Jujutsu Kaisen and Demon Slayer are two of the most popular Shonen Jump anime series. They are often compared due to how similar their premises are. Demon Slayer is a massive success in Japan, surpassing the other 2020 mangas in sales by a factor of ten. As a matter of fact, its most recent film, Demon Slayer: Mugen Train, is set to outsell Spirited Away as Japan’s biggest box office hit of all time.
Despite all its success on the English-speaking internet, it seems as though Jujutsu Kaisen might be outpacing Demon Slayer’s popularity. According to MyAnimeList’s ratings, Jujutsu Kaisen’s anime has been gaining more viewers than Demon Slayer’s anime, widening the margin between the two.
While MyAnimeList ratings aren’t as definitive as official stream numbers, they do indicate a clear trend. A trend that shows Jujutsu Kaisen having preference over Demon Slayer. But why is this?
Jujutsu Kaisen’s poularity
Jujutsu Kaisen is set in a world where jujutsu sorcerers have to fight supernatural creatures known as Curses. These sorcerers have the ability to manipulate cursed energy in their effort to defeat curses. The protagonist, Yuji Itadori, eats the finger of Sukuna, the King of Curses, in a last-ditch attempt to save his friends. This act imbeds immense power into Yuji, making him an anomaly among jujutsu sorcerers.
Although Jujutsu Kaisen is another shonen anime, it challenges a lot of shonen tropes, making it different from the competition. With the rising demand for horror anime, writer and illustrator Gege Akutami has a good grasp on what makes good horror. Yuji is placed into overwhelmingly terrifying situations with unempathetic curses.
Yuji is on death row from the very beginning, whether he stops Sukuna or not. This constant sense of impending doom makes each challenge Yuji faces all the more intensely captivating.
Demon Slayer’s popularity
Demon Slayer's popularity exploded after the airing of Demon Slayer Season One Episode 19. Being arguably one of the greatest anime fight scenes, this visually stunning and intense episode was Demon Slayer's catalyst. Episode 19 took the internet by storm, single-handedly boosting Demon Slayer’s ratings, catapulting it to its current status.
Before that episode, it did not do as well as one might have hoped. Demon Slayer utilizes heavy plot armor on its protagonist Tanjiro Kamado, which can become repetitive and tiresome at times. Credit must be given where it is due; the visuals, sound engineering, and characters in Demon Slayer are some of the best of any anime. The storyline, minus the fillers, is good. Being a more generic shonen bodes well for Demon Slayer as it is unquestionably fun, definitely exciting, and loveable characters.
Demon Slayer vs Jujutsu Kaisen
Jujutsu Kaisen has a much darker and more mature tone than Demon Slayer. Although Demon Slayer has elements of horror woven into its narrative, Jujutsu Kaisen emphasizes the horror aspect. The technicalities such as scenery and magical abilities are much more complex in Jujutsu Kaisen, making the battles far more creative and strategic.
From the jump, Yuji is thrown into the deep end. The stakes are immediately high, with only brief moments of downtime before things inevitably go south. The story is fast-paced, never being drugged out or emphasizing fillers.
Demon Slayer, on the other hand, is much slower and more straightforward. Tanjiro is being steadily pushed to face larger threats with each arc. Unlike Jujutsu Kaisen, there is far more downtime and fillers in which the character can recuperate before his next face-off.
Beyond that, Jujutsu Kaisen did not need a breakout episode to become famous. The manga was already well-received, and the anime served as a gateway for new fans. This all means that, unlike Demon Slayer, Jujutsu Kaisen did not need one episode to stand out among the rest to gain popularity.
While this decision all comes down to personal preference, based on all the information, Jujustsu Kaisen is arguably more popular than Demon Slayer. With no signs of losing that rank anytime soon.
Demon Slayer has a more traditional shonen tone, which is not inherently a bad thing. It just may have seemed more repetitive, leading to its slower reception. However, Jujutsu Kaisen has a more mature tone with darker components added into the narrative. With its exciting power system and powerful villains, Jujutsu breaks the mold of a basic shonen.
Although Jujutsu Kaisen is more widely received, both series are excellent in their own right and are definitely worth the watch.