Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba's Final Volume Is a Spectacular, Satisfying Conclusion
Ryan McCarthy
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Volume 23 brings the popular shonen series to a close with the manga's explosive and emotional final chapters. Written and illustrated by the mastermind of the series, Koyoharu Gotouge, this final installment is a satisfying and definitive ending for the iconic franchise. Endings are tough and Demon Slayer manages to stick the landing by staying true to its characters right up to the end.
Volume 23 hits the ground running, picking up exactly where the previous chapter left off in the final showdown against Muzan. There is palpable emotion amidst the nonstop action, as each of the remaining characters gets their moment to shine in the fight to rid the world of Demons for good. It is to Koyoharu Gotouge's tremendous credit that there are emotional, compelling character beats during the battle to end all battles, keeping what these characters are fighting for at the forefront of every fight.
It's also a testament to Gotouge's skill that the final chapters stay as edge-of-the-seat exciting as they do, seeing as the location and characters remain mostly unchanged for much of Volume 23. Especially considering that the confrontation with Muzan was preceded by several long battles between the Hashira and the Upper Ranks. Thanks to the strength of the characters we've all come to know and love, as well as this long-awaited time in the spotlight for Muzan, the battle against the progenitor of Demons doesn't feel repetitive or gratuitous.
Every panel is packed with detail in this cataclysmic battle, yet the characters themselves stay the central focus. The brutal, violent illustrations are not gory for the sake of gore but are essential to convey not just the physical, but the emotional toll of this confrontation on our heroes. The panels, wisely, aren't stuffed with information explaining the technicalities and physics of combat, instead, they are used to illustrate the weight of what's at stake in this fight with impressively detailed character drawings.
Demon Slayer Kimetsu no Yaiba Volume 23
Demon Slayer Kimetsu no Yaiba Volume 23
Being the end of the series, Volume 23 inevitably moves from conflict to resolution, letting the panels relax a little bit as character interactions take center stage. The tone of the series can relax a bit as well, creating breathing room for some of the lightheartedness that Demon Slayer does so well. The series manages to move away from the intense drama of its final arc without feeling like it's sweeping anything under the rug.
Gotouge expertly brings each character's journey to a fitting conclusion that feels earned and natural after the events of the final chapters. One of the benefits of the series' relatively simple premise is that there are very few questions left unanswered once the reader has turned that last page. Open-ended conclusions can feel like a cop-out, and the finality of Demon Slayer's finale is as satisfying on a character level as one could hope.
Granted, Volume 23's U.S. release, August 3, is long after the initial release of the manga's final chapter in May 2020. So, even though the events of Demon Slayer's finale aren’t exactly news, fans of the series still have plenty of reason to pick up Volume 23. Chapters 204 and 205 are stacked with additional pages of extended and additional scenes that were cut from those chapters' first releases. This new material includes delightful new character interactions, emotional moments and clarifies some plot points of the final chapter.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is a work of art from start to finish. Volume 23 is more than a compilation of previously released material, it's a love letter and a treat for the fans who made the series so popular. Just like Rengoku wanted for Tanjiro, the ending of Demon Slayer encourages its readers to look to the future.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Vol. 23, the final installment of the smash-hit Shonen Jump manga, is available in English now from Viz Media.