Why Demon Slayer’s Cultural Impact Doesn’t Match Up To Its Sales Figures

demon slayer wallpaper art
Written by Theo J Ellis

Demon Slayer is overrated and it’s not the first time I’ve said it. But that does NOT mean I don’t think the anime is decent.

It is decent. It does have its moments but in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t match up to other Shonen.

It’s far from a masterpiece.

I say all that to say this is proven by its sales figures vs the anime‘s cultural impact.

Let’s talk about why that is, and how it’s a problem.

 

1. Demon Slayer was built on the back of HYPE

YouTube video

I don’t know what Ufotable did, but I know one thing for sure: they did a KILLER job of marketing the anime.

I remember the hype train started around Septermber 2019. People were recommending me to watch it non stop.

Eventually you get sick of hearing people suggest it, and so you watch it to see what the HYPE is all about.

I watched it, and in the first 5 episodes I admit I was surprised by the action and the supposed quality.

The way Nezuko kicked the head off a demon was priceless. It was a memorable moment and an introduction to what’s to come later.

demon slayer best episode moment

Then episode 10 and beyond comes into the picture, and I’m like…. OK? Is this really it?

Episode 17-19, I forget the exact number, but one of these episodes is where the HYPE train starts to go full speed.

Everyone was talking about it, especially from an animation and art point of view.

Anime fans became hype men for Demon Slayer and you couldn’t get away from it. After that ONE episode the anime returns to normal somewhat, and nothing fancy happens.

That’s the end of the season.

 

Mugen Train over a year later

mugen train cliffhanger

The pandemic provided an opportunity to make people thirst for the outdoors more than usual.

This played into the fact that Japanese people went out in shocking numbers to watch Mugen Train in the theatres.

It’s a normal reaction when you’re stuck in doors for so long because of a lockdown you could have never expected.

Demon Slayer‘s hype was well positioned basically. And in the end it’s THIS movie that took things to a whole new level.

  • Top selling anime movie of all time.
  • $100’s of millions of dollars accumulated.
  • A few billion added to anime‘s industry net worth.

Demon Slayer did the impossible and It did it all in a short space of time. And the studio and marketers took advantage of the HYPE flawlessly.

 

But that’s why Demon Slayer‘s cultural impact is laughable in comparison

It’s not Demon Slayer‘s fault. Especially as far as the anime and NOT the manga in particular.

The anime has only been out for what? 2 years at best. With the movie Mugen Train coming out in between that time.

For an anime to have a solid impact on the culture like that, there needs to be:

  • More time.
  • More investment.

And a lot more needs to be done over the long term for it to be everlasting.

I’m talking about the kind of impact DBZ, Bleach, One Piece or Naruto have.

To the point where:

  • People wanna be like those characters.
  • Fans go to the gym because of those characters or anime.
  • People start businesses around those anime or characters.
  • Cosplay is dominantly based on those characters or anime.
  • People continue talking about it to a large degree in spite of hype dying down.

And things of that nature. The way Bleach. Naruto, One Piece, or DBZ have in the Shonen world.

The big 3 (or the big 4) have had decades for that of course, but that doesn’t take away from the point of Demon Slayer‘s sales outmatching its cultural impact.

Even as we speak, both Mugen Train and Demon Slayer in general have dropped in popularity online.

Mugen Train’s drop is more savage, but in general there’s a decline in trending data.

Streaming platforms like Crunchyroll and Funimation aren’t talking about it much either now. But that will change with the upcoming winter 2022 movie.

I don’t think the HYPE will last much longer though, and Demon Slayer‘s cultural impact will fade with it.

There’s no “long term” about it.

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2. This cocaine-high can’t last forever

tanjiro funny face 1

The wild success of Demon Slayer is similar to what 50 Cent’s first 2 albums did. They both went DIAMOND.

His music success during this time was unheard of as a rapper, and of course it didn’t last longer than that, musically.

Demon Slayer is in a similar predicament.

  • The anime hit sales figures unheard of.
  • It made over $503 million at box office worldwide.
  • It’s the FIRST Non-Hollywood production to top the annual box office.
  • It’s the highest selling anime or Japanese film, ever.
  • It blew past all the decades worth of anime movies that sold well like Spirited Away.

You just DON’T hit never heard of figures like that in a short space of time, and expect it to last for too long afterwards.

Ebs and flows are natural.

No one thing can ever keep rising perfectly on a graph without failing or dipping. Especially if the rise is as straight as an arrow.

If the anime had a more consistent level of attention like older anime (Naruto for example), then maybe it would have been better for the franchise in particular.

As things stand though, that’s no longer possible. And you can expect to see it  decline over the years as the hype struggles to hold on for dear life.

 

3. It’s carried by its animation quality

mugen train visuals demon slayer gif

Many anime have solid visuals that are stunning to look at.

  • Vivy Fluorite Eye’s Song.
  • Violet Evergarden.
  • Land Of The Lustrous.
  • Fate Zero.

But SOME anime rely too heavily on the visuals, to the point that it ends up carrying everything else on its back.

Or in other words: without the visuals, the anime falls apart like Lego pieces.

Take away Demon Slayer‘s focus on animation, and what do you really have left?

  • Is the fight scenes good enough by itself, without the solid visuals?
  • Is the story captivating enough to only need “good enough” visuals?
  • Are the characters great enough that stellar art wouldn’t matter much?
  • Is the anime unique enough that it could stand against other Shonen of a similar visual quality?

I’m not convinced. Demon Slayer‘s success is more superficial than it is cultural, and that’s not a bad thing….

It just means it’s good for the industry, but not to the point where culture is massively impacted.

 

Is Demon Slayer all bells and whistles?

demon slayer season 2 series

Season 2 is set for 2022, so until it drops only time will tell. But I stand by my point about the cultural impact of Demon Slayer.

I look forward to seeing what happens from here and HOW they handle promotion with the hype dying down.

Not to mention how they plan on shooting it back up again.

Recommended Next:

43+ Demon Slayer Quotes To Help You Remember The Anime!

Jujutsu Kaisen Vs Demon Slayer, And The Differences In Quality

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Alice Harcourt
Alice Harcourt

I never got into the Demon Slayer phenomenon. I generally don’t like shounen stuff, anyway. Maybe I’ll read the manga & see if I can get into the story. Or maybe not.

Does amine really even NEED a hype train like Demon Slayer? It seems like when there is to much money to be made on something, the overall quality tends to take a downhill slide in a hurry. Look at numetal. Korn & RATM are great bands, then all those other “things” happened…

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