Of course, the characters have a huge say in the enjoyment of the series. It's by no means overly huge, and their designs are distinct enough to distinguish between them, so one won't require too much effort to remember them.
What's great is that not many characters fall into a cliche, and not many come with a personality quirk that reaches obnoxious levels. Whatever the case, the character interactions are fun to watch.
But the spark of the series still lie with the two Kamado siblings.
The older brother is one amazing protagonist. Between being effectively forced to be the man of the house and having most of his family killed, you would think all the tragedy would make him gloomy, bitter and/or easily agitated.
Instead, the pain and sorrow he carries in his heart doesn't stop Tanjirou from being who he is: earnest, diligent, kind, encouraging, understanding and faces the challenges ahead with a smile. He's humble and polite, a good boy through and through.
He's wise and mature beyond his age, yet retains the bright innocence of a country boy who is venturing beyond the borders of his humble mountain cottage. It sounds cliche, but the former is convincing specifically because you can sense the hardship he's been through.
In battle, he's smart and observant, always aiming to figure out the pattern of his opponent and search for openings in their defenses to exploit, or just finding ways to contribute to the battle. He's not as analytical as say, Academia's Midoriya Izuku, but still way above merely chucking attack after attack on the opposition.
Half the times with him still carrying his sister on his back.
But for all his positives, among his most defining traits is his sheer sense of empathy. He doesn't hesitate in battle and will definitely get the job done; but when the result is set in stone, to the Demons that still hold shreds of humanity, he will bring them consolation in their final moments and pray that they won't be Demons in the next life.
I've seen people compare him to D Grayman's Allen Walker, but since I've never read that manga, my own comparison is with Fullmetal Alchemist's Edward Elric, minus the hair trigger, with a dash of Shaman King's Asakura Yoh's compassion.
True to his name, Kamado Tanjirou is like coal ("tan") on a snowy day, or a tiny sun to part the clouds, an all-around likable protagonist. Gotouge-sensei's interpretation of the ideal eldest son/brother of a Japanese family is perfect for this folktale of hers.
With my summary of the story above, you would think that the little sister would be relegated to a damsel-in-distress role.
In fact, Gotouge-sensei had a much different idea in mind: Nezuko is not Tanjirou's burden-in-a-box, she's his guard, shield and comrade.
Although Tanjirou understandably has to keep an eye on her, Nezuko's state of mind is stabilised to the point that she can operate semi-autonomously as a fellow combatant. Despite how her state of being is what they're aiming to fix, he's not afraid to take advantage of her condition, and lets her fight with her demonic might as a brawler, along with her powers that offer quite a bit of utility. (Kind of like with Alphonse Elric actually)
It is great to see the two siblings defend each other to the death.
She spends a lot of time sleeping (as an alternative way to recover strength) so her screentime is nowhere as much as her brother, and she's effectively a semi-mute character due to her bamboo muzzle. Yet, these only make her appearances more delightful, and her silentness adds their own charm to her character.
What's great to see with her is that, despite being turned into a Demon, she holds a fair amount of her personality as a human: loyal to her sole remaining family, and protective to those she perceives as her allies. It makes any human action she takes a joy to see.
I do have two relatively minor gripes with her character though:
1. It would be nice to have more insight to her thoughts, if only to further assure us of her humanity. I would want her to write her thoughts down even if she can't speak, but that brings into question the average literacy levels of countryside girls in the Taisho period, so I'm willing to let this slide.
2. While all of her human appearances in the story give her the poise of the mature and graceful eldest sister of the family, her present day portrayal while living as a Demon have placed more emphasis on her position as Tanjirou's cute, adorable younger sister.
The latter isn't a big problem, but personal taste-wise, it would be nice if we could see more of that poise in her Demon self. But I'm sure Gotouge-sensei has her own idea of how to reconcile this eventually.
Overall, instead of being stuck in a princess-to-be-saved role, I must applaud Gotouge-sensei for making Kamado Nezuko one of the most active, useful and likable female leads in Jump ever. Seriously, it's satisfying to see the brother and sister duo be such excellent male and female leads respectively.
(more to come)
- Plenty of substance per chapter, nothing ever drags out
- Good world-building at a steady pace, no real info dump out of nowhere
- Good supporting cast to supplement the strong leading duo, with the 2 other primary party members being fun in their own right
- Great and intense fight choregraphy, with smart combatants and artwork that become better and better as time goes
- As of the last major fight's conclusion, the power tiers in the conflict are pretty well-defined. There's a great distance, albeit not unfair, not like say Twin Star Exorcists' power tier
- Every character contributes one way or another, no one ever feels excessive (also like with Fullmetal actually)
- Gotouge-sensei has a nice knack for humour
- Plenty of mysteries to go around, but not overwhelming
- Main villain is intimidating at the right level
- "Slow" start to some people
- Includes the same kind of violence and gore as Claymore, so your mileage will vary
- Power tier of who stands where took a long time to be properly laid out
- Some phenomenon take a long time to be explained or addressed, so may come across as "ass-pulls" at first glance
- Some fan service, but thankfully not much (like, about same amount as Fullmetal had)
I would certainly recommend this hidden gem of the current Jump line up to everyone. Seriously, it's hidden gem status is equal to that of Sket Dance.
P.S. I know, I've made way too much Fullmetal Alchemist comparisons, but I can't help but feel that Gotouge Koyoharu just so happens to take the same "stance" as Arakawa Hiromu in many respects: be it low level power scaling; succinct mysteries; supposedly somber yet lively journey, and making sure every character has a purpose
Seriously, what is up with female Mangaka that happen to make amazing Shonen series?
Edited by gamria, 11 June 2018 - 07:21 AM.