When you look past the swords and rivers of bloodshed, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is at its core a family show. I mean, it’s the entire point of the show: a young boy sees his family slaughtered and wants to protect his one and only demon-turned sister that he cares about very much. This is just your typical and simple set-up that gets the plot a-rollin’. But don’t tell that to Japanese elementary schoolers, because these strapping youngsters are saying something different.
Seven different characters from Demon Slayer ranked in a poll conducted by the Benesse Corporation as part of their Shinkenzemi Elementary School Course program’s current collaboration with the popular shonen anime. This poll ran from 20 to 23 November and had 7661 students polling in. Ranking it at number one was our boy Tanjiro, who was noted for his kindness and ability to work hard for the family, no doubt two qualities that children who look up to the young Demon Slayer strive for. Tanjiro’s popularity in this poll was so overwhelming that he beat out Mom. Not Tanjiro’s mother, mind you. Tanjiro was quite literally seen as a more admirable figure than these kids’ mothers by over two hundred votes. Kids today, am I right folks?
This comes at no surprise considering Demon Slayer’s appeal amongst Japanese kids. Demon Slayer’s first light novel, Flowers of Happiness, was an instant hit among elementary schoolers, raking in at number ten in a favorite book poll conducted back in May. The appeal of Demon Slayer and its main character carried over with the Benesse poll, but now the popularity has more of a purpose behind it. The people conducting the poll stated that Tanjiro’s popularity is rooted in school closures and quarantine, allowing children to spend more time with their families. I suppose these kids see their newfound appreciation of family values embedded in Tanjiro. Which means that Demon Slayer, like Mother Goose and the Wu-Tang Clan before it, is for the children.