Demon slaying is common in pop culture. They come in several varieties. The hunter who kills demons for revenge. The “chosen one,” who is born to kill demons, or the half demon that a target for full fledge demons. Family raises some demon slayers to fight demons. Specifically, demon slayers are common in anime and manga. In the last few years anime that focuses on “demon slaying” have gain prominence. So what are my top 5 demon slaying anime:
Berserk is a little extreme for my tastes. A manga series created by Kentaro Miura, Berserk follows Guts as he fights evil spirits and demons from hell. Guts was cursed with the “Brand of Sacrifice.” As a result, ghosts and demons want to eat him. After the betrayal by his former best friend Griffith, Guts seeks venegance. Born from the womb of a hanged woman, he was raised as a child soldier. The series begins in the middle, establishing Guts character and the setting. It then flashes back revealling Guts tragic childhood.
Berserk is frequently disturbing, including child abuse, torture, sexual violence, and gore. It’s not a series for everyone, however, if you can stomach it the series explores themes like revenge, moralitiy, and coping with a cruel world. Berserk is inspired by Kaoru Kurimoto’s Guin Saga, Buronson’s Fist of the North Star, and Go Nagai’s Devilman. I don’t read the manga but I do search on Pinterest for Miura’s phenominal art work. If anything is going to attract you to this series it’s his art. Unfortunately, the anime often has terrible animation, I don’t recommend them.
If your looking for a lighter series then Inuyasha is a great series. Rumiko Takahashi created the series in the 90s. The manga was serialized from 1996 to 2008 and the anime ran for seven seasons. Kagome Higurashi is a Middle School student that time travels to feudal Japan. While there she encounters youkai, ghosts, orges, and many other creatures. I really loved this series for it’s use of Japanese mythology. Kagome meets Inuyasha a teenage half-youkai.
Kagome is the reincarnation of Kikiyo, the former girlfriend of Inuyasha. She sealed Inuyasha to a sacred tree 50 years ago and it’s Kagome that frees him. Kagome and Inuyasha begin a dramatic relationship that spans time and space, as Kagome goes back and forth between this world and hers. The series follows the monster of the week structure. Kagome and Inuyasha are joined by friends, Shippo, Miroku, and Sango. Together they batlle againist the forces of Naraku, as they search for the shards of the Shikon jewel.
Jujutsu Kaisen is the latest entry into the demon slayer anime. While technically, Yuji and his friends exorcise “cursed spirits” I consider them basically the same as demons. Written and illustrated by Gege Akutami, Jujutsu Kaisen began its run in 2018. The first season of the anime began in 2020. Yuji is a high school student, when his grandfather is about to die, Yuji promises to: do good so others can die the “right” way. When Yuji meets sorcerer Megumi Fushiguro his life changes.
After releasing a cursed object that attracts cursed spirits, Yuji and Megumi rescue them. During this fight, Yuji swallows the cursed object, a finger of the “King of Curses,” Ryomen Sukuna. In doing so he becomes the new vessel of Sukuna. I’ll begin reading the manga after this seasons over, but I reccomend watching the anime. MAPPA is really starting to master their craft and Jujutsu Kaisen benefits from it.
Apparently, American audiences favor Jujutsu Kaisen over last years anime darling Demon Slayer. However, Demon Slayer continued to set records in 2020 outselling the One Piece manga and making history in the box office. I think when the Demon Slayer anime returns it will resume its run at the top. The series tells the tragic story of Tanjiro Kamado. After returning from selling charcoal, Tanjiro finds his family slaughtered and his sister Nezuko turned into a demon.
Desperate to turn his sister back and prevent others from being harmed, Tanjiro and Nezuko enbark on a quest to find a cure. Tanjiro joins the Demon Corps. Armed with a katana, the water breathing techniques, and his selfless motivation, Tanjiro battles demons. He joins forces with the dumb prettyboy Inosuke, the powerful coward Zenitsu, and the always sleeping Nezuko. Can they stop Muzan before he can eliminate the Demon Corps?
Yu Yu Hakusho
Demon Slayer and Jujutsu Kaisen maybe new demon slayer series, but Yu Yu Hakusho is a classic. A shonen fighting manga by Yoshihiro Togashi. Yu Yu Hakusho tells the story of Yusuke Urameshi, a cynical, smart mouthed junior high school student. One day Yusuke dies after saving a little boy from being hit by a car. This heroic act is rewarded with an opportunity to return from the dead. Koenma, the son of the King of the Dead, makes him the Spirit Detective. Yusuke hunts demons that threaten Earth. He’s sent to train with Genkai, the crotchety old master spirit user.
Yusuke, his best friend Kazuma Kuwabara, demon fox vessel Kurama, and anti-hero Hiei. Yu Yu Hakusho set the bar for anime animation, and fight choreography. I rewatch the Dark Tournament arc occasionally and still believe that it’s one of the greatest anime arc ever.