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Kimetsu no Yaiba (Demon Slayer)
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba (Japanese: 鬼滅の刃, Hepburn: Kimetsu no Yaiba, lit. “Blade of Demon Destruction”) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Koyoharu Gotōge. The story follows Tanjiro Kamado, a young boy who becomes a demon slayer after his family is slaughtered and his younger sister Nezuko is turned into a demon. It was serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump from February 2016 to May 2020, with its chapters collected in 20 tankōbon volumes as of May 2020. The series is published in English by Viz Media and simulpublished by Shueisha in English and Spanish on their Manga Plus platform.
An anime television series adaptation by Ufotable aired in Japan from April 6 to September 28, 2019. At the end of the series finale, a sequel film was announced and is scheduled to premiere on October 16, 2020.
In May 2020, the franchise recorded over 60 million copies in circulation, including digital versions, making it one of the best-selling manga series. Meanwhile, the anime series has received critical acclaim, with critics praising the animation and fight sequences. It has been considered one of the best anime of the 2010s, and has received numerous awards
In Taishō-era Japan, Tanjiro Kamado is a kind-hearted and intelligent boy who lives with his family in the mountains. He has become his family’s sole source of income after the passing of his father, making trips to the nearby village to sell charcoal. Everything changes when he comes home one day to discover that his family has been attacked and slaughtered by a demon. Tanjiro and his sister Nezuko are 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 Giyū to also become a demon slayer and begins his quest to help his sister turn human again and avenge the deaths of the rest of his family.
In 2013, Koyoharu Gotōge debuted in the 70th Jump Treasure Newcomer Manga Awards with his work Ka Gari Gari (過狩り狩り). His next works were three one-shot series; Monju Shirō Kyōdai (文殊史郎兄弟) published in the 2nd issue of Jump Next! in 2014, Rokkotsu-san (肋骨さん) published in the 39th issue of Weekly Shōnen Jump in 2014, and Haeniwa no Zigzag (蠅庭のジグザグ) published in the 21st issue of Weekly Shōnen Jump in 2015. After Haeniwa no Zigzag failed to become a serialized series, Tatsuhiko Katayama, Gotōge’s first editor, suggested to start a series with an “easy to understand theme”. Gotōge debut work Ka Gari Gari would be the base for a first storyboard titled Kisatsu no Nagare (鬼殺の流れ), since it had concepts like swords and demons, which the Japanese audience is familiar with. Due to its serious tone, lack of comic relief and dark story, the storyboard did not make the cut for serialization. Katayama asked Gotōge if he could write a brighter, a more normal character in the world that has been created. The original title was planned to be Kisatsu no Yaiba (鬼殺の刃), but they felt the character “satsu” (殺, lit. “kill”) was too strong. The word “kimetsu” (鬼滅) seemed an easy to understand word, and although it does not have a real meaning, Gotōge thought it would be interesting to abbreviate the series’ title that way, while the word “yaiba” (刃, lit. “blade”) implies a Japanese sword.
Written and illustrated by Koyoharu Gotōge, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba started in the 2016’s 11th issue of Shueisha‘s shōnen manga magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump on February 15, 2016. In April 2020, it was announced that the series would reach its climax in the 23rd issue of Weekly Shōnen Jump on May 11, 2020. The series finished in the 2020’s 24th issue of Weekly Shōnen Jump, published on May 18, 2020. Shueisha has compiled the manga chapters into individual tankōbon volumes, with the first volume being published on June 3, 2016. In April 2020, it was announced that volume 20 has been delayed to two weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As of May 2020, twenty volumes have been released.
Shueisha began simultaneously releasing the series in English on the Manga Plus service in January 2019. Viz Media published the first three chapters of the series in its digital magazine Weekly Shonen Jump as part of the “Jump Start” program. 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.
A side story for the manga was published in the first issue of Shonen Jump GIGA on July 20, 2016. Kimetsu no Yaiba: Tomioka Giyū Gaiden (鬼滅の刃 冨岡義勇 外伝), a two-chapter manga spinoff, was published in the 18th issue of Shueisha’s Weekly Shōnen Jump in 2019. Gotōge is credited with the original work, and Ryōji Hirano drawn the manga. The manga follows the character Giyū Tomioka.
Kimetsu no Aima! (きめつのあいま!), a colored 4-koma spinoff 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.
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 Gotōge 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. It also features a single chapter of an alternate universe where the characters of the series are attending 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 Gotōge 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.
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, will be published on July 3, 2020.
An anime television series adaptation by studio Ufotable was announced in the 27th issue of Weekly Shōnen Jump on June 4, 2018. The series aired from April 6 to September 28, 2019, on Tokyo MX, GTV, GYT, BS11, and other channels. The anime is directed by Haruo Sotozaki, with scripts by the Ufotable staff. Yuki Kajiura and Go Shiina are the anime’s composers, and Akira Matsushima is the character designer. Hikaru Kondo is the producer. LiSA performed the opening theme “Gurenge” (紅蓮華), while the ending theme is “from the edge” by FictionJunction feat. LiSA. The ending theme for episode 19 is “Kamado Tanjirō no Uta” (竈門炭治郎のうた) by Go Shiina featuring Nami Nakagawa. The series ran for 26 episodes.
In North America, the series is licensed by Aniplex of America, and it will be released on two Blu-ray volumes on June 30 and November 24, 2020 for a limited-edition, while the company is also partnering with Funimation to release standard-edition Blu-ray volumes in September 2020 and January 2021. It has been streamed on Crunchyroll, Hulu, and FunimationNow. In July 2019, it was announced that the English dub would premiere on Adult Swim‘s Toonami block. It premiered on the night of October 12, 2019, at 1:30 am. AnimeLab simulcasted the series in Australia and New Zealand.
Prior to airing, the first five episodes screened theatrically in Japan for two weeks from March 29, 2019, under the title Kimetsu no Yaiba: Kyōdai no Kizuna (鬼滅の刃 兄妹の絆). Aniplex of America screened the film at the Aratani Theatre in Los Angeles on March 31, 2019. Madman Entertainment screened the film in select theatres in Australia on April 2, 2019.