Story/Art: Koyoharu Gotouge
What They Say
Legend has it, a flesh-eating demon hunts in the woods at night. But it’s only a myth. Right?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
After the first double-length installment of Kimetsu no Yaiba last issue, the second chapter already feels like a different experience simply because of it being half the length. I had felt that the first installment was a case of too much material that just didn’t provide the energy needed and going into this one it certainly feels like it’s smoother and working better, even if the story itself still feels like a mess. The idea in general isn’t a bad one, and it’s one that feels like it hasn’t been done in some time, but it’s also one that’s showing Gotouge’s inexperience overall in really driving it home in a competent enough way. The big problem the last time around was that there was so much narration and explanation of events that it slowed the narrative down. That still exists here and with half the pages it’s even more noticeable.
With Tanjiro doing his best to try and get Nezuko someplace where he can figure things out with what she’s become and try and turn her back, thanks to some suggestions and uncertainty from Tomioka, he’s ready to get on the move. Since she can’t be exposed to daylight he does come up with a decent idea of getting a covered basket and carrying her on his back, but this is a hell of a weird experience with how he argues with the woman over the basket and straw that she was giving him for free but he wanted to pay for. I get that it’s supposed to say something about his sense of honor and rightness, but it just makes everything convoluted and complicated when it shouldn’t be. I also couldn’t really tell, once he had the basket fixed, whether Nezuko really did get smaller when he wished she could so she could fit in the basket as he thinks she’s gotten bigger since becoming a demon. There’s just a lack of good clarity in these moments.
As the journey gets underway it really doesn’t take long, and this again is a lack of clarity in storytelling moment, before the pair come across a small home where things have gone south in there. A different demon has taken up there to gobble down on its previous occupants and is angered by the arrival of another demon. Of course, Tanjiro’s being there complicates it because humans and demons don’t travel together, but it leads to a really awkward kind of action sequence that doesn’t flow in the slightest, such as how we see Tanjiro leap at the demon from the door as it’s just nonsensical in its presentation. Even worse is when Nezuko later on kicks the demon’s head off its body in order to save Tanjiro. It’s just a smoosh of artwork made hilariously bad by Tanjiro’s old school wide-eyed look. It doesn’t get better from there as said head begins to grow arms. Ah, logic in a world of demons.
Kimetsu no Yaiba had me curious with its first chapter even if frustrated by elements of it because it was unlike most other things running in Weekly Shonen Jump here. This one just reinforces that the flaws are very much a product of the creator and they’re ones that are going to be hard to overcome without a lot of work and a better editor. The concept itself is threadbare enough to be workable but the hook so far isn’t strong enough and the first two chapters have not made a compelling case. I’ll be back for a third chapter just to see if things can balance themselves out a bit, but I’ve got minimal hopes and I doubt we’ll see this series get picked up further as part of the Jump Start program – and probably for the best.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Viz Media via Weekly Shonen Jump from ComiXology
Release Date: February 15th, 2016