On July 6th, Vinland Saga will debut on streaming services. The series is set to have a 24 episode season. Based on Makoto Yukimura’s manga series of the same name, Vinland follows the historical periods depicted in the two saga’s from Iceland, The Saga of the Greenlanders and the Saga of Eric the Red. The story mostly recounts the rise of King Cnut the Great.
Wit Studio (Attack on Titan) will animate the series. Directed by Shuhei Yabuta (Director, Inuyashiki Last Hero) and written by Hiroshi Seko (Banana Fish) and Kenta Ihara (Saga of Tanya the Evil), the series will be streamed on Amazon Prime. The series is often compared favorably to Berserk and has been praised for its “fluid action sequences,” “realistic violence,” and “attention to detail.”
This episode seem to have marked a low for the series in terms of animation quality. There was weird distant camera angles, coupled with no faces on the characters. The episode is weirdly inconsistent animation wise and was disappointing. After some research it appears that the episode was done by Osamu Kobayashi. He’s known for having ruined episode 4 of Gurren Lagann. This style change is dramatic and really just overall unappealing.
Anyway, it turns out that the nun and the children were sacrificed to demons. Sabame’s prosperity is like that of Daigo’s. The village is able to produce rice due to their willingness to offer the children to the demons. The weird demon baby is a collection of the spirits of the dead children. Hyakkimaru is of course driven to kill the moth demon, regardless of whether it will have a negative effect on the village.
At the end of this episode both Hyakkimaru and Dororo end up responsible for parts of the village being set on fire. After he kills the original moth demon he gets his spinal cord back. You would think this scene would be bloody but it was rather uneventful. Also due to the animation style I didn’t realize what happened at first. Blood would have made it more clear. When Dororo and Hyakkimaru return to the village it’s burnt down and many of the villagers are dead including Sabame.
I was so distracted by the animation I didn’t really get into this episode. Hyakkimaru seems to begin his downward spiral where killing demons is all he cares about. I’m going to assume that he will be tasked with saving lives or killing demons and choose the later. Meanwhile, Dororo and Hyakkimaru walk their separate ways, leaving Dororo to be found by Itachi and his men looking for Dororo’s half of the map. Overall, this episode was a bit of a disappointment. Hopefully, the rest of the season will return to a higher quality animation.
This episode opens up the world a little bit. We are introduced to the Demon Slayer Corps. A group that has “several hundred members,” they aren’t unrecognized by the government and seem to have no leader. It seems obvious to me that Tanjiro will become that leader. Demon’s are explained further, as demons go in anime nothing is new. They have powers, they regenerate and they’re stronger than human etc…
Meanwhile, Tanjiro begins to train. Sakonji explains that he is only one of several trainers. In order to join the Demon Corps, Tanjiro must survive the “Final Selection process.” Sakonji determines whether Tanjiro qualifies. This is all interesting except that we all know that Tanjiro will pass, otherwise how does the show go on. Throughout the training Tanjiro writes a diary detailing the daily training.
Somehow Nezuko has been asleep for six months. The training arc is seamlessly speed up a year. After the training ends, Sakonji tells Tanjiro that he will support his candidacy for the Demon Corps if he can cut a bolder. He keeps trying and failing. He meets a mysterious man (Sabito) who question his manhood. He attacks Tanjiro and challenge him to a fight. Tanjiro is outmatched by him. He says that Tanjiro has only memorize what he was taught, not internalized his lessons psychically.
After he knocks Tanjiro out, Sabito tells Makomo to take care of him. She’s corrects Tanjiro’s technique. Sabito and Makomo were both raised by Sakonji. She further explains the value of the “Total Concentration Breathing.” It’s a way to make you as strong as a demon. She tells him the only way to accomplish this is to “train to death.” Sabito and Tanjiro have a final showdown, with Tanjiro quickly defeating Sabito. The ending makes it unclear whether Sabito and Makomo are real. Regardless, Tanjiro cuts the bolder, meaning he’s going to the Final Selection.
We get an explanation as to what the map on Dororo’s back is. Or at least we kinda get the explanation. We could assume that Dororo had the map placed on his back at some point but he doesn’t seem to have any recollection. What we’re reminded of is the insane poverty that Dororo had to live with. The reason that he didn’t notice the map was that he had NEVER had a warn bath before. Biwamaru brings up a problem he sees. With a wider “range of choices,” he asks what happens to them when Hyakkimaru gains his body. This introduces a conflict that will come at that point. Would Hyakkimaru and Dororo stay together when Hyakkimaru gets his body restored.
Biwamaru presents a conflicting choice, Dororo can use the wealth he has OR they can “destroy the land of Daigo” and get Hyakkimaru’s body back. I think that Dororo would either give the money away or leave it hidden. While, walking on the road Dororo encounters odd looking beings. Hyakkimaru notes that they’re not demons so he doesn’t seem to care. The odd “baby” carries Dororo around. The ghostly woman points to the ground at a burned down house. It turns out that it’s oil, hinting that it was burned down. When a man shows up the baby disappeared. The man invites them to his house, he’s the Sabame, Lord of the land.
Sabame has very noticeable bright green eyes that feel dead. Dororo is frightened by him who thinks he’s a monster. Hyakkimaru isn’t sure. Regardless, Hyakkimaru and Dororo enjoy a meal at Sabame’s house. He tells them the “story” of what happened to the nunnery. The nun abused the orphans that were their, then they died when lightning hit the roof and set a fire. Neither Hyakkimaru or Dororo believes this story. At night they are attacked by a caterpillar demon. It escapes, when a moth demon arrives. That moth demon then arrives by Sabame side and transforms into a human-like woman. This episode has a weird ending. It seems like it should have a second part to it. However, the title suggests that this is it. That said, it could be an error in translation or the story will return to this arc later.
One of the early theme’s in this series is that Tanjiro is too empathetic to be a good demon slayer. When tasked with finishing off a demon, Nezuko decapitated, he is unable to decided what to do. He’s concerned with the demon that massacred people would suffer. It’s probably a good chance that this compassion will be to his benefit. However, so far it results in him making decisions too slow, which is bad.
Earlier in the episode, he crafts a basket for Nezuko to hid in during the day. While, I find it highly implausible that she can fit into the basket, its necessary for the story. Regardless, at night they stumble upon a temple. Tanjiro smells blood a goes rushing in. He witnesses another massacre and a demon feeding on a victim. Nezuko begins to cry as the demon attacks Tanjiro. The fight is weirdly violent but funny. Nezuko kicks the demons head off, then it’s body begins to move and Nezuko kicks it into a tree.
Tanjiro of course is never in real danger. The demon begins to talk, proclaiming that he knew that Nezuko “was strange.” The fight further it’s oddness when said head sprouts a pair of arms. Tanjiro pins the demon head (and new arms) to a tree. Just as he tries to “finish him off,” Sakonji Urokodaki arrives. We then get more of an understanding as to why the sense of smell is important. Sakonji is able to “smell” the “scent of kindness” coming from Tanjiro. Later, Tanjiro uses his smelling ability to “sniff out the traps.”
The details of this ability and why it’s important will be further elaborated on later obviously. However, the fact that Sakonji also has this sense of smell is clearly important. Finally, my thoughts that the demons in this series are vampire like have been confirmed, as the demon burns to death when the sun arises. After successfully surviving the test he was given, Tanjiro returns. Sakonji accepts Tanjiro as his student. Overall, another good episode and I’m looking forward to the next one.
Dororo has been on break for a week. It has returned with Hyakkimaru now talking in fun sentences. He remembers the events of the previous episode. Dororo nags him with pleas, asking him to rest. We find that Oku has survived her suicide attempt. We then get to witness the latest demon dragging a man. The demon seems to have been taken on the form of his wife. Placing him on a stone, with a statue that literally slices his face off. The statue then forms the face of the victim.
Dororo is drawn to the waterfall, where he sees the demonic statue. The demon woman from before arrives. According to Dororo she looks just like her mother. However, when Hyakkimaru “sees” her he’s unable to tell if she’s a demon. This is very interesting considering that we see Okaka help kill a man. Okaka tells them the story of the statues carver. Dororo claims that Okaka not only looks like her mother, but sounds like her as well. She asks to call Okaka “mama.” Okaka reveals that she’s the carver, resurrected by the statue, as Dororo fall asleep.
Okaka takes Hyakkimaru. Dororo awakens and chases after them. He prevents Okaka from killing him. The fight between the statue and Hyakkimaru was boring. However, that’s not the real point of this episode. Despite Dororo’s age, I found it difficult to believe that she would really think that Okaka was her mother. I don’t know. I wasn’t really emotionally invested, even though I felt they wanted me to be. Anyway, they head to a hot spring where they run into the priest, Biwa-Hoshi. While there it is revealed that Dororo has a map on her back. That of course is the most important part of this episode to be answered in a later episode. Also, why hasn’t Hyakkimaru gain an organ after killing another demon?
Having been reading the many anime blogs I frequent, I noticed that Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba or Blade of Demon Destruction was a common anime reviewed. Reading the reviews I decided to give it a shot. I have a tendency to favor anime over manga, so I was largely ignorant of the manga of the same name. Written by Koyoharu Gotoge and published by Shueisha since 2016, the series focuses on Tanjiro Kamado. He lives with his family as they make money selling charcoal.
Said family is massacred by demons and his sister Nezuko becomes one. Tanjiro sets out to seek his revenge and return his sister to humanity. I generally enjoy going into a new series without being familiar with the source material. The first episode of the series, Cruelty, obviously lays out the premise of the series. The first thing you notice is the animation and particularly the infusion of CGI. Combining CGI with 2D animation can be hit or miss. Ufotable seems to limit CGI largely to the background.
The massacre of his family is bloody. Tanjiro runs through the snow with his sister on his back, unaware of the origin of the attack. His sister awakens, now demonic and attacks him. At this point it has been established that Tanjiro has a good nose. His sense of smell clearly is going to be an important part of this series. He tries to deduce if she was a always a demon or if she was at all responsible for their families death. As he begins to cry so does Nezuko, giving the impression that she still has human feelings.
Their struggle is interrupted by a mysterious swordsmen. His sword is branded with the words “destroy demons.” He asks “why are you protecting it.” He grabs Nezuko and plans to decapitate her. Tanjiro begs him not to kill his sister. The swordsmen then becomes upset that Tanjiro was so passive. He then tries to kill Nezuko, but Tanjiro attacks him in a fruitless but clever assault. The swordsmen, Giyu Tomioka decides that he will give Nezuko and Tanjiro a chance. He muzzles Nezuko, telling Tanjiro to seek out Sakonji Urokodaki.
Demon’s are a common troupe in anime, I wonder if the lore will be different or be derived from mythology. So far it seems that demons have zombie like lust for flesh and can’t be in direct sunlight which borrows from vampire lore. Tanjiro will need to learn how to kill demons himself. Despite Nezuko, we haven’t seen a demon that’s not human yet. I’m curious to see how powerful and large they can get. So far I like this series, I’ll definitely give it a try.
I have mixed feels regarding this episode. The animation was spectacular as always, but I feel that it may have been too dramatic. Mob Psycho 100 has always had battles that could be said as to be highly dynamic. In this episode something felt off. The end result was always expected, Mob “wins.” As Suzuki got stronger and stronger I always assumed that Mob would surpass him. The main issue is when there’s no limits on the powers of some psychics, there’s no sense of urgency in battle. Basically, they become spectacles of amazing animation and the outcome isn’t in doubt.
As I previously mention the animation was “dramatic and dynamic.” While this was visually pleasing I was unsure whether it was actually happening. For example, when Suzuki gains the upper hand, Mob begins twisting his arm, then the rest of his body. It was such a weird moment that I wasn’t sure if it was actually happening. You could argue that Mob Psycho 100 isn’t about the battle between psychics, it’s about the conflict with Mob. If the battles are just window dressing and the MORE important aspect of the show is Mob’s growth as a person.
That is the clearly the most important theme of this season, Mob’s growth. He’s always been powerful, but he hasn’t always been confident. Throughout this season Mob has become a more mature young man. Becoming more assertive, he’s been able to both make decisions for himself and be more critical of others. He did this without removing his compassion for others. Mob became a more complete person. Overall, this season had some downsides, the Claw arc was rushed in my opinion. No news on a season 3, but I’m looking forward to how Mob continues to grow.
In episode 12 we quickly get to see how the odd Serizawa Katsuya can to be employed by Suzuki. He was a shut in for 15 years, afraid of the outside world. Suzuki uses the fact that he is also an esper. He gives Serizawa an umbrella and tells him that he will “be fine with him.” Mob challenges Serizawa view that he was saved by Suzuki, suggesting that he was being used. Mob tells him that “if this is what he was going to do he should have stayed a shut-in.” In the last episode Mob was told to be harder on people, he is clearly taking that to heart.
Mob, Dimple and Serizawa engaged in a battle. Mob warns him that he can’t assimilate back into society. That Suzuki has deluded him into thinking that he was saved. The relationship between Serizawa and Suzuki reminds me of the old relationship between Mob and Reigen. Serizawa is a sad figure. He just wanted to have a normal life but his powers have made his life miserable. Serizawa shoots a massive energy ball at Mob, who absorbs it. He then returns it to Serizawa sharing his feelings with him.
Meanwhile, Suzuki explains how he shares his power with his soldiers. He reabsorbs the energy he gave the defeated soldiers becoming engulf in energy. Mob arrives, he begins to challenge the view of Suzuki. Unsurprisingly, he rejects Mob’s view that “people need other people.” When Mob displays his ability to transfer powers. Suzuki then attacks Mob, declaring him his “mortal enemy.” He dominates him in battle, until Reigen arrives to interfere. His usual bait and switch doesn’t work and Suzuki attacks. I though for a second that Reigen was killed, resulting in Mob going insane.
However, Serizawa arrives to save Reigen. Mob gets up after having reach 100% rage. Suzuki attacks Serizawa and Reigen, but Mob blocks it. Minegishi rescues Shou, Reigen and Serizawa. This angers Suzuki as he’s now been betrayed by everyone. He of course doesn’t see the reality that it’s actually his fault. Mob attacks him again, but Suzuki reveals that he’s only using 10 percent of his output while Mob is at 100 percent. Of course we have seen Mob break 100 percent before so it’s hardly the end of his power. I anticipate that he will need some help, if for no other reason than it fits the theme of not going at it alone. regardless, the next episode is going to be epic.
Hyakkimaru of course doesn’t recognize his father, but Diago recognizes him. Diago asks why “his half-born demon child survived.” He orders his soldiers to kill Hyakkimaru, and they fire arrows at him. He escapes into the forest. However, the words of Diago echoes in his mind. Meanwhile, Dororo and Sukeroku are captured by soldiers. While in jail, Sukeroku reveals that the entire village was destroyed. Dororo sees a small hole in the cave and decides that he’s going to escape through it.
Tahomaru finally confronts his mother. His mother says that “she has never forgotten he first child.” Diago explains that he needed to do for the “people.” I’m surprise that Tahomaru is so upset at his parents behavior. He calls out his father for only caring about himself. They are interrupted by Hyakkimaru. When he “sees” his “family” the aura’s of his brother and mother are pure. Diago of course has been tainted. Diago sends his men after Hyakkimaru, when Tahomaru interjects his father asks him if he’s willing to sacrifice the land.
Diago argument seems to work for now. Dororo arrives and tells Hyakkimaru that Sukeroku is in danger. A jailer informs Sukeroku and the other prisoners that they are going to be killed. War becomes a bigger threat. Tahomaru and his handlers arrive in the temple. The Asakura kill the hostages and the war begins. On the battlefield all the principle characters arrive. Dororo, Hyakkimaru, Diago and Tahomaru are all present. Tahomaru begrudgingly accepts his father’s decision and calls Hyakkimaru a demon.
As they fight, Diago seems pleased. Meanwhile, Dororo tries to save Sukeroku. They’re saved by Hyakkimaru who separates himself from Tahomaru when he breaks his sword and cuts his eye. Oku, Hyakkimaru’s mother arrives to asks for forgiveness. She proclaims that she “cannot save him,” and “sacrifices” herself by stabbing herself. Ironically, as Hyakkimaru loses his mother, Sukeroku is reunited with his. This episode made it very clear that the cost of restoring Hyakkimaru’s body will become a theme.