Demon Slayer Volume 10: Human and Demon.
Collecting Chapters #80-88.
Story and art by Koyoharu Gotouge.
Last time around, some stuff happened. I remember it was really interesting and totally memorable. I think a lot of it involved Tanjiro, Inosuke, and Zenitsu dressing up like ladies. There was something about the Sound Hashira having three Kunoichi wives, and they were missing? And then the mean lady that was obviously the villain, turned out to be the villain. Then it ended, just as things started to pick up. This time around, things really pick up.
Chapter 80: Value. We see a little more of Tengen and his wives. Turns out he's actually a pretty nice guy. Always a plus. Then, Tanjiro's fight against Daki continues. But things aren't looking too good for our hero!
Chapter 81: Layered Memories. We see a little more of Shinjuro Rengoku. Turns out HE'S actually a pretty nice guy. Still a plus. Then, Tanjiro's fight against Daki continues. And things look a little better, because it turns out Tanjiro can Hulk Out!
Chapter 82: Human and Demon. Tanjiro unleashes the full power of his Sun Breathing. But all humans have limits; has Tanjiro reached his?
Chapter 83: Transformation. Writer/Artist Gotouge finally remembers that Nezuko exists! As the young Kamado joins the fight, things start to get pretty crazy. But, as the fight drags on... will Nezuko cross a line she can't come back from?
Chapter 84: What is important. Seems Nezuko can Hulk Out, too! This family has issues... But will Nezuko be able to contain this new power? Will she be able to restrain herself, and tell friend from foe?
Chapter 85: Weeping. Tengen joins the fight! While Tanjiro attempts to restrain a berserking Nezuko, Tengen finds out that Daki still has a few tricks up her sleeve...
Chapter 86: Gyutaro. Daki's older brother joins the fight. He's creepy as all hell. Thankfully, Inosuke and Zenitsu arrive just in time to, well... maybe not HELP, but at least distract people.
Chapter 87: Gathering. All the players are finally in one place. Time to end this thing! But Gyutaro is a Kizuki for a reason, and even the impressive skills of the Sound, Hashira may not be enough to overcome his abilities.
Chapter 88: How To Defeat Them. Don't worry, the answer isn't "The power of friendship". Inosuke and Zenitsu take Daki, while Tengen squares off against Gyutaro. As for Tanjiro? Bless him, he's trying his best...
That was a bit of a step up, from last volume. Some solid action, some seriously grim artwork, and a few hints towards greater lore down the road. When you see how brutal the Upper 6 Kizuki is (which, if you recall, is the weakest of the Uppers), it really makes you realise how good Rengoku was, to stand up to the Upper 3. Tengen is solid though. He's definitely won me over.
Gotouge has done it again... despite the fact that this entire volume is just Tanjiro and Friends Vs Daki and later on Gyutaro, the volume STILL ends on a freakin' cliffhanger. It's just mean. Don't get me wrong, I understand WHY this happens, but after two or three endings like this, I really start to think they're doing it on purpose.
That said, hidden inside all the fighting, Hulk Outs and body horror, there were a couple of rather tasty hints about Tanjiro and his connections to Sun Breathing.
So, it's revealed that those destined to wield Sun Breathing are born with red marks. Seeing this, papa Rengoku naturally assumes that Tanjiro is the chosen one, because of his big scar. . . Tanjiro doesn't have the heart to come clean, but reveals to us that he wasn't born with that mark, it was actually a burn from when he was trying to save his brother from a hot pot...
Now, that might just seem like coincidence, but I've read enough Manga to know that there IS no such thing as coincidence, when it comes to Shonen power ups.
If there's one thing we know about Tanjiro, it's that he's got a REAL hero kink. He cannot see a fight without wanting to step in, we see it in this very volume; Despite being exhausted from unleashing his full Sun Breathing technique against Daki in an earlier fight and nearly dying, Tanjiro can't help but jump in to try and protect Tengen, during his fight with Gyutaro.
I put it to you, loyal readers, that the mark of a Sun Breather is in fact NOT attained at birth. Sun Breathing is only useable by people with a certain... mindset. A certain inclination. To be specific, a certain willingness to throw themselves into the path of danger, in order to protect those weaker than they are.
Tanjiro thinks that he's not a "born" Sun Breather because the mark on his forehead is just a scar, not a birthmark. BUT, I have a feeling that those chosen to be Sun Breathers aren't chosen by some random quirk of birth, but rather by their own actions afterwards.
One of the running themes of this series, and one that is front and center this volume is the idea that Demon Slayers really WORK for this place. When Gyutaro is joking with Tengen about how he clearly had it easy from birth, Tengen responds that nothing has been easy for him, and that Gyutaro has no idea what Tengen has sacrificed, to reach this point. And this isn't the first time people have made statements like this. From the very beginning, the emphasis has been on working hard, never giving up, and continually pushing to reach what you want.
So why would Sun Breathing, the most powerful technique in the series, have such an arbitrary origin? Why would people just be BORN with an affinity for such an amazing ability, when everyone else has to train for it?
Nope, that doesn't track, at all. So, while this is probably one of my most ridiculous theories yet, and has the least evidence to back it up, I can't help but feel that I'm right.
And, speaking of Tanjiro and his berserker Sun Breathing mode... When he Hulks Out in his fight against Daki, she starts to have something akin to a panic attack. Not because her opponent just started randomly bleeding from the eyes (although that would be a fair reaction). Nope, she loses her cool because memories start to surface within her. Memories of the BAMF pictured above, having a conversation with... None other than Muzan Kibutsuji!
I'm not wrong, am I? That is a younger, healthier Papa Kamado (do we know his name yet?) about to cross blades with Muzan, and looking like an absolute BOSS. So, I think we can now happily say that at least one of my insane theories is all but confirmed. The reason Muzan attacked the Kamado's house, and the reason he seems to really have it out for Tanjiro is because he got his ass kicked by Kamado senior at some point in the past. Really hope we get that story soon, because it sounds like it's going to be equal parts important and AWESOME. It also explains why his father was in such a rough state. As this chapter explained that pushing yourself beyond your limits makes your eyes bleed, and pushing yourself WAY beyond your limits will make you cough up blood for years to come. Kinda like how we saw him in the flashbacks, no?
But it's not just Tanjiro who is showing off his new skills! Nezuko also got a chance to shine! She showed off a demon form that was way cooler than anything we'd seen before... And then she started trying to eat humans, and Tanjiro had to calm her down before she went too far.
This raises the big question: Assuming he survives the fight to come, will Tengen snitch? If I recall, the only reason that the Hashira allowed Tanjiro to keep Nezuko around was because she was tested, and showed that she wouldn't attack humans. They were rather clear on the fact that if she ever DID attack a human, their agreement was off, and her life was forfeit...
Now, while we are approaching the halfway point of the series, and Nezuko has somewhat faded into the background of late, I can't see Gotouge killing her off altogether, so we have to wonder: Even if they win, are the Kamados going to lose, in the long run? How are they going to get out of this, without paying the price for breaking their deal?
Of course, I'm assuming here that Tengen makes it out of this fight alive. He's in a bit of a rough spot right now, but doesn't seem to have actually shown any Sound Breathing techniques yet, so I'm guessing he has a few cards left to play, in order to win this thing.
But it makes me wonder, how Tanjiro is going to talk his way out of this one...
Overall, Demon Slayer Volume 10 was solid. Some strong fights, some funny moments and enough teases and lore that it left me with a lot to think about, once the final chapter was read. Once again, I HAVE to give Gotouge a shout out for the truly disgusting artwork. It really feels like every time a new demon shows up, they go out of their way to think of a more disturbing and off-putting way for them to unleash their powers. Having Gyutaro burst out of his sister's back and start fighting with his own blood will definitely take some beating! I wanted to look away, but the character designs and art were so good, I had to keep looking! Can't hate that. So, now we just have to wait and see how the hell they're going to beat these evil siblings, and just how badly things will end for Tanjiro and Nezuko, now she's broken the golden rule...
And if you want to see how bad it gets, come back next time for Demon Slayer Volume 11: A Close Fight. Collecting chapters 89-97. The battle against the powerful sibling demons Gyutaro and Daki is not going well. Although finally able to fight alongside Tanjiro against the monsters, Zenitsu, Inosuke, and even the Hashira Tengen Uzui may all be overwhelmed. Battling even one of Lord Muzan’s Twelve Kizuki is hard enough—can Tanjiro face two of them alone?
And if you want to read along, you can find this volume at your Local Comic Shop, or on the Weekly Shonen Jump App, Enjoy!
Taheg Gloder is a Freelance Copywriter from England. Obsessed with comics and Manga since his teens, he now splits his time between writing comic reviews and retrospectives for POP, and doing reactions on his YouTube Channel, The Dragon & The Hound. He lives alone, because he’s a hermit.