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Demon Slayer’s Cast Size Proves That Sometimes, Less Is More

Demon Slayer, unlike other shonen titles such as My Hero Academia has the advantage of staying focused on its main characters throughout its story.

Demon Slayer is a popular mainstream shonen animation of the past decade. The series is a great example of what success looks like in shonen, with its beautiful animation and creative worldbuilding.

Its limited but strong cast of characters is one of its greatest strengths. The story follows a series of arcs and introduces new Demons and Hashira, but it remains focused on the main characters Tanjiro and Nezuko, and their growth through the narrative. Although it is not unusual for shonen anime to focus on a core group of characters, Demon Slayer stands out from other titles like My Hero Academia. It never loses sight of that goal and uses its additional characters to help the growth of its most significant characters.

RELATED: MHA Vs. JJK/vs. Demon Slayer – Which Shonen Anime Had The Best First Villain?

Demon Slayer’s Storytelling Format

Demon Slayer has a very simple story structure. Tanjiro and his team find themselves in a new area of the world, and they face one or more Demon threats as they travel to find Muzan Kibutsuji. They are far more powerful than their enemies, so they must all learn new skills and train to be better. They also make new friends, the most prominent being Hashira, who both teaches and confronts the main threat to the arc. Tanjiro and Nezuko, Zenitsu, and Inosuke had all grown emotionally or physically by the end of the arc. They are now ready for the next challenge.

Although this is an anime formula that is used in many other shonen titles it is not unique. Demon Slayer isn’t weighed down by side characters. The cast is often only introduced to a primary Hashira or Upper Moon Demon. Their backstories are also important. The remainder of the arc focuses on Tanjiro and other primary characters. This focus is never lost. The series’ viewers can see how each character struggles and their journeys develop throughout the series.

Demon Slayer‘s ‘Mugen Train’ arc showed that while Rengoku and Akaza were introduced and given attention, the arc used each of their dream sequences to reveal more information about them and to focus on their reactions and reactions to the events. The same was true for the “Entertainment District arc. While Tengen and Gyutaro occupied significant screen time, the story remained centered on the main cast. This gives the anime a clarity that’s often lacking in shonen animes that insist on adding new characters to every arc. Each character has its storyline.

RELATED: Demon Slayer’s Tanjiro and Chainsaw Man’s Denji – Who has the toughest job as a monster hunter?

What is Demon Slayer’s Cast Like?

Demon Slayer has a simple cast, but this simplicity is what makes it so appealing to viewers. Tanjiro is a kind-hearted, compassionate human being who can sympathize even with the vilest of enemies. However, unlike other shonen protagonists, he is able to kill a mass-murdering Demon without second thoughts. Zenitsu, a whiny crybaby in half of his scenes, is the coolest character in anime in the other. Yet both sides share a deep sense of justice and a desire to protect the weak. Inosuke begins the series feeling like everyone else is in his way. However, Tanjiro learns from Zenitsu that being strong requires working with others.

These are not complex traits but they provide a good starting point to show why the audience should invest. Each character has clearly defined goals, and each arc shows how they are progressing toward that goals. Tanjiro is determined to find Muzan, and return his sister to normal and Inosuke desires to be stronger. Zenitsu just follows along. There are no side stories or characters that distract from the main story. Every episode of Demon Slayer reveals who the main characters are and why they matter to the viewers. The anime also shows that it knows its goals and how it wants them to be realized. Demon Slayer is refreshing in a genre that has become stale with filler characters and side characters who take up too much time.

RELATED: Izuku Midoriya, MHA, tries and fails to be like Tanjiro Kamado

Comparing Demon Slayer with Other Shonen Anime

Much shonen anime has a growing cast. This is a common trait. My Hero Academia shows the best example of an anime that has too many characters. There are 20 students in Class 1A, each with their personalities and relationships that require screen time. Other students, such as Mirio, from Shiketsu High School and Class 1B get their fair share of attention. There are also the many Pro Heroes, which the story has paid more attention to, as well as the villains that have been long-term or arc-specific and that require further development. Each arc of My Hero Academia introduces new characters and attempts to bring them to the forefront, unlike Demon Slayer.

Although stories like Gentle Criminal and Shinso can be entertaining and emotional, they distract from the main characters the audience wants to see. These characters often disappear after their introductions, when the story realizes that Deku must be present. Because there isn’t enough space in the narrative to give each character the attention and respect they deserve, it leads to a large cast of characters who are forced to be left behind.

Hunter uses a similar approach to its characters, but the way it develops its side characters are more intricate. The “Chimera Ant arc” focuses more on the side stories of minor Chimera Ants, hunters, and other characters than Gon and Killua. This is not a bad thing. It can give the viewer a greater sense of wonder and a larger world. There is a certain lack of focus when anime spends so much time on individual characters and their side stories. Demon Slayer‘s unique insistence on telling only the story of its four main characters and using character introductions specifically to complement their journeys is a key part of why it is so enjoyable.

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