Demon Slayer, Kimetsu no Yaiba, is a popular anime that took over the anime community when it aired last year. It went on to win Best Anime of the Year status on Crunchyroll, a popular anime streaming service. However, I believe this was a terrible decision.
There are a few good things about Demon Slayer including the amazing animation, overall great production, and the soundtrack. That is about it though.
The basic plot of the story is not original and does not make sense. Simply put, it’s about a boy whose family was killed by humanoid monsters referred to as demons. His sister is alive, but she’s now a demon, so the main goal is to turn her back into a human. Already the unoriginality is apparent.
The trope where the main character loses their family is so common. It is shown in other animes such as Black Butler, Fullmetal Alchemist, Attack on Titan, and many more. Even the concept of demons as villains is unoriginal, as it has already been explored in many other anime such as Blue Exorcist and Claymore. The main goal of the protagonist is to turn his sister to normal is not even original, as the focus of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is exactly that.
It was also revealed that most people don’t know about the existence of these demons, which doesn’t make any sense as they are often 7-10 foot monsters. The main character found out about the demons when he tried to go to his house from the village after dark, and an old man tells him to seek shelter as there are monsters in the forest. The fact that the main character did not already know about demons despite the fact that he has been to the village numerous times, and the old man was so willing to offer the information that it was apparent that it was not a big secret. It leaves the viewers with more questions than answers.
To continue with story flaws, the main character was sent to train and learn swordsmanship with a master located on a mountaintop. The best way to kill demons was by using breathing techniques, which was done first in Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. The character development in this training arc was minimal, yet it was all the audience gets for the entire first season.
The main character, Tanjiro, even has flaws. Tanjiro has minimal development over the course of the 26 episode first season. The explanation for that is the fact that he’s already technically perfect personality-wise and has no notable flaws, so there isn’t anything left to develop. There is also nothing in his backstory that would explain such a strong bond with his sister, or any backstory about his relationship with his family at all. All we know was that his family died, and nothing else.
The side characters are all common tropes as well, no originality there. Situational conflicts further the plot, which is boring and gives the impression that these conflicts don’t give the plot any depth as they are just coincidence.
It does not make any sense why this would win anime of the year when there is almost no substance or originality. In my opinion, something akin to Vinland Saga or Dororo would have been better off winning, as they are more original and include more complex characters, however, those aren’t Crunchyroll. Mob Psycho 2 should have won alone instead of giving the status to Demon Slayer, which only made it more overrated than it already was.