The creator of Demon Slayer is the first mangaka to be featured on TIME’s 100 Next list, which recognizes emerging people who are making history.

TIME 100 Next is an annual list detailing 100 people who are shaping the future, are on the cusp of making history, or are already making history. This year, a household name appeared on the list: Koyoharu Gotouge, creator of the wildly successful Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – became the first manga artist to make the list.

Dice Demon Slayer’s popularity plus all the records that the manga and movie broke, it’s no wonder to see Gotouge’s name on it. Still, how did this feat happen, and why is having Gotouge in something as internationally reputed as TIME 100 Next a monumental step for the manga / anime industry?

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Why Gotouge and Demon Slayer deserve recognition

Murderer of demons follows the story of Tanjiro Kamado, who turns into a Demon Slayer to turn his sister into a human. It is the story of a classic hero where Tanjiro has to go through many trials, enduring his fair share of losses, to strengthen himself. The cast of characters, consisting primarily of Demon Slayers, is unique, each with heartbreaking backstories that shed light on why they continue to fight every day. Although the Demons are responsible for destroying the lives and families of many characters, they are sympathetically shown through Tanjiro’s perspective.

Demon Slayer’s success was largely due to the anime, which captured the series’ unique magic with its beautiful, clean animation, stunning fight choreography, and soundtrack, making it one of the biggest hits of 2019. Still, More than 82 million copies of the manga have been sold, which also makes it the best-selling manga series in 2020.

It first began serializing in 2016, and manga sales didn’t see a massive increase until after the anime finished airing. Although a second season wasn’t announced until this year, its popularity did not fade. If anything, it grew exponentially with the Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Infinity Train movie premiere. Although it would be released in the middle of a pandemic, it did not prevent the success of the film at all. It broke Made disappearlong-standing record, earning more than 32 billion yen.

Many anime series had to be postponed due to the pandemic, with many staff members working from home, leading to some difficulties and challenges in resuming voice acting. The film industry also suffered from many films that were forced to go online or postponed indefinitely. Still, the anime industry survived, and some credit must be shown to the box office success of Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train.

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Why is this achievement important?

It’s also worth noting that Gotouge wrote a story that resonated with everyone. 2020 was a challenging year and with everything that has been happening since then, Murderer of demons it was a much-needed escape and comfort. In an era where anti-black and anti-Asian racism prevails, and many people feel disconnected from their loved ones, Tanjiro’s unconditional kindness and empathy towards the suffering and pain of others were the bright lights of hope that everyone needed.

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