‘Demon Slayer’ action-packed with emotion
September 13, 2019
It’s a Saturday afternoon, and I’ve been re-watching the final few minutes of a certain episode of Demon Slayer after crying out of joy from being purely overwhelmed. I don’t really have any words to describe how I was feeling that day, except that I was euphoric and maybe even a little high from happiness. Who knew that I would be brought to actual tears from a show about killing demons?
Demon Slayer, also known as Kimetsu no Yaiba and written by Koyoharu Gotouge and produced by studio Ufotable, tells the story of Tanjiro Kamado (Natsuki Hanae) during Taisho-era Japan. It’s a kind of historical fantasy, if you will.
After returning home one day, Tanjiro finds that his entire family had been murdered by a demon, save for his sister who was turned into a demon as well. In order to find a cure to turn her back into a human and to ensure that no others experience the same fate, Tanjiro makes his way into becoming a demon slayer himself.
Sounds like the start of a generic action series, right? I’m sure we’ve all seen some kind of series or movie that’s similar to this plot. That’s what I though the first few episodes. And boy, am I thankful that I’m wrong.
Despite sounding like a kind of generic storyline which has been reused hundreds of times, Demon Slayer took that formula and refined it. The plot is familiar, but fresh. Sure, I was kind of surprised by some pacing here and there, but I was never bored in the slightest. The look, the feel, the sound all play their roles into keeping you entertained. Surprisingly, this “breath of fresh air” can be best seen in the star of the show himself, Tanjiro.
Now, I’m more typically used to the kinds of protagonists who wish to become the greatest, become more powerful, killing every last one of them, etc. in this type of action series. Tanjiro broke those expectations for me. Maybe it’s an even better term to say he cut through them. Unlike the more cliché motivations and actions taken by other protagonists, Tanjiro is someone different. He understands full well that if he doesn’t cut down the demons he encounters, they’ll bring harm to others. Yet, he shows compassion for the demons he defeats despite all the harm and destruction they have brought upon innocents. Whether it be simply wishing them a better life after rebirth to even holding their hand as they disappear into thin air, he shares in their pain.
It’s moments like these which make every aftermath of battle feel more striking in my heart. The bits of kindness and empathy which make Demon Slayer feel ever more thoughtful.
It’s more than likely you aren’t familiar with studio Ufotable, but as a quick rundown it’s exceptionally great at animating fight scenes and the like. Demon Slayer is no exception to this. Ufotable utilizes CGI like I’ve never seen before in a traditionally animated show, ensuring that the two mediums don’t interfere with each other that make them hard on the eyes. Occasionally it can be awkward to find a CGI model of a character in the distance, but for most of the time you don’t even notice it.
But the use of CGI isn’t just for characters that look far away. Every flowing slice and slash from Tanjiro’s sword truly (and literally) looks like a work of art right out of that one famous Japanese painting of a wave, if you know what I’m talking about. I’ve never seen CGI being used in such a way to show the artistic forms of swordsmanship, and I couldn’t be happier with how well it’s done. Even the sound design that goes into every fight makes it strangely satisfying to hear the clashing of a sword. And for the record, I’m not kidding when decapitating a demon seems like some kind of art form.
Chances are, you’ve never heard of this show. I wouldn’t be surprised, honestly. It’s not like it’s the most popular thing happening currently. But if you use Twitter pretty often, you probably saw it trending just a few weeks ago. Why? Because it’s just that good. Five whole minutes nearing the end of that particular episode was enough to make it spread like wildfire.
Maybe I’m exaggerating, but there’s no denying that I cried for a good minute on the ground after watching it. It’s everything that makes Demon Slayer so great compressed into a wonderful five minutes. The visuals, the music, the emotional impact. So, if you’re interested in what made me cry with actual joy, hit up Hulu or other streaming sites. This is a series with adrenaline pumping through it, with kindness and compassion sprinkled in.