Title: Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba - One-Winged Butterfly
Author: Aya Yajima
Release Date: February 28, 2023
Publisher: VIZ Media
For fans of Demon Slayer who are looking to know a little more insight into the Demon Slayer Corps other than their quest to take down the Demon King Muzan or are just waiting for the third season of the anime to air, then this story can help shed some time while waiting for new content.
Set before and between various arcs in the series, Demon Slayer: One Winged Butterfly mainly tells stories related to members of the Hashira and those related to them, with Tanjiro and Nezuko often appearing a few times throughout each story. However, their scenes are brief as the story shifts back to Hashira and Tanjiro’s allies.
The first chapter is about sisters Shinobu and Kanae Kocho as they begin training with Gyomei Himejima to join the Demon Slayer Corps eventually. Although hesitant at first, Gyomei finally gives the sisters a task while he goes on a trip to prove that they’re worthy of being demon slayers. This was an excellent way to start the stories and gave insight into Gyomei’s relationship with Shinobu and how she and her sister Kanae eventually trained to join the Demon Slayer Corps.
It also does well in showing the sisters trying to move on from the deaths of their families and become the strong characters that they soon become down the line by giving them a similar challenge that Tanjiro had to do early on in the main series.
However, the chapter after that, set sometime later during the main series, could be divisive as instead of focusing on a Hashira, it focuses on Zenitsu building a hot spring as per the request of Tengen Uzui. While a comedic story, Zenitsu’s cowardliness and his fantasies of various female characters may quickly ruin the chapter for readers who may have wanted a chapter focused on someone like Tengen instead and are annoyed with Zenitsu’s personality.
What helps balance out this chapter, however, is Inosuke also trying to help out Zenitsu with the Hot Spring, and moments with him ended up being the funniest in this volume, from his mispronunciation of Hot Springs to “Haht Springs” to him thinking that it’s food.
The following three chapters are heartwarming, the first focusing on Mitsuri Kanroji feeling guilty when she compares the reason Shinobu joined the Demon Corps to her own reason. Her love interest Obanai Iguro notices this and tries his best to cheer her up, even getting angry when he thinks that Mitsuri has gotten hurt and demanding justice, a cute story to look at for fans of Mitsuri or for those that wish to know more about her before the upcoming anime season.
The following chapter focuses on Genya Shinzuguawa thinking about his relationship with his brother and fellow Hasira, Sanemi. As he thinks back on his childhood with his older brother and his family, it’s a well-thought-out chapter that examines how much Genya has gone through in his journey and how far he’s learned.
The next chapter, which focuses on the Hashira members trying to make Giyu Tomioka smile, which he tells to a recovering Tanjiro, it’s probably the most comedic chapter of the book outside of the one with Zenitsu. However, Genya, Shinobu, and Kanae’s stories are probably the best chapters in this book, as it gives good insights into the three’s lives before Muzan ruined them with his legion of demons, as well as focusing on their close relationships with those around them and in the case of Genya, thinking back about the good times he had with his brother before he changed.
The last chapter focuses on a popular High School AU often shown in Demon Slayer merchandise, and the anime even made an OVA on it; this involves the school committee trying to take down Tanjiro’s band before the upcoming school festival, where they become desperate the more each of their attempts fails. Again, a funny story dealing with a significant but not serious threat with their various plans can make the reader laugh.
One Winged Butterfly gives off a calm and relaxing approach to its side stories and puts the demon decapitation on the back burner for this instant. The only pain you’ll see in this volume is people getting their ears wrecked by Tanjiro’s singing in the last chapter or Zenitsu getting scolded by Uzui in the hot spring chapter. These stories help reveal more about certain characters in Demon Slayer that readers are interested in and want to know more about.
While some chapters might not bring out a reaction in people, some of the stories are more heartfelt as we take a slow examination of a day in the characters’ lives. This would make what happens to them later down the line more tragic and tug the reader’s heartstrings for those that know what will happen to them in the future. Each story also has a cute sketch drawn in the middle of the chapter showing a scene in the story.
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