The animé distribution company Aniplex on Sunday, February 14, released the newest trailer of manga-turned-animé Kimetsu no Yaiba, known in English as Demon Slayer.
The trailer on YouTube reveals that the newest installment of the immensely popular series will be released as a TV animé series in 2021, although no further details are provided at this stage.
A Surprisingly Fast Release
This comes as a pleasant surprise to fans.
Kimetsu no Yaiba tells the story of a boy, Tanjiro, who slays demons in order to gain the return of his sister-turned-demon Nezuko to human form. It has become immensely popular with a wide audience in Japan.
Many fans were not expecting a second season to come so soon. The franchise started as a manga in 2016, and then was made into a TV series in 2019, followed by a film in 2020. Releasing the second season of the TV series this year would be an accomplishment of record-breaking time.
Simon Kagaya, 20, who identifies as a Japanese subculture lover, explained the background to JAPAN Forward: “Many people, including me, expected that the second season was coming around the middle of 2022.”
He explained that this seems to follow a recent trend in Japanese animé releases. The perception has been that leaving a lag between installments can sometimes cause the series to lose momentum.
As an example, Kagaya cited the popular animé series Shingeki no Kyojin, or Attack on Titan, which released its first animé series for the 2013 season, but whose second season was not released until 2017.
“There was an Attack on Titan boom [after the release of season 1], which in my opinion was second only to Demon Slayer. The series is still very popular, but during that four-year interval, one can argue that the animé lost momentum,” he said.
He then gave a more general reading of the animé industry: “A current tendency of animations is ‘instant popularity, instantly lose popularity.’ So if the broadcast of the second season of Demon Slayer can begin as soon as possible, this will have a significant impact on sales and so on.”
New Season, New Characters
The plot of the recently announced sequel picks up after the latest film Mugen Ressha or Infinity Train (2020) and moves to Yukaku, or what in the Taisho period was the entertainment district.
From the video, it appears that the main characters will stay the same. There is an empathetic Tanjiro, a brave but foolhardy Inosuke, a whimpering yet secretly powerful Zenitsu, and, of course, Nezuko.
Newly appearing in the series is Tengen Uzui, the Sound Hashira of the Demon Slayer corps, whose signature phrase is that everything needs to be “hade,” meaning “flamboyant.” For those watching the animé, this is the first time this character appears in any detail, and it is already garnering the curiosity of fans.
In fact, the trailer was the number one trending video in Japan on the day of its release, February 14, and it was trending on Twitter in several languages, with fans particularly showing appreciation for the appearance of the new character.
The Demon Slayer franchise was consistently at the forefront of pop culture in Japan throughout 2020, entertaining people in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic with the popular animé series, available on Netflix and Amazon, among others.
The Enduring Success of ‘Demon Slayer’
The series then exceeded all expectations when it released its first film version, Infinity Train, in October 2020. By December, it became the most popular box office film of all time in Japan, with ticket sales exceeding ¥32.4 billion JPY (approximately $313 million USD), with more than 24 million tickets sold.
The recent Demon Slayer film craze managed to snatch the number one spot from Sen to Chihiro Kami Kakushi, or, as it’s more popularly known in English, Spirited Away (2001), which is the first and only Japanese animé to have won an Academy Award (2003).
Demon Slayer-themed merchandise, goods, and souvenirs — ranging from coffee cans to cloth masks — have become ubiquitous in Japan. Although popularized by the animé, the story is based on the manga, which has also broken all records by selling more than 50 million copies.
Some commentators have even attributed a recent surge in demand at local libraries in Japan to the popularity of the manga series, which some credit with bringing back customers.
As the reception to the recent trailer suggests, the craze for the series might be far from over.
Author: Arielle Busetto