Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba has been on everyone's mind recently — in large part due to the epic run of its first film, Mugen Train. The movie shattered records left and right, knocking everything from Pokémon to multiple Studio Ghibli films down a few pegs.
Everyone has their own opinions on what's making this shonen battler such a force to be reckoned with. Did it just come out at "the right time"? Does it have some secret sauce that we can't define? We don't think so. We think it's way simpler... and you all probably know the answer already as fans.
Nonetheless, here are a few of the reasons we believe Demon Slayer has fought its way into hearts around the world.
Not Your Standard Revenge Story
The desire for revenge is a huge motivator, and it's all over anime. It creates compelling villains and morally grey heroes, and it's the central theme of more than one isekai series lately. Demon Slayer is also a revenge story... but there's more to it than just wanting to off the people who hurt someone.
In case you don't know the brief by now: Tanjiro Kamado's very nice family gets killed off by demons. All save for Nezuko, who has become a demon. But somehow, she's retained some of her humanity — so Tanjiro trains to be a demon slayer, taking down the monsters who killed most of his family and saving the one person he has left. It's an awfully hopeful revenge story, isn't it?
Koyoharu Gotouge's original manga of Demon Slayer depicts the heroes' "Breathing Styles" in beautiful, artistic sweeps. The anime brings this to life beautifully, to the point that we could just watch the combat and feel happy.
Tanjiro's Water Breathing Style looks like a classic painting. Zenitsu moves like a lightning bolt, complete with a rapid zigzag trail (though he sleeps right through it). Cool anime fight scenes are always a plus, but combat that's actually beautiful is rare.
Pretty Animation Overall
The Breathing Styles are beautiful, but it's much fairer to say that Demon Slayer is beautiful as a whole. Even when it's gritty and dark and full of scary monsters, the animation is just gorgeous.
Animation studio ufotable already has a lot of impressive titles under its belt, including several Fate series. Hearing their name connected to an anime is a pretty good indication that you're going to be watching a lot of beauty. They don't disappoint.
Humor and Heart
It's a show about murderous demons and the people who slay them, so of course Demon Slayer is going to be a largely dramatic show. But, like all the best series, it cuts the drama with a healthy dose of humor.
Not only that — it's attracted some generous fans who clearly identify with its stars. A charitable anon calling themselves "Inosuke" left supplies for a teaching hospital in Japan in the early stages of the pandemic. It's a common practice to leave anonymous charitable donations in the names of altruistic anime characters, and seeing that there's at least one Inosuke out there is heartening.
The #1 reason for Demon Slayer's wild popularity.
In all seriousness, Nezuko is a fun character. She'll absolutely rip someone apart with her bare hands, but she'll also fit in your backpack. She won over fans and fellow characters alike, with or without Tanjiro speaking up for her. We can't wait to see her story progress onscreen.
There's very little sign of Demon Slayer slowing down. A second season and second movie are in the works. And with the manga already done, the anime has a clear road ahead. No matter why you got into it, there's no doubt: this train is still rolling.