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Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba (鬼滅の刃, Kimetsu no Yaiba, \"Blade of Demon Destruction\") is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Koyoharu Gotouge. It was serialized in Shueisha's shōnen manga magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump from February 2016 to May 2020, with its chapters collected in 23 tankōbon volumes. It has been published in English by Viz Media and simultaneously published by Shueisha on their Manga Plus platform. It follows teenage Tanjiro Kamado, who strives to become a Demon Slayer after his family was slaughtered and his younger sister, Nezuko, turned into a demon.
The story takes place in Taishō era Japan, where a secret society, known as the Demon Slayer Corps, has been waging a secret war against demons for centuries. The demons are former humans who were turned into demons by Muzan Kibutsuji injecting them with his own blood, and they feed on humans and possess supernatural abilities such as super strength, powers that demons can obtain called \"Blood Demon Art\", and regeneration. Demons can only be killed if they are decapitated with weapons crafted from an alloy known as Nichirin, injected with poison extracted from wisteria flowers, or exposed to sunlight. The Demon Slayers, on the other hand, are entirely human; however, they employ special elemental breathing techniques, known as \"Breathing Styles\", which grant them superhuman strength and increased resistance, helping them fight against demons. The strongest Demon Slayers are known as the Hashira, and gain this rank through either killing a member of the Twelve Kizuki (the twelve strongest demons under Muzan) or killing fifty demons after ranking up multiple times.
Tanjiro Kamado is a kind-hearted and intelligent boy who lives with his family in the mountains. He became his family's breadwinner after his father's death, making trips to the nearby village to sell charcoal. Everything changed when he came home one day to discover that his family was attacked and slaughtered by a demon. Tanjiro and his sister Nezuko were the sole survivors of the incident, with Nezuko being transformed into a demon, but still surprisingly showing signs of human emotion and thought. After an encounter with Giyū Tomioka, the Water Hashira of the Demon Slayer Corps, Tanjiro is recruited by Giyū and sent to his retired master Sakonji Urokodaki for training to also become a Demon Slayer, beginning his quest to help his sister turn into a human again and avenge the death of his family.
After two years of strenuous training, Tanjiro takes part in a formidable exam and is one of the few survivors to pass, officially making him a member of the Demon Slayer Corps. He begins his work of hunting down and slaying demons alongside Nezuko, who has been hypnotized to bring no harm to humans and who occasionally helps him in battle. One of Tanjiro's assignments brings him to Asakusa where he encounters Muzan Kibutsuji, the progenitor of all demons and the one who murdered his family. He also meets Tamayo and Yushiro, two demons who are free from Muzan's control. Tamayo and Yushiro ally with Tanjiro and begin to develop a cure for Nezuko, though it will require Tanjiro to supply Tamayo with blood from the Twelve Kizuki, the most powerful demons under Muzan's command.
Continuing his missions, Tanjiro meets Zenitsu Agatsuma and Inosuke Hashibira, fellow survivors of the exam with whom he forms an unlikely team during a battle with the former Lower Rank Six of the Kizuki. The group soon faces off against Lower Rank Five of the Kizuki, and although Tanjiro unlocks a mysterious style called \"Hinokami Kagura\", they are ultimately outmatched; they are rescued by Giyū and Insect Hashira Shinobu Kocho and brought back to headquarters. There, the Kamado siblings partake in a council between Kagaya Ubuyashiki, the leader of the Demon Slayer Corps, and the Hashira, the Corps' most elite members, who, with the exception of Giyū, do not believe that Nezuko should be allowed to live. However, Kagaya nonetheless manages to convince them to accept her. With this agreement, Tanjiro begins to work alongside the Hashira, where he encounters significantly more resistance from the demons. Alongside the Hashira and Corps members, Tanjiro takes part in numerous harrowing battles against the Kizuki, which they survive by narrow margins while also taking losses of their own, including the death of Flame Hashira Kyojuro Rengoku and retirement of Sound Hashira Tengen Uzui. During a battle in the Swordsmith Village, Tanjiro meets Genya Shinazugawa, the younger brother of Wind Hashira Sanemi Shinazugawa, who has the mysterious ability to temporarily become a demon by eating demon flesh. It is also discovered that Nezuko is invulnerable to sunlight, a discovery that makes her the prime target of Muzan, who has long sought a way to overcome the sun and thus become the ultimate being. Tanjiro also learns that his Hinokami Kagura is descended from Sun Breathing, the original breathing style invented by Yoriichi Tsugikuni, the strongest Demon Slayer in history, and develops it to prepare to fight Muzan.
Kagaya forecasts Muzan's intentions and enacts a strict training regiment of the entire Corps to prepare for the upcoming battle. With the blood samples obtained from the Kizuki, Tamayo develops a serum to cure Nezuko, who is kept isolated far from the battle as she recovers. Muzan soon appears before Kagaya, who triggers a suicide attack to stagger him. The Hashira and Tanjiro ambush Muzan, but he traps them all within Infinity Castle, an endless labyrinth that houses the remaining Kizuki. Tamayo restrains Muzan with a poison she concocted, leaving him vulnerable to attack. To reach him, the Corps defeat the remaining Kizuki members, though Shinobu, Genya, and Mist Hashira Muichiro Tokito are killed. Muzan kills Tamayo by crushing and absorbing her but is forced above ground by the Corps. A desperate battle of attrition ensues as the remainder of the Demon Slayer Corps fight against Muzan until the morning sun can kill him. Aided by Tamayo's poison, the Corps succeed, though they take huge losses, including Stone Hashira Gyomei Himejima, Serpent Hashira Obanai Iguro, and Love Hashira Mitsuri Kanroji, with Giyu, Tengen, and Sanemi as the only Hashira survivors, while Tanjiro is mortally wounded while delivering the final blow. Helpless against the sun, Muzan forcefully gives his remaining blood to a dying Tanjiro and transforms him into the ultimate demon in a last-ditch effort to have his species survive. Tanjiro begins to attack the remaining Corps members, but through the efforts of his allies and Nezuko, who has been fully restored to her human self, he is turned back into a human.
In the aftermath of the battle, the Corps is disbanded as the death of Muzan has effectively vanquished all other demons, except for Yushiro, who leaves to live a peaceful life as a painter. Tanjiro and Nezuko return to their family home, accompanied by Zenitsu and Inosuke. Tanjiro and Inosuke marry fellow Demon Slayers Kanao Tsuyuri and Aoi Kanzaki, respectively, while Nezuko marries Zenitsu.
After Gotouge's manga, Haeniwa no Zigzag, published in Weekly Shōnen Jump in 2015, failed to become a serialized work, Tatsuhiko Katayama, Gotouge's first editor, suggested Gotouge to start a series with an \"easy-to-understand theme\". Gotouge's debut work Kagarigari would become the basis for an initial draft, titled Kisatsu no Nagare (鬼殺の流れ) since it had concepts like swords and demons, which would be familiar to the Japanese audience. However, due to its serious tone, lack of comic relief, and dark story, this draft was not accepted for serialization, so Katayama asked Gotouge to try writing a brighter, more normal character in the same setting. The original title was Kisatsu no Yaiba (鬼殺の刃), but they felt the character \"satsu\" (殺, lit. \"kill\") in the title was too overt. Although it is a made-up word, \"kimetsu\" (鬼滅) seemed easy to understand, so Gotouge thought it would be interesting to abbreviate the series' title that way; the word \"yaiba\" (刃, lit. \"blade\") implies a Japanese sword. According to Gotouge, the series' three biggest influences are JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Naruto and Bleach. Tatsuhiko Katayama, an editor of the Demon Slayer manga, has said in interviews that the red-haired, scar-faced Tanjiro was inspired by Rurouni Kenshin, a 1990s manga about a similarly drawn swordsman, Himura Kenshin.
Leroy Douresseaux of Comic Book Bin gave the first volume a score of 9/10. He commended the series for its \"ability to convey power in simplicity,\" explaining that Gotouge's art is \"nice\" but overly detailed, and the dialogue and exposition are straightforward. Douresseaux praised its characters and recommended the series to fans of demon-fighting heroes. Nick Smith of ICv2 gave the first volume a score of 4/5. He wrote that the story is well crafted and the characters intriguing, but the setting is \"too deadly for the survival of the human race.\" Smith said that the artwork is good but not special and recommended the series to \"teens and adults who like heroes fighting back against horrific evil.\" Che Gilson of Otaku USA praised the series for its plot, action and character development. Gilson said that the art is \"stiff\", but that instead of looking like rough drawings or traced photo composites, the series \"looks as if it were carved and printed from woodblocks.\" Gilson concluded: \"With an engrossing plot and characters, Volume 1 builds to a cliffhanger that makes it hard to wait for the next volume.\" Chris Beveridge of The Fandom Post criticized the first chapter for being \"overly wordy when just the action would suffice,\" and ultimately called it \"a work-in-progress series.\" After having watched the anime adaptation, Melina Dargis of the same website was so fascinated by the story and characters that she decided to go back and review the second volume of the manga. Despite know