In today's fast-paced world of Shonen Jump, many series are compelled to rush through their narratives at breakneck speeds. If they fail to capture the audience's attention quickly, the series risks cancellation. Lengthy, contemplative storylines with tired tropes and familiar plot elements are no longer viable options. Unfortunately, this means that series designed to unravel slowly, like "Hunters' Guild: Red Hood" and "Ginka & Glüna," may never reach their full potential. Even successful recent series could have benefited from taking their time to craft a more intricate and developed story.

This is where "Demon Slayer" emerges as a noteworthy exception. Koyoharu Gotouge's manga debuted in Jump on February 16, 2016, and concluded on May 8, 2020, making it a respectable four-year run. However, if given the opportunity for a more expansive narrative, its potential could have been even greater. Allowing for additional time would have elevated the quality of the storytelling and attracted a significantly larger fandom. While the story is well-constructed, there exists one pivotal moment that demonstrates how "Demon Slayer" could have been prolonged for months, if not years. With such extended duration, the characters could have undergone further growth, the plot points could have been expanded upon, and the world of "Demon Slayer" could have been more extensively developed.

How Was Demon Slayer's Story Cut Short?

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One significant cut to Demon Slayer's narrative comes from how the Twelve Kizuki were handled. These were supposed to be the strongest demons under Muzan Kubutsuji. Each of them should have been qualified to act as the main antagonist of an individual story arc. This potential was proven through Rui, Enmu, and the pair of Daki and Gyutaro. Even Kyogai proved he could be a main antagonist despite not being a Kizuki anymore. Unfortunately, the Twelve Kizuki were reduced to seven in a rather quick play.

The biggest trim-down to the Twelve Kizuki happened in Chapters 51 and 52. In light of the death of Rui, the Lower Rank 5, Muzan summoned the remaining five Lower Rank Kizuki. He was angry with the Lower Ranks' general incompetence and killed all but one of them. Thus, four potential story arcs were taken off the table in just two chapters. The anime exacerbated this issue by having everything happen in Episode 26, "New Mission." Whether this was Gotouge's original plan or the editor's recommendation, it was quite the way to speed things up.


In fairness, this was a brilliantly innovative way to cut these characters from the story. Muzan killed four of his best demons in rapid succession, three of whom outranked the one Tanjiro almost died fighting recently. Besides speeding things along, it shows how powerful and cruel the Demon King truly is.

Killing off the Lower Ranks simultaneously also trimmed Demon Slayer's bloated cast size, though it didn't have to. A good shonen series can have multiple well-developed characters because they're spread out over several long story arcs. Culling the Lower Ranks was helpful for the sake of concise storytelling. However, a weekly series that runs for years can afford to accommodate all of them.


How Could Demon Slayer's Story Have Been Longer?

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The existence of the Twelve Kizuki shouldn't have posed a problem. Numerous anime feature enemy groups with 12 or more members, such as the Gold Saints in "Saint Seiya," the Spriggan 12 in "Fairy Tail," and the Phantom Troupe in "Hunter x Hunter," among others. The key lies in ensuring that each group member receives adequate screen time and development. If every member is given an arc that focuses on them, it would only enhance the storytelling.

While delving into the villains' stories is intriguing, the true goal should be expanding on the main cast. Tanjiro and his comrades would have opportunities to grow both as characters and demon slayers. They would have more chances to improve their skills in combating the Twelve Kizuki, rather than merely assisting the Hashira in their battles.

The Hashira themselves would have also benefited from more screen time. Although their powers and backstories are sufficiently explored in the series, their connection to Tanjiro and his friends could have been further developed through additional interactions.

It is essential to remember that Tanjiro's initial encounters with most of the Hashira were hostile. They all wanted to kill his sister, Nezuko, for being a demon and then eliminate him for protecting her. Yet, neither of the Kamado siblings received a formal apology for this, nor did they request one, as they should have. The transition from animosity to unwavering loyalty happened swiftly without adequate time for trust to be built. A longer story would have allowed for a more gradual development of trust among the characters.

Furthermore, a longer narrative could have explored the rankings within the Demon Slayer Corps in greater depth. Although briefly mentioned during the Entertainment District arc, this system had minimal impact on the overall story. Fans were left unsatisfied, as they were deprived of witnessing character progression through the ranks. This missed opportunity is not about hastening the plot but rather establishing a significant plot point and subsequently neglecting it.

Tanjiro, Zenitsu, and Inosuke could have steadily ascended these ranks each time they aided a Hashira in defeating a member of the Twelve Kizuki. Once Tanjiro became strong enough to win one of these battles independently, he would have rightfully earned the opportunity to become a Hashira.

How Would Making Demon Slayer Longer Change the Story?

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One of the earlier arcs would play out something like this. Tanjiro and his friends would be assigned to help a Hashira find and kill a powerful demon. Until then, they would spend their free time together getting acquainted; bonding activities would include exchanging backstories, fighting lower-leveled demons, discussing Nezuko and a formal apology, and the occasional hijinx. It would also be prudent to introduce the ranking system sooner than later.

Once this development is completed, the fight with the main demon can begin. It would be one of the Lower Ranks Muzan didn't kill. The Hashira would secure the win with Tanjiro and his friends' help. This may require the Hashira to be weaker than they are in the canon series, but that's okay; battle shonen is all about getting stronger. On that note, each arc could end with Tanjiro and his friends going up a rank.


After dealing with the Lower Ranks, the story could finally move into the Mugen Train Arc and beyond. Things would play out as they did in the series proper, but the context would be much different. With the Hashira properly developed, seeing characters like Rengoku and Tengen be put out of commission would hit much harder. Tanjiro keeping up with stronger Kizuki would also feel more like something he earned (along with his new ranks). A struggle against the Lower Ranks might also help make the Upper Ranks look stronger. Many things can be enhanced with the right amount of buildup.

Demon Slayer works well as it is, but a longer story would have been just as good for it. Developing everything that fans like about the original story would only elevate the series and make it more popular. With any luck, there will someday come another shonen as big as Demon Slayer that will get the time it needs to become a fully fleshed-out and epic story.