Book Review: Demon Slayer Volume 23 by Koyoharu Gotouge

Book Review: Demon Slayer Volume 23 by Koyoharu Gotouge
This cover image was taken from the manga’s buy page on Amazon for review purposes under fair use doctrine.

Spoiler Free Summary: Demon Slayer Volume 23 by Koyoharu Gotouge is the twenty-third and final volume in the Demon Slayer manga. Even as the battle reaches its bitter-sweet conclusion Muzan Kibutsuji deals a blow that may mean the end for everyone. The demon hunters must set their feelings aside to take on one of their own. Can such a horrible turn of events ever lead to a happy ending?

Character: Tanjiro shines here in his determination and love, which this manga had established from the first volume. This conclusion brings everything perfectly together, and it’s Tanjiro’s heart, not his swordsmanship, that drives this story.

Exposition: I was a bit surprised here that the volume slowed down for me. The exposition here wasn’t anywhere near bad, but there were some parts that bogged the pace down. I think I noticed it more because I wanted to see how things progressed, and I felt like there were these periodic pauses that tripped me up here and there. It’s not anything crippling, but it’s there.

Worldbuilding: I don’t know how often worldbuilding plays a role in foreshadowing, but this series pulled off a wonderful plot reveal that was satisfying. From the beginning, we see something special, and that element turns out to be so very important as the story comes to a conclusion. Another element, the one that most manga of this style (Naruto/Bleach), would normally be the difference maker. We see Tanjiro’s skill develop, and like those other stories, we naturally assume that development would make the difference. That assumption is wrong.

Dialogue: From Volume 2 to Volume 23, the dialogue is more or less the same. There were several conversation and expositional (or thought) boxes that harken to older genre’s, but they’re not so many that they drag the story down. I found them mostly charming through the series, but the trend got a bit annoying in this specific volume.

Description: The panels aren’t as cinematic as the others, and some would think that means this volume is less impactful. However, I feel the opposite is true. This volume focuses so much more on character. While that means we don’t see as many epically awesome fight moves, we get much more satisfying emotional validation and closure.

Overall: As I thought about this final thought, I decided this: Demon Slayer is officially my favorite manga series ever. It’s predecessors (Dragon Ball Z, Naruto, and Bleach) were all wonderful, but Demon Slayer gets right what those other series got wrong. Those other series focused on length, but they inevitably ran into repetition issues that where meme worthy. Sure, it’s nice to have another volume to read. Yes, I still thought those series were fun to watch, but they dragged on and on. Demon Slayer is a concise, character-driven story that grabs readers by the neck and drags them along for 23 volumes until we see what might also be the most satisfying resolution I’ve ever read in a manga. That’s my opinion. I’m not saying the other sagas weren’t good, I’m just saying this saga (possibly learning from those others) is even better because I get my big fight and I get my conclusion without having to read 60 volumes (or watch 100 filler episodes) that are basically the same thing. If you haven’t started it, you should. It’s truly wonderful.

Thanks for reading,