Demon Slayer’s Cast Size Breaks the Mold: Why Fewer Characters Equals More Depth

Demon Slayer’s story is more focused than other shonen, like My Hero Academia.

Demon Slayer has established itself as one of the most popular mainstream shonen cartoons of the past decade. The series is an excellent example of what it means to have a successful shonen.

Its strong, yet limited cast of characters is what makes it one of its strongest strengths. As the story progresses through its various arcs and introduces new Demons or Hashiras to the plot, it maintains its focus on its protagonists Tanjiro Tanjiro Nezuko Zenitsu Inosuke and their progression through the narrative. While a shonen manga doesn’t tend to be focused on a single character, Demon Slayer makes a stand above titles like My Hero Academia. By retaining its focus and using its extra characters to support its growth, it stands apart from other titles.

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Demon Slayer Storytelling Format

Demon Slayer‘s story structure has been simplified. Tanjiro with his crew is placed in a new region of the world every arc. There they will face one or several Demon threats while on their quest to find Muzan Kibutsuji. They face enemies that are more powerful than any they have encountered previously. This means that all of them will need to become stronger through the arc, either by learning new techniques or training. They also make new friends during this time, the most notable being Hashira. She teaches the cast as well as engages the main threat in the arc. Tanjiro to Zenitsu, Nezuko, and Inosuke all have made significant progress in their emotional and physical health and are ready for the next challenge.

This anime formula has been used in many other shonen series, but Demon Slayer‘s uniqueness is the fact that it does not get bogged down by side characters. Many times, only the primary Hashira, Upper Moon Demon, and their backstories are presented. These characters leave an impression on the cast. The remainder is devoted to Tanjiro and the other primary characters. They are never lost in that focus. The series lets the viewers see the characters’ struggles and the progress of their lives over the course.

Demon Slayer’s “Mugen Train” arc saw Rengoku. Akaza. and Lower Moon One being introduced. However, the dream sequences were used to show more about each character and their reactions to events. The same thing happened in the “Entertainment District” story. Even though Tengen, Gyutaro, and Daki took up considerable screen time, it was still centered on the development of its main cast. This helps to provide clarity for the audience, which is often lost when shonen anime insist on adding many new characters to the ensemble cast.

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How does Demon Slayer’s Cast Work?

Demon Slayer does not have a complex cast. This simplicity however is what makes the film so attractive. Tanjiro’s heart is kind and compassionate. Zenitsu has half of his scenes as a whiny crybaby. The other half is filled with the coolest characters in anime. But both sides share a deep feeling for justice, and a desire to help the weak. Inosuke opens the series as a lonely person who believes everyone else is his only way. He learns through Zenitsu, Tanjiro, and Zenitsu what it takes to become strong and work with others.

These traits aren’t necessarily complex but enough to indicate why the audience should care. Each character identifies their goals and every episode shows their progress toward that goal. Tanjiro would like to find Muzan. Inosuke would like to make his sister normal again. Zenitsu gets along for the ride. There aren’t side missions or side people to distract from the main topic of the series. Every episode of Demon Slayer is clear about who the protagonists are and why they are important. The anime itself also clearly shows that it knows where and how to get there. Demon Slayer shows a refreshing change in a genre filled with side characters and filler that takes up too much time and is irrelevant.

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Comparing Demon Slayer To Other Shonen Anime

An important feature of most shonen anime is the ever-growing cast. My Hero Academia is the best example of anime with an overly large cast. Only Class 1A contains 20 students. They all have their personalities, relationships, and needs that can be shown on the screen. Mirio, Shiketsu High School’s students in class 1B, and other students get their fair share. The story also focuses on the Pro Heroes who are getting more and more attention. My Hero Academia introduces and tries to focus on, a variety of new characters.

Shinso and Gentle Criminals stories can be very engaging and even emotionally powerful, but they often distract from the main characters that the audience wants to see. After their introduction, these characters tend to fade into the background as the story realizes it needs to move around Deku. Each character is given too much attention in the narrative, and they can’t get the respect and attention that they deserve.

Hunter has a similar approach, though the process of creating its side characters takes more time. The “Chimera Ant” series has full episodes that focus on side stories of minor Chimera Ants. These episodes are different from the main characters, such as Gon and Killua. This isn’t necessarily bad. It can help you feel bigger and more connected to the world. When anime focus so much on one-off characters, and their side plots, it can feel a bit disorienting. Demon Slayer‘s refreshing determination to tell the story of its main four characters and using character intros to specifically compliment their journeys is one of its best attributes and a major reason it is so easy to enjoy.

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