Nezuko being transformed into a demon, but still surprisingly showing signs of human emotion and thought. After an encounter with Giyū Tomioka, a demon slayer, Tanjiro is recruited by Giyū to also become a demon slayer and begins his quest to help his sister turn human again and avenge the deaths of the rest of his family.
ProductionIn 2013, Koyoharu Gotōge debuted in the 70th Jump Treasure Newcomer Manga Awards with his work Ka Gari Gari. His next works were three one-shot series; Monju Shirō Kyōdai published in the 2nd issue of Jump Next! in 2014, Rokkotsu-san published in the 39th issue of Weekly Shōnen Jump in 2014, and Haeniwa no Zigzag published in the 21st issue of Weekly Shōnen Jump in 2015. After Haeniwa no Zigzag failed to become a serialized series, Tatsuhiko Katayama, Gotōge's first editor, suggested to start a series with an "easy to understand theme". Gotōge debut work Ka Gari Gari would be the base for a first storyboard titled Kisatsu no Nagare, since it had concepts like swords and demons, which the Japanese audience is familiar with. Due to its serious tone, lack of comic relief and dark story, the storyboard did not make the cut for serialization. Katayama asked Gotōge if he could write a brighter, a more normal character in the world that has been created. The original title was planned to be Kisatsu no Yaiba, but they felt the character "satsu" was too strong. The word "kimetsu" seemed an easy to understand word, and although it does not have a real meaning, Gotōge thought it would be interesting to abbreviate the series' title that way, while the word "yaiba" implies a Japanese sword.
MangaWritten and illustrated by Koyoharu Gotōge, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba started in the 2016's 11th issue of Shueisha's shōnen manga magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump on February 15, 2016. In April 2020, it was announced that the series would reach its climax in the 23rd issue of Weekly Shōnen Jump on May 11, 2020. The series finished in the 2020's 24th issue of Weekly Shōnen Jump, published on May 18, 2020. Shueisha has compiled the manga chapters into individual tankōbon volumes, with the first volume being published on June 3, 2016. In April 2020, it was announced that volume 20 has been delayed two weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As of July 2020, twenty-one volumes have been released.
Shueisha began simultaneously releasing the series in English on the Manga Plus service in January 2019. Viz Media published the first three chapters of the series in its digital magazine Weekly Shonen Jump as part of the "Jump Start" program. During their panel at San Diego Comic-Con on July 20, 2017, Viz announced that they had licensed the manga for the North American market.
Spin-offsA side-story for the manga was published in the first issue of Shonen Jump GIGA on July 20, 2016. Kimetsu no Yaiba: Tomioka Giyū Gaiden, a two-chapter manga spin-off, was published in the 18th issue of Shueisha's Weekly Shōnen Jump in 2019. Gotōge is credited with the original work, and Ryōji Hirano drawn the manga. The manga follows the character Giyū Tomioka.
Kimetsu no Aima!, a colored 4-koma spin-off by Ryōji Hirano, was serialized between April 7 and September 29, 2019, on Shueisha's Shonen Jump+ app and website. The manga featured chibi versions of the characters from the main series.
In May 2020, after the main series finished, a spin-off titled Kimetsu no Yaiba: Rengoku Gaiden, illustrated by Ryōji Hirano and centered on Kyōjurō Rengoku, was announced to be released.
Light novelsA light novel, titled Demon Slayer: Flower of Happiness, by Gotōge and Aya Yajima, was published in Japan on February 4, 2019. It chronicles the lives of Tanjiro and Zenitsu before the start of the main series, as well as glimpses into the lives of Aoi and Kanao. It also features a single chapter of an alternate universe where the characters of the series are attending an ordinary high school.
A second light novel, titled Demon Slayer: One-Winged Butterfly, by Gotōge and Yajima was published in Japan on October 4, 2019. It details the lives of Shinobu and Kanae Kocho before and soon after they joined the Demon Slayers after Himejima Gyomei saved their lives.
A third light novel, titled Demon Slayer: The Wind's Telltale Signs, centered on Sanemi Shinazugawa, will be published on July 3, 2020.
Other print mediaDemon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Official Fanbook: Kisatsutai Kenbunroku was released on July 4, 2019. It features background information on several characters from the series.
AnimeAn anime television series adaptation by studio Ufotable was announced in the 27th issue of Weekly Shōnen Jump on June 4, 2018. The series aired from April 6 to September 28, 2019, on Tokyo MX, GTV, GYT, BS11, and other channels. The anime is directed by Haruo Sotozaki, with scripts by the Ufotable staff. Yuki Kajiura and Go Shiina are the anime's composers, and Akira Matsushima is the character designer. Hikaru Kondo is the producer. LiSA performed the opening theme "Gurenge", while the ending theme is "from the edge" by FictionJunction feat. LiSA. The ending theme for episode 19 is "Kamado Tanjirō no Uta" by Go Shiina featuring Nami Nakagawa. The series ran for 26 episodes, covering the first fifty-two chapters of the manga.
In North America, the series is licensed by Aniplex of America. It is being released on two Blu-ray volumes. The first volume was published on June 30, 2020, and the second volume is planned to be released on November 24, 2020 for a limited-edition. The company is also partnering with Funimation to release standard-edition Blu-ray volumes in September 2020 and January 2021. The series has been streamed on Crunchyroll, Hulu, and FunimationNow. In July 2019, it was announced that the English dubbed version would premiere on Adult Swim's Toonami block. The dub was produced by Aniplex of America and Bang Zoom! Entertainment, and premiered on the night of October 12, 2019. Madman Entertainment acquired the series in Australia and New Zealand, and simulcasted the series on AnimeLab. In the United Kingdom and Ireland, Anime Limited acquired the series in the region.
Prior to airing, the first five episodes screened theatrically in Japan for two weeks from March 29, 2019, under the title. Aniplex of America screened the film at the Aratani Theatre in Los Angeles on March 31, 2019. Madman Entertainment screened the film in select theatres in Australia on April 2, 2019.
FilmOn September 28, 2019, immediately following the airing of episode 26, an anime film titled was announced, with the staff and cast reprising their roles. The film will be a direct sequel to the anime series and will cover the events of the "Mugen Train" story arc, chapters fifty-three through sixty-nine of the manga. On April 10, 2020, it was announced that the film will be released theatrically in Japan on October 16, 2020. The film will be distributed in Japan by Aniplex and Toho.
Video gamesA mobile game titled Demon Slayer: Blood-Stench Blade Royale has been announced to be released in 2020 by publisher Aniplex with development by Aniplex subsidiary Quatro A. A video game published by Aniplex and developed by CyberConnect2 titled Kimetsu no Yaiba: Hinokami Chifūtan for PlayStation 4, has been announced to be released in 2021.
Stage playOn September 19, 2019, the 44th issue of Weekly Shōnen Jump announced a stage play adaptation of the manga. The stage play was performed in January 2020, in Tokyo and Hyogo prefecture with Kenichi Suemitsu scripted and directed the play, and Shunsuke Wada composed the music. The play cast Ryota Kobayashi as the protagonist Tanjirō Kamado, Akari Takaishi as his sister Nezuko, Keisuke Ueda as Zenitsu Agatsuma, Yūgo Satō as Inosuke Hashibira, Reo Honda as Giyū Tomioka, Tomoyuki Takagi as Sakonji Urokodaki, Mimi Maihane as Tamayo, Hisanori Satō as Yushirō and Yoshihide Sasaki as Muzan Kibutsuji.
MangaThe series ranked #14 on a list of manga recommended by Japanese bookstore employees in 2017, and #19 on a list of best manga of 2018 for male readers put together by Kono Manga ga Sugoi!. It ranked #6 on the 2019 list. In 2019, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba ranked #10 on the 19th "Book of the Year" list by Da Vinci magazine. The manga was nominated for the 24th annual Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize in 2020.
SalesAs of February 2019, the series had 3.5 million copies in circulation worldwide, over 10 million copies as of September 2019, over 25 million copies as of December 2019, over 40 million copies in February 2020, and as of May 2020, the franchise recorded over 60 million copies in circulation, including digital copies. By the end of February 2020, it was revealed that the franchise has sold 40.3 million copies, making it the 5th best selling manga in Oricon's history. On May 22, 2020, it was revealed that the series has sold 60.027 million physical print copies, making it the third series in Oricon's history to sell over 60 million physical print copies. As of July 2020, the franchise recorded over 80 million copies in circulation, including 71 million copies sold.
It was the first series to take all top 10 positions of Oricon's weekly manga chart. The manga occupied the entire top 10 for a full month, and it was also the first series in Oricon's history to occupy the entire top 19 weekly rank. In February 2020, volume 19 of the series sold an estimated 1.378 million copies in its first week, making Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the third manga series to have a single print volume sell more than 1 million copies in its first week, after One Piece and Attack on Titan. In May 2020, the regular and limited editions of volume 20 of the series sold a total of 1,990,249 physical copies. In July 2020, the regular and limited editions of volume 21 sold a total of 2,041,177 physical copies.
In November 2019, Shueisha stated that Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba was their 2nd best selling manga in the period from November 2018 to November 2019, with 10.8 million volumes sold, second only to Eiichiro Oda's One Piece, with 12.7 million volumes sold in the same time period. Nevertheless, the series ranked #1 in 2019 Oricon's annual comic ranking chart, with over 12 million copies sold, while One Piece ranked at #2, with over 10.1 million copies sold in the same time period from November 2018 to November 2019, making Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the best-selling manga of 2019. Oda wrote a message regarding Gotōge's manga achievement. It was the best-selling manga for the first half of 2020, with 45,297,633 copies sold, and its twenty volumes at the time, were among the top 25 best-selling manga volumes of 2020.
Regarding the series' sudden huge success, Weekly Shōnen Jump editor-in-chief Hiroyuki Nakano stated that the manga sales shot up straight after its anime adaptation finished, explaining that a large number of people watched the series through streaming services after it ended rather than watching it weekly. Nakano also stated that currently is harder for a manga series running in the magazine to become a hit, and Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba despite having started in February 2016, did not became a major hit until late 2019, adding that its "success hinged on word of mouth generated after the anime's run".
Critical responseRebecca Silverman of Anime News Network ranked the first volume as a B-. Silverman praised the plot ideas and characters, but had issues with its pacing. She labeled Gotōge's art style as "unpolished and inconsistent", although she commended details like in Tanjiro and Nezuko's clothing to illustrate both the poverty and loving environment from where they come. Silverman concluded that it is the work of a promising author and had positive expectations for the series' development. Leroy Douresseaux of Comic Book Bin gave the first volume a score of 9/10. Douresseaux commended the series for its "ability to convey power in simplicity", explaining that Gotōge's art is "nice" but overly detailed, and the dialogue and exposition are straight-forward. Douresseaux praised its characters and recommended the series to fans of demon-fighting heroes. Nick Smith of ICv2 gave the first volume a score of 4/5. He wrote that the story is well crafted and the characters intriguing, but the setting is "too deadly for the survival of the human race." Smith said that the artwork is good but not special and recommended the series to "teens and adults who like heroes fighting back against horrific evil." Chris Beveridge of The Fandom Post criticized the first chapter for being "overly wordy when just the action would suffice", and ultimately called it a "a work-in-progress series". Reviewing the second volume, Melina Dargis of the same website, wrote that after having watched the anime adaptation, she was fascinated by the story and characters and go back to read the manga, because "it was still such a delight to relive it again". Dargis concluded; "It’s a really great story and appeals to a wide variety of interests".
Light novelsIn 2019, Demon Slayer: Flower of Happiness had about 210,966 copies sold and Demon Slayer: One-Winged Butterfly had about 196,674 copies sold. Both novels ranked 3rd and 4th respectively in Oricon's overall bunko ranking chart. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba overall novelization was the 10th best selling light novel in 2019, with 407,640 copies sold. In February 2020, after a planned reprint collectively 1.16 million copies were in circulation, making the books the fastest franchise novels in Shueisha's "Jump j Books" label to reach 1 million copies in circulation. The two light novels were the best-selling novels of the first half of 2020, collectively selling a total of 1,199,863 copies.
In May 2020, Demon Slayer: Flower of Happiness ranked 10th in a favorite children's book poll conducted by Children's Book Election Office, among over 250,000 elementary schoolchildren.
Critical receptionWriting for Monsters and Critics, Patrick Frye wrote that the anime adaptation is "praised the animation quality and flowing battle scenes that integrate digital effects seamlessly" while noting that "some fans have complained about weird story pacing issues thanks to flashbacks and some slow moments, but everyone agrees that once the action picks up, it's amazing." Writing for Anime News Network, James Beckett highlighted Episode 19 by noting it was "a thrilling showstopper of an episode, showing off ufotable's considerable skills as producers of nearly unrivaled action spectacle."
AccoladesThe anime won the 2019 Newtype Anime Awards in the fields of "best TV anime", "best male character", "best female character", "best theme song", "best director", "best character design", "best voice actor", and "best voice actress". In the February 2020 issue of Animedia magazine, it was revealed that the series received eleven awards for its characters at the "Animedia Character Awards 2019". In February 2020, the series was awarded "Anime of the Year" at the Crunchyroll Anime Awards, while Tanjiro won the "Best Boy" category and the fight of Tanjiro and his sister Nezuko versus Rui won the "Best Fight Scene" category. The series also won the Anime of the Year Grand Prize in the Television category at the Tokyo Anime Awards Festival 2020. In a poll conducted by Kadokawa Game Linkage of the most satisfying series of 2019, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba ranked in first place, and it was also reported that between its debut episode and last episode the viewership numbers increased by 1.4 million. In April 2020, the anime series won the Grand Prix award and the New Face Award at the Japan Character Award by Japan's Character Brand Licensing Association.
The anime series has been considered one of the best anime of the 2010s by Polygon. Austen Goslin wrote that "Few shows over the last 10 years have so clearly or unabashedly made fights their focus, and absolutely none of them have done it as well as Demon Slayer". Crunchyroll listed it in their "Top 25 best anime of the 2010s", with reviewer Daniel Dockery commenting, "From the top notch action choreography, to the understated emotional moments, to the infinitely meme-able Inosuke, Demon Slayer can be a wonder to behold". Writing for Comic Book Resources, Sage Ashford ranked it second on his list, praising its animation and protagonists, whom he called "the most likable male and female leads of the decade". IGN also listed Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba among the best anime series of the 2010s.
Gadget Tsūshin listed both the breathing techniques suffix and "Ah! The era, the era changed again!" in their 2019 anime buzzwords list.