The Demon Slayer takes place in a period of Japanese history that hasn’t been explored in other shonen battle series. Here’s how it affects the tale and the characters. In most shonen battle anime, time periods have little impact. Whether a series is set in the twenty-first century or the nineteenth, how one character hits another doesn’t really matter, especially if special talents are involved. However, the length of a series can be viewed and felt in a variety of ways. Demon Slayer is a wonderful illustration of this, with its distinct time standing out.
Although not all of these elements feature in Demon Slayer battles, they are all present in the series’ narrative. The technological breakthroughs of the time are one of the most prominent ways to experience this age. Japan’s efforts to modernise officially paid off in a variety of ways after the Meiji period (1868-1912). This progression is first visible in Demon Slayer through things like electricity lines in rural regions; when one travels further into the city, things like lamps and automobiles become the standard. In most series, this wouldn’t be a big deal, but in Demon Slayer, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.These are things that marvel characters like Tanjiro and Inosuke, who grew up in the countryside and are therefore unfamiliar with these advancements.
The way individuals deal with demons differs significantly between rural and urban settings. Demons are feared in rural regions where traditions still hold sway. This is why individuals prefer to spend their nights indoors. Demons are less feared in urban places. People frequently roam around in huge groups late at night with little sense of danger. It’s a risky life choice, but it’s also what makes it so simple for Kibutsuji Muzan to approach someone, cut them, and transform them into a demon.
Fantastical things like immortal demons with magical powers become increasingly difficult to believe as science improves and the unexplainable becomes explicable. Even country people see in demons only rumors and superstitions. As Japan moves forward into the modern era, it forgets to fear demons or even believe they ever existed.
In the Taisho era, Japan also attempted to modernise by adopting Western dress. The period of kimonos and zri sandals was drawing to an end, and three-piece suits and penny loafers were taking their place. Even elder characters like Muzan and Enmu show these kinds of changes throughout time. He can also be seen in the Demon Slayer Corps uniform, which resembles a gakuran, a Prussian Waffenrocks-inspired attire; many of them also wear a haori jacket over it. This transitional period in Japanese fashion is represented by a variety of characters and background figures.
The sword ban of the Meiji period is likewise enforced throughout the Taisho period. Swords could only be used by a tiny number of people after the Warring States period ended, mainly government officers. This proves to be a significant challenge for Tanjiro and his companions, as they must keep their swords hidden even when on official Demon Slayer operations. It would have been more convenient to set the story to an earlier time, but the fact that it all takes place after the banning of swords reinforces the underground nature of the Demon Slayer Corp.
The setting of Demon Slayer, unlike most shonen shows, has a lot of deep impacts. For one thing, few series, with the possible exception of Rurouni Kenshin, resemble Demon Slayer since the Taisho era is rarely explored in such detail. The Taisho period contextualises many of the characters’ statements and actions in addition to aesthetics. She contributes to the series’ distinct aesthetic and feel, as well as plot development.All of this makes the setting of Demon Slayer refreshing and appealing.