‘Kimetsu No Yaiba’ Strikes at the Heart of Its Inner Demons

‘Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba’ is a supernatural shounen anime featuring Tanjiro Kamado and his younger sister, Nezuko Kamado. One night, Tanjiro’s family is attacked by a demon who kills the rest of his family while leaving his sister, Nezuko gravely injured. While Nezuko survives the attack, she transforms into a demon who initially sought to devour Tanjiro for the human blood that she needs to survive.

At this point, the anime seems to follow the standard plot trope for shounen anime. I was half expecting Tanjiro to kill his sister and head on a quest for vengeance as a demon slayer to avenge his family. That wasn’t the case. Instead of killing his sister, Tanjiro protects her; and Nezuko, now a demon, controls her urges to devour human flesh while defending Tanjiro.  Thus we have an odd pairing of demon slayer and demon. Though Tanjiro seeks out the demon who murdered his family, he also makes it his life goal to find a cure for Nezuko’s affliction.

In the process of his search, he finds out that the demon who transformed Nezuko is the master of all demons, Muzan Kibutsuji, who not only commands all demons that exist but also has a cadre of elite demons known as the Twelve Demon Moons. He discovers that, like his sister, not all demons are threats to humanity as he meets Tamayo and her young companion, Yushiro.

From Tamayo, Tanjiro finds hope in finding a cure for his sister. The key to it all is Kibutsuji and his minions, and Tamayo offers to help him with the remedy for Nezuko’s transformation. So, Tanjiro and Nezuko journey onward in pursuit of that cure. The quest is a very nice metaphor about how you can come back from your inner demons if you put in the effort to do so.

In fact, along the way, Tanjiro realizes that the demons he encounters were once humans and empathizes with their transformation even as he realizes there is a need to destroy them. Though death is inevitable at the hands of Tanjiro, the demons find peace at the end of their existence. They realize that the hate that motivated them in their demonic life was the driving force in their continued suffering. So, if you get rid of the hate, you could get a chance at redemption.

Along the way, Tanjiro and Nezuko add new companions on their journey in the form of blonde-haired demon slayer Zenitsu and boar-masked demon slayer Inosuke. Like Tanjiro, these two are trained members of the Demon Slayer Corps and seek to eliminate the demonic threat. However, as they travel with Tanjiro and Nezuko, their perspective of demons changes, and they join the siblings in their quest for a cure. Instead of blindly destroying the demons that they face, they learn to empathize like Tanjiro, and look inward to overcome the demons they have within.

‘Kimetso No Yaiba’ is an anime about demons, and it points out that they are all around us. However, the anime also challenges  us to look at our own inner demons in order to prevent us from becoming like the ones who succumb to them.  This is what makes this anime a great viewing investment. ‘Kimetsu No Yaiba’ strikes at the heart of its inner demons and shows us how we can do the same in our own lives.


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