When we consider modern-day anime, i.e., the era after the “Big Three”, Jujutsu Kaisen and Demon Slayer are certainly among the most popular titles you’ll encounter. The two keep topping popularity polls each time. Speaking of being among the best, which of the two anime, Jujutsu Kaisen or Demon Slayer, is better?
In this case, the overall winner depends on each viewer’s personal preferences for the most part, but if you consider the numbers, the popularity, and the originality of the two shows, it seems as if Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is just a bit above Jujutsu Kaisen.
The rest of this article is going to explore and explain the reasons behind this decision. You’re going to find out about the two shows and how and when they were originally broadcast. You’re also going to see the main similarities and differences between the two shows, after which we are going to further elaborate on which of them is the better show.
Jujutsu Kaisen is a manga written and drawn by Gege Akutami that has been published in Shūeisha’s Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine since March 5, 2018. The individual chapters have been collected and published in tankōbon volumes; currently, there are 17 published volumes of the manga.
The series is the sequel to a four-chapter monthly series called Tokyo Metropolitan Curse Technical School, which ran in Shueisha’s Jump Giga magazine from April to July 2017, and was later released as a single volume under the title Jujutsu Kaisen 0 in December 2018.
Demon Slayer, known in Japan as Kimetsu no Yaiba, is a manga series written and drawn by Koyoharu Gotōge. The manga was published in Shūeisha’s Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine between February 15, 2016 and May 18, 2020 and is compiled into a total of 23 volumes.
In terms of the manga’s overall importance, both Jujutsu Kaisen and Demon Slayer are pretty much on the same level. They’re very similar in terms of genre and style, they’re both extremely popular (see below) and equally influential, they have both been adapted into anime series, and that is why we had to divide the points here.
Point: Jujutsu Kaisen 1, Demon Slayer 1
Yuji Itadori is an out-of-the-ordinary high school student who lives in Sendai with his grandfather. Despite his innate talent for sports, he refuses to join the sports team due to his aversion to athletics. Instead, he chooses to join the occult research club, where he can relax and leave school by 5 pm to visit his grandfather in the hospital.
While on his deathbed, his grandfather invites him to “always help others” and recommends that he “die surrounded by people”. After his grandfather’s death, he meets Megumi Fushiguro, a sorcerer who informs him of the existence of a high-level cursed talisman in the school Yuji attended.
Meanwhile, his friends from the occult club, in possession of the talisman, open the seal placed on it and attract all the curses in the school on them. Reaching the school but unable to defeat the curses due to her lack of magical powers, Yuji swallows the finger (the true form of the talisman) to protect Megumi and her friends, becoming the host of Ryomen Sukuna, a very powerful curse.
Despite being possessed, Yuji is still able to maintain control of his body. As a curse, Yuji should have been executed, but thanks to Gojo Satoru (the most powerful and responsible sorcerer of the first-year alumni at the Tokyo Institute of Occult Arts), the upper echelons of the world of witchcraft agree to postpone the execution until he has absorbed all 20 fragments of Sukuna’s soul (ie her 20 fingers), so as to definitively exorcise the curse.
Set in the Taisho era, the story centers on Tanjirō Kamado, an intelligent and kind-hearted young man who lives with his family in the mountains. He has become the sole source of income for his family after the death of his father, making trips to the nearby town to sell charcoal and vegetables.
However, his entire daily life changes when in one of these trips, he returns home only to discover that his family has been attacked and killed by a demon, in which Tanjirō only finds his sister Nezuko still alive as the only survivors of the incident, but while trying to take Nezuko to the town to receive medical attention, she unexpectedly wakes up already transformed into a demon and tries to attack him, but she still has signs of human emotion and thought.
After an encounter with Giyū Tomioka, a powerful swordsman who is a member of the elite Hashira and belongs to the demon slayer guild known as Demon Slayers, which at first tries to kill Nezuko for being a demon, but after seeing the Tanjirō’s determination to protect her and that her sister Nezuko, even though she is a demon, tries to protect him as well, Tomioka decides to spare Nezuko’s life for this time, although he also places a bamboo muzzle in the latter’s mouth because of the fangs as a precaution.
Later Tomioka recruits Tanjiro and sends him with his old teacher Sakonji Urokodaki, a former member of the Demon Slayers Corps, so that he can teach him to become a demon slayer as well and begins his search to help his sister become human again and avenge the death of the rest of his family.
Although the time periods are different, the overall settings as well, and both are pretty rough takes on Kubo’s Bleach, Jujutsu Kaisen and Demon Slayer are similar enough for us to divide the points in this category as well. We simply cannot decide on the winner and this one really comes down to which plot you prefer personally.
Point: Jujutsu Kaisen 2, Demon Slayer 2
The Jujutsu Kaisen anime series has been animated by studio MAPPA. In terms of animation, the show shows an enormous level of quality and is on par with all modern standards. The character design is absolutely fantastic and the dynamic aspects of the fights, as well as the special effects, are truly great.
The main “issue” here – and that is not really an issue per se, it’s just a remark – is that Jujutsu Kaisen uses a rather traditional approach to its animation, akin to later seasons of the “Big Three”. The overall style is consistent and quite dark.
Ufotable is responsible for the animation of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. Just like above, Demon Slayer has shown a consistent level of high-quality animation with a more modern character design, a dark style, and excellent dynamics. The show uses a somewhat modern style that gives it more fluidity, especially when the fighting scenes are concerned.
Now, while both shows have a high level of animation and are similarly dark, we think that Demon Slayer is a bit better, simply because it has a more modern and original approach to its animation, as we have noted above. That is why this point goes to Demon Slayer.
Point: Jujutsu Kaisen 2, Demon Slayer 3
Two Jujutsu Kaisen light novels written by Ballad Kitaguni were published under the label Jump J-Books. The first, titled Jujutsu Kaisen: Soaring Summer and Returning Autumn, was released on May 1, 2019. The second, titled Jujutsu Kaisen: The Path of Roses at Dawn, was released on January 4, 2020.
A television anime has been produced by MAPPA and directed by Sunghoo Park. The first episode was streamed on YouTube and Twitter on September 19, 2020, while the series was officially broadcast in Japan from October 3 to March 27, 2021. The anime was released on Crunchyroll for streaming outside of Asia.
A film was announced in March 2021 and will adapt volume 0 of the manga and therefore will serve as a prologue to the story. The film premiered in Japanese cinemas on December 24, 2021.
Demon Slayer has been adapted into an anime by the Ufotable studio under the title Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. The 26-episode first season premiered between April 6 and September 28, 2019 and adapted the first “The Evolution of Kamado Tanjirō” saga. It was followed by an animated film, titled Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Movie: Mugen Train, and released on October 16, 2020.
A re-adaptation of the film in seven episodes has been broadcast in October 2021, while the second season of the series the anime series, adapting the Entertainment District arc, started airing in December 2021. A video game named Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Hinokami Chronicles was also released in October 2021, but to mixed reviews.
Although Demon Slayer has a video game and Jujutsu Kaisen does not, the game wasn’t such a big hit for us to consider it a relevant factor. In other aspects, Jujutsu Kaisen and Demon Slayer are, once again, tied, and that is why we had to share the points here as well.
Point: Jujutsu Kaisen 3, Demon Slayer 4
Popularity and Earnings
Jujutsu Kaisen had 600,000 copies in circulation as of December 2018, 770,000 copies in circulation as of February 1, 2019, and over 10 million copies in circulation (including digital copies) as of October 2020, with a growth of 400% in one year and approximately 230% in one semester. Jujutsu Kaisen was the fifth best-selling manga series in 2020, with 6,702,736 copies sold.
As of December 2020, the manga has 15 million copies in circulation, including digital versions. As of January 2021, the manga has over 20 million copies in circulation, including digital versions, which increased to 25 million copies in circulation by January 26.
As of April 2021, the manga had over 45 million copies in circulation, then increased to 50 in May. Jujutsu Kaisen was the best-selling manga in 2021, with over 30 million copies sold. In the Manga Sōsenkyo 2021 poll by TV Asahi, 150,000 people voted for their top 100 manga series and Jujutsu Kaisen ranked 19th.
Demon Slayer was ranked 14th in a list of manga recommended by employees of Japanese bookstores in 2017, and 19th in a list of the best manga of 2018 for male readers by Kono Manga ga Sugoi!
As of February 2019, the series had 3.5 million copies in circulation, over 10 million copies as of September 2019, 20 million copies as of November 2019, and over 25 million copies as of December 2019. The series ranked # 1 on Oricon’s annual comics chart in 2019, with over 12 million copies sold, while One Piece ranked second, with over 10.1 million copies sold in the same period.
As of May 2020, the Gotōge manga has over 60 million copies in circulation. As of June 2020, the series reached 80 million copies in circulation, including copies of volume 21 which came out on July 3. As of November 2020, the series hit 120 million copies in circulation, and as of February 2021, the manga had over 150 million copies in circulation (including digital copies).
The Goo Ranking website interviewed 2,310 readers of Weekly Shōnen Jump between June 19 and July 3, 2020 and they ranked the series second among the most moving ones published by the magazine. In the Manga Sōsenkyo 2021 poll by TV Asahi, 150,000 people voted for their top 100 manga series, and Demon Slayer was ranked 2nd.
Now, just looking at all of these numbers probably makes your head spin and from our perspective, it truly is rather difficult to properly compare them. What we could gather, though, is that both Jujutsu Kaisen and Demon Slayer are among the most popular series of the modern era and that is why we gave them both a point in this last category.
Point: Jujutsu Kaisen 4, Demon Slayer 5
Jujutsu Kaisen Vs. Demon Slayer: Which Anime Is Better?
Now that we’ve given you all the necessary information, we can also give our final verdict. As you can see, the decision wasn’t really easy, as Jujutsu Kaisen and Demon Slayer are two very similar anime series, despite all of their differences.
In most categories, as the points reveal, the shows are roughly the same. Sure, they’re not identical, but their overall influence and structure are so similar that we couldn’t really pick an outward winner in our comparison. It would have been unfair to the other if we picked one.
The only category where we were actually comfortable with picking a winner was the animation category, as Demon Slayer has a more modern approach to its animation.
Ultimately, we picked Demon Slayer as the winner here, but the difference is so insignificant that we still think that it all comes down to one’s personal preferences. Regardless of our points, someone might argue otherwise and we truly think that with the right arguments, they would be as equally correct as we are. The best thing to do is simply enjoy both shows.