REVIEW: ‘Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – Stories of Water and Flame’

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Demon Slayer Kimetsu no Yaiba - Stories of Water and Flame - But Why Tho

The world of Demon Slayer isn’t over quite yet, Stories of Water and Flame features two short bonus prequels centering fan-favorites Tomioka and Rengoku. The manga is based on the original work of Koyoharu Gotouge, but this time features the story and art by Ryoji Hirano (BOZEBEATS). A relatively standalone volume, it compliments the original series well, and collectors will likely enjoy having it to round out the series on their shelves. The volume is translated by John Terry and edited by Jennifer Sherman. It features touch-up art and lettering by John Hunt and design by Jimmy Presler.

Stories of Water and Flame opens with the first of the two-part specials: Giyu Tomioka’s Story, which originally was printed in Shonen Jump magazine in 2019. Tomioka’s story also features another fan favorite: Shinobu Kocho. This is great as she adds an additional layer to the short piece, and it is always fun to watch her poke fun at Giyu’s expressionless demeanor. The story itself is relatively simple, but the timeline placement is what makes it intriguing. It takes place shortly after Giyu first encountered Tanjiro and Nezuko, so the concept of a demon turning back into a human is fresh in his mind. The framing is what makes the story interesting, although since it is so brief a lot is left unexplored.

The second half of Stories of Water and Flame takes a peek at Rengoku and Kanroji before they became Hashira. While Giyu’s story can be read with very little context, it is important to read the original story through Volume 14 so you at least know the entire cast of the story, or it loses impact. It is lovely to go more in-depth on Rengoku’s relationship with his mother and father, especially as it is a stronger aspect of Demon Slayer overall. However, there are elements of the story that leave readers guessing because there isn’t enough page space to explain everything. It can be reasonably inferred that the demon with amnesia is mistaking Rengoku for his father, but it would have been stronger if that was a bit clearer.

Overall, a universal theme of Stories of Water and Flame was “more.” It is nice for collectors, but storytelling-wise is pretty average because of the limited space. The stories themselves are simple, but fortunately, there are a few strong character moments that make them worthwhile to read. There is also a huge portion of the book that are just comedic short comics based on each episode of the anime, which are fun but again feel more to add more width to the manga to justify a full volume. Hirano’s artwork is good, unique enough to be their own style, however, it honors and echoes Gotouge’s faithfully. It feels very accurate to the Demon Slayer art style. Letterer John Hunt elevates this by making sure the sound effect lettering matches the original series as well.

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – Stories of Water and Flame is a good addition for any collector who is invested in the series, but otherwise is rather average in terms of storytelling. Hirano’s art is solid and fits in well to match the overall style of the series. Ultimately, the stories have interesting placement in the timeline and highlight some popular Hashira’s, but their short length deprives them of substance readers crave with the characters.

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – Stories of Water and Flame is available now where books are sold.


Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba - Stories of Water and Flame
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TL;DR

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – Stories of Water and Flame is a good addition for any collector who is invested in the series, but otherwise is rather average in terms of storytelling. Hirano’s art is solid and fits in well to match the overall style of the series. Ultimately, the stories have interesting placement in the timeline and highlight some popular Hashira’s, but their short length deprives them of substance readers crave with the characters.

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