Originally published in February 2016, Demon Slayer is a newly localized series from Viz Media that is also getting the anime treatment. It’s a supernatural story with samurai underpinnings and a brother/sister relationship that makes it all the more interesting to a large audience. The first volume is out now in America and begins Koyoharu Gotouge’s captivating story.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Learning to destroy demons won’t be easy, and Tanjiro barely knows where to start. The surprise appearance of another boy named Giyu, who seems to know what’s going on, might provide some answers — but only if Tanjiro can stop Giyu from killing his sister first!
Why does this matter?
This is an all-ages manga, so don’t be afraid to give this one to a younger reader (though there are some gory scenes to be sure). It’s also a classic hero’s journey with a young boy unsure about the battle against demons before him. Who doesn’t like a story like that?
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This is, simply put, a well-told story. It opens with Tanjiro and his family living in the mountains in a peaceful community. Tanjiro is a good boy and frequents the town to get supplies and sell charcoal to the people. He has a strong nose for things, but aside from that, he’s very ordinary. Soon we discover his entire world is turned upside down. His sister is a demon and in many ways a vampire. His family is gone. The story reveals new characters who know all about demons and what Tanjiro should do with his sister. We soon learn that, even as a demon, his sister holds onto a memory of him, and from there the manga becomes a training montage of delight.
I really love what Gotouge does with the training scenes in this manga. We get to see Tanjiro do all sorts of activities to prepare himself for demon hunting and answer the call to become a true Demon Slayer. It’s a role that requires months if not years of training, and in this 192-page manga a lot of time passes and growth occurs for Tanjiro. By the end of the volume, you’ll feel fulfilled by the amount of growth the character has gone through as well as how far he’s progressed as a Demon Slayer.
This manga serves as a great opening, getting through a lot of the character anguish, growth, and setup so that the next volumes can explode with action and adventure. You know you’re reading something good when one of the more interesting dynamics of Tanjiro and his demon sister is barely explored. You’ll want more, that is for sure.
It can’t be perfect can it?
As I mentioned before, the relationship between Tanjiro and his sister is barely explored. She basically goes into a deep sleep so Tanjiro can learn, and the strange dynamic of a forbidden demon being guarded by a Demon Slayer is quite interesting yet goes untouched. I’m sure it will be explored more, but tucking the sister away does seem forced and switches gears in an unnatural way.
Is it good?
This is a great adventure manga with fantastic action montages and a fresh story. It has the right amount of supernatural elements to keep it feeling fresh, as well as a strong main character to enjoy the journey with.