Tag Archives: fantasy manga

Book Review: Demon Slayer, Vol 13 by Koyoharu Gotouge

Demon Slayer, Vol 13     

Author: Koyoharu Gotouge

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: June 2, 2020

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Fantasy Manga/192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Tanjiro and Genya find themselves facing demons who, when struck, divide!  Simply cutting their heads off is not going to work with these fellows!. Instructing Nezuko to assist Genya with one demon, Tanjiro goes after the other, determined to best him no matter what. Meanwhile, Tokito, the Mist Hashira, is in a position to help the swordsmith Kotetsu. At first he sees no reason to do so, until he remembers what Tanjiro told him, that helping others can often help you help yourself. So he decides to assist Kotetsu.

It seems that Nezuko is growing in strength. Tanjiro is determined to go to her and Genya’s aid. But he has to finish this demon first. Tanjiro discovers that his sister’s blood has some amazing abilities. Back at the village, Tokito and Kotetsu are up against Gyokko, attempting to save the village that is so important to the demon slayers. Assistance arrives in the form of Mitsuri, the Love Hashira.

With Nezuko’s blood strengthening his blade, Tanjiro calls upon the memory of another swordsman, one who came close to cutting off the demon Muzan’s head! But wait! There seems to be a fifth demon? Why can’t Genya see him? Genya tries but fails to cut off the little demon’s head. Will he allow Tanjiro to do what a Hashira cannot?

It’s interesting to watch how both Tanjiro and Nezuko are growing and developing in their abilities. Hopefully at some point they will be able to stop Lord Muzan himself and Nezuko will be able to become human again. The back story for Genya was bittersweet and revealed much about him. The demons in this volume are very interesting. I like how there is a great variety in the demons, each with a unique style, and none of them are slam-dunk victories.

Looking forward to the next volume!

Book Review: Demon Slayer, Vol 12 by Koyoharu Gotouge

Demon Slayer, Vol 12   

Author: Koyoharu Gotouge

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: March 3, 2020

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Fantasy Manga/192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

The upper echelon demons are gathering, no doubt to receive Lord Muzan’s latest instructions regarding the current situation. Apparently, they do not all get along, and even among so-called allies there is a certain amount of animosity and competitiveness as they attempt to curry Muzan’s faavor. Some of these demons are certainly less human than others and some are decidedly creepy. When Muzan announces the death of Gyutaro, Doma offers to gouge out one of his eyes as atonement for having brought Gyutaro and Daki to his lord’s notice. Muzan declines the offer. He tells them he sees them all as failures, having failed to live up to his expectations. The Ubuyashiki family is still alive and the blue spider lily has not been found. Gyokku claims to have information on the family’s whereabouts, so Muzan says once confirmation is obtained, he and Hantengu should go there.

Tanjiro awakens from what must have been a dream – or was it a memory – to find that he has been unconscious for two months. He asks after his friends and learns that Zenitsu awoke and was sent on a mission, and Tengen was up, but supported by his wives’ shoulders. Inosuke, on the other hand, was in bad shape. Tanjiro decides he must be hallucinating seeing  Inosuke on the ceiling, but it’s really him. Tanjiro inquires if a katana has come for him, as his was chipped in the recent battle. But all he has received is an angry letter from Haganezuka. It is suggested that Tanjiro go to see the swordsmith in person , and Tanjiro is surprised to learn how close the swordsmith village is. But getting there is far from straightforward.

On Tanjiro’s arrival, he learns that the swordsmith has disappeared and is being sought. Probably sulking, they assume, as that is often his way. Not because his sword has been damaged but because of what he perceives as his shoddy workmanship that allowed the sword to be damaged. While searching, Tanjiro encounters a rude Hashira bullying a small swordsmith, so he intervenes. Tokito, the Mist Hashira, insists on using the practice doll, although Kotetsu tells him it will break. But every action has its consequences, even selfish ones.

This begins the Swordsmith Village arc, and we are seeing the upper ranked demons in larger numbers than before. Their relationship to their lord is interesting to watch, and you know they are just jockeying for position in order to get closer to him. They’re feeling the pressure of his displeasure and will do anything to regain his favor. The swordsmiths are interesting. We see little of Inosuke this volume, and none of Zenitsu, but I’m sure they’ll be back soon. Muzan is an interesting study, cold-hearted demon that he is. In this volume, he was actually standing on the ceiling as he addressed them.  It’s always fun to watch Tanjiro battle, and he certainly has to keep his wits about him to defeat these foes. Hopefully he’ll be able to obtain the blood he needs to help cure Nezuko.

Great volume, looking forward to the next one!

Book Review: Demon Slayer, Vol 11 by Koyoharu Gotouge

Demon Slayer, Vol 11   

Author: Koyoharu Gotouge

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: March 3, 2020

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Fantasy Manga/192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Daki’s brother Gyutaro is fast, like a mantis. He’s proving to be difficult to kill, even with the combined efforts of Tengen, Tanjiro and the others. Thinking quickly, Tanjiro slices off his feet and keeps them from regenerating with the use of wisteria extract. But how long can such tactics work on this demon?

Tanjiro’s quick thinking and fast actions save the life of one of Tengen’s wives. The Hashira is grateful to him, and says he owes him one. Everyone tries to cut off Gyutaro’s head, but that proves to be trickier than they thought. And now Daki is back in action?  Perhaps they should cut off her head first… assuming they can.

Tanjiro refuses to give up, no matter how bleak things look. And they are looking pretty bleak. How many more will they have to lose?

In this volume, we get to see Daki and Gyutaro’s back story. No one is born evil, and neither were they. Sometimes people are born into difficult situations and they do the best they can.  Also, we get a glimpse into the relationship between Tengen and his three wives. This was a pretty good battle, and it was hard to know what the outcome was going to be. But since this isn’t the last volume of the series, it should be apparent that good must prevail.

Good volume, looking forward to seeing more of the mystery guest introduced on the last page!

Book Review: Demon Slayer, Vol 10 by Koyoharu Gotouge

Demon Slayer, Vol 10   

Author: Koyoharu Gotouge

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: January 7,  2020

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Fantasy Manga/200 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

The battle against Daki continues with the addition of Tengen. The demon is pleased at the presence of a Hashira, knowing that Muzan Kibutsuji will be pleased. Tanjiro is determined to take her down, unable and unwilling to tolerate the presence of soulless monsters in this world. He is attempting to slice off her head, but the many strands of her obi are preventing him from doing so. Just when things look pretty bleak, it’s Nezuko to the rescue! Daki realizes she is the demon Lord Muzan told her of, and is determined to end Nezuko’s life for her lord’s sake.

Nezuko’s strength seems to have grown, as she fights against Daki. But she seems to be losing control of herself in the process, and Tanjiro fears for her. Tengen’s arrival is fortuitous. Hopefully Tanjiro can persuade his sister to go to sleep and heal. Tengen succeeds in slicing off Daki’s head… but it’s not going to be that simple. A second demon has arisen from Daki’s back. Turns out she has a brother, Gyutaro, and he’s worse than his sister. Oh dear! And just as determined to protect Daki as Tanjiro is to protect Nezuko.

And now the arrival of the cavalry in the form of Inosuke and Zenitsu, and thank goodness Zenitsu is asleep!

I love to watch Tanjiro develop as a fighter, the way he learns from his mistakes, as well as his determination to succeed. Not for himself, but for his loved ones as well as all people. He is such a good character, and so is Nezuko. In this volume, we meet another brother and sister who are just as devoted to one another. A good study in the definitions of love and good versus evil. It’s not all black and white, and no one is entirely bad, not even demons. I enjoyed seeing a little bit of Inosuke’s backstory in a bonus chapter. My kid loves him, and I still haven’t spotted his redeeming values, more how irritating he is, but I haven’t given up on him. He’ll probably grow on me lol  Still prefer Zenitsu asleep.

Good volume, looking forward to the next one!

Book Review: Demon Slayer, Vol 9 by Koyoharu Gotouge

Demon Slayer, Vol 9     

Author: Koyoharu Gotouge

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: November 5, 2019

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Fantasy Manga/192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Tengen Uzui is one flashy Hashira! Tanjiro, Zenitsu, and Inoskue agree to go with him on a mission in order to spare the shy Kanao. They have no idea what they are getting themselves into! Tengen begins by explaining to the three demon slayers that he is a god and they are trash. What a way to begin a working relationship! He takes them into the Entertainment District. While he searches for a Demon, their job is to find and contact his three wives, who are working undercover there. Unsure exactly which houses they are at, Tengen has narrowed the list down to the three most likely locations and splits up the three demon slayers accordingly. However, there is a catch… they also have to dress as women and they have to be selected by these houses!

After making them up as women, Tengen approaches the first house. The owners find the “girls” ugly but decide to take the honest-looking one, Tanjiro.  A Madam from the House Ogimoto offers to take Inosuke, which only leaves Zenitsu, who is angry at Tengen because he is too handsome (he has removed his flashiness momentarily). When they clean up Inosuke, they find his natural looks much more pleasing than the make-up job Tengen did on him, not surprising since he has a girly face. Tengen manages to place Zenitsu, even though he is considered to be ugly, because of Tengen’s own good looks. But it’s the House’s lucky day as “she” proves to be very talented, despite “her” looks.

The three begin to investigate, listening and watching, and they learn that girls have been going missing, to the consternation of the other girls. Tanjiro learns that one of the missing girls is one of Tengen’s wives! Can they find the missing girls and rescue them before it’s too late?

I must say Tengen is an interesting character, although very arrogant and full of himself. I was sad when Rengoku died unexpectedly in the last arc. And even though Tengen is the way he is, I would hate to see him suffer the same fate. He certainly is flashy, though, and he knows how to fight. Seeing Tanjiro, Zenitsu, and Inosuke in drag is hilarious! I wasn’t surprised that they washed off Inosuke’s make-up and found what was beneath to be much better. As usual, there is a great deal of humor in this volume as well as drama, as they search for Tengen’s missing wives. (I assume polygamy is okay here). An intriguing behind-the-scenes look at a few of the houses in the Entertainment District. I love the artwork, especially the full color pictures. The author has created some memorable characters, can’t wait to see where their adventures take them.

Great volume, looking forward to more of the same!

Book Review: Demon Slayer, Vol 8 by Koyoharu Gotouge

Demon Slayer, Vol 8     

Author: Koyoharu Gotouge

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: September 3, 2019

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Fantasy Manga/192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Thanks to the Demon Slayers, the Train of Infinite Dreams has been derailed, but Tanjiro stays Inosuke’s hand when he would kill the demon responsible. Tanjiro says “he’s suffered enough”. The demon blames Tanjiro for what happened, but most of all he blames Rengoku. Although Tanjiro is injured, he is encouraged by Rengoku to keep doing his best, which words he takes to heart.

But it’s not all over, not when a higher rank demon suddenly appears! Impressed by his strength, he tries to get Rengoku to become a demon. If not, he plans to kill him. Rengoku warns Tanjiro to stay still, so he can heal, and not to get involved in this fight. As morning approaches, and with it the light, the demon fights even harder, and although Inosuke and Tanjiro join in the battle, the results are not as they would wish.

Rengoku tells Tanjiro that he believes in Nezuko, having seen that she is good, and  not to grieve over him. But of course Tanjiro grieves, as so the other Hashira. Meanwhile the demon reports to Lord Muzan, who is currently using the appearance of a child. Muzan isn’t impressed with the death of one demon slayer – he seeks the death of the entire corps.

Entrusted by Rengoku with messages for his father and brother, Tanjiro slips away, although not fully healed, in order to comply with Rengoku’s wishes. While his brother is sad, Rengoku’s father is angry and denounces his son as worthless. He takes out his frustrations on Tanjiro. And if that wasn’t bad enough, Tanjiro has to face Haganezuka again!

Tanjiro stops Ranao from being kidnapped in order to go on a mission,  but finds himself volunteering in her place, and he is joined by Inosuke and Zenitsu.  Oh-oh, what’s up now?

This volume was unexpected due to the loss of some we barely got to know. Much sadness, but that, of course, is a part of life., which is one of this manga’s strengths. The good don’t always win and the bad don’t always lose.  Tanjiro is growing as a character, but to are Inosuke and Zenitsu.  I am curious to see what mission the three will undertake next, and who is this guy with the unusual bejeweled look? Good volume, looking forward to the next one.

Book Review: Demon Slayer, Vol 6 by Koyoharu Gotouge

Demon Slayer, Vol 6     

Author: Koyoharu Gotouge

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: May 7, 2019

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Fantasy Manga/200 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Tanjiro and the others are saved by the arrival of higher level Demon Slayers, the Hashira, but one of them, Shinobu, is intent on destroying Nezuko, who is being protected by another Hashira named Tomioka. Tomioka tells Tanjiro to take Nezuko and flee, but Shinobu is determined to slay the demon in their midst. Luckily a message arrives to take both Tanjiro and his sister to headquarters. There Tanjiro is told he is to be put on trial.

The Hashira have differing opinions on what to do with Tanjiro and his sister, and some of their solutions are rather bloodthirsty. One of them is more concerned with punishing Tomioka since he broke the rules by protecting a demon. Tanjiro tries to explain about the circumstances which led to Nezuko becoming a demon, and how she has never eaten human flesh in all this time and would never hurt a human. And how he became a swordsman in order to protect her. One rather insane Hashira, covered with scars, picks up Nezuko’s box and decides to insert his sword into it randomly. Naturally, Tanjiro attacks him, even though his hands are bound behind him and he has no weapon.

The Master of the mansion arrives, and he seems like a rather laid back sort of guy. He tells the others that he accepts Tanjiro and Nezuko, then proceeds to have read a letter from Urokodaki, verifying what Tanjiro has been trying to tell them. The Master then explains that Muzan Kibutsuji has sent agents after the brother and sister, thus exposing more of himself to them than he has ever done before. Surely this means something. The insane Hashira decides to test Nezuko for himself, though, expecting to trick her into drinking human blood.

While the Hashira deliberate, Tanjiro is sent to the Butterfly Mansion. They take him and Nezuko to the infirmary, where he is reunited with an unhappy Zenitsu and a slumbering Inosuke. The four are left to heal until Shinobu comes to tell them it’s time for their rehabilitation training. After a few days of intense training, Zenitsu and Inosuke quit showing up, but Tanjiro persists. He is determined to do his best and then help the others to succeed as well.

Since Tanjiro’s sword was broken, a new one needs to be forged. And the sword maker is not happy that this is necessary, taking it out on Tanjiro when he delivers the new blade. And in other news, another side of Muzan Kibutsuji is revealed.

I love the humor in these stories, and I love the characters. They are very much unique and well-drawn. There is also a great deal of warmth and love, especially between Tanjiro and his sister, and the way he relates to other people. Well, most of the time. He does have his moments, of course. The surprise reveal about Muzan was … well, surprising. I certainly didn’t see that coming.

Still haven’t changed my mind about Inosuke, maybe later.  Good volume, looking forward to more.

Book Review: Demon Slayer, Vol 5 by Koyoharu Gotouge

Demon Slayer, Vol 5     

Author: Koyoharu Gotouge

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: March 5, 2019

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Fantasy Manga//192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

While on their way to Mt. Natagumo, having been summoned there, Tanjiro, Inosuke, and Zenitsu find themselves battling a family of spider demons in the forest! Although not actually related, Rui binds the family together through fear because of his desire to be part of a family. The largest spider demon is the father, who acts on orders from his “children”.

As Inosuke faces down the father, Tanjiro tells him to hang in there, he’ll be back as soon as he can. But Inosuke has doubts he will last that along. However assistance arrives from an unexpected source, and Inosuke is impressed by the skill of the newcomer. Tanjiro has problems of his own, though, when his blade breaks.

Rui captures Nezuko and tells Tanjiro he will let him live if he gives up his sister to him. Of course, Tanjiro won’t agree to that. The daughter spider demon sees the relationship between Tanjiro and Nezuko and longs for something like that for herself. Will Tanjiro be able to rescue his sister when the web these demons weave is so very strong?

Another member of the Hashira arrives, Shinobu, who is adorned with butterflies. Admittedly the only Hashira who cannot cut off a demon’s head, she has her own methods of defeating them. Namely through the use of poisons. Shinobu is determined to rid the world of all demons. And she makes no exception for the demon that Tanjiro is protecting. Will she kill Nezuko?

Most of this volume is about the demon spiders and the fight against them, but we do gain two new characters – Shinobu and Tomioka. I liked seeing the backstory of the demons, and how they came to form a “family”. That just goes to reinforce what Tanjiro says about demons all having been human at one time. We also see how Muzan insinuates himself into a situation in order to make new demons.

On an aside, I love the colors of Tanjiro’s outfit, as well as his earrings. I read that patterns from Demon Slayer have now been trademarked.

Another good volume, looking forward to more.

Book Review: Demon Slayer, Vol 4 by Koyoharu Gotouge

Demon Slayer, Vol 4     

Author: Koyoharu Gotouge

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: January 1, 2019

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Fantasy Manga//192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Zenitsu awakens to find himself outside of the house of monsters, with no memory of what happened or how he got there. He’s too grateful to question that, though. Until the guy with the boar’s head comes charging out, exclaims he smells demon, and heads straight for Tanjiro’s box! What else can Zenitsu do but defend it, because this is more precious than life to Tanjiro, no matter the cost? Tanjiro himself arrives just in time to defend the battered Zenitsu from being beaten any further. Turns out the guy with the boar’s head is Inosuke, and he’s a Demon Slayer too.

Tanjiro’s crow arrives and leads the three Demon Slayers to the house of the Fuji Family, who have a wisteria crest, where they can heal. In the middle of the night, Zenitsu is upset to find that Tanjiro’s box seems to be moving. When Nezuko comes out, Zenitsu becomes angry because Tanjiro’s been keeping this cute girl all to himself!

Once healed, the three receive an urgent summons. They must head to Mount Natagumo as soon as possible. En route, they run across another member of the Demon Slayer Corps, who seems to be badly injured, and begs for their help. Suddenly, the young man is picked up and pulled back into the forest. Tanjiro and Inosuke decide to go in after him, while Zenitsu waits for them. They meet another member of the Corps who is disappointed to see them since they are such low level Slayers. He explains that he is part of a group of ten Hashira level slayers who, once they arrived at this place, began to kill one another! They have all fallen under the spell of a powerful Demon!

It seems that some of the Slayers have become hideous hybrid spider creatures! And the demons who are doing this to them are part of some evil Family. How will Tanjiro and Inosuke combat them if they get caught up in their spider strands?

This volume of Demon Slayer finds the boys getting into trouble while on the way to Mount Natagumo. This family of demons is very creepy, and a great challenge to both Tanjiro and Inosuke. It will be interesting to see how they fight their way out. I love how Zenitsu has become totally devoted to Nezuko (even though he knows she is a demon). We get a little of his back story in this volume, and I have to admit I like him better than I did before, especially when he’s sleeping lol. The jury is still out on Inosuke, although I might change my mind about him later, but as of right now, he’s given me no reason to and I find him very annoying. Not much of Nezuko this time, but hopefully more in the next volume.

Looking forward to the next one!

Book Review: Demon Slayer, Vol 3 by Koyoharu Gotouge

Demon Slayer, Vol 3     

Author: Koyoharu Gotouge

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: November 6, 2018

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Fantasy Manga//192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

After a near encounter with the demon Kibutsuji, Tanjiro and Nezuko end up in the home of a demon doctor, Lady Tamayo, and her besotted assistant Yushiro. There they are attacked by two of Kibutsuji’s demons, Susamaru and Yahaba. Tanjiro has met his match with Yahaba, the arrow demon. The disdainful demon cuts Tanjiro’s opening thread, and refers to him as a dirty child. The two demons decide to take back both Tanjiro’s head and Tamayo’s, as she is a runaway, hoping to please their master. Tanjiro finds himself helpless against the manipulation of Yahaba’s arrows, but he has to succeed, he can’t afford to lose. In the meantime, Nezuko is fending off the temari balls that Susumaru is throwing at her. Tamayo finds Nezuko’s growing strength—without consuming human flesh—to be amazing.

Afterward, as they prepare to leave, Tamayo offers to keep Nezuko with them and out of harm’s way. But Tanjiro can’t bring himself to leave his sister behind, especially after seeing the look in her eyes. Together forever, that’s what they are.

Tanjiro receives another mission immediately, and on the way there, he runs across an odd fellow in the middle of the road who is begging a woman to marry him. The woman looks horrified. Tanjiro helps her out, only to discover that the whiny guy is a fellow Demon Slayer named Zenitsu. Zenitsu is a pitiful excuse for a Demon Slayer, and loudly proclaims just how weak he really is. They travel on together and encounter two trembling children outside of a house. Turns out that it’s a house of monsters and their brother is inside! Zenitsu complains of the noise coming from the house, but Tanjiro can’t hear anything.

Tanjiro leaves the box with Nezuko with the children for their protection, and takes Zenitsu into the house. But the children follow unexpectedly.  Tanjiro and the girl, whose name is Teruko, become separated from Zenitsu and the boy. Tanjiro begins to realize that the rooms change. He sees a large demon, whose smell is the strongest in the house. Meanwhile another player has entered the scene, a bare-chested fellow with a boar’s head over his head, and he’s wielding nichirin swords.

One of Demon Slayer’s strengths is its great characters. It’s hard not to like and root for Tanjiro and Nezuko, even if she is a demon. Not like it’s her fault or anything. And she goes against the grain in that she doesn’t want to hurt humans and wants to protect them instead. Ditto with Lady Tamayo, even if Yushiro is a bit of an ass.  Muzan Kibutsuji, although not seen in this volume, is a fascinating and rather charming demon – my weakness!  Now we have Zenitsu, who I find utterly whiny and spineless, but my kid assures me he has redeeming qualities, which I shall discover. I have to admit the very last scene caused me to tear up, and that involved him. The jury is still out on Mr. Boar’s Head (at this point I don’t know his name but I figured out he’s my kid’s favorite character, so I imagine I will find reason to like him too, in time).

I liked the introduction of Tamayo’s cat, who definitely serves a purpose. The demons in the house were very imaginative, especially with the moving rooms in the house, and I enjoyed that part, although I grieved at the death of one of the demon, who was actually very creative and not wholly evil.

I’m also watching the anime at the same time, and I think I am only slightly ahead of the volumes I am reading. I would recommend that too. You can find it on Crunchyroll, and I believe on Netflix too. Looking forward to the next book!