Demon Slayer Volume 9: Operation Entertainment District.
Collecting Chapters #71-79.
Story and art by Koyoharu Gotouge.
Last time around, things got a little bit sombre. Tanjiro and friends defeated the Mugen Train, but were then ambushed by one of the Twelve Kizuki. And not just ANY member, The Upper Three member. Flame Hashira Rengoku gave his all, but things went pretty badly, and the Hashira ended up making the ultimate sacrifice to save everyone. Then, after talking to Rengoku's family, Tanjiro realised his family's flame dance might actually be Sun Breathing, the first breathing technique, that spawned all the others. This Volume, working alongside Sound Hashira Tengen Uzui, Tanjiro, Inosuke, and Zenitsu are going to infiltrate the Entertainment District. Fun time ahead!
Chapter 71: Operation Entertainment District. Tanjiro and friends start their operation. In the Entertainment District. But to infiltrate this neighbourhood, they're going to need makeovers!
Chapter 72: Search For My Wives. Tengen's Spy Wives have gone missing, so Tanjiro and friends have to track them down. . .while dressed as ladies, so they fit in.
Chapter 73: The Chase. One wife is tracked down, but she's in a tricky spot. Meanwhile, the rest of the Slayers do their best to find the others, while not blowing their cover!
Chapter 74: Daki. The demon of the Entertainment District is revealed, and has a run-in with our old friend Muzan! But will the others arrive before something terrible can happen?
Chapter 75: Various Feelings. One of the Slayer Trio goes missing, and Tengen tries to convince the other two to cut and run... but we all know they'd never do that!
Chapter 76: In Various Places. The time for hiding is over! Now, it's time to FIGHT! But do Tanjiro and friends really stand a chance, against such a powerful demon?
Chapter 77: Roar. Alone, Tanjiro finds himself on the back foot against his powerful foe. As he fights, he starts to think about his style, and the true way in which he should fight.
Chapter 78: Wriggly. Embracing who he is, Tanjiro finally starts to hold his own in the fight. Meanwhile, Inosuke comes up with an interesting method to reach his destination.
Chapter 79: Air Hole. Inosuke and his friends fight hard to free Daki's captives, before Tengen realises he's a freakin Hashira, and actually starts doing something.
Okay, well, that was certainly something. Hmmm. We went to a new, slightly seedy part of the city. That was always nice. It's always good to see new places, right? We learned a lot of interesting facts about high-end brothels. I'm sure many people reading this will find that information quite useful, at some point.
Then the Volume ended, just as it was getting good. Which was, fine, I guess? Can't wait to see Tengen cut loose, next time!
Going to be a quick one, this week. Because honestly I have VERY little to say about that Volume. It was about four chapters of content, spread over nine chapters. I know I said I wanted the series to slow down a little, but that isn't what I meant.
The lion's share of this volume is dedicated to the search for Tengen's wives, who are staying at three separate houses. But very little actual searching is done, and most of the chapters are spent showing Tanjiro, Inosuke, and Zenitsu settling down into their new lives as companions... which lasts about as long as it takes to explain those facts, and then they all stop because they've found their target. It's the very definition of filler. We get it; Inosuke has an oddly pretty face, and it's cool that Zenitsu is actually a surprisingly skilled Shamisen player... but when I said I needed more character development, that's not really what I had in mind.
Then, after they find what they're looking for and everyone forgets the plot, they just spent five chapters laying the groundwork for, the big fight begins!
Yup, it's Tanjiro Vs Demon Lady. Not sure what rank this lady is, because if they did the usual editor's note to translate her eye kanji, I missed it. But she seems pretty strong, as she kinda batters Tanjiro to start with. Then this happens...
I don't know why, but this whole thing really annoyed me...
I get it, he wants to use his family's style. The Hinokami Kagura seems pretty freakin powerful, and why wouldn't you use it, if you know how? But, when you see a guy whose whole character arc up to this point has been "He's the guy that never gives up, even when he REALLY should" it's a little odd to see him just dismiss a technique that has gotten him this far.
Since it first arrived, and it looked like Tanjiro was going to be learning Flame Breathing, I've been theorising about how he was going to merge his current water breathing style, with his hereditary Flame/Sun breathing. If given a hundred guesses, I never would have gone with "he's just going to stop using Water Breathing".
I mean, in the next panel, he reasons that he's never going to be as good as Giyu or Urokodaki, so he might as well do something different...
That is the WORST reason to quit. He's literally saying "Well, I've been studying this sword style for about two years now, and I'm not as good as the current Hashira, or his predecessor, I guess I'd better quit and go with the easier option." I just feels so MASSIVELY out of character for Tanjiro, that I honestly had to stop reading for a bit, after seeing that page.
I really hope this is just a quick decision he made for that battle, and going forward he's going to find a way to blend the two styles together, and maybe mix in some new techniques he learns along the way. Because if he just stops using Water Breathing because Sun Breathing is easier, I'm going to be very disappointed. Given how light the character development was this volume, combined with this rather dodgy choice, it almost feels like Tanjiro has regressed as a character, rather than pushing forward and becoming better through his trials.
This Volume wasn't all bad, though! One character I'm steadily growing to like as the series progresses is Inosuke. He started off as the standard "If it lives, I must fight it!" character, that all shonen seem convinced they are required to add. But, as time passes, while he DOES still love a scrap he's transforming into more of an MCU Drax analogue. His combination of straightforward thinking and extreme physical abilities leading to an almost Inspector Clouseau type character, who stumbles from one chaotic mess to the next, but somehow always manages to end up where they're needed, right when they need to be there.
I laughed a little too hard when he found that his only path to his destination was a small hole a little larger than his head... and decided his best path forward was to dislocate all his joints, and slither through the whole like a worm. It was UTTERLY ridiculous, but so in keeping with the way his character has developed thus far, that you can't help but just shrug and think "Sure, why not. You do you, Inosuke."
Overall, Demon Slayer Volume 9 was the first big miss, for me. Very little story, stretched over far too many chapters, leads to an arc that just feels a bit hollow. After the Mugen Train arc, which was fantastic, this feels especially weak. I'm really hoping that next volume, when we finally get to see Tengen join the fight, and hopefully get a little development for Tanjiro, Gotouge can salvage what's left here. If not... I guess we'll have to hope the next arc is better?
If you want to see which way it goes, come back next time for Demon Slayer Volume 10: Human And Demon! collecting chapters 80-88. Despite some comic misunderstandings that almost blew their cover, Tanjiro, Inosuke, and Zenitsu have smoked out Daki, a demon that has been devouring the residents of an entertainment district for years. The Hashira Tengen Uzui and his ninja companions engage Daki, but if they cannot handle her, what chance do Tanjiro and his friends have of taking on one of Kibutsuji’s Upper-Rank demons by themselves?
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.