In the anime and manga community, Demon Slayer and its animation are hot topics. Unfortunately, the aforementioned series has faced a ton of criticism with respect to the manga and its art since many people believe that the manga was not that great and that Ufotable is the only reason why this series is doing well.
While this might be harsh, one cannot deny the fact that the series’ popularity grew substantially after the release of the animated adaptation. Let’s take a look at why this is the case, and understand why the animated adaptation has done phenomenally well.
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Demon Slayer: Understanding why the animated adaptation is more popular than the manga
One thing that many fans didn’t like about the Demon Slayer series is the plot's simplicity. The plot of the story is that demons threaten the existence of human beings, and therefore humans fight back to kill every single demon. Given that this is a shonen manga series, there were a ton of fights. When we look at the medium, fights are tricky to draw simply because the medium imposes a certain level of restriction when it comes to displaying motion and fluidity.
This applies to a lot of series apart from Demon Slayer as well - of course, unless the mangaka is Yusuke Murata (One Punch Man), Kentaro Miura (Berserk), or Boichi (Sun-Ken Rock). Fans around the world tend to enjoy fight scenes better in the animated version if they’re made with precision. While Koyoharu Gotouge is by no means a bad mangaka, the art style certainly isn’t the best that fans have seen. When the plot is quite simple, a good chunk of the reader’s experience lies in fights and character interaction. While the character interaction was fun to read, there is no doubt that the fight scenes were handled far better in the animated adaptation.
In Demon Slayer's case, the animation was done by Ufotable and it was phenomenal. The Entertainment District arc’s quality of animation was comparable to the likes of big-budget movie series. Some of the fight animations were so good that Demon Slayer produced scenes that could be considered some of the best fight scenes in the past few years. One can compare the animated version of the fight with the manga panel shown below.
When we look into the manga sales, it gives us some evidence with respect to the series’ popularity after the animated adaptation made it to the screens. According to “theboar” about 3.5 million copies of the first ten volumes were sold when they were released. However, about 2.6-4.3 million copies of each volume were sold in 2021. This is a clear indication of the animated series being far more popular than the manga.
To sum things up, Ufotable’s overall execution was top-tier which is a big crowd puller for anyone interested in the series. Since the manga’s plot was quite simple, readers rely on good visuals to truly enjoy the series in this medium. Demon Slayer’s visuals became a big reason why some fans considered giving the series a shot. Hence, fans have reason to believe that Ufotable is a big reason why Demon Slayer enjoys this level of success.