Demon Slayer Volume 15: Daybreak And First Light.
Collecting Chapters #125-133.
Story and art by Koyoharu Gotouge.
Last time around, The fight against the Upper Four continued! While Muichiro dispatched the Upper Five single handed (and reclaimed his memories, in the process!), Tanjiro, Genya, Nezuko, and Kanroji continued to struggle against their enemy. But how do you defeat a monster that can continually spawn new versions of itself, and resists fatal strikes? Well, read on brave traveller, and you'll find out.
Chapter 125: Dawn Approaches. Tanjiro and Nezuko continue their battle, but with exhaustion setting in, Genya losing his demon powers, and Kanroji doing everything she can to hold off the demon trees, will they be able to take this powerful foe down, before it's too late?
Chapter 126: Daybreak And First Light. Dawn is breaking. Which is awesome for everyone that isn't a demon. Sadly Nezuko is very much still a demon. So, as the Upper Four makes one last bid for freedom, Tanjiro must make an impossible choice.
Chapter 127: The Rumble Of Victory. Somehow, the Upper Four has been slain, and Nezuko is fine. Despite being exposed to direct sunlight, Nezuko stubbornly refuses to explode into fiery death, as a good demon should. Certain characters are a little TOO happy about this unexpected turn of events.
Chapter 128: A Request For Instruction. Everything has changed. Back at Demon Slayer HQ, Tanjiro is recovering from yet another whoopin', and the Hashira meet, to discuss where to go, and what to do, with what they know now.
Chapter 129: To Become A Marked One. The Hashira share theories, on the emergence of their Marks and how the other Hashira might achieve the same ends. Meanwhile, Tanjiro gets a new sword (again), and training begins!
Chapter 130: A Place To Be. Hashira training begins! To say it's brutal would be an understatement. The only Hashira not present for the training is Giyu, who is sulking. Tanjiro decides to find the Nu of Nuisance, and bring him out of his funk.
Chapter 131: Visitor. Tanjiro and Giyu have a heart to heart. Meanwhile, Shinobu gives Kanao some special lessons, and Lady Tamayo receives a surprising invitation.
Chapter 132: Full-Strength Training. Tanjiro has finally recovered and has joined in with the Hashira's intense training sessions. Like any good Shonen Hero, he blitzes through everything, growing stronger and more skilled every day... And then he meets the Wind Hashira...
Chapter 133: Welcome. Genya tries to make things right with his brother. But, in the tradition of Hashira siblings, Sanemi turns out to be a bit of a dick. Once the dust settles, Tanjiro moves on to the final stop in his training!
But, to see how the final stage of his training goes, you'll have to come back next time! Because that's where this volume ends. Well, I don't know about you, but I think that was a big step up, from the last couple of volumes. We still had a bit of action, but we also got a LOT of answers, and of course posed a few more questions, because there's always got to be a mystery, right? But, yeah. Some plot threads have moved forward in a major way, and I'll always appreciate that!
And another one down, another one turns to dust! Tanjiro has dispatched another Kizuki. Not bad at all. Thankfully, it was resolved pretty quickly and despite falling back on a few bad habits, the ending of the fight was fairly strong.
Most important, because while it seemed like Nezuko had sacrificed herself, to let Tanjiro land the killing blow, she'd actually just evolved to the next stage of demon... ness? And is now able to walk in sunlight. Ain't that a peach?
Well, actually no. It's not. Because in the first of the big lore spots of this volume, we got treated to some back story for our even missing antagonist Muzan Kibutsuji. You see, it turns out that the flower he's been so desperately searching for is now a little bit useless. I know, it's a shame, right? All that screen time devoted to such an important lore point, all wasted... Because it seems that he was only searching for said flower in order to allow him to walk in the daylight. But now that Nezuko has achieved the same ends, via the power of friendship and love, all he has to do is eat her to gain her powers. As if he needed MORE reasons to want to attack Tanjiro.
This sent me off on a bit of a tangent, though. Because that's basically all my life is these days. So, thanks to some mildly truncated flashbacks, we know that Muzan was once a sickly boy, whose doctor was giving him medicines made from a special flower. When the treatments didn't appear to be working, Muzan killed his doctor with a meat cleaver. Because, it seems even when he was a human, he was kind of a dick. For reasons that aren't really explained, killing his doctor turned him into a demon, making him stronger, but filling him with a craving for human flesh. Eating people increased his powers further, but also made him unable to go out into the sunlight.
So, because this made sense to him, Muzan decided that obviously by getting the flower the original medicine was made from, he would be able to go into the sunlight once more. Makes total sense, right?
This got me thinking, though. So, both Muzan and Nezuko were turned into demons. Muzan immediately began eating every human he could get his grubby little paws on, because it gave him an instant burst of power. However, he was unable to walk in sunlight any more.
Meanwhile, Nezuko abstained, slept, worked on herself a bit, and tried to eat as few humans as possible. After a few years of hard work, she is now able to walk in the light once more. To be fair, we can't know WHEN this change happened. It's possible she's been able to walk in the sun for a while, there just wasn't dramatic enough a reason to test the theory.
It does amuse me, and feel VERY in keeping with the series, to think that the aversion to sunlight isn't a natural part of being a demon, and actually it's just Muzan's inability to be cool for thirty freakin seconds that's caused all his problems.
It's been a recurring theme, since day one; Muzan is a dick to his followers, and that has turned them all into dicks. Meanwhile, despite the fact they've also been through hell, most of the Hashira seem pretty cool (except Sanemi; he's a dick). Because they've surrounded themselves with good people, and tried to be helpful.
It's a tale as old as time: cutting corners and trying to cheat the system will ALWAYS hurt you in the long run. Look at Muzan: he took the lazy path, feasting on humans to gain quick, easy power through Demon Blood Arts. But, that easy power came at a price. Meanwhile, we've got Nezuko, who learned to control herself, and function without the whole cannibalism thing, and now she's gained the very power that Muzan has been searching for, for centuries. And she's done it in less than a decade.
It's a real nice bit of Lore work, and I really hope they go deeper into it, as this arc plays out. As anyone who has read my whole Manga Retro up to now will know, I've been begging for some decent lore for a while now. So it would be a little mean to turn on Gotouge, now they've seemingly given me what I was asking for... But I do kinda have to point out that while this little insight into the nature of demons was great, it all feels a little... haphazard. A little slapdash.
I REALLY hope we get more explanation as to how Muzan actually turned. Because right now his origin story seems to be "One day he became a demon. Because... medicine, I guess?" And given how they've been dropping hints about the Blue Spider Lily for quite a while now, having it just replaced by Nezuko seems like a real bait and switch. So, while I DID really enjoy the lore exploration in the volume, I hope we get a lot more as we progress further. I'd really like to know how exactly this mysterious doctor turned Muzan into a demon, how Nezuko can now resist sunlight and basically everything in between. Because this volume was a good start, but it was far from the end!
But it's not JUST Nezuko who's special!
Nope, her brother is also making serious waves.
Yup, it turns out my theory from last week has (thankfully) already been proven incorrect. It seems that the marks Konroji and Tokito manifested during their fights are similar to, but legally distinct from, demon markings. Which is a plus.
However, they ARE connected to Tanjiro. It seems that as the first person to manifest the marks, he's influencing those that fight around him, and potentially bringing out their marks, too. Assuming they're put in sufficiently perilous situations.
This kind of reminds me of Bleach, where their exposure to Kurosaki Ichigo and his overwhelming Reiatsu allowed his close friends Orihime and Sado to awaken their own dormant powers. Although I have a feeling this time it won't cause the Hashira to suddenly develop new abilities, because they don't have any to start with, but rather allows them to dig deep and bring out their full potential, and be the best that they can be. Who knows, maybe this will finally allow Zenitsu to learn a second Lightning Breathing technique...
Overall, Volume 15 was a HUGE step up from the last two. Delivering some solid lore, some interesting character moments, and really setting the scene for the absolute chaos that is bound to be unleashed, as we head into what I'm assuming is the final arc. I hope that we get a volume or two more of the calmer, lore-based chapters, to answer a few more of my questions, before we dive headfirst into war with Muzan Kibutsuji, and hopefully get revenge on that ass Akaza. Don't think we've forgotten you, tool!
If you hadn't forgotten Akaza either, come back next time for Demon Slayer Volume 16: Undying, collecting chapters 134-142. Tanjiro goes to see the Stone Hashira, Himejima, who intends to prepare him for the battles to come. The training to become a Hashira—a high-ranking member of the Demon Slayer Corps—is intense and demanding, and earning Himejima’s approval seems impossible, but Tanjiro won’t give up! Meanwhile, the demon lord Muzan continues to search for the location of Nezuko and Ubuyashiki.
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.