Why is “Demon Slayer: 鬼滅の刃 anime is loved by people all over the world?

Japanese animation

As one of animation fan myself who was born and raised in Japan and has watched so many Japanese anime for many years, I analyze why “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba” anime has attracted so many fans around the world.

What are the characteristics of old Japanese anime?

In the past (From 1970 to 1990), Japanese animation has been based on Japanese unique customs and cultural ideas.

For example, a typical example should be “Doraemon”, whose main character Nobita is anyway a lazy, whiny and weak boy. When he is in trouble, he always asks Doraemon for help.
Doraemon helps Nobita with the great magical tools of the future. However, even if he uses those magical tools, he still does not succeed in the end. The message of this anime is that he has to do his best by himself, not by others. Another example is “Dragon Ball” as one of world-famous action anime, the main character, Son Goku, was a very weak boy, but he became strong by overcoming many trials and training to protect his precious friends. The message of this animation is that in order to become stronger, you must train and not give up along the way. This is a common theme in the shonen (boy) magazine “Shonen Jump”. You always have to train continuously. In the past, Japanese boys were influenced by these animations and learned that boys should not cry and must be strong.

And the anime that girls watched was called “Shoujyo manga (girls’ comic magazine), and the theme was romance. Girls learned that in order to get the boys they like to like them, they must always be kind, strong and charming. The animation that the boys watched and the animation that the girls watched were completely different in content and theme.

There was such a teaching in Japanese education. “Men should have courage, and women charm”. Japanese animation was primarily created on this ideology. The idea of gender equality was not very prevalent in Japan at the time, and anime reflected this belief.


How is “Demon Slayer” different from the old Japanese anime?

Many scenes depict men and women equally, even in the main characters.

The main character is not only Tanjirou Kamado, but also his sister Nezuko is also a fighting heroine. In the past, many anime had scenes of men fighting for protecting women. “Hashira”, an elite group in Demon Slayer assembled to defeat the demons, also has female warriors.

This is a new setting based on recent ideas of gender equality.


Demons also have their own reasons for becoming demons.

The strong demons that appear as villains were once human beings. However, the reasons why they decided to become demons are very understandable to us. They are those who, when they were once human, were abused and bullied a lot by society as social misfits, and they decided to become demons by themselves in order to take revenge on that society.

In other words, prejudice and discriminatory society might create the demons.
Although this anime is set in the Taisho Era (1912-1926), this discriminatory society has not disappeared even today. This anime is complicated because even we today can understand the sadness of the demons.


The main character, Tanjiro Kamado, is a tragic hero.

Tanijiro’s family was killed by demons in the begging of first episode, and his sister Nezuko was turned into a demon. Have you ever seen an anime that begins with such a tragic story? The worst scene imaginable is depicted at the very beginning of the anime, from which Tanjiro had to live strongly with a sad fate.

He had to lead an unexpectedly harsh life in order to turn his only remaining younger sister (even if she is a demon) back into a human being. Tanjiro is portrayed as synonymous with our harsh modern society, and we feel sympathy for him. We are encouraged by Tanjiro and learn that we also must live strongly.


Unexpected gap attracts viewers.

The characters in Demon Slayer are very unique.
Characters with a strong impact include Zenitsu Agatsuma, who is a sleep-fighters and Inosuke Hashibira, who wears a boar mask. Once you watch them, you’ll never forgettable.

And the biggest attraction is that it depicts a big gap. For example, when Zenitsu is awake, he is just scared and cry-boy. But when he fights during he is sleeping, he is surprisingly strong. And Inosuke has a savage personality and behavior, but when he takes off his mask, he has a very beautiful face. These gaps attract us and heighten our expectations.


The theme song is one of the reasons for the hit

The opening theme song “Gurenge” in the first season of Demon Slayer was a huge hit, sung by Japanese singer Lisa, matched the anime’s concept, and the emotional lyrics and rock style music made the anime even more exciting. This song surely contributed to the success of “Demon Slayer”. Needless to say, all of the songs in the subsequent seasons also have been hits.


Demon Slayer will further spread its wings to the world

Demon Slayer is complex and fascinating not only to children but also to adults around the world.

The Demon Slayer has a strong message for people living in today’s Japanese society, and by setting the scene in the Taisho Era (1912-1926), the anime appeals to overseas fans of the good old Japanese scene. In addition, it also aims to appeal to the world by including iconic contents that is easily accepted by fans of foreign countries, such as Ninja and Samurai warriors .

Overall, recent Japanese animation continues to push the boundaries of storytelling, animation quality, and representation, making it a compelling and entertaining medium for audiences around the world.