Kimetsu No Yaiba (Demon Slayer) was undoubtedly the best anime of the Spring 2019 Season, when it began, all the way up to its recent conclusion on Episode 26 towards the end of the Summer 2019 Season. Personally, I was not aware of the existence of the source material of the show before it began airing, but when it did I could see the promise and expected it to be a show that would be a contender for anime of the year 2019. As it currently stands, I believe that Kimetsu No Yaiba has my vote.
Kimetsu No Yaiba has a classic base to its story, with a classic idea born from Japanese culture, of demons and demon slayers. It is set in a world where demons roam at night eating humans, and where the rumoured demon slayers (who are considered a myth by many) hunt them to protect humanity. The story follows Kamado Tanjiro, a teenager from a large family who live in a cabin in the snowy woods, making a living by selling charcoal. One day after he returns home he finds his entire family slaughtered by demons, except for his younger sister Nezuko who was turned into a demon. From there he meets a demon slayer and goes on a mission to turn his sister back into a human. The first episode of the show is impactful and jarring, with all of the aforementioned events taking part. It is a strong and powerful start to the show and draws in the audience. The story is consistently strong and intriguing, managing to keep audiences interested through its unexpected directions and ways of doing things. The episodes are well-paced and none of them feels like filler or rushed. Except towards the ending of the show where one or two may have felt like filler. Kimetsu No Yaiba throws its own unique twist on the idea of demons in the country and a unit of demon slayers, making this an extremely powerful story for the show.
Kimetsu No Yaiba’s strongest point lies in its characters. Our main cast of four characters, Kamado Tanjiro, Kamado Nezuko, Agatsuma Zenitsu, and Hashibira Inosuke are extremely well-crafted characters, with unique personalities which add a new dimension of fun in the rather serious setting of the show. However, I don’t think I can say I dislike any of the characters from Kimetsu No Yaiba as they are all, including the side characters, well fleshed out and well developed. As the audience, it is possible to understand the motivations of each character and the intent behind their actions. The growth of each recurring character is shown over the course of the show due to their interactions with other characters and with the main character Tanjiro. All in all, the characters on the show are incredibly well crafted to perfection.
On the most part of the show, the art and the animation is very well done. For the rest, it is extremely well done. I am talking about Episode 19 in particular, the visuals in that episode and post that were absolutely mindblowing to another level. The battle choreography is the best portion of the animation. It is fluid, dynamic and does not break at any point in time. The studio’s choice to use moving camera angles and absurd ones at times created an incredible feeling of space which only made the actual fighting feel even more intense. The regular animation is also good, with a colour palette that fits the mood and atmosphere of the show. I, personally, am a fan of the choices made by the studio. Not at any time during the show does the animation stutter or jitter, nor the art feel unfitting. The only criticism I have is that the insane animation and art we got after Episode 19, the huge leap up, was not present throughout the entire show. Having that would have bumped this up to a 10, as the moment from Episode 19, its sheer beauty when combined with the other aspects such as the music that was playing at the time, made it one of my favourite anime moments of all time.
Not much to say here. The sound design aspect of Kimetsu No Yaiba was my least favourite component of the show. The opening themes chosen by the studio felt very generic and did not fit the quality of the show, even if the tone sort of did. The endings, however, captured the essence of Kimetsu No Yaiba much better than the OP’s. I believe that the producers of the show could have chosen much better opening tracks for the show to help set the tone for the episode and to build more excitement in the audience as the opening plays to get them more excited for the show to begin. The soundtrack that played over the course of the show, in the background of fight scenes and other portions of the show were chosen well, however, and they fit the atmosphere of the moment well, and blended together seamlessly, leading in from one moment to another. For example, the moment in Episode 19 had the perfect transition of music building up and then leading to the climax with the incredible soundtrack (which kind of made me cry), and that combined with the voice acting at that moment was a perfect example of how powerful sound and art can be working together. The voice acting for each character is expressive and emotive on the most part, the casting choices were pretty good.
The show in its entirety is a joy to watch, especially watching such excellently made characters explore and unravel a complex world, growing along the way as they encounter new challenges and face them together. The new characters that the world always throw at the main cast make for an interesting twist in the story, changing it to alter expectations, resulting in a nice surprise for the audience.
Kimetsu No Yaiba is one of the new-era anime that I believe will go down as an amazing show, already making a beeline for anime of the year 2019, which is almost over. The story left off at quite a good ending, leaving the audience hopeful for more Kimetsu No Yaiba. With a movie on the way in 2020 to continue from where the anime left off, I am personally extremely excited for more adventures with Tanjiro, Nezuko, Zenitsu, and Inosuke. I highly recommend watching this show if you are a fan of shounen and to at least give the show a shot in case you aren’t. You may still enjoy it.