There’s no shortage of coloring books based on comics nowadays, and this week Viz Media is publishing yet another: Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba: The Official Coloring Book. It contains about eighty pages of art from Koyoharu Gotouge’s smash hit manga including illustrations of Tanjiro, Nezuko, the Hashira, and more. With so many coloring books out there, does this one actually stand out and make one want to whip out some markers or colored pencils?
By and large, whoever curated which specific pieces of art to include here did a great job. The quality and complexity of the images chosen is consistently high and the contents are varied. All the series’ main characters get several pages, as do many of the most notable supporting characters. Muzan, Akaza, Rengoku, the rest of the Hashira, and more are featured, so the vast majority of fans should find at least a page or two featuring their respective favorite characters. There are also images specifically from the Mugen Train arc which makes sense given how huge its film adaptation was.
Beyond just the characters there’s a strong variety of tone and style in the artwork included. With Demon Slayer being a battle manga, it’s no surprise that there are action shots and Cool™ pin-ups aplenty. With that said there are also plenty of pages featuring characters looking chibified, reticent, sad, or otherwise displaying depth beyond just the expected badassery.
Part of what made the series so charming was its emotional nuance and penchant for comedy in particular, so it feels appropriate that said moments get included here. One particularly charming page features Tanjiro with birds perched on his sword. Another features Inosuke doing his trademark mind-boggling contortions, which are always fun.
Perhaps most importantly of all, these don’t just feel like static images. Gotouge’s talent for conveying depth and motion is one of their strong suits, and it’s well-represented here. Details like the folds and bends of fabric and limbs add three-dimensionality to the images, and the flowing hair and patterns throughout are just begging to be colored.
While most pages’ backgrounds are relatively minimal, others feature fully detailed settings and even multiple panels to give readers (users? colorists?) the sense that they’re coloring actual manga pages. In some cases pages include actual text boxes with narration, further contributing to the excitement of getting to color actual full scenes.
There is little negative to say about this coloring book. Very few of the images included are duds in terms of not making me excited about the prospect of coloring them. Specifically, some of the art toward the end is less polished than most of the rest of the book; it looks sketchier and like bonus art as opposed to fully finished line-work. Your mileage may vary on if these are as exciting to color as the bolder pages with sharper lines.
All in all, this is a very impressive coloring book. The quality of the art throughout is very strong. None of the images look bad at all; your mileage may just vary in terms of if the less polished pieces make for as pleasing of a coloring experience. Nonetheless, the variety in characters and tones included throughout makes for a great representation of the series. The full manga pages featuring more elaborate backgrounds are especially cool inclusions that look like fun challenges to tackle. If you’re a Demon Slayer fan with any interest in making art whatsoever, I would recommend checking this out.
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