The "Demon Slayer" manga, also known as "Kimetsu no Yaiba," was first serialized in Japan. It was written and illustrated by Koyoharu Gotouge. The manga made its debut on February 15, 2016, in the Weekly Shonen Jump magazine, published by Shueisha. In April 2019, the legendary animation studio Ufotable released an anime adaptation of it. The 2019 release of the first season led to an immediate success not just in Japan but also internationally, mostly as a result of the outstanding, jaw-dropping animation produced by Ufotable. It then went on to have a movie on the Mugen Train Arc in 2020, which was also exceptionally successfully, earning over $507 million globally. A second season, which debuted in December 2021 and elevated the bar for animation even further, followed this unparalleled success, elevating the anime to virtually legendary status. This leads us to 2023, when the third season, which covers the Swordsmith Village Arc of the manga, has just concluded airing. Did it live up to it’s legendary name? Let’s find out!
The season the begins with an hour-long episode which kicks off following Akaza, the Upper moon three demon venturing into Muzan Kibutsuji’s Infinity castle who was summoned his Upper moon ranked demons as a result of the upper moon six being defeated by the demon slayers at the end of the second season. We are also introduced to all of the other Upper moons including Upper moon four, Hantengu and Upper moon five, Gyoko the two of which serve as this season's primary adversaries. This is a fantastic way to open the season since it establishes the tone and teases what can happen next while showcasing some really intriguing interactions amongst the powerful demons. The remainder of the episode serves largely as comedic relief and setup, bringing us to The Swordsmith Village, the setting for the whole season.
Even though fan-favourite characters Inosuke and Zenitsu are absent from the entire season, it introduces several new characters who more than make up for the absence of two of the main boys. Ofcourse we have our main boy Tanjiro who is as wholesome as ever and his sister Kamado Nezuko who is as cute as ever and even achieves something very significant at the end of the season and we are also introduced to Muichiro Tokito, the Mist Hashira, Mitsuri Kanroji, the Love Hashira and Genya Shinazugawa a fellow younger demon slayer. Both of the Hashiras are interesting characters with Muichiro being significantly more interesting with a better backstory. His mysterious persona piques our interest because it is revealed that he is unable to recall memories of his past and is on a journey to reclaim them as a demon slayer. Mitsuri, although being weaker to Muichiro as a character does have her own ambition which being finding a man stronger than her. Genya, who wants to become stronger as a Demon slayer in order to earn his elder brother the wind Hashira, Sanemi Shinazugawa’s respect. As the characters come to terms with their pasts and exhibit some excellent character growth, this season delivers us some memorable character moments.
Demon Slayer was never truly regarded as a masterpiece of narrative storytelling since the plot is so simple and straightforward. The story of this season begins with Tanjiro going to the Swordsmith Village to get a new sword but it is invaded by the fourth and fifth Upper moon demons and now Tanjiro must stop them alongside the other characters. This season is definitely a step up in the story telling department since it not only introduces us to more characters but also gives us more detail on the Demon slayer mythos as we are also introduced to the backstory of the main villain of the series, Muzan Kibutsuji. This shows how the demons came into being. The story is simple but consistently entertaining and the season has good pacing but not as consistent as the second season. There are often sudden slowdowns when we are shown the backstory of the characters in the middle of a battle. This can come off as jarring to some viewers as the sudden break from the action to show the backstory for one-fourth of the episode hurts the pacing of the episode. While this is a small gripe with this season, it is not an issue which might ruin the experience of the viewers and at the core the season is still as entertaining and engaging as ever.
The main reason for the unpreceded success of Demon Slayer is the breathtaking and amazing animation produced by Ufotable. Showcasing masterfully crafted scenes that result in exhilarating battles and exciting moments that makes the viewers jump out of their seats. That being said, even though the animation is as high tier as ever it is not as brilliant as the second season, the fights in that season showcasing better fight choreography and better paced battles, the highlight of the season being the final fight. This season also has a few peak moments for example whenever Muichiro is on screen and some moments with Tanjiro. Nevertheless this season exhibits animation better than any currently airing anime which shows the love and passion put into this series by the team of animators.
Complementing the stunning animation is a masterfully composed soundtrack that heightens the emotions and intensity of every scene. The music captures the essence of the story, seamlessly transitioning from melancholic melodies to pulse-pounding tracks during intense action sequences. The voice acting performances continue to impress, bringing the characters to life and adding depth to their personalities. The voice cast's ability to convey a wide range of emotions further enhances the viewing experience, ensuring that viewers are fully invested in the story. The opening Kizuna no Kiseki created by the artist MAN WITH A MISSION and the ending Koi Kogare created by the artist MAN WITH A MISSION as well both set the perfect tone for the premise and action-oriented nature of the show.
The Final Verdict:
Demon Slayer Season 3 - The Swordsmith Village Arc is a testament to the series' continued excellence in storytelling, animation, and character development. While some moments slowing the pace down a little too much, with a riveting plot that expands the Demon Slayer universe, emotionally resonant character arcs, breathtaking animation, engaging action, and a captivating soundtrack, this season offers a truly immersive experience. Whether you are a long-time fan or new to the series, The Swordsmith Village Arc is a must-watch for anyone seeking a thrilling and masterfully crafted journey into the world of Demon Slayer. With all of this being taken into account this season gets a score of 8.5/10.