Did Demon Slayer Rush Too Much in the End?
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba has been one of the biggest hits in anime/manga of the last decade, without a doubt. At the same time, Demon Slayer's meteoric rise to fame and popularity hasn't been without its fair share of criticisms. Demon Slayer's manga ended in 2020 after four years and 205 chapters, split into 23 volumes. That's a pretty good run for a manga series, but there are a lot of fans who feel like Demon Slayer ended way too early, and reached its climax way too fast.
So, did Demon Slayer rush too much in the end?
There are two main schools of thought to examining Demon Slayer's pacing and how it executed its final arc:
Demon Slayer's story was all about Tanjiro Kamado becoming the classic Shonen unlikely hero who takes up the sword and the cause of demon slaying, after a demon's violent attack leaves everyone in his family dead, save his sister, Nezuko, who is transformed into a demon herself. Tanjuro's saga was a ladder of ranking up as a demon slayer until he (and Nezuko) reached the necessary level of power to battle Muzan Kibutsuji, the King of Demons. In that sense, series creator Koyoharu Gotouge delivered the complete (if concise) story that was promised.
Manga and anime are some of the most popular forms of entertainment content out right now – and the genres themselves are only growing bigger by the day. More wonderfully innovative series are appearing, and there is a debate about whether shorter series like Demon Slayer or longer ongoing sagas like Dragon Ball or One Piece are the model. As stated, there are a lot of fans who are perfectly happy that Demon Slayer is already able to deliver its full story from start to finish, as it is a (mostly) lean and clean experience with little drag or failed story threads. Even if the experience is over somewhat fast, a lot of fans feel it's such a good experience that it ends up being an indelible one. Being "short" never seems to topple Demon Slayer from its high rank on so many fans' and critics' lists of best manga series.
The other side of this argument is that Demon Slayer's final arcs (specifically the Infinity Castle Arc) rushed things at the expense of more character and lore development – which arguably could've enriched the series even further. That's a tricky debate to have: Demon Slayer introduced us to ten Hashira demon slayer warriors that fought alongside Tanjiro in the final battles – we also had Tanjiro, Nezuko, and their close allies (Zenitsu and Inosuke) who all needed to have their respective story arcs resolved. Gotouge also liked to give the demon antagonists their own respective backstories and mini-arcs, so every Demon Slayer battle came with a lot of dramatic baggage.
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It's always been fair of fans to say that Demon Slayer rushed those final battles; the manga did some break-neck pace jumping between major battles between the Twelve Kizuki demons and the Hashira fighting along with Tanjiro's Demon Slayer buddies. We had a lot thrown at us in those desperate battles regarding the backstories of all involved, as well as some key pieces of lore hidden in the backstories of key figures like Tanjiro, Upper Rank One, Kokushibo, and Upper Rank Six, Kaigaku. The debate about whether these side characters and the lore around them deserved additional chapters or sub-arcs may never end. It's not so much an insult as it is a testament to how well Demon Slayer told its story – and how much more it could tell.
As a manga, Demon Slayer already has a completed core content block to build a franchise off of: the hit anime will still run for years with any number of the additional film features coming from that material. After that, there is any number of prequels, sequels, or in-universe spinoffs that could be spawned. The end is not necessarily THE END. If fans really want to experience more of these characters and their stories, continuing to support the series is probably the best way to do it.
Demon Slayer's full manga volumes are available to buy. Season 3 of the anime is in production.