Demon Slayer Vol 19: Flapping Butterfly Wings MANGA RETROSPECTIVE. I see a bad moon rising!

Demon Slayer Volume 19 Cover 1. Published by Shueisha.

Demon Slayer Volume 19: Flapping Butterfly Wings.

Collecting Chapters #161-169.

Story and art by Koyoharu Gotouge.

Last time around, everyone got a sad backstory. And they were SO sad. The only thing sadder was that none of them really had any impact, because there were so freakin many of them. We also finally got to see Akaza get a kickin, and Tanjiro got revenge for Rengoku. Honestly, a little surprised that he didn't make a flashback appearance after the fight. We then jumped back to Doma, the Upper 2 Kizuki as Kanao and Inosuke tried to bring him down. This week, we find out if they can manage it!

Chapter 161: Flapping Butterfly Wings. Kanao and Inosuke continue their battle against the Upper 2. In a show of utter disrespect, he gets bored and summons a little ice version of himself, to fight them instead. Retribution is almost instant.

Chapter 162: Trio of Victory. Once again, I'm proven to always be right about everything. As plans laid down months before finally bear fruit, the fight with the Upper 2 draws near to its end. But even on the ropes, Doma is a powerful foe!

Chapter 163: Overflowing Heart. Catharsis hits like a truck. As Doma comes to terms with the whoopin' he just received, Kanao and Inosuke can finally release all that pent up emotion.

Chapter 164: Just Overdid It A Little. Two Hashira embarrass themselves in front of the new Kizuki, before a real threat emerges, and we all collectively get a little bit worried.

Chapter 165: Stunned And Trembling. For the second time this volume, I'm proven right. Then, the Upper 1 shows just what it takes, to be the highest ranked member of the Kizuki.

Chapter 166: True Feelings. My boy Genya tries to help in the fight against the Upper 1. This proves to be a truly awful idea, and he almost immediately needs help himself.

Chapter 167: A Request. Sanemi tries to hold his own against the Upper 1, but this guy really is an absolute beast. Thankfully, Sanemi has one final trick up his sleeve, or should that be... in his veins?

Chapter 168: Never Disappear. Kind of sad, and sort of a backstory! It's history time for Sanemi, right before he gets his butt handed to him. But don't worry, when one Hashira falls back, there's always another to step up!

Chapter 169: Rumbling. The big guns are out! As The Upper 1 Kizuki goes up against Gyomei, the Stone Hashira, who is said to be the Strongest Slayer in the Corps! But will even HIS impossible strength be enough?

He's right. People suck. Burn it all down.

You know, it's a burden; being right all the freakin' time. Just sitting here, trying to relax and have fun, but I can't. Because I'm too busy being right about everything, all the time. Still, it's great to see how my overwhelming correctness was implemented. I did enjoy this volume, there wasn't a HUGE amount going on, but we got a few pay-offs from previous threads, so it felt like there was a good amount of substance, here. Plus, some really great fights. Can't hate that.

Speaking of really great fights. *chef's kiss emoji*

So, let's start with the first case of me being right. Well, the first case THIS series.

The battle against Doma reaches its grand conclusion! And who could have guessed how it would all play out! Doma was just showing some outright disrespect to Kanao and Inosuke, basically ignoring them to go and fight other people, leaving them to battle against his mini ice clones, when something rather strange started to happen...

Hey, dude. Quick question: Do you know your face is melting? Oh, you're aware? Well, okay then.

It seems, in what can only be described as a jaw dropping surprise to everyone, that eating a Hashira was actually kind of a bad idea. Especially one who just happens to specialise in poisons. Yeah. Who could have guessed THAT would come back to bite you in the ass?

All jokes aside, I did like how this fight played out. It allowed Kanao and Inosuke to work through some trauma they didn't even realise they were holding onto. It allowed two non-Hashira to win against a high ranked Kizuki without it feeling like plot-induced stupidity, AND it retroactively makes Shinobu's death infinitely more satisfying. She was such a fun character (and her cameo this issue was hilarious), and I was sad to see her go, but seeing her plans come to fruition now, and bring down such a fierce foe... yeah, this was a fun fight.

Although, we're now in a slightly tricky position, because Inosuke has more or less played his "Turn up and lend a hand" card, without really doing anything in this fight. We can't have him just keep jumping from fight to fight, but I do really want to see him get a chance to actually DO something. Because he was mostly just here to moral support/a convenient distraction... I guess only time will tell.

This made me laugh way more than it deserved.

We then get a short interlude of the Love Hashira proving that she really is useless, and the Serpent Hashira is even worse, before the second ACTUAL fight of the volume begins... and this one is a doozy!

Muichiro goes up against the Upper 1 Kizuki, who almost immediately drops this bombshell!

Okay, so I wasn't 100% totally, absolutely, right with this one. I was most of the way there, though. So I'm counting it. Bug Face is revealed to be the Sun Breathing master that we saw before, dropping off a baby with a guy that looked suspiciously like Tanjiro. Who knows, this all seems to have happened centuries ago, he MIGHT still be Tanjiro's distant relative, as well.

Whoever he's related to, he's AN ABSOLUTE MONSTER. This fight just gets more and more brutal as it goes on, and I'm totally loving it.

Given how much build up there's been for this guy, and all the mystery surrounding him, I'm glad the payoff is worth it, now that he's finally getting into the action! We see him tear through Muichiro like he's made of wet tissue-paper, before thoroughly disrespecting my boy Genya, and then finally hitting a bit of a wall when Sanemi shows up. Honestly, there's not a huge amount to unpack about this volume, but this fight gave me two interesting points I wanted to talk about for a second. And funnily enough, they're about the two Shinazugawa siblings! They're a fun family...

Another entry in the fan favourite "Photos taken moments before disaster"

First things first: After what can only be described as the most disrespectful showing in manga since Aizen tricked the Shinigami Captains into nearly killing one of their own, the Upper 1 literally dices up Genya, leaving him in pieces on the floor. He then walks away and seems to forget he even exists, which I think is going to prove to be his undoing.

Here's the thing: there seems to be a real vibe this volume of "Things that were of moderate importance before, are now winning fights". Between Shinobu's poison and Sanemi's magic blood, previous plot points are coming back for vengeance!

So, given how they've made a point of reminding us that Genya gets powers from consuming demons, and then just left him up to his own business, I'm calling it now:

The fight is going to go badly. Because of course it is. Gyomei is going to cut a chunk off of bad guy whose name I really need to google, and they'll play it off as a minor issue. The fight will continue and Gyomei will slowly start to lose. Or, better yet, Gyomei WILL lose, and Sanemi will be back in the fight. Just when it looks like all is done for: BOOM, Enter Genya, gone full demon mode and looking like an absolute boss. Hell, go all the way and have him chewing on one of the guy's fingers, like it's freakin' Pocky. He proceeds to unleash a keg of Kizuki powered ass kicking, and helps his brother secure the win. Sanemi then admits that maybe Genya isn't TOTALLY useless, and it all ends happily ever after. Or, because this is Demon Slayer, Sanemi admits that Genya isn't totally useless, and then dies in his brother's arms. Because we can't have nice things.

My name is Sanemi. It's nice TOE meet you!

Speaking of Sanemi, my second point from this fight: I'm just going to say this now. I don't care that he was nice all along, I still think he's a dick. They can throw out all this fake redemption stuff all they like, it NEVER sits well with me. I call it "The Snape Defense", and it's always a terrible idea, if you ask me.

Because here's the thing, I don't care if you're doing it for the right reasons. If you're being a tool to everyone, all the time, then you're a dick. You don't get to reveal that you were secretly nice the whole time and then expect us to forget that you spent the rest of the time being horrible. Like, Sanemi was just starting fights with Genya a couple of volumes back. He's been horrible to him at every turn, and you don't get to have someone else tell him "Oh, no, it's cool. He doesn't actually hate you" and expect that to paper over the cracks. I really hope that if they're going to stick with the whole "Actually Sanemi is a nice guy" plot after this, that they really expand on it, a lot. Because right now, I just don't care.

However, it wasn't a total wipe-out for the elder brother, this volume. After getting a mid-tier beating from The Numero Uno, it was revealed that Sanemi has that magic blood that they mentioned back in... I want to say Volume 2, or maybe 3. Except, of course, that this time it works a little differently, but we'll allow it, because it's cool. It seems that Sanemi's blood is so delicious, that the smell of it makes demons intoxicated and throws them off their game. this allowed a younger Sanemi to kill a lower Kizuki in his early days and that's how he got into the Hashira.

I wasn't totally sure how I felt about that, when I first read it, but honestly the more I dwell on it, the more I like it. Not only does it explain all the scars, because the more demons hit him, the easier they are to beat, but it really leans into the whole theme of this volume, which is tying off earlier threads to grasp victory in these most brutal of fights. I mean, at the time I recall being a little let down when they explained about Marechi, because it felt like a cool concept that they didn't do much with. And here we are, 15 volumes later and that groundwork is paying off! This is what I like, this is why I love these long running series, because it gives you a chance to pull stuff like this. I still remember in "The Wheel of Time", when they reference a technique the main character was taught in the second or third book, to win a seemingly impossible fight in the 14th, and final, novel. Even thinking about it now, I get goosebumps. Because it makes the victory really feel earned, when you consider that the author probably laid the ground work for it years in advance. So, I really hope we get a few more situations like that, as this series comes to its end, because there are still a few breadcrumbs that need to lead us somewhere!


Overall, Volume 19 was pretty strong, and actually gets better the more I think about it. On the surface, it was basically just fights. But, the more you think about the fights, and the more you look into who wins them, and how, the more you start to realise that this volume was very much about plans laid down, sometimes, many volumes ago, finally coming to fruition. Not only does this lead to a very satisfying volume, with many well earned victories, but it also somewhat reassures me that the ending of this series might just live up to the potential the series started with.

I was starting to get a little worried, in the middle there, when it felt like the whole series was just throw-away fights and paper thin characters. But now, we're starting to see a little depth emerge, characters are being a little more fleshed out, and the plots are all starting to take shape. If we can continue like this for the last few volumes, we just might end up with a rather satisfying tale!

If you want to see how satisfying it becomes, come back next time for Demon Slayer Volume 20: The Path Of Opening A Steadfast Heart. (Yeesh, that's a long title), collecting chapter 170-178. Their initial confrontation with Kokushibo, the most powerful of Muzan’s demons, has left Tokito severely wounded and Genya cut in half—but still alive! Can his regenerative power heal even this seemingly fatal wound? The Hashira Himejima and Sanemi square off with Kokushibo and unleash all the skill they have against him. Himejima is blind, but if he can see into the Transparent World he might have a chance. Who will survive this whirlwind of flashing blades?

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!

Catnip for cats, Marechi for Demons. For Tahegs, it's cheesecake.


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.

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