Ben's Logarion ☪


Demon Slayer

These days my wife and I are watching an anime called Demon Slayer, or Kimetsu no Yaiba (鬼滅の刃), and we have nearly reached the end of it. I wouldn't consider myself a huge consumer of anime, but I try to watch any that I think I might find interesting. This past year we had a good experience watching Vinland Saga, and I happen to see something about Demon Slayer in a YouTube video recommending recent series.

What actually drew me the most to this series in particular was the beautiful artwork and graphics. The reviews were very positive, so while I thought perhaps the characters would be cliché (and you could definitely argue that this is the case), I was also willing to give a demon slaying series a go because of how great Mononoke (モノノ怪) was, which we watched years ago.

Overall, I am inclined to heap more praise on Mononoke as being a more ideal realization of the genre, including the colorful and outstanding aesthetic as well as the interesting and varied challenges faced by the protagonists as he comes across a varied cast of characters.

By comparison, Demon Slayer is indeed very cliché and I would suppose in many ways a less significant work based on overall artistic merit, however it does deliver on its promise of being beautiful, and it also manages to deliver simple and light-hearted fun to make up for what might possibly be deficiencies in the storywriting. Therefore, it's very easy to consume and does not bore you.

While the premise would seem to lend itself to a darker tale more in the vein of horror, I was actually somewhat suprised that the series more or less bucks the horror aspect, which was much stronger in Mononoke, in favor of something a bit fluffier. In fact, it comes across as a children's show with "horror-lite" elements softened by very excessive relief from the protagonists. There is of course blood and violence, but it is rather constrained and low-stakes.

Now, there are some intereting sub-plots, so don't think that the writing is terrible or anything like that. Overall it's a strong production, and well worth viewing in HD thanks to all the beautiful renditions: gorgeous scenery, gorgeous costumes, artful directing and choreography. The action (when it happens) is very well assisted by computer graphics, which seems to be the studio's forte. Overall they did a great job in that area, though there are brief moments where a couple of the CGI breaks the aesthetic. This is rarely a problem, however.

As far as the action being good (and it is quite good), I was surprised by how little of it there is. It seems that throughout the episodes there's an excessive bit of padding and stalling with dialogue to draw out the story. I thought perhaps this was a ploy used to lower the production cost or drag the show across more episodes. Oftentimes the fight scenes that you are hotly anticipating in order to be dazzled by feats are interrupted by monologues that take up more than half of the battle time. For this reason, what reasonably could take place in the span of one episode will usually take two episodes.

A lot of the show is focused on characters thinking about or remembering things, and there's also shameless tear-jerking at any given opportunity. I think you're not supposed to be able to watch the show without crying, so consider it a challenge for the heard-of-heart.

Criticism aside, I would put it at the top of our (albeit limited) anime list, right after Vinland Saga, which still takes the cake. It's easy, fun, entertaining, very good looking, and also the heavy dose of humor is welcome, as there's more than a few gags in there.