By Koyoharu Gotouge
Chapter 141 of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba primarily serves to establish the personal stakes in our conflict to come. We right away are shown a flashback explaining that the one who killed Shinobu’s sister was in fact Doma, and with this realization, Shinobu is now even more ready to take his head. While we’ve seen Shinobu in battle before, this is the first instance in which she has had to go up against a formidable opponent in the series. Even in her rage, she manages to utilize her poison in her initial strike, and is able to test out the effectiveness that it has on the Upper Rank Kizuki. With Shinobu’s usual laid back personality, it’s interesting to see her act more strategically in combat, and it helps paint a better picture of her overall character. The chapter also further fleshes out Doma’s sadistic personality. It is explained that the young girls that Doma kills are done under the pretense that he is helping them achieve “happiness”, and that they will live on inside him. The way Doma nonchalantly talks about killing Shinobu’s sister additionally shows how little he cares about human lives and the sheer pleasure he takes in his deranged activities. From a combat perspective, Doma also reveals his Demon Blood Art, which appears to be a form of freezing power. This power alongside Doma being able to seemingly overcome Shinobu’s poison makes it clear that this fight won’t be ended easily, and Shinobu may have an uphill battle ahead of her if she wishes to avenge her sister’s death.
The primary highlights of this week’s artwork are centered on Doma. The demon’s reactions throughout the chapter are drawn in manner that elicits an instant unsettling feeling from the reader, and supports how mentally warped Doma is as an enemy. We can particularly see this during Shinobu’s first sword strike to Doma’s face in which we see him simply show a non-concerning expression as he licks the blood gushing from his wound. By the end of the chapter, Doma’s expressions reach an extreme as he displays a creepy smile as he overcomes Shinobu’s poison, transforming the reader’s unsettling emotions into pure fear. As such, Gotouge does a fantastic job of presenting Doma as a fearsome enemy that Shinobu must overcome for the sake of her personal goals and the greater good.
We are finally in our first fight between the Hashira and Kizuki in this arc, and it seems like the conflict is starting off strong. Considering how previous Kizuki battles have played out, there will surely be some more twists and turns in the weeks to come, especially with Doma being the Rank Two Kizuki. I for one am excited to see what Gotouge has in store for readers.