Guardians of the Night (Kimetsu no Yaiba or Demon Slayer, to suit the consumer) is one of the most popular anime of recent years. Its series is followed all over the world and the theatrical releases of its movies have shown that anime also works on the big screen -at least, better than its adaptations-.
However, the series could have been very different if Tatsuhiko Katayama, the creator of the original manga and who has led Guardians of the Night to become what it is today, had followed his initial plan. Above all, it is something that would have affected Tanjiro, the manga’s protagonist, and therefore the whole series in general.
The secret behind the success of Kimetsu no Yaiba
In an interview for Manga Plus, the official channel of the publisher Shueisha, the original idea of Kimetsu no Yaiba was to make a much more serious manga with an adult vision. I wanted to present spaces, swords and demons designed in a much more realistic way. In addition, the story was going to have a greater point of adult seriousness, with an older audience as a target.
However, these main ideas were rejected: the publisher, accustomed to publishing manga such as Dragon Ball and One Piece, knew that the tone should be lowered. Thus, they asked for a comic relief and a little twist to the story to make it more accessible to all audiences. Plus more personality for the main character.
In the original design revealed by Katayama, we can see that Tanjiro was not originally going to have the scar on his face or the endearment he is known for. We have been able to see that he had a much more sober appearance, and it is that the mangaka had to change it quite a lot both physically and personality.
To fit Shueisha’s standards, Katayama made the protagonist’s personality more empathetic and lovable, and not just driven by Batman-like vengeance, as originally intended. With that and a couple of more “all audiences” touches, he achieved the final result that is so popular today.
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