ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba’, Volume 18

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Demon Slayer Volume 18

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Volume 18 is an action-adventure fantasy manga written and illustrated by mangaka Koyoharu Gotouge and published by VIZ Media. Set in Taisho-era Japan, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba follows a kindhearted boy named Tanjiro Kamado as he tries to make a living for his family selling charcoal.

Tanjiro’s peaceful life is suddenly snatched away from him when a demon slaughters his entire family. The only survivor from the attack is his little sister Nezuko, who has been transformed into a demon herself. Now Tanjiro sets out on a dangerous journey to become a Demon Slayer to avenge his family and find a way to save Nezuko’s humanity.

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Volume 18 includes chapters 152 through 160. Now in Volume 18, Tanjiro and Giyu’s battle against Akaza continues. To beat Akaza, Tanjiro must use an advanced technique his father taught him called the Transparent Word that will push his entire being beyond his limitations. Meanwhile, elsewhere in the Infinity Castle, Kanao burns with hatred as she confronts Doma, the upper-ranked demon who ate Shinobu and killed her family.

This volume really showcased Kanao’s skills and capabilities as a Demon Slayer. When Kanao was first introduced in the series she was quiet and indecisive due to the abuse she endured in her past. Her indecisiveness led to her being unable to make decisions by herself and repressed her emotions as a defense mechanism. So in Volume 18, I appreciated seeing Kanao I think it is a great way to show she has developed as a character. It is a credit to her skills that she is able to go up and hold her own against the second strongest of Muzan’s upper ranked demons, Doma.

Additionally, during Kanao’s battle with Doma when Inosuke suddenly appears. I like how Koyoharu Gotouge doesn’t present it as if Kanao is a damsel in distress and Inosuke is coming to her rescue. Instead, when Inosuke joins the fight Kanao doesn’t stop fighting and let him take over. They work together to fight Doma as like equal comrades.

Koyoharu Gotouge’s artwork in Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba, Volume 18 is superb from page to page.  I especially liked how their artwork conveys what the Transparent World looks like through Tanjiro’s eyes for the readers. The Transparent World is an ability granted to Demon Slayers with a Demon Slayer Mark that allows users to see the muscles, blood flow, and joint movement of living beings, this allows them to accurately predict and react to their enemy’s movements. Gotouge does a great job of capturing the intricate details of the muscles and inner workings of the body.

I have to applaud the mangaka’s, Koyoharu Gotouge, storytelling skills in Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Volume 18.  They really know how to hit readers in the feelings with the skillfully crafted backstories for the characters, especially when it comes to the villains. Gotougue crafts beautiful and sometimes heartbreaking backstories for some of the evilest and or dangerous demon characters. I am always surprised when some of the backstories humanize and give more depth without absolving them of their crimes.

A great example of this in Volume 18 is the backstory for Akaza, the third-ranked member of the Twelve Kizuki when he was human and before he turned into a demon. Before knowing anything about Akaza’s past life as a human, my impression of him was that he was just another brutal and emotionless demon. However, in this volume, Akaza’s backstory provided more insight into the character and the unfortunate circumstances that lead him to become the demon he is in the present.

Gotouge writes Akaza’s story in a way that humanizes the character and in turn, allows readers to feel some sympathy towards him. While the character can sympathize with the author doesn’t change the fact that he is still a villain.

Overall Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba, Volume 18 is another must-read. Koyoharu Gotouge continues to deliver a quality story with great characters and amazingly imaginative artwork. I remain impressed by their ability to right heartwrenching backstories that humanize villains, while also not absolving them of their sins. And as every volume comes out the intensity of the arc continues to build up and leaves me excited to see what will happen next.

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Volume 18  is available online and at book stores, November 3, learn more at VIZ.com 

'Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba, Volume 18'
4.5

TL;DR

Overall Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba, Volume 18 is another must-read. Koyoharu Gotouge continues to deliver a quality story with great characters and amazingly imaginative artwork. I remain impressed by their ability to right heartwrenching backstories that humanize villains, while also not absolving them of their sins. And as every volume comes out the intensity of the arc continues to build up and leaves me excited to see what will happen next.