The anime world in recent years has seen the arrival of great shows such as My Hero Academia that are expected to surpass Shonen super hits like Naruto and Bleach. However, a show that just made its debut last year took the anime industry by surprise. No one was expecting that Demon Slayer will go on to become the best anime of the year. As if that was not enough, the Demon Slayer movie released this year even surpassed Tenet in overseas box office collection just a few days ago. Demon Slayer: Infinity Train has become the fastest film to make over $100million in Japanese film history.
Moreover, the anime’s success led to the sale of over 100 million copies of the manga, which was unknown in mainstream circles just a year ago. The critics have even called the popular series overhyped, but they fail to explain what had led to their astronomical success. Undoubtedly, hype alone won’t have led to such unprecedented popularity or success. Today, we look at why Demon Slayer is so popular to understand why it is getting so much love support from its ever-growing fanbase.
The Episode that Changed Everything
The most impressive aspect of Demon Slayer is probably its clean animation that blends perfectly with its action sequences. When it first aired, it was the fight scenes that impressed most viewers. It is interesting that even though Demon Slayer receives so much appreciation for its animation, very few fans know that it was animated by a studio that had never animated any Shonen property before. Ufotable had only worked with light novels, so it is impressive how well it handled Demon Slayer. Although the action and animation were impeccable throughout the series, it wasn’t until Episode 19 that the anime seriously reached its peak.
The fight scene between Tanjiro and Rui was so well animated that it has left a lasting impression on every viewer who has watched it. It was this episode that sort of broke the Internet and changed the Demon Slayer’s fate. By this time, Tanjiro was well trained, and he had already defeated many demons, but when he faced Rui, who was a Lower Moon, he finally realized how tough these demons could be. Rui easily dominated Tanjiro early in the fight and broke his blade. Tanjiro’s Water Breathing style proved to be ineffective. Knowing that Nezuko was in danger awakened memories that helped him change his Water Breathing Style into Dance of the Fire God. This transition was captured beautifully, and the animation looked gorgeous. There is no doubt that this fight was one of the best-animated battles in anime history.
The show focuses on Tanjiro and Nezuko, and it makes it very clear that the unbreakable family bond is one of the core themes of the story. Tanjiro sticks with his sister even after she becomes a demon. When Giyu tries to kill Nezuko, unaware of the circumstances, Tanjiro puts up a fight against him to ensure that his sister is not harmed. Even though he knows he is putting himself in a lot of danger, he never complains and keeps pushing himself. He has already lost his family, and he does not want to be separated from Nezuko. Surprisingly, despite being a demon, Nezuko puts her life on the line to protect her brother whenever possible. She even fights demons alongside Tanjiro. Their trust and love for each other is heartwarming to watch.
Even though they have lost their family, their love remains the same. They have stood with each other in times of turmoil and are ready to be sacrificed themselves anytime to protect the other. The viewers are never introduced to Tanjiro’s father, but it was one of his memories that ultimately saved his sister’s life. So, Tanjiro’s family has remained an essential aspect of the series.
Most anime fans will be used to the typical Shonen hero archetype. It is relatively easy to find similarities between them, but Tanjiro stands out because of his kindness that extends even to the demons. He is never afraid of putting his life on the line for the weak. But, even after he defeats demons, he is always respectable and tries to understand the deep-seated trauma that has made them a monster. His unflinching and unfailing kindness gives hope to other characters on the show and not just that even the demons can feel his warmth towards them.
Despite knowing that it was a demon that killed his family, he does not let hate corrupt his heart. He is aware that even these monsters used to be just like him and had loved ones. Most demon slayers hate demons, but Tanjiro is an aberration; he does not fight because of hate or vengeance. He just wants to restore order in the world and slay Muzan Kibutsuji, responsible for creating demons out of ordinary people and instilling hatred in their hearts. It is heartwarming to watch how his empathy somehow humanizes demons who are hated by everyone. His compassion awakens humanity in these demons, even though only in their last moments.