Tag Archives: fantasy manga

Book Review: Chainsaw Man, Vol 2 by Tatsuki Fukimoto

Chainsaw Man, Vol 2     

Author: Tatsuki Fujimoto

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: December 1, 2020

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

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Denji agrees to help Power retrieve her cat Meowy from the Bat Devil, for which she has promised him he could touch her breasts. Little did he suspect that she has led him into a trap, and he has been promised to the devil as a snack! But Denji is determined to get his reward, and he’ll do what it takes to defeat this devil! Denji isn’t the only one who was lied to, as Power and Meowy find themselves in dire straits themselves! Denji saves them only to run up against the Bat Devil’s dismayed girlfriend. She tells him to run and leave the other two behind, but he has a goal, one that doesn’t include sacrificing Power.

Afterward, Denji doesn’t hold a grudge, despite Power’s apparent betrayal. But attaining his reward isn’t as fulfilling as he anticipated it would be. What’s up with that? In Aki’s home, recuperating, Denji receives a dressing down from Aki, who reminds him he has to do as he is told. When Makima sends Power to live there too, Aki asks Makima why he gets all the dangerous ones.

Makima asks Denji why he is so down and he confesses that the dream he sought for so long wasn’t what he expected. Then she makes him an unexpected offer – if he can kill the Gun Devil, he can ask anything of her he wants… anything. She will grant him one wish. With motivation like that, how can Denji fail?

Apparently the Gun Devil appeared at the same time as a major terrorist attack in the US… and the death toll was staggering, about 1.2 million people. But the Devil hasn’t been seen since. How are they to find it? Apparently through the pieces of flesh it’s left behind, which if they accumulate enough of them will try to regenerate and through that they will find it. Of course, Denji is totally onboard for this, considering his feelings for Makima. She’s different from Power, as he’s come to realize that not all females are the same.

Aki’s group of devil hunters, including Denji and Power, head off to a local hotel, which has requested a devil be exterminated.

I am enjoying this series so far, and have decided to wait to watch more of the anime until I get further along in the manga. Denji is such a sweet innocent/terrifying devil. He learns a valuable lesson in this volume, namely that not everything you think you want will turn out the way you think it will. I like watching his interactions with the others – Makima, Power, and even Aki, who can’t stand him. Well, he says he doesn’t, I don’t totally believe him. The devil at the hotel was creepy and funny both! Looking forward to seeing more of the hunt for the Gun Devil.

Book Review: Demon Slayer, Vol 20 by Koyoharu Gotouge

Demon Slayer, Vol 20        

Author: Koyoharu Gotouge

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: February 2, 2021

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

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

The fighting intensifies as four of the Hashira battle Muzan’s number one demon, Kokushibo, who was once a demon slayer himself! But things don’t look good for the Hashira. Tokito has been gravely injured and Genya was cut in half – how is he still alive, and drawing on demon blood powers? The Stone and Wind Hashira brothers enter the fray, as they attempt to utilize their strengths against this demon. But will it be enough?

This is such an intense volume, so much going on! A real nail-biter! One of the things I like about the author is that everything is not black and white. He shows that even demons are not entirely bad, as is evidenced here with the story of Kokushibo and his twin brother.

The Demon Slayer story is beginning to draw to an end. If they can get past this demon, their next target will be Muzan. Last seen, Tanjiro was headed toward him. Can’t wait to see how everything plays out!  Great volume, looking forward to the next one!

Book Review: Chainsaw Man, Vol 1 by Tatsuki Fujimoto

Chainsaw Man, Vol 1   

Author: Tatsuki Fujimoto

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: October 6, 2020

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

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Denji’s life is a hard one. He’s begun selling body parts just to make ends meet… and to pay off the enormous debt his father accumulated before his death. Denji’s only friend is his dog Poochita, who happens to be a devil. Despite that, they’ve become close. A desperate Denji goes to the man he owes the debt to and requests he hire him as a devil hunter.

Through unfortunate circumstances, Poochita dies, but his last act is to give Denji his heart, so the boy can live, and now he is part devil himself. And that part makes him a living chainsaw man! Then he meets a girl named Makima and falls in love… and is offered the chance to make a new life for himself. Of course, that offer does have a few strings, but what the heck. Denji may actually get to achieve his lifelong dream of touching… well, you’ll see.

The first volume of this series was pretty cool, no lie, and a great supplement to watching the anime. As usual, the manga contains information that is either missing or easy to miss in the anime. Denji is an interesting character, and so are the people he gets to work with, such as Makima and Aki and Power. Looking forward to seeing where these characters’ journeys will take them!

Book Review: Demon Slayer, Vol 19 by Koyoharu Gotouge

Demon Slayer, Vol 19     

Author: Koyoharu Gotouge

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: December 1, 2020

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

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Inosuke and Kanao are facing the number 2 rank demon, Domo, who tries to confuse Inosuke with his rhetoric. But Inosuke refuses to listen. Just when things seem bleakest, assistance comes from beyond the grave, and a plan that was deliberately hatched some time ago. The question is, will it actually succeed? Or will Shinobu’s sacrifice have been in vain ?

Tanjiro and Tomioka have defeated Azaka and are recuperating when they learn of the battle Inosuke and Kanao are waging. Each battle is bringing them closer to facing Muzan! Meanwhile Tokito encounters an upper class Demon #1 who recognized something familiar in Tokito. Turns out he is a descendant of the demon! The demon is impressed with the skill displayed by the Demon Slayer. If these two are related, how will their skills compare? Genya joins the fight, but things aren’t looking well for him when he receives help from an unexpected quarter…his estranged brother Sanemi.

The major storyline in this volume concerns the two battles being waged, Inosuke and Kanao vs Domo, and Tokito and Genya against the #1. The battles are very interesting, and so is the back stories we get to learn about. I am glad to be finding out more about Inosuke, although I’m still not sure why he feels the need to wear the boar’s head. Maybe because his face is very feminine and he’s afraid he won’t be taken seriously with a girly face and a manly body.

They’re getting closer and closer to destroying Muzan. I have to believe that the final battle will include Tanjiro and Nezuko. Will the story continue once they defeat him? I hope so. This is a great world the author has built, and I’d love to see it continue. Great volume, looking forward to the next.

Book Review: Demon Slayer, Vol 18 by Koyoharu Gotouge

Demon Slayer, Vol 18   

Author: Koyoharu Gotouge

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: November 3, 2020

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

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Tanjiro and Tomioka face Akaza, Number 3 Upper Level Demon. He sneers at Tanjiro, certain that the demon slayer has used all of his water moves. But does Tanjiro have something else up his sleeve? Tanjiro has finally come to understand what his father meant by the Transparent World.  Having killed Rengoku, and believing he has killed Tanjiro, Akaza taunts Tomioka, unaware that his fate is right behind him. But when Tanjiro slices off the demon’s head, he doesn’t die! What’s up with that?

Kanao is in a struggle with the demon who killed her sister, Doma. When Inosuke comes to Kanao’s rescue, Doma is mildly amused, but certainly not threatened. In fact, Doma thinks they have met before… a long long time ago. When Inosuke was just a baby in the arms of his mother. Can what he says be true?

Much of this volume is taken up with Akaza’s backstory, which is interesting. It’s nice to get to know the characters, even the so-called bad ones. Everybody has a story to tell. Plus we finally meet Inosuke’s mother and learn more of the circumstances of what made him what he is now. Also, Tanjiro is growing exponentially. He’ll be a Hashira in no time, if not more.

Great volume, looking forward to the next one.

Book Review: Demon Slayer, Vol 17 by Koyoharu Gotouge

Demon Slayer, Vol 17   

Author: Koyoharu Gotouge

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: October 6, 2020

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

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Shinobu and Tanjiro battle Doma, Upper Demon  #2, still reeling from the death of their kind-hearted master. Meanwhile, Zenitsu faces one who was once his senior, but now is a demon. And the new head of the Ubuyashiki family carries on as best he can, with the assistance of his younger sisters, even though he is only 8 years old!

Kaigaku taunts Zenitsu for his perceived weakness, despite not having seen him in some time. Zenitsu admits he can only do the first form, and that Kaigaku can do everything but that. Surprisingly, Zenitus doesn’t seem upset by anything this demon says or does. Perhaps he has changed in the course of his training? When Zenitsu uses a technique that Kaigaku doesn’t know, the demon is dismayed that he wasn’t taught this move, then shocked to learn it’s one that Zenitsu came up with himself! Urokodaki watches over Nezuko, waiting and hoping that she will be able to become human once again, both for her sake and to foil Muzan’s plans.

Tanjiro and Tomioka encounter Upper 3, Akaza, who is surprised to find Tanjiro still alive after their last encounter on the Mugen train. He and Tomioka are both impressed with Tanjiro’s technique development. But Akaza makes the mistake of denigrating Rengoku to Tanjiro, who remembers something that Inosuke taught him.

Tanjiro has come quite a long way since he first began his journey as a Demon Slayer! Where before he could barely face the lower demons, now he battles with the upper ones, well on his way to confront Muzan himself. Interesting back story in this volume, and I have to admit to being more impressed by Zenitsu than I was before (still like him asleep the best lol). How long before they come face to face with Muzan? Good volume, looking forward to the next one!

Book Review: Demon Slayer, Vol 16 by Koyoharu Gotouge

Demon Slayer, Vol 16     

Author: Koyoharu Gotouge

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: September 1, 2020

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

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Tanjiro, Zenitsu, and Inosuke begin their training with Gyomei, the Stone Hashira. The regimen consists of three parts – training under the waterfall, carrying three thick logs, and pushing a large boulder one cho (about 110 meters).  The training is grueling but the three demon slayers push through it as best they can. Inosuke is happy, convinced that Gyomei is the strongest member of the Demon Slayer Corps. Tanjiro passes the first two parts, but is having difficulty in pushing the boulder. He feels as though it is pushing back at him. Meanwhile, Muzan is very intent on finding both Nezuko and Kagaya.

When Genya arrives, he and Tanjiro discuss the training, and he opens Tanjiro’s eyes to trying another technique. Following Genya’s advice, Tanjiro is able to push the boulder, finishing his training before either Zenitsu or Inosuke. Genya is impressed by Tanjiro, both for his accomplishments in training as for what he did for the Swordsmith village. Tanjiro modestly claims it was due to Nezuko, not him, thus earning more respect for his honesty. Now Tanjiro is ready to move on to his next training, with Tomioka.

Tanjiro finds Tomioka battling with Sanemi, the Wind Hashira who is also Genya’s brother. When Tanjiro asks if they are really fighting over candy, Sanemi becomes offended and attacks. In the meantime, Muzan has found Kagaya, who is in very bad shape! They have a long discussion during which Muzan attempts to justify what he is doing based on past grievances. This encounter does not end well.

When the Demon Slayers receive the news, they rush to their Master’s side, alas too late, and vow to end the existence of Muzan once and for all.

This was a very hard volume to read. It’s always hard to lose characters you come to love, and this was no exception, but neither was it the first time in this series. The Hashira have been struck a mighty blow, but at the same time the death of the Master has only strengthened their resolve to destroy Muzan. Tanjiro is becoming even stronger than ever, and I’m sure Zenitsu and Inosuke will be close behind. No Nezuko this volume, hope she’s doing well and we will see her again soon. I can only hope they will make Muzan suffer horribly before they kill him. The back stories are interesting and informative, as usual.

Good volume, looking forward to the next one.

Book Review: Demon Slayer, Vol 15 by Koyoharu Gotouge

Demon Slayer, Vol 15   

Author: Koyoharu Gotouge

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: August 4, 2020

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

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

As dawn approaches, Tanjiro is concerned that Kanroji’s strength won’t last and the demons will get away once more. The demon tries to evoke Tanjiro’s pity and accuses him of preying on the weak. Realizing he needs to devour human flesh, the demon homes in on nearby humans. Oh no! Tanjiro attacks but his sword becomes stuck in the demon’s neck! What can he do now? Luckily, aid comes in the form of another blade, thrown to him for his use. He attacks the demons with renewed vigor. But now the sun has risen, and poor Nezuko wasn’t able to enter the shade! Oh no, she is lost forever now!

Or is she?

A miracle has occurred! Not only has the demon been defeated and Kanroji saved, but Nezuko is somehow able to walk in the sunlight safely! She hasn’t become human again, though. So is she in the process of reverting to human, or is she evolving as a demon? Whatever the reason, she now has a target painted on her back, and Muzan is determined to devour her so he too can walk in the sunlight.

Tanjiro is healing after the battle. The swordsmith village has been relocated. Luckily, they have spare villages for just such occasions. When Zenitsu returns, he is overjoyed to be able to see Nezuko in the sun and immediately expresses his desire to marry her. He is less than overjoyed, though, when she addresses him as Inosuke, as the boar-headed boy has drilled his name into her by repetition!

The Hashira meet to discuss what has occurred, but unfortunately the Master is too ill to join them just now.  They discuss the meaning behind the marks that have begun to appear, beginning with Tanjiro. Haganezuka visits Tanjiro as he recovers and brings his new weapon, which has been mounted on Rengoku’s hilt. Tanjiro admires the beauty of this blade, but Haganezuka is still salty that it was used before he was done with it.

And now begins the Hashira training!

A lot going on in this volume, but the most amazing and spectacular thing is about Nezuko being able to withstand the sun! How exciting is that? Hopefully she is on the road to becoming human again. But of course this means Muzan will be more determined than ever to catch her and consume her, so I’m sure we’ll see more of him from now on. I feel as if Tanjiro is coming more and more into his own, as he continues to rise in strength and ability. I bet before too long they’ll make him a Hashira. Is there anything stronger, I wonder? If so, he’ll be that too! I worry about the Master, hope he gets well soon!

Another great volume, looking forward to the next one!

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!