Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba

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Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
Demon Slayer - Kimetsu no Yaiba, volume 1.jpg
First tankōbon volume cover, featuring siblings Tanjiro (right) and Nezuko Kamado (left)
鬼滅の刃
(Kimetsu no Yaiba)
Genre
Manga
Written byKoyoharu Gotouge
Published byShueisha
English publisher
ImprintJump Comics
MagazineWeekly Shōnen Jump
DemographicShōnen
Original runFebruary 15, 2016May 18, 2020
Volumes23 (List of volumes)
Anime television series
Directed byHaruo Sotozaki
Produced by
  • Hikaru Kondo
  • Akifumi Fujio
  • Masanori Miyake
  • Yūma Takahashi
Written byUfotable
Music by
StudioUfotable
Licensed by
Original networkFuji TV, KTV, Tokyo MX, GTV, GYT, BS11
English network
Original run April 6, 2019 – present
Episodes29 (List of episodes)
Anime film
Video games
Wikipe-tan face.svg Anime and manga portal

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba (鬼滅の刃, Kimetsu no Yaiba, "Blade of Demon Destruction"[4]) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Koyoharu Gotouge. It follows teenage Tanjiro Kamado, who strives to become a demon slayer after his family was slaughtered and his younger sister Nezuko turned into a demon. It was serialized in Shueisha's shōnen manga magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump from February 2016 to May 2020, with its chapters collected in twenty-three tankōbon volumes. It has been published in English by Viz Media and simulpublished by Shueisha on their Manga Plus platform.

A 26-episode anime television series adaptation produced by Ufotable aired in Japan from April to September 2019. A sequel film, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Movie: Mugen Train, was released in October 2020 and became the highest-grossing anime film and Japanese film of all time. A second season of the anime series, readapting the "Mugen Train" arc seen in the film and covering the "Entertainment District" arc from the manga, premiered in October 2021.

As of February 2021, the manga had over 150 million copies in circulation, including digital versions, making it the eigth best-selling manga series of all time. The anime series has received critical acclaim, with critics praising the animation and fight sequences. It has received numerous awards and is considered one of the best anime of the 2010s. As of December 2020, the Demon Slayer franchise is estimated to have generated total sales of at least ¥1 trillion ($8.75 billion) in Japan and becoming one of the highest-grossing media franchises of all time.

Plot[edit]

Setting[edit]

The story takes place in Taishō-era Japan. It follows Tanjiro Kamado and his sister Nezuko Kamado as they seek a cure for Nezuko's demon curse. Tanjiro and Nezuko become entangled in the affairs of a secret society, known as the Demon Slayer Corps, that has been waging a secret war against demons for centuries. The demons are former humans who sold their humanity in exchange for power, and they feed on humans and possess supernatural abilities such as super strength, magic, and regeneration. Demons can only be killed if they're decapitated with weapons crafted from an alloy known as Sun Steel, injected with poison extracted from wisteria flowers, or exposed to sunlight. The Demon Slayers, on the other hand, are entirely human; however, they employ special breathing techniques, known as "Breathing Styles", which grant them superhuman strength and increased resistance.

Premise[edit]

Tanjiro Kamado is a kind-hearted and intelligent boy who lives with his family in the mountains. He became his family's breadwinner after his father's death, making trips to the nearby village to sell charcoal. Everything changed when he came home one day to discover that his family was attacked and slaughtered by a demon. Tanjiro and his sister Nezuko were the sole survivors of the incident, with Nezuko being transformed into a demon, but still surprisingly showing signs of human emotion and thought. After an encounter with Giyū Tomioka, a demon slayer, Tanjiro is recruited by him and sent to be taught by Sakonji Urokodaki, a retired Demon Slayer, to become a demon slayer, and begins his quest to help his sister turn into human again and avenge the death of his family.[5]

Production[edit]

After Gotouge's manga, Haeniwa no Zigzag, was published in Weekly Shōnen Jump in 2015, it failed to become a serialized work, making Tatsuhiko Katayama, Gotouge's first editor, suggest starting a series with an "easy-to-understand theme".[6] Gotouge's debut work Kagarigari would become the basis for an initial draft, titled Kisatsu no Nagare (鬼殺の流れ) since it had concepts like swords and demons, which would be familiar to the Japanese audience.[6] However, due to its serious tone, lack of comic relief, and dark story, this draft was not accepted for serialization, so Katayama asked Gotouge to try writing a brighter, more normal character in the same setting.[6] The original title was Kisatsu no Yaiba (鬼殺の刃), but they felt the character "satsu" (, lit. "kill") in the title was too overt. Although it is a made-up word, "kimetsu" (鬼滅) seemed easy to understand, so Gotouge thought it would be interesting to abbreviate the series' title that way; the word "yaiba" (, lit. "blade") implies a Japanese sword.[6] According to Gotouge, the series' three biggest influences are JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Naruto and Bleach.[7]

Media[edit]

Manga[edit]

Written and illustrated by Koyoharu Gotouge, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba was serialized in Shueisha's shōnen manga magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump from February 15, 2016, to May 18, 2020.[8][9] Shueisha collected its chapters in twenty-three individual tankōbon volumes, released from June 3, 2016 to December 4, 2020.[10][11]

Shueisha simultaneously published the series in English on the Manga Plus service starting January 2019.[12] Viz Media published the first three chapters of the series in its digital magazine Weekly Shonen Jump as part of the "Jump Start" program.[13][14] During their panel at San Diego Comic-Con on July 20, 2017, Viz announced that they had licensed the manga for the North American market.[14] The first volume was released on July 3, 2018.[15]

Spin-offs[edit]

Giyu Tomioka Gaiden (冨岡義勇 外伝, Tomioka Giyū Gaiden), a two-chapter manga spin-off, was published in the 18th and 19th issues of Shueisha's Weekly Shōnen Jump on April 1 and April 8, 2019. Gotouge is credited with the original work and Ryōji Hirano drew the manga. The manga follows the character Giyū Tomioka.[16][17] A side-story for the manga was published in the first issue of Shōnen Jump GIGA on July 20, 2016.[18]

Kimetsu no Aima! (きめつのあいま!), a colored 4-koma spin-off by Ryōji Hirano, was serialized between April 7 and September 29, 2019 on Shueisha's Shonen Jump+ app and website. The manga featured chibi versions of the characters from the main series.[16][19]

In May 2020, after the main series finished, a spin-off titled Kyojuro Rengoku Gaiden (煉獄外伝, Rengoku Kyōjurō Gaiden), illustrated by Ryōji Hirano and centered on Kyojuro Rengoku was announced to be released.[20] The two chapters of Rengoku Gaiden were published in the 46th and 47th issues of Weekly Shōnen Jump on October 12 and 17, 2020.[21] A collected gaiden tankōbon volume, which includes Giyu Tomioka Gaiden, Kyojuro Rengoku Gaiden, and Kimetsu no Aima!, was released on December 4, 2020.[22] Viz Media will release the volume, under the title Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – Stories of Water and Flame, in Q2 of 2022.[23]

A 19-page special one-shot chapter written and illustrated by Gotouge, centered on Rengoku's first mission, was published in the 44th issue of Weekly Shōnen Jump on October 5, 2020.[24] An 84-page booklet, titled Rengoku Volume 0, which includes the 19-page one-shot chapter and interviews with the staff and cast of the film, was given to the Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train theatergoers on October 16, 2020.[24][25][26] The booklet had a limited print run of 4.5 million copies.[26]

A spin-off manga series, title Kimetsu Gakuen! (キメツ学園!), related to the Kimetsu Gakuen Valentine-hen anime shorts, will debut in Shueisha's Saikyō Jump magazine on August 4, 2021.[27]

Light novels[edit]

A light novel, titled Demon Slayer: Flower of Happiness (鬼滅の刃 しあわせの花, Kimetsu no Yaiba Shiawase no Hana), by Gotouge and Aya Yajima, was published in Japan on February 4, 2019. It chronicles the lives of Tanjiro and Zenitsu before the start of the main series, as well as glimpses into the lives of Aoi and Kanao.[28] It also features a single chapter of an alternate universe where the characters of the series attend an ordinary high school.

A second light novel, titled Demon Slayer: One-Winged Butterfly (鬼滅の刃 片羽の蝶, Kimetsu no Yaiba Katahane no Chō), by Gotouge and Yajima, was published in Japan on October 4, 2019. It details the lives of Shinobu and Kanae Kocho before and soon after they joined the Demon Slayers after Himejima Gyomei saved their lives.[29][30]

A third light novel, titled Demon Slayer: The Wind's Telltale Signs (鬼滅の刃 風の道しるべ, Kimetsu no Yaiba: Kaze no Michishirube), centered on Sanemi Shinazugawa, was published on July 3, 2020.[31]

Other print media[edit]

A fanbook, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Official Fanbook: Kisatsutai Kenbunroku (鬼滅の刃公式ファンブック 鬼殺隊見聞録, Kimetsu no Yaiba Kōshiki Fanbukku Kisatsutai Kenbunroku), was released on July 4, 2019.[32] It features background information on several characters from the series.[33] A second fanbook, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Official Fanbook: Kisatsutai Kenbunroku 2 (鬼滅の刃公式ファンブック 鬼殺隊見聞録・弐, Kimetsu no Yaiba Kōshiki Fanbukku Kisatsutai Kenbunroku Ni), was released on February 4, 2021.[34] It includes three one-shot chapters: "Tanjirō no Kinkyō Hōkokusho" (炭治郎の近況報告書, "Report on Tanjiro's Present Condition"), which is about Tanjiro and other characters after the manga's conclusion; "Totsugeki!! Jigoku no Onitorizai ~Sanzunokawa o Koete~" (突撃!! 地獄の鬼取材~三途の川を越えて~, Breaking! Hell Demon Report ~Crossing the Far Shore~), which shows some of the demons from "that time"; and "Kimetsu no Dodai" (鬼滅の土台, "The Foundation of Kimetsu"), which shows some of Gotouge's real stories from drawing the manga during its serialization. It also includes the previously published one-shot chapter "Rengoku Volume 0", previously given out as a bonus for theatergoers for Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train in 2020, and the "Nenshi Bangai-hen" (年始番外編, "New Year extra edition") and "Nenmatsu Bangai-hen" (年末番外編, "Year-end extra edition") one-shots, published in Weekly Shōnen Jump in 2020 and 2019, respectively.[35][34]

An artbook, titled "Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba: Koyoharu Gotouge Artbook: Ikuseisо̄ (鬼滅の刃 吾峠呼世晴画集―幾星霜―, Kimetsu no Yaiba Koyoharu Gotōge Gashū Ikuseisо̄), was released on February 4, 2021.[36]

Anime[edit]

An anime television series adaptation by studio Ufotable was announced by Weekly Shōnen Jump in June 2018.[37] The anime was directed by Haruo Sotozaki and produced by Hikaru Kondo. Akira Matsushima served as the character designer. The series ran for 26 episodes, broadcast from April 6 to September 28, 2019, on Tokyo MX, GTV, GYT, BS11, and other channels.[38][39][40][41]

The second season will run for two consecutive cours; beginning with a television series adaptation of the "Mugen Train" story arc on October 10, 2021. It will include an original first episode, as well as new animation cuts and background music that differ from the film adaptation.[42][43] Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – Entertainment District Arc (鬼滅の刃 遊郭編, Kimetsu no Yaiba – Yūkaku-hen), has been announced to premiere on December 5, 2021, with a one-hour special.[44][42] The main staff and cast members from the first season are returning to reprise their roles.[45][46] The series will broadcast on 30 stations and channels, including Fuji TV and Tokyo MX, covering most of Japan.[47]

In North America, the series is licensed by Aniplex of America.[48] It was released on two limited editions Blu-ray volumes: the first on June 30, 2020 and the second on November 24, 2020.[49][50] The company also partnered with Funimation to release standard-edition Blu-ray volumes.[51] Two volumes were released on September 29, 2020, and January 19, 2021.[52][53] The series has been streamed on Crunchyroll, Hulu, and FunimationNow.[54] Netflix also started streaming the series starting January 22, 2021 in the United States.[55] An English dub produced by Aniplex of America and Bang Zoom! Entertainment[56] premiered on Adult Swim's Toonami programming block on October 13, 2019.[57][58][a] Funimation began streaming the English dub on December 8, 2020.[60][56] Madman Entertainment acquired the series in Australia and New Zealand and simulcasted the series on AnimeLab.[61] In the United Kingdom and Ireland, Anime Limited acquired the series.[62]

Funimation will stream Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – Entertainment District Arc.[63] Muse Communication licensed the second season in Southeast Asia and South Asia;[64] they will stream it on iQIYI,[65] Bilibili,[66] WeTV,[67] Viu,[68] and Netflix.[69]

Four Valentine's Day-themed anime shorts, titled Kimetsu Gakuen Valentine-hen (キメツ学園 バレンタイン編), debuted on the Aniplex YouTube channel on February 14, 2021.[70]

Compilation films[edit]

Prior to airing, the first five episodes screened theatrically in Japan for two weeks from March 29, 2019, under the title Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba: Sibling's Bond (鬼滅の刃 兄妹の絆, Kimetsu no Yaiba: Kyōdai no Kizuna).[71][72] Aniplex of America screened the film at the Aratani Theatre in Los Angeles on March 31, 2019.[73] Madman Entertainment screened the film in select theatres in Australia on April 2, 2019.[74] The film was broadcast on Fuji TV's Saturday Premium block on October 10, 2020, followed by Kimetsu no Yaiba: Natagumo Yama-hen (鬼滅の刃 那田蜘蛛山編, "Kimetsu no Yaiba: Mount Natagumo Arc"), which compiled episodes 15–21, on October 17, 2020. Fuji TV also rebroadcast the series in the Kanto area, under the title Kimetsu no Yaiba Zenshūchū! Ikkyo Hōsō (鬼滅の刃全集中!一挙放送, "Kimetsu no Yaiba: Concentration! 一 All-at-once Broadcast"): episodes 6–10 aired from October 12–16, episodes 11–14 on October 17, and episodes 22–26 on October 24, 2020.[75][76] Episodes 22–26 were recompiled into a special edition episode, titled Hashira Gō Kaigi/Chōyashiki-hen (柱合会議・蝶屋敷編, The Hashira Meeting Arc/Chōyashiki Arc), which adds some new footage and special ending credits roll, and aired on Fuji TV on December 20, 2020.[77][78]

Film[edit]

On September 28, 2019, immediately following the airing of episode 26, an anime film titled; Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train was announced, with the staff and cast reprising their roles.[79] The film is a direct sequel to the anime series and covers the events of the "Mugen Train" story arc.[80] The film is distributed in Japan by Aniplex and Toho and premiered in Japan on October 16, 2020.[81]

The film has grossed over US$500 million worldwide, making it the highest-grossing film of 2020, and broke several box office records, including the highest-grossing Japanese film and anime film of all time.[82] The film was released worldwide digitally on June 22, 2021.[83]

Music[edit]

Yuki Kajiura and Go Shiina composed the anime's music.[84] LiSA performed the opening theme "Gurenge" (紅蓮華, "Red Lotus"),[85] while the ending theme is "from the edge" by FictionJunction and LiSA.[86] The ending theme for episode 19 is "Kamado Tanjirō no Uta" (竈門炭治郎のうた, "Tanjiro Kamado's Song") by Go Shiina featuring Nami Nakagawa.[87] For the second season's Mugen Train Arc, LiSA performed the opening theme "Akeboshi" (明け星, "Morning Star"), as well as the ending theme "Shirogane" (白銀, "Silver"). For the Entertainment District Arc, Aimer will perform the opening theme "Zankyō Sanka" (残響散歌, "Song of Reverberation"), as well as the ending theme "Asa ga Kuru" (朝が来る, "Daybreak").[42]

Soundtracks of the Demon Slayer: Kitmetu no Yaiba anime were accompanied with the Blu-ray and DVD volume releases of the anime from 2019 to 2020. A soundtrack album for the anime series, titled Kimetsu no Yaiba: Kamado Tanjiro Risshi-hen Original Soundtrack (竈門炭治郎 立志編 オリジナルサウンドトラック, Kamado Tanjirō Risshi-hen Orijinaru Saundotorakku), published by Aniplex, was released on May 26, 2021. It includes the opening and closing music as well as the instrumental score by Kajiura and Shiina.[88][89]

All music is composed by Go Shiina and Yuki Kajiura, except where noted.

Disc one
No.TitleMusicLength
1."Gurenge" (紅蓮華 -TV ver.-)LiSA (vocals and lyrics); Kayoko Kusano (composer)1:32
2."Family -OST ver.-" (家族 -OST ver.-) 3:23
3."Brace up and Run!"Chiaki Ishikawa (vocals)2:32
4."Survive and get the Blade, boy"Chiaki Ishikawa (vocals)3:59
5."Demon Slayer Corps -OST ver.-" (鬼殺隊 -OST ver.-) 3:24
6."Training" (訓練) 1:18
7."The Appearance of Sabito" (錆兎 出現) 1:58
8."Makomo -OST ver.-" (真菰 -OST ver.-) 1:39
9."Purification" (浄) 1:02
10."Water Breathing~Hand Demon" (水の呼吸~手鬼) 2:31
11."Mystery~Tanjiro Kamado~With the Kasugai Crows" (不思議~竈門炭治郎~鎹鴉と共に) 1:29
12."Demon" (鬼) 2:51
13."Muzan Kibutsuji -OST ver.-" (鬼舞辻無惨 -OST ver.-) 2:13
14."Tamayo -OST ver.-" (珠世 -OST ver.-) 2:11
15."Battle Between Susamaru and Yahaba" (朱紗丸と矢琶羽との戦闘) 2:59
16."Nezuko~Always Together" (禰豆子~ずっと一緒) 1:17
17."Zenitsu Agatsuma" (我妻善逸) 1:52
18."Inosuke Hashibira" (嘴平伊之助) 3:05
19."Water Breathing" (水の呼吸) 3:07
Total length:44:22
Disc two
No.TitleMusicLength
1."Natagumo Mountain -OST ver.-" (那田蜘蛛山 -OST ver.-) 0:53
2."Water Breathing~Blessed Rain After the Drought's Welcome -OST ver.-" (水の呼吸~干天の慈雨へ -OST ver.-) 2:25
3."Thunderclap and Flash Six Fold~As the Demon Slayer Corps" (霹靂一閃 六連~鬼殺隊として) 2:06
4."Activate Water Breathing -OST ver.-" (水の呼吸発動 -OST ver.-) 2:44
5."The Bond of Brother and Sister" (兄妹の絆) 0:49
6."Confrontation with Rui" (累と対峙) 1:43
7."The Appearance of Shinobu Kocho -OST ver.-" (胡蝶しのぶ 出現 -OST ver.-) 0:36
8."Giyu Tomioka's Theme~Tanjiro's Battle~Demon Slayer Corps" (冨岡義勇のテーマ~炭治郎の戦い~鬼殺隊) 1:35
9."Constant Flux -OST ver.-" (生生流転 -OST ver.-) 2:33
10."Kamado Tanjiro no Uta" (竈門炭治郎のうた -OST ver.-)Nami Nakagawa (featured vocals)5:30
11."Dead Calm -OST ver.-" (凪) 1:19
12."The Insect Hashira's Theme -OST ver.-" (蟲柱のテーマ -OST ver.-) 1:46
13."Family Memories" (家族の思い出) 0:49
14."Hashira~Confrontation" (柱~対峙) 1:01
15."The Messenger of the Kasugai Crows" (鎹鴉の伝令 -OST ver.-) 1:34
16."Natagumo Mountain~Dawn" (那田蜘蛛山~夜明け) 1:19
17."The Hashira's Theme -OST ver.-" (柱のテーマ -OST ver.-) 2:14
18."Confrontation with Sanemi Shinazugawa" (不死川実弥との対峙) 1:47
19."Gratitude" (感謝) 0:53
20."Showdown with Kanao Tsuyuri" (粟花落カナヲと対決) 1:11
21."First String Demon" (下弦の鬼) 1:05
22."New Mission~Toward the Mugen Train" (新たなる任務~無限列車に向かって) 2:50
23."From the Edge -TV ver.-" 1:30
Total length:40:12

Video games[edit]

A mobile game titled Kimetsu no Yaiba: Keppū Kengeki Royale (鬼滅の刃 血風剣戟ロワイアル) was announced to be released in 2020 by publisher Aniplex with development by Aniplex subsidiary Quatro A.[90] In December 2020, it was announced that the game's release was delayed indefinitely to improve its quality.[91]

A video game based on the series was announced in 2020.[92][93] Titled Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Hinokami Chronicles (鬼滅の刃 ヒノカミ血風譚, Kimetsu no Yaiba Hinokami Keppūtan),[94] it is developed by CyberConnect2, and published by Aniplex.[95] The game is set to be released for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S and Steam on October 14, 2021 in Japan.[96][97][94] Sega will publish the game worldwide for the same platforms on October 15, 2021.[98][99]

Stage plays[edit]

A stage play adaptation of the manga was announced by Weekly Shōnen Jump in September 2019.[100] The stage play was performed from January 18–26, 2020 in Tokyo at the Tennōzu Ginga Gekijō and from January 31 to February 2, 2020, in Hyōgo Prefecture at the AiiA 2.5 Theater Kobe. Kenichi Suemitsu scripted and directed the play and Shunsuke Wada composed the music. The play cast Ryota Kobayashi as the protagonist Tanjirō Kamado, Akari Takaishi as his sister Nezuko, Keisuke Ueda as Zenitsu Agatsuma, Yūgo Satō as Inosuke Hashibira, Reo Honda as Giyū Tomioka, Tomoyuki Takagi as Sakonji Urokodaki, Mimi Maihane as Tamayo, Hisanori Satō as Yushirō, and Yoshihide Sasaki as Muzan Kibutsuji.[101]

A second stage play adaptation was announced in December 2020 and it will start in summer 2021.[102] The Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the 2nd: Bonds stage play will run in Tokyo from August 7–15, in Osaka from August 20–22, and then again in Tokyo from August 27–31.[103]

Art exhibition[edit]

An art exhibition of the series will run in Tokyo's Mori Arts Center Gallery from October 26 to December 12, 2021. It will move to Osaka in summer 2022. The exhibition will display numerous artworks drawn by Koyoharu Gotouge and will also sell original goods.[104]

Reception[edit]

Popularity[edit]

As of December 2020, the Demon Slayer franchise is estimated to have generated total sales of at least ¥1 trillion ($8.75 billion) in Japan.[105][106][107] This includes ¥85 billion in book sales, over ¥50 billion in sales related to the film adaptation, and more than ¥130 billion in sales of related goods.[108] In January 2021, it was reported that Japanese sales of print books and magazines fell 1% in 2020 compared to the previous year, being the smallest per-year decline since 2006. This small decline was attributed to an increase in reading in Japan due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the "successful boom" of the Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba manga and its related publications.[109]

Gadget Tsūshin listed both the breathing techniques suffix and "Ah! The era, the era changed again!" on their 2019 anime buzzwords list.[110] In 2019, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba won in the anime category of the Yahoo! Japan Search Awards, based on the number of searches for a particular term compared to the year before.[111] The series won the Yahoo! Japan Search Awards for the second consecutive year in 2020.[112] On Tumblr's 2020 Year in Review, which highlights the largest communities, fandoms, and trends on the platform throughout the year, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba ranked 7th on the Top Anime & Manga Shows category.[113] According to a 2020 poll conducted by education and publishing company Benesse, which asked 7,661 third to sixth-grade Japanese kids (5,170 girls and 2,491 boys), Tanjiro Kamado ranked 1st on the top 10 most admired people, which placed the children's mothers, fathers, and teachers on 2nd, 4th and 5th place, respectively, and the remaining spots were occupied by other Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba characters.[114] According to a 2020 internet poll conducted by Oricon Monitor Research, over 90% of the Japanese public is familiar with Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba; 40.5% said that they were "very familiar", 57.3% said that they were "familiar with the name", indicating that 97.8% knew the existence of the series. Of the 1,558 respondents who said that they were "very familiar", 1,182 respondents "like" or "very liked" the series. To the question of "what part of the series do you like?", the series' story was the most popular aspect with 76.4% votes, followed by the setting with 49.3% and the relatability of the characters with 45.3% votes. 31% of the fans said that they owned the manga, and of the 66.1% of those fans said they owned every volume. According to multiple respondents, the series helped them treasure and connect with their families and allowed people of different generations to connect even in the workplace and beyond. The poll was responded from November 18–24 by 3,848 members of Oricon Monitor Research, ranging from people in their teens to their sixties.[115]

The series helped to increase internal tourism, with many tourists traveling to similar spots to the ones featured in the series.[116][117][118][119] In 2021, in Tokushima, the Red Cross featured characters from the series on blood drive posters, which helped to increase the number of donors.[120][121]

Regarding the series' sudden huge success, Weekly Shōnen Jump editor-in-chief Hiroyuki Nakano stated that the manga sales shot up straight after its anime adaptation finished, explaining that a large number of people watched the series through streaming services after it ended rather than watching it weekly. Nakano also stated that currently, it is harder for a manga series running in the magazine to become a hit, and Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba despite having started in February 2016, did not become a major hit until late 2019, adding that its success "hinged on word of mouth generated after the anime's run".[122] Nakano have also said it introduced many new people and audience into Jump.[123] According to Yuma Takahashi, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba anime series producer, the series had three main factors for its success: "The power of the original work, the attitude towards adapting it to anime, and the environment". Takahashi explained that although many people learned about the manga through the anime, that in itself is not enough to generate a hit, stating that the original manga itself is interesting and they tried to adapt it earnestly without losing any of its appeal. The earnest attitude towards the adaptation and techniques from the staff at Ufotable were other key factors. Takahashi pointed out the changes in the anime-viewing landscape within the past few years and the increasing popularity of the streaming platforms. Takahashi said that by airing the series for two hours, it had the time to build up an audience. Takahashi added: "While the anime was airing, the story being serialized in the manga was heating up, so the timing was also ideal. It wasn't as if it suddenly became the center of attention; I feel that it steadily picked up fans and expanded its audience".[124] On December 20, 2020, at the Jump Festa '21, Mayumi Tanaka, voice actress of One Piece's Monkey D. Luffy, read aloud a message from One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda, in which he praised Gotouge's series, and wrote: "At Jump, Demon Slayer was really amazing. I enjoyed how it was able to save the feelings of so many people. Absolutely superb work. This is how I want manga to be. It touched me, somehow!".[125] Yusuke Murata said that the series' contribution to the industry as a whole is immeasurable,[126] while Gege Akutami commented that the series created many new manga fans.[127]

In January 2021, Gundam franchise's creator Yoshiyuki Tomino discussed his thoughts on the series in an interview, where he said that he initially felt jealous of how the series attracted "such a dedicated and talented staff", and said: "The voice actors are great, the composer of the song that everyone knows is great. So many talented people showed up! In that sense, what I felt surpassed envy, and I started thinking, 'Man, those guys sure are something!'". Nevertheless, Tomino called the series cultural success a coincidence, explaining: "I don't think that Demon Slayer is a calculated or contrived work. I think that its assemblage was quite a coincidence", adding that in the anime industry people often get chosen for a job because they "just happened to be there" or their schedules "happened to align at the right time" and that it is rare for people with exactly the ideal talents or innate qualities to get chosen.[128]

Prime minister of Japan Yoshihide Suga quoted the series at a House of Representatives Budget Committee in the National Diet in November 2020.[129][130] Some politicians in Japan used patterns and logos from the series in their campaigns in 2021.[131][132]

Manga[edit]

The series ranked 14th on the "Nationwide Bookstore Employees' Recommended Comics of 2017" poll by Honya Club online bookstore.[133] The series ranked 3rd in the Anime Hope division of the 1st annual Tsutaya Comic Awards in 2017.[134] On Kono Manga ga Sugoi!'s top 20 manga for male readers, the series ranked 19th on the 2018 list,[135] 6th on the 2019 list,[136] and 17th on the 2021 list.[137] Along with Umimachi Diary, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba ranked 10th on the 2020 "Book of the Year" list by Da Vinci magazine.[138] On Rakuten Kobo 2020 First Half Ranking, the series was first in every demographic group, from male and female teenagers to older adults.[139] The series topped on the 2021 "Book of the Year" list by Da Vinci magazine.[140] The manga was nominated for the 24th annual Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize in 2020[141] and was awarded the Special Prize from the 25th edition in 2021.[142][143] In 2020, Gotouge received the 2nd Kodansha's Noma Publishing Culture Award, which honors those who have contributed to "reinventing publishing". Gotouge received the award due to the franchise's sales, which have boosted the entire publishing industry from 2019 to 2020.[144] Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba ranked 3rd, only behind Jujutsu Kaisen and Chainsaw Man, on Alu's manga community "My Manga Best5" 2020 ranking, in which 46,641 users (via Twitter) participated.[145][146] It ranked 16th, along with Chainsaw Man, on "The Best Manga 2021 Kono Manga wo Yome!" ranking by Freestyle magazine.[147] On TV Asahi's Manga Sōsenkyo 2021 poll, in which 150.000 people voted for their top 100 manga series, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba ranked 2nd, only behind One Piece.[148][149] Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba was nominated for the 52nd Seiun Awards in the Best Comic category in 2021.[150] In 2021, the manga won the Comic division's grand prize of the 50th Japan Cartoonists Association Awards.[151]

Yoshihiro Togashi wrote a praising comment featured on the obi of series 4th volume.[152][153] Osamu Akimoto wrote a praising comment featured on the obi of the series 5th volume.[154] Author Kinoko Nasu called it one of his favorite new manga works.[155] Comedian and novelist Naoki Matayoshi also praised the series.[156]

Sales[edit]

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is one of the best-selling manga series of all time. As of February 2019, the series had 3.5 million copies in circulation worldwide,[157] over 10 million copies in circulation as of September 2019,[2] over 25 million copies in circulation as of December 2019,[158] and over 40 million copies in circulation in February 2020.[159] By the end of February 2020, it was revealed that the franchise has sold 40.3 million copies, making it the fifth best-selling manga in Oricon's history.[160] On May 6, 2020, the franchise recorded over 60 million copies in circulation (including digital copies).[161][162] On May 22, 2020, it was revealed that the series has sold 60.027 million physical print copies, making it the third series in Oricon's history to sell over 60 million physical print copies.[163] In July 2020, the franchise recorded over 80 million copies in circulation,[164] including 71 million physical print copies sold.[165] With the release of volume 22 on October 2, 2020, the franchise recorded 100 million copies in circulation,[166][167] including 90.518 million physical print copies sold,[168] making it as well the ninth series from Weekly Shōnen Jump to reach 100 million copies in circulation, after KochiKame, Fist of the North Star, Dragon Ball, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Slam Dunk, One Piece, Naruto and Bleach.[169][b] In December 2020, the series recorded over 120 million copies in circulation (including digital copies),[172][171][173] including 102.892 million copies sold, making Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the second manga series to sell over 100 million copies in Oricon's records after One Piece, which achieved this feat in 2012.[174] In February 2021, the manga recorded over 150 million copies in circulation (including digital copies).[175][176]

In February 2020, volume 19 of the series sold an estimated 1.378 million copies in its first week, making Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the third manga series to have a single print volume sell more than 1 million copies in its first week, after One Piece (45 times) and Attack on Titan (2 times).[177] In May 2020, the regular and limited editions of volume 20 of the series sold a total of 1,990,249 physical print copies.[163] In July 2020, the regular and limited editions of volume 21 sold a total of 2,041,177 physical print copies.[165] In October 2020, volume 22 ranked 1st in Oricon's manga sales chart for four consecutive weeks, with 326,000 physical print copies sold.[168] In December 2020, the 23rd and final volume sold 2.855 million copies in its first week, the most that any manga volume has sold in one week in Oricon's history.[174] In January 2021, it was reported that volumes 8, 1, and 7 of the series sold cumulative totals of 5.03 million, 5.029 million, and 5.009 million copies, respectively, being the first manga volumes to sell over 5 million copies in Oricon's history.[178]

In November 2019, Shueisha stated that Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba was their second best-selling manga 2019 (from the period between November 2018 to November 2019), with 10.8 million volumes sold, second only to Eiichiro Oda's One Piece, with 12.7 million volumes sold in the same period.[179] Nevertheless, the series ranked 1st in 2019 Oricon's annual manga ranking chart, with over 12 million copies sold, while One Piece ranked at 2nd, with over 10.1 million copies sold (from the same period between November 2018 to November 2019), making Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the best-selling manga of 2019.[c][180] Oda wrote a message regarding Gotouge's manga achievement.[181] Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba was the first series to take all top 10 positions of Oricon's weekly manga chart.[182] The manga occupied the entire top 10 for a full month, and it was also the first series in Oricon's history to occupy the entire top 19 weekly rank.[183][184] In October 2020, the twenty-two volumes, at the time, of the series occupied the top 22 spots of Oricon's weekly manga chart.[168] It was the best-selling manga for the first half of 2020, with 45,297,633 copies sold,[185] and its twenty volumes (including a special edition of volume 20) at the time, were among the top 25 best-selling manga volumes of 2020.[186] Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba's first twenty-two volumes were the best-selling manga volumes of 2020,[187] making the series as well the best-selling manga series in 2020 (from the period between November 2019 to November 2020), with 82,345,447 copies sold.[188] Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba was the best-selling manga series in the first half of 2021, with over 26 million copies sold,[189] while four of its volumes (volumes 18, 19, 22, and 23), the gaiden volume, and the first fanbook were among the 25 best-selling manga volumes.[190]

Critical reception[edit]

Before its anime series adaptation, Nicholas Dupree of Anime News Network included Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba on his list of "The Most Underrated Shonen Jump Manga", and wrote: "Kimetsu is still arguably an oddity in Jump, but it's firmly established its style that's certainly worth looking out for".[191] Rebecca Silverman of the same website ranked the first volume as a B−. Silverman praised the plot ideas and characters but had issues with its pacing. She labeled Gotouge's art as "unpolished and inconsistent," although she commended details such as those in Tanjiro and Nezuko's clothing which illustrate both the poverty and loving environment from where they come. Silverman concluded that it is the work of a promising author and had positive expectations for the series' development.[192] Leroy Douresseaux of ComicBookBin gave the first volume a score of 9/10. He commended the series for its "ability to convey power in simplicity," explaining that Gotouge's art is "nice" but overly detailed, and the dialogue and exposition are straightforward. Douresseaux praised its characters and recommended the series to fans of demon-fighting heroes.[193] Nick Smith of ICv2 gave the first volume a score of 4/5. He wrote that the story is well crafted and the characters intriguing, but the setting is "too deadly for the survival of the human race." Smith said that the artwork is good but not special and recommended the series to "teens and adults who like heroes fighting back against horrific evil."[194] Chris Beveridge of The Fandom Post criticized the first chapter for being "overly wordy when just the action would suffice," and ultimately called it "a work-in-progress series."[195] After having watched the anime adaptation, Melina Dargis of the same website was so fascinated by the story and characters that she decided to go back and review the second volume of the manga. Despite knowing what would happen, Dargis wrote that it was "still such a delight to relive it again" and concluded; "It's a really great story and appeals to a wide variety of interests."[196] Nobuyuki Izumi of Real Sound compared the series' premise, setting, and structure to Hirohiko Araki's JoJo's Bizarre Adventure's first two parts Phantom Blood and Battle Tendency, and to Kazuhiro Fujita's Ushio and Tora.[197]

Light novels[edit]

In 2019, Demon Slayer: Flower of Happiness had about 210,966 copies sold, and Demon Slayer: One-Winged Butterfly had about 196,674 copies sold. Both novels ranked 3rd and 4th respectively in Oricon's overall bunko ranking chart.[198] Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba overall novelization was the 10th best-selling light novel in 2019, with 407,640 copies sold.[199] In February 2020, after a planned reprint collectively 1.16 million copies were in circulation, making the books the fastest franchise novel in Shueisha's "Jump J-Books" label to reach 1 million copies in circulation.[200] The two light novels were the best-selling novels of the first half of 2020, collectively selling a total of 1,199,863 copies.[201][202] The Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba overall novelization was the best-selling light novel of 2020, with 2,752,593 copies sold.[203] The Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba overall novelization was the best-selling novel series in the first half of 2021, collectively selling a total of 651,358 copies,[204] while the three novels and the Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train novelization (and its "Mirai bunko" edition), were among the best-selling-novel volumes in the first half of 2021.[205]

In May 2020, Demon Slayer: Flower of Happiness ranked 10th in a favorite children's book poll conducted by the Children's Book Election Office, among over 250,000 elementary school children.[206]

Anime[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

Writing for Monsters and Critics, Patrick Frye wrote that the anime adaptation is "praised [for] the animation quality and flowing battle scenes that integrate digital effects seamlessly" while noting that "some fans have complained about weird story pacing issues thanks to flashbacks and some slow moments, but everyone agrees that once the action picks up, it's amazing."[207] Writing for Anime News Network, James Beckett highlighted Episode 19 by noting it was "a thrilling showstopper of an episode, showing off ufotable's considerable skills as producers of nearly unrivaled action spectacle."[208]

The anime series has been considered one of the best anime of the 2010s. Polygon's Austen Goslin wrote that "Few shows over the last 10 years have so clearly or unabashedly made fights their focus, and absolutely none of them have done it as well as Demon Slayer".[209] Crunchyroll listed it in their "Top 25 best anime of the 2010s", with reviewer Daniel Dockery commenting, "From the top-notch action choreography to the understated (and sometimes not so understated) emotional moments, to the infinitely meme-able Inosuke, Demon Slayer can be a wonder to behold".[210][211] Writing for Comic Book Resources, Sage Ashford ranked it second on his list, praising its animation and protagonists, whom he called "the most likable male and female leads of the decade".[212] IGN also listed Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba among the best anime series of the 2010s.[213] Japan Web Magazine ranked the series 1st on its list of "30 Best Anime of All Time".[214]

Accolades[edit]

The anime won the 2019 Newtype Anime Awards in the fields of "best TV anime", "best male character" (Tanjiro Kamado), "best female character" (Nezuko Kamado), "best theme song", "best director", "best character design", "best voice actor" (Natsuki Hanae), and "best voice actress" (Akari Kitō).[215] In the February 2020 issue of Animedia magazine, it was revealed that the series received eleven awards for its characters at the "Animedia Character Awards 2019".[216] In February 2020, the series was awarded "Anime of the Year" at the Crunchyroll Anime Awards, while Tanjiro won the "Best Boy" category and the fight of Tanjiro and his sister Nezuko versus Rui won the "Best Fight Scene" category.[217] The series also won the Anime of the Year Grand Prize in the Television category at the Tokyo Anime Awards Festival 2020.[218] In a poll conducted by Kadokawa Game Linkage of the most satisfying series of 2019, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba ranked in the first place, and it was also reported that between its debut episode and last episode the viewership numbers increased by 1.4 million.[219][220] In April 2020, the anime series won the Grand Prix award and the New Face Award at the Japan Character Award by Japan's Character Brand Licensing Association (CBLA).[221] In 2020, the series became one of five recipients of the Special Achievement Award at the 62nd Japan Record Awards.[222]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Adult Swim premiered the series on Saturday at 1:30 a.m. (25:30) ET/PT, which is effectively Sunday.[59]
  2. ^ According to Anime News Network, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba was the 8th WSJ's series to reach 100 million copies in circulation,[170] however, they did not count Fist of the North Star, another WSJ's manga series that had reached 100 million copies in circulation.[171]
  3. ^ Oricon does not count digital copies of manga.[168]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]