Tag Archives: fantasy manga

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!

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!