By Koyoharu Gotouge
The final arc of Demon Slayer continues to rapidly escalate, and it’s a sight to behold on every page. Following the end of chapter 145, Zenitsu has successfully defeated Kaigaku, being saved by Tamayo’s assistant Yushiro as they fall to their deaths. As he loses consciousness, we see Zenitsu imagine his master, who says that he’s proud of Zenitsu for his accomplishments. Zenitsu has always viewed himself as an unworthy successor to the Thunder Breath, but by defeating Kaigaku, he has been able to prove to himself that he is worthy carrying the legacy of his master and that he can stand on his own as a demon slayer. As Yushiro brings Zenitsu to safe ground, we see that he is currently working a group of corps led by Murata. For someone who initially seemed like a one-off character in the Natagumo Mountain arc, it’s interesting to see how Gotouge has continued to showcase Murata in the story. While his appearances have primarily been comedy relief, it’s kind of nice having a character that serves as the perspective of the common soldier within the story. That being said, with one Kizuki out of the picture, it doesn’t take long for another one show up in its stead. We shift to Tanjiro and Giyu, who are suddenly blocked on their path to Muzan by a formidable threat. The Rank Three Kizuki Akaza.
Akaza has been someone that Tanjiro has been waiting to face again for a long time. Rengoku’s death was a catalyst for our protagonist to seek further strength and evolve his breath techniques to work against more formidable opponents. Now that he has a chance to avenge the former Hashira, Tanjiro is not holding back in the slightest. He immediately rushes towards Akaza, pushing his body to his limit in order to slash one of Akaza’s arms as well as his face. Giyu’s reaction from the background serves to convey how far Tanjiro has come since the beginning of the series. While he struggled to fight back against Giyu in their first encounter, Tanjiro is now demonstrating the power to stand on his own feet and match his resolve to protect those around him. Even Akaza is impressed by his increase in power, and prepares to go all out against Tanjiro as a sign of respect.
With all the chaos going on with the combatants of this conflict, there is still quite a lot going on behind the scenes. We see Rengoku’s father Shinjuro and Uzui protecting Ubayashiki’s remaining children as they manage communication through messenger crows. It’s nice to see that Shinjuro has regained his resolve as a demon slayer since meeting Tanjiro, and wants to uphold the Rengoku Family name. Meanwhile Uzui, while having given up his Hashira position, is still willing put his life on the line against Muzan’s forces. It’ll be interesting to see if these two will get their own fight against a Kizuki in this arc. Meanwhile, Muzan has surrounded himself in a flesh-like pod with Tamayo, still attached to Muzan’s body, struggling to not be consumed by it. Muzan seems to be attempting to rid his body of the demon-cure medicine that Tamayo injected into him, so if he is successful, this fight will only get more dangerous for the Demon Slaying Corps. Last but not least, we see Urokodaki watching over Nezuko, who has taken Tamayo’s medicine in order to turn her human again. If it succeeds, Muzan’s hope of conquering the sun will be lost, but only time will tell what Nezuko’s fate will be.
As far as artwork goes, Demon Slayer is looking top-notch as usual. The dream sequence between Zenitsu and his master was especially well done, and evoked some heartfelt emotions while bringing closure to Zenitsu’s character arc. In terms of action, the fight between Akaza and Tanjiro so far has been a slew of intense action. The two pages of Tanjiro pushing himself to cut Akaza helps establish how seriously he’s taking this battle, and serve as a baseline for what we should expect for the remainder of this fight. Gotouge’s artwork has continued to be fantastic through this arc, and these chapters are no exception.
It’s safe to say that there’s a lot going on in Demon Slayer right now, and deservedly so. As we head closer to the final battle with Muzan, the threats are only continuing to rise in difficulty, and the demon slayers must face them head on. This is a battle of the highest stakes, and Demon Slayer plans to deliver on it in every way possible.