Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba Vol. 1 TP
Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: July 4, 2018
Price: $9.99
Creator: Koyoharu Gotouge
Format: 192 pgs., B&W, Trade Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-9747-0052-3
Age Rating: Teen
ICv2 Rating: 4 Stars out of 5

This is one of those grim horror-fantasy tales common to manga where the reader isn’t supposed to ask how anyone comes out of the setting alive.  The story is well crafted, and the characters intriguing, but the setting is perhaps too deadly for the survival of the human race, as things are shown.

There are only a handful of humans who seem capable of fighting back against the demons, and the demons are not only dangerous but contagious, so that any victims who survive attacks by demons quickly become demons themselves.

Tanjiro Kamado, a young man attempting to support his family with a low-paying menial job, comes home to find most of them dead from a demon attack, and his surviving beloved sister not herself.  Is she changing into a demon? And who is the weird demon-slayer who has shown up in a not-very-timely fashion?  And will it help if our central character also devotes himself to learning how to slay demons?  His efforts, both to learn to slay demons and to save his sister, are at the heart of why readers will want to follow this story.

The artwork is good, but nothing special, although the training story has some good individual panels.  Readers who get drawn into the characters and their struggles will want to keep reading, but readers will find the demons to be sometimes just vampire-like and at other times, just weird vicious things.  No friendly, sparkly evil in this story.  For teens and adults who like heroes fighting back against horrific evil.

--Nick Smith: Library Technician, Community Services, for the Pasadena Public Library in California.