In Taisho era Japan (1912 to 1926), Tanjiro Kamado is a kindhearted boy who sells coal in order to support his mother and four siblings. After one particularly taxing trip to sell coal, Tanjiro returns to his home in the forest and finds his family slaughtered. He discovers that a younger sibling, his sister Nezuko, has herself been transformed into a demon by the unknown demon that killed his family. Tanjiro becomes a Demon Slayer in order to find and destroy that demon, Muzan Kibutsuji.
As Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba, Vol. 9 (Chapters 71 to 79; entitled “Operation Entertainment District”) opens, Tanjiro is on a new mission. He, Nezuko, Inosuke Hashibira (who wears the boar's head and pelt), and Zenitsu Agatsuma (the sleeping Slayer) have joined the Hashira Tengen Uzui in a new mission to a Hanamachi – an entertainment district – in the town of Yoshiwara.
Uzui, a Hashibara (Demon Corp leader), had sent his three wives, who are “kunoichi (female ninja), into the district to investigate demon activity. Each wife infiltrated a house of courtesans: Suma at House Tokito, Makio at House Ogimoto, and Hinatsuru at House Kyogoku. Now, Uzui is demanding that his three Demon Corp subordinates disguise themselves and take the identities of courtesans-in-training. Then, each will enter a house in order to discover the fate of a wife.
Tanjiro becomes “Sumiko” and enters House Tokito. Inosuke becomes “Inoko” and enters House Ogimoto. Zenitsu becomes “Zenko” and enters service in House Kyogoku. However, the three will discover that they are hunting a most powerful demon, one that can only be handled by a Hashibara. And it seems to be connected to a powerful “Oiran” (a high-ranking courtesan).
[This volume includes bonus sketchbook material.]
THE LOWDOWN: The Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba manga is a title I have come to enjoy much more than I thought I would, as I keep saying. However, it is also one of the best shonen battle manga and dark fantasy/horror graphic novel series currently available on the North American market.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba Graphic Novel Volume 9, like Vols. 7 and 8, is one of the series' best entries. Essentially, these last three graphic novels are fantastic tales of brave demon slayers and the seemingly impossible-to-defeat, monstrous demons they face. John Werry's translation and Stan!'s English adaptation capture the high-drama, emotive character details, and gravity-defying fights with potent dialogue. Of course, they have the assistance of John Hunt's two-fisted lettering.
By the way, it may be just me, but I think the “demon king,” Muzan Kibutsuji, has a few visual similarities to the late recording artist and “King of Pop,” Michael Jackson. Hmmm...
I READS YOU RECOMMENDS: Fans of demon-fighting heroes will want to read the Shonen Jump title, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba.