My Top 5 Demon Slaying Anime

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

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.

Inuyasha

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

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.

Demon Slayer

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.

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Episode 26: Recap & Review

Season 1, Episode 26: New Mission

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba’s phenomenal first season ends with the introduction of a new movie. More on that later. Muzan Kibutsuji calls the remaining lower six moons. They’re summoned and trapped in a warped space that’s controlled by a female demon with a biwa. Muzan appears in a new female body, having changed his appearance and aura. This ability is obviously why the Demon Corps have had a difficult time finding him. Demon Slayer has made it clear that Muzan is the most evil relative to other demons. During this meeting his displays why. Muzan asks them “why are they so useless.” Granted he has a point, but if giving demon his blood makes them stronger isn’t he the real reason they’re weak. Apparently, the lower six moon are significantly weaker than the upper moon.

Muzan states that it’s been a century since anyone has graduated into the upper ranks. It’s the upper ranks that kill the Hashiras. It’s in this moment we learn just how unforgiving he can be. When one demon thinks to himself, “that’s easy for you to say,” he shows that he can read their minds. When Lower Four tells him that she doesn’t flee from Hashira when they arrive, he kills her for disagreeing with him. Lower Three realizes that they’re in a hopeless position. If they agree with Muzan or disagree with Muzan, they died. Smartly, but fruitlessly, he flees. Kibutsuji captures and decapitates him. Lower Two begs for more blood, Kibutsuji kills him for ordering him around. When asking Lower One for their last words, they state that they “considers it an honor to die by Kibutsuji’s hands and thanks him for killing him last as he got to witness the agony of the other five.”

This is the answer that Muzan wanted. He rewards him with more of his blood, offering more if Lower One can kill Tanjiro. This episode shows what Muzan values in his demon subordinates, complete subordination. They’re means to an end. He creates them from humans, gives them powers and expects obedience in return. Their strength is his, their thoughts are his and so are their lives. Muzan is short tempered, self absorbed, cruel and lacks empathy. This makes him the perfect villain. I anticipate that he will inspire one of his demons to betray him at some point, if he doesn’t eat them all. Meanwhile, the rest of the episode focuses on the trio. Tanjiro, Inosuke and Zenitsu have all completed their training and are given their next mission. They’re sent to join the flame Hashira, as he investigates the disappearances on the “infinity train.”

After the credits we are given a surprise announcement. The next arc will be a movie. I’m not sure why they choose to make it a movie (I’m hoping that it’s because it’s quicker) but I’m excited. Demon Slayer has been a spectacular series. Combining amazing animation with brilliant action sequences. The characters, both good and bad ones are given deep stories making them complex. Tanjiro is a new spin on the typical Shonen hero and it’s refreshing. Demon Slayer is a remarkable series. I hate to see the season end but can’t wait for the series to return.



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Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Episode 25: Recap & Review

Season 1, Episode 25: Tsuguko, Kanao Tsuyuri

Tanjiro continues his quest to master 24 hour concentration. Accomplishing this wasn’t ever in doubt, especially considering Tanjiro’s work ethic. He of course takes thing to a bit of an extreme. He asks the trio, Naho, Kiyo and Sumi to beat him with carpet beaters if he fails to maintain his breathing while sleeping. Meanwhile, while Tanjiro is working so hard, Zenitsu and Inosuke still refuse to attend training. They begin to feel guilty for their laziness. Zenitsu and Inosuke are manipulated by Shinobu into finally training. As Zenitsu, Tanjiro and Inosuke fuss while training, we see Kanao’s tragic childhood. She was rescued from basically child slavery by Shinobu and Kanae Kocho. Kanao is still mute, but uses a coin to flip and determine her decisions.

The return of Mr. Haganezuka and his associate Kanamori was the main source of comedy in this episode. Haganezuka is unsurprisingly pissed that Tanjiro “snapped” his sword. Meanwhile, Kanamori presents Inosuke with two perfect indigo gray swords. Anyone watching this far knew what Inosuke would do to those perfect swords. He takes a large rock and chips at them, creating jagged edge swords like his old ones. Both Mr. Haganezuka and Kanamori leave angry, with Tanjiro being apologetic. Tanjiro finally recovers completely and manages to catch Kanao during tag. I’ve already predicted that this season will end on some kind of cliffhanger. At the end, we see a new demon killing people on a train. It’s grotesque, having at least two mouths and three eyes. It’s unlikely that they will wrap up this mission in one episode so I’m betting that it gets resolved in the following season.


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Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Episode 24: Recap & Review

Image from Demon Slayer Kimetsu no Yaiba Episode 24 of Kanao throwing tea in Tanjiro's face
Kanao throwing tea in Tanjiro’s face

Season 1, Episode 24: ‘Rehabilitation Training’

Finally closer to recovering, Tanjiro, Zenitsu and Inosuke put through “rehabilitation training.” Aoi creates the plan for them. Zenitsu doesn’t start right away. He’s been given the impression from the exhausted look on the faces of Tanjiro and Inosuke that the training is daunting. He is (as expected) petrified by attending the training. However, when the training is explained to him, stretching by girls, then a reflex game and finally a game of tag, Zenitsu is overjoyed by the chance to touch and be touched by pretty girls. After initially finding Zenitsu to be annoying and over the top, I’ve become accustomed to his personality. Zenitsu remains the primary source of comedy in this series, I appreciate that about him.

This episode isn’t all fun and games however. While, Inosuke and Zenitsu abandon training after they fail to capture Kanao, Tanjiro focuses on mastering his breathing. He’s informed that all the Hashira’s and Kanao can use the “Total Concentration Breathing” all day long. Tanjiro begins to increase his training hoping to achieve the feat. He must become able to use his breath to explode special gourds of increasing size, if he’s going to reach the next level. Finally, Tanjiro and Shinobu have a conversation on the roof. She reveals that she’s always angry, after Tanjiro asks why the scent he receives from her is always angry.

Image from Demon Slayer Kimetsu no Yaiba Episode 24 of Shinobu's sisters death.
Shinobu’s sisters death

He sister was killed by a demon. Like Tanjiro she had sympathy for demon. Shinobu tried to emulate he sisters smile, but she finds it exhausting to do so. Shinobu decides that she will leave Tanjiro with the mission her sister started, forging relationships with demons. Unfortunately, the new character development seems to suggests that Shinobu will die soon. It think she will find the demon that killed her sister and finally let go of that anger to kill it. This coupled with the fact that Kanao has not so subtly been position as her successor, training under Shinobu and already achieving feats that the other Hashira’s can do. However, I don’t think this will happen this season.

Kyojuro Rengoku on the other hand will likely die this season. In the beginning of the episode, Shinobu asks him where he’s going. He’s likely going to encounter a member of the Upper Ranks. Since Giyu so easily defeat Rui a member of the Lower Ranks, I think we can assume that the higher ranks are significantly stronger. My prediction is that Demon Slayer will leave us with a understanding that Hashira’s aren’t enough and no one is safe. Regardless, Tanjiro, Inosuke and Zenitsu are going to have to get stronger.


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Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Episode 23: Recap & Review

Season 1, Episode 23: Hashira Meeting

Tanjiro begins using his breathing technique to free himself. Giyu stops Obanai from interfering. Nezuko remembers her childhood. She begins to control her instincts, she looks away from Sanemi. Surprising to Sanemi, The Master takes it as evidence that she can be trusted. The Master then tells Tanjiro and Nezuko that they must go out in the world and defeat demons. Tanjiro states that he will “defeat Kibutsuji.” The Master kindly points that Tanjiro is nowhere near as powerful as he needs to be. He tells Tanjiro that he should focus on the Twelve Moon. Tanjiro and Nezuko are taken to Kocho mansion, Butterfly Manor.

They’re escorted into the infirmary. We see Zenitsu whining (as usual) about the pour tasting medicine. He needs the medication to regrow his shortened limbs due to being deformed by the venom. Zenitsu and Tanjiro happily greet each other. Inosuke lays silently in the bed besides Zenitsu. His voice has been damaged by the attack Father inflicted on him. Hoarse, he’s depressed by his lack of strength. Clearly this is going to be an opportunity for Tanjiro, Zenitsu, Inosuke and maybe Nezuko to gt some training. Meanwhile, the Hashira have their meeting. Demons are more active now and they need to increase their recruitment number.

Natagumo states that the quality of the non-Hashira’s members is terrible. However, it’s difficult for the Corps to recruit because humanity is largely ignorant of demons. Only those that have lost love ones to demons and are descendants of former demon slayers. The Corps have a good grasp on their problems. However, the ignorance of humanity can be solved by educating them. If the Corps taught them how to protect themselves from demon (wisteria) it would be harder for demons to kill them and get stronger. Right now the Corps are hidden from the public.

You could imagine that the Corps could become a military force, though that has other problems. Another thing that seems to cause them problems is the informal nature of how they choose demon slayers. Tanjiro was trained by a former Hashira, but his survival wasn’t really certain. The Corps seem unwilling to “hand hold,” at least not until after the final selection. Tanjiro is left to his own devices after he survives, given orders to fight but not how to fight. Basically, the leave them to fend for themselves which isn’t working at all. If they had a mentor continue to train with rookie demon slayers they would be better prepared than they tend to be.


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