Demon Slayer Is A Victim Of Its Own Success

By Jonathan Klotz | Updated

Demon Slayer is the world’s most popular anime, one of the best-selling manga in history, proving that anime can be a hit in movie theaters, so why is it now being turned on by a large section of the anime community? The “Hashira Training” arc that just finished up, bringing the latest season to a close, was fairly well-received, but at this level of success, “decent” isn’t considered good enough. Besides, after years of hype, new fans are checking out the series to see what the fuss is all about, and for the most part, they are disappointed by what they see.

The Blowback

Following the conclusion of Demon Slayer Season 5, I wanted to see if other fans enjoyed it as much as I did, as I’m one of those who thinks the adaptation is better than the manga, so imagine my surprise when I found countless topics with titles like, “I don’t get why Demon Slayer is so popular,” “Demon Slayer is overrated,” or this one that gets right to the point, “Demon Slayer is the worst and most boring anime.” That last one is from before Season 5 aired, but there is no way the thoughtful “Hashira Training” arc would change that person’s mind.

Stunning Animation But Simple Plot

Amazingly, for as bad a reputation as the anime community has, unfairly, in my opinion, the criticisms against Demon Slayer are typically valid ones that point out the simplistic narrative, one-dimensional characters, and that the “Hashira Training” arc was a season of nothing but filler that could have been shortened into a movie.

The stunning animation quality, which is still the best in anime history, isn’t enough to carry the plot now that the “wow” factor has worn off. Pretty, but shallow, in a post-Attack on Titan world, isn’t good enough.

An Introduction To Anime

It’s true that the story of Demon Slayer is simple: Tanjiro Kamado is trying to save his sister, Nezuko, who became a demon, and in doing so, has to vanquish Muzan, the King of Demons, by mastering an ancient style of fighting that utilizes breathing techniques. Again, this is not the twisted, layered narrative of Attack on Titan, but it does lack the depth of, say, One Piece, which goes beyond “I’m the next Pirate King” to involve deep character conflict.

I don’t mean to imply that Demon Slayer is bad for being simple, as that’s done on purpose, but there’s a good reason, as this is an introductory Shonen anime. Not everything has to include the levels of narrative found in a Mobile Suit Gundam series; sometimes, it’s okay for a show to look good and be fun.

The Dual Between Popularity And Quality

What anime fans have to keep in mind when discussing Demon Slayer is that being popular often doesn’t mean something is naturally better than everything else. Look at the depth of a sci-fi series like The Expanse, which isn’t nearly as popular as The Mandalorian, or how Lost was inexplicably more popular than Person of Interest despite being a vastly superior show. On the other hand, accessible doesn’t mean a series is horrible.

Demon Slayer Is Accessible

demon slayer

Demon Slayer has been so successful because it is easy to get into, the world buidling is kept to a minimal, what you need to know is shown on screen, with plenty of episodes including slower moments that get viewers caught up on who’s who and why they are important.

Compare that to the hundreds of episodes of Naruto, or Bleach, or the absurd amount of One Piece episodes out there, and you’ll see why the series has become so popular.

Still Better Than Most Shows Today

Despite its history making success, Demon Slayer should not, and really can not, be compared to the vast worlds found in other Shonen anime. Recognize that it’s gorgeous but shallow compared to other anime, and there’s nothing wrong with that. After all, I’ll take Season 5’s “Hashira Training” arc over the majority of streaming original series and everything on broadcast television.