Demon Slayer, like Fullmetal Alchemist, began as an excellent introduction to anime. But did the fan service and the repeated killings lead to his demise?
Despite several great hits over the last decade, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood remains the indisputable champion of beginner anime, suitable for both newcomers and seasoned fans. When Demon Slayer premiered, the explosive positive response raised questions about whether Ufotable’s production would become one of anime’s greats – especially after the financial success of the movie Mugen Train.
However, Demon Slayer Season 2 saw a trend that strayed away from the safety of Season 1’s formula, and one that could ultimately cost the series in terms of ratings. While introducing the Hashira was a good way to broaden the group – especially because each of them has such strong personalities — knocking them out so rapidly makes their arrival practically worthless, as if it was totally premeditated. This, among other things, makes one wonder if Demon Slayer, like Fullmetal Alchemist, is still a good first anime.
What characteristics distinguish a good first anime? A well-structured plot keeps viewers interested and allows them to follow the plot in the same manner they did as children, with heroes and villains and a clear end goal. Second, anime that avoids excessive references to Japanese culture is easier to understand and comprehend for someone outside of that culture. Finally, with things like fan service kept to a minimum, it’s easier for many to enjoy a series.
Looking at these standards, it becomes clear why some anime have been so successful. FMA:B has the clear objective of allowing Edward and Alphonse Elric to find their bodies. The story is set in the land of Amestris, which has a culture that is somewhat European. There are just a few occasions of fan service when Winry Rockwell has parts of her breasts exposed, aside from Lust embodying her sin in a way that makes sense in the tale.FMA:B’s winning formula earned it the No. 1 spot on MyAnimeList and a 9.15 rating, which doesn’t look like it’s going to change anytime soon.
Much like the Elrics, Demon Slayer’s Kamado brothers Tanjiro and Nezuko set out to transform Nezuko from demon to human and kill Kibutsuji Muzan to avenge their family. Despite the fact that the story is set in historical Japan, Tanjiro is just as perplexed by the Taisho era as everyone else. Season 1 didn’t have much fan service, with Kanroji Mitsuri – the Love Hashira being the only exception.
When it comes to gore, Demon Slayer is shocking – but not as emotionally draining as Fullmetal Alchemist’s Nina Tucker spell – and even humorous by the second episode, when Tanjiro begins his training. As the series introduces stylish villains and fun allies, the similarities to the progression of FMA:B, which introduces the homunculi and the eventual Elric team, are obvious.
As Season 1 draws to a close, it’s no surprise that Demon Slayer has a current rating of 8.56 and is rated 84 on MyAnimeList. Rengoku Kyojuro’s death and Tengen Uzui’s retirement in such a short period of time would be akin to Fullmetal Alchemist incapacitating Roy Mustang the season after Maes Hughes’ death; it’s too much, too soon. Furthermore, the popularity of Demon Slayer Season 2 has skyrocketed. Daki, one of the primary antagonists, spends the majority of her time dressed in an extremely revealing attire, and the women of Tengen do as well.
Demon Nezuko ‘s growth spurts practically push her out of a kimono designed for a young girl. Mitsuri’s skirt is blowing off her shoulder as she looks over her shoulder in the promotional artwork for the series’ “Swordsmith Village” arc. This sexualization was completely superfluous in Season 1, as seen by its success, and each instance detracts from the show’s potential as a fantastic first anime. Of course, the manga is responsible for some of the character design, but Ufotable has final say over how a scene is animated and what features are highlighted. Minor modifications to the garments, such as allowing them to stretch with Nezuko’s body rather than exposing her legs and cleavage, or less close-ups of Daki fighting, might have been made. These are deliberate decisions on the side of the crew to sexualize women’s bodies in ways that were not present in Season 1, as well as the way Mitsuri was drawn to promote the “Swordsmith Village” arc.
However, fans rated Demon Slayer Season 2 even higher than Season 1, giving it a MAL rating of 8.91, putting it in 19th place. This is very probably owing to the fact that this arc recently finished airing. While it’s true that anime in the spotlight attracts more attention and votes, that doesn’t explain the spike from 84th to 19th rank between seasons. Although the tale has become less beginner-friendly, fans don’t appear to mind.
After all, Demon Slayer still maintains a strong plot and helps the viewer stay in their universe while introducing fun new characters and maintaining the importance of the brotherly bond between Tanjiro and Nezuko. Season 2 also managed to elevate the stakes by murdering or maiming the Hashira while logically introducing more difficult opponents. Demon Slayer, like Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, works from a finalised manga and can plan accordingly, which is what sets Fullmetal Alchemist ’03 apart from FMA:B. Demon Slayer narrowly lost its prospects of becoming the next anime classic, as proven by its strong ratings and massive box office earnings, while Season 2 expanded fan service and began an alarming tally of crowd favourites.Mugen Train movie. However, only ten years will tell if it is still talked about on the same level as Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is today considered the ultimate beginner anime.