Is Demon Slayer Too Popular to End Now?
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba has had a meteroic rise in popularity thanks to the launch of its anime series this time last year. The success of the Ufotable anime (and all its gorgeous visuals) in turn sparked a massive uptick in popularity for Koyoharu Gotoge's manga. Needless to say, things have changed a whole lot for the Demon Slayer series in just the span of one year, and though all of that success should easily be seen as a good thing, there's room to question whether or not it actually is. In other words: Is Demon Slayer's popularity now a problem?
Just to give you quick glimpse at just how much of a difference a year makes: in 2019, Demon Slayer jumped from no. 19 to no. 6 on the list of most popular manga (male demo) in the span of a year, while sales of the manga jumped from 3.5 million copies at the start of 2019, to over 25 million at the end of the year - and over 40 million in early 2020, which is a major achievement. The anime won multiple awards for being the best new series, best anime on TV, character, theme song, director, design and voice acting awards, from places liek Newtype, Animedia and Crunchyroll. More tellingly, Demon Slayer topped (or nearly topped) virtually every fan-driven poll or awards list for 2019, and sparked and entire wave of memes, clips, artwork, and all the other social media buzz modern series hope to generate. Even though the manga began in 2016, 2019 was the year where the world truly came ot know what Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is.
As much as fans may not want it to, massive success (especially rapid massive success) inevitably changes things. Right now, Koyoharu Gotoge is staying true to his original vision for the series: the mangaka has recently announced that Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba's manga will end in May. That's the tight, four-year spanning saga Gotoge claimed he wanted make, and it's been that high-stakes, no-one-is-sacred approach to major characters and deaths that a lot of fans have come to appreciate.
But on the other hand: Demon Slayer is, as stated, the hottest thing in anime / manga at the moment. The idea of it actually fading away at the height of its popularity seems unlikely, when there's so much money to be made, still on the table. There's already question about whether a Demon Slayer sequel manga will be launched, to offer fans a new chapter of the saga. Similarly, anime fans know all too well just how different the goals of manga creators and anime studios can be. While Koyoharu Gotoge may want to tell a concise story, studio Ufotable may want the richness of the anime to last a bit longer. And Demon Slayer is definitely a series ripe for expansion, with more time dedicated to supporting characters like The Hashira, and/or various side mission that main characters Tanjiro and Nezuko to complete, on their way through the main arc. Deamon Slayer's anime is also turning the manga's first arc after season 1 into a feature-length movie ("Demon Train"), and if that's a success, then the door is open for the series to spinoff into all kinds of other features, as well - ones that go well beyond the span of the manga story.
So the temptation is obviously there, but can an expanded Demon Slayer universe maintain the same quality that Gotoge's manga and that first run by Ufotable has? If series like Dragon Ball and Naruto have shown us, it's easy to get stretched thin, real quick.
In the end, a happy medium is, as usual, the likely best case. There's room for Demon Slayer's story and character development to be expanded upon, so long as the series isn't bled dry with spinoffs to feed the ever-hungry content machine.
You can read new chapters of Demon Slayer online HERE.