Tag Archives: Koyoharu Gotouge

Book Review: Demon Slayer, Vol 14 by Koyoharu Gotouge

Demon Slayer, Vol 14   

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 is finding it difficult to cut the thick neck of the demon he is battling, and the effects of Nezuko’s blood seem to have worn off. A sixth demon appears, one who insists on referring to the demon slayers as villains! Genya believes the newcomer to have been summoned by the demon they are fighting, and this one is the demon of joy and of pleasure. The new demon berates Tanjiro and Genya for picking on the small demon. He seems to grow stronger the harder they fight him.

The demon Gyokko is searching the village for the chief and comes across Haganezuka, who is engrossed in sharpening a blade. Gyokko becomes enraged when he cannot gain the swordsmith’s attention, too focused on what he is doing. Meanwhile, Tokito is sure his life is about to come to an end and reflects on his childhood while Kotetsu racks his brain for some way of helping the Hashira. When Haganezuka gives Tokito the blade he was sharpening, his strength and purpose are renewed, and so the battle with Gyokko continues!

Tanjiro’s battle with the upper rank demon is not going as well as he’d like when a sudden appearance by Kanroji, the love Hashira, saves the day. She is deeply offended when the demon refers to her as a tramp! But does she have what it takes to defeat him?

This volume of Demon Slayer contains a lot of back story for Hashira and demons alike. I find that interesting, as it gives more depth to the characters. Even the demons have redeeming qualities (well, most of them).  I’m hoping if they defeat this level 4 demon, they’ll be able to get some of his blood to use to find the cure for Nezuko!

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!

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 7 by Koyoharu Gotouge

Demon Slayer, Vol 7   

Author: Koyoharu Gotouge

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: July 2, 2019

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Fantasy Manga/208 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

While recuperating at Mt Natagumo, Tanjiro seeks to learn about fire breathing techniques from Shinobu, but she suggests he ask someone who actually uses those techniques, such as Rengoku. As he and the others are leaving, Tanjiro encourages the shy, quiet Kanao to follow her heart, telling her she can do it.

Arriving at the train station, Tanjiro and Zenitsu discover that Inosuke has no idea what a train is when he furiously head-butts it! Tanjiro says they need to get on the Infinity Train so he can talk to Rengoku, who is already there. He suggests they put their weapons away and try to blend in. Zenitsu advises Inosuke to wear clothes, in that case.

In talking to Rengoku, they discover there is a demon on the train. Tanjiro smells something odd just before the conductor approaches to punch their tickets. Rengoku spots the demon and is immensely happy that he will be able to slay it. What none of them realize is that they are on the Train of Infinite Dreams, and they are asleep, at the mercy of this same demon. Tanjiro dreams he is back with his family and they are all alive and well, and nothing has changed. But his subconscious is sending him signals that he is asleep and dreaming, and he needs to figure out how to wake up and then wake the others or they will all die!

This volume of Demon Slayer is all about the Infinity Train, and it’s actually pretty interesting. Everyone loves to dream, but not all dreams are good ones. And you can get so lost in the good ones that you don’t want to come back to reality. That is what the demons on this train count on, which makes the dreamers easy prey. It’s their misfortune that some Demon Slayers chose to ride the train. They are the only hope the others have.

Along this journey, we get to see backstories for some of the characters, which are interesting. Still not sure about Inosuke, but I imagine his story will emerge at some point.  The demon who is invoking the dreams doesn’t seem completely evil, and that is something I like about this series.  There is no clear-cut delineation between good and evil, and sometimes it’s just a small step or a minor circumstance that causes someone to cross from one side to the other. Tanjiro’s situation is heartbreaking in that of course he wants to be with his family, and the demon uses them to guilt Tanjiro into staying asleep. Nezuko performs admirably in this volume. Go Nezuko!

Another great volume, looking forward to more.

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.