Updated: Apr 27
Demon Slayer Volume 5: To Hell. Collecting Chapters #35-43.
Story and art by Koyoharu Gotouge.
Last time, Tanjiro had a couple of seconds to catch his breath, before he was thrown into another fight! This time around, he journeyed to the distant Mount Natagumo, where a bunch of Demon Slayers had already tried and failed to kill a family of incredibly strong Spider Demons. Things got real gross, real fast, and just when it seemed like Tanjiro and friends might be winning... daddy showed up. And daddy's MAD.
Chapter 35: Scattered. Tanjiro and Inosuke try and fail to fight the utter beast that is Father. But even their most powerful attacks can barely break his skin... how can they defeat such a powerful demon?
Chapter 36: This Is Bad! After being removed from the fight against Father, Tanjiro stumbled onto another family disagreement. Meanwhile, Inosuke's "Attack first, think later" combat style proves to be less beneficial than he'd hoped.
Chapter 37: Broken Blade. Kind of a spoiler title for this chapter... But the fight against Father goes from bad to worse, for Inosuke (can you guess why?). Then, Tanjiro faces an unexpected (but not really) setback, in his fight with that creepy kid.
Chapter 38: Real And Fake. Tanjiro's battle against Creepy Spider Kid continues, but without his Katana, Tanjiro doesn't know how he can win... but, when all looks lost, help arrives! But will it be enough?
Chapter 39: Life Passing Before One's Eyes. The Kamados battle together, to attempt to take down Creepy Kizuki, but even the combined power of these scrappin' siblings may not be enough! So, Tanjiro gets help from... a third Kamado.
Chapter 40: Hinokami. Tanjiro remembers the lessons he learned from his father, of their family and its connection to Hinokami, the god of fire. Can the fire god's dance overcome the Creepy Kizuki?
Chapter 41: Shinobu Kocho. We get a little family history lesson, and find out more about the creepy spider family. Then, we meet Shinobu Kocho, our second Hashira and somehow an even creepier character then the spider people.
Chapter 42: Bootie. Sorry, Behind. The Kizuki show their true power, and things looks pretty grim for Tanjiro... time for the first Hashira to enter the fray!
Chapter 43: Creepy Kizuki gives us his life story. If it's meant to make us feel bad for him, it fails pretty badly.
Now THAT'S what I'm talking about! Really good volume. Some interesting fights, but that's nothing new for Demon Slayer, but we also got some really interesting character development AND we got a few teasers for developments to come! This is my favourite kind of volume, because it keeps the pace up, but also gives you SO much to think about, after the last page is read. Also, Murder Loli.
Wow, I actually don't know where to start. I've got a few subjects I want to cover, so I'm spoiled for choice!
Okay, I'll start with the obvious one: We've finally met an ACTUAL member of the Twelve Kizuki. They've been teasing and faking us out (fake outing us?) for a couple of volumes now, but finally we've actually met an actual member of the big villain group for the series. And it's not the Spider-Hulk Father that they teased us with in the cliffhanger... it's one of the creepy kids. Yeah, that tracks...
Safe to say, he was KIND of a beast, and even Tanjiro tapping into his secret family technique wasn't enough to put him down! (but more on THAT later.)
I can't help but notice something, though. So his big demon power was threads, like spider silk. Because he's a spider, right?
His big motivation, as we saw in his slightly over the top "Please feel sorry for me!" flashback is all related to his guilt over killing his family. This overwhelming need for forgiveness and connection led to him forming a super creepy faux family in this forest, forcing the other demons to play the role of Mother, Father, and siblings. Even going as far as to force them to change their appearance to look more like him, and punishing them if they ever dropped character.
He's SO obsessed with familial connections, that when Nezuko tries to protect Tanjiro, his first thought is "I must have that!" and he tries to take her for himself, telling Tanjiro that he'll let him live if he hands over Nezuko...
SO! We have a demon who is obsessed with the pursuit of connection, so much so that his weapon of choice is thread. An item most commonly associated with sewing and tying objects together: connection!
However, he's so twisted by guilt and the weight of his past, that he turns this thread into a tool not to bind and connect, but to sever and separate. And the funniest part of all of this is that he never even realises it... He has the tools to create the bonds he's so desperate for, but instead he uses them to keep people apart (and in some cases, in parts). It's almost enough to make me feel sorry for him. Almost. Then I remember he's hundreds of years old and has probably murdered thousands of people, without realising his mistakes, so sod him.
Okay, I said we'd get back to this, so here we are: Tanjiro's a firestarter, twisted firestarter!
When he realises that his Water Breathing won't be enough and that Creepy Kizuki has him beat, Tanjiro has a flashback to his father, dancing their families traditional dance to Hinokami, the Japanese Fire God. His father tells him of the power of breathing, that if you can breath the right way, you can dance forever, even in the freezing snow...
Does that sound familiar?
First off: That is not a well looking dude. Between his obvious references to Total Concentration Breathing, his somewhat withered state, and those earrings, I'm starting to formulate a theory.
So, remember back in Volume 2, when Michael Kibutsuji first saw Tanjiro? He seemed particularly interested in those Hanafuda earrings... The same ones you can see Papa Kamado wearing there. The same ones Tanjiro wears to this very day. The same ones that his father implies have some powers!
I'm guessing, back in the day, Papa Kamado was a Demon Slayer, and during his time Slayin', he ran afoul of Kibutsuji. He made it out, just about alive, but injured to the point he had to hang up his blade and retire. I'm guessing when he was a Slayer, he used Total Concentration Fire Breathing, and those earrings are a holdover from those days. Possibly a gift from his teacher, in the same way Tanjiro was given a Kitsune mask when he completed his training.
This might also explain why Tanjiro's family was originally attacked. The fact that Nezuko was turned, which ONLY Kibutsuji can do, means that he personally took the time to travel to the middle of nowhere and wipe out a random family. Now, Kibutsuji seems like a bit of a dick, but that is a level of petty that is beyond even him. The fact he went THAT far, to me, says that there was a personal motive behind the attack.
So, I'm guessing, Papa Kamado clashed with Kibutsuji back in the day, and ruined some big plan of his. Maybe, just maybe, killing a family member, or someone else he was very close to, in the process (don't forget, this volume is all about connections!).
So, in order to get his revenge, Kibutsuji tracks down Kamado's family and wipes them out, BUT, just to be a dick, he doesn't kill them all. Instead, he turns one of his enemies children into a demon... the final insult!
However, he hadn't counted on Tanjiro being away, and thus there being one last Kamado left alive. So when he rocks up, wearing the same earrings as Kibutsuji's most hated foe... bad times are coming.
Now, I can't lie to you: most of that theory came to me AS I was writing it, so there's a good chance the overwhelming majority is false... however, I think we can all agree that there is certainly some history between Papa Kamado and Kibutsuji, and that those earrings are important, right?
Lastly, we finally got a chance to see two Hashira in action! Shinobu the Poison Hashira, and Gifu the... really quick guy? I mean, we didn't get an official title, but I'm guessing he's the Water Hashira, because he uses Water Breathing.
Still cool to see what two REAL Demon Slayers can do. Shinobu is freakin terrifying and even though she's smol, she uses VERY effective poisons to even the playing field against far stronger foes. I do like these kinds of smart fighters, because it gives the writer free reign to do crazy things. Just look at ANY of Kurotsuchi's fights from Bleach and you'll know what I mean!
Then we have Gifu, who is everything Tanjiro wishes he was. It's interesting that they really hyped up his speed, because usually when you have the ultra fast fighters, they're more likely to be associated with the speed elements, like Wind, Lightning, and Light. Water is usually seen as a more restorative element, and when it is used offensively, it's more about crashing waves, and the power of waterfalls. Glad to see that Gotouge isn't falling into the standard tropes. I'm looking forward to the calm, methodical Fire Breather, and the flighty, unpredictable Earth Breather!
Overall, Volume 5 was a VERY strong addition to the series. Giving us more of the beautiful and gory action scenes that make this series so popular, while always finally delivering some much needed development and moving the story forward a little! Hopefully, now that we've met and defeated our first Kizuki, we'll get a chance to catch our breath, and maybe expand the lore a little, before we dive into another huge fight!
If you want to see if I'm right, come back next time for Demon Slayer Volume 6: The Demon Slayer Corps Gathers! Collecting Chapters 44-52. The members of the Demon Slayer Corps are sworn to destroy demons wherever they find them—but the condition of Tanjiro’s sister, Nezuko, is a problem. What will the Hashira—the leaders of the Demon Slayer Corps—do about Tanjiro protecting his own demonic sister? Meanwhile, Kibutsuji assembles his own minions and intensifies his search for Tanjiro…
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.