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Anime

Demon Slayer Season 2 Episode 1: Kyojuro Rengoku emulates his father

When I heard Demon Slayer Season 2 was going to be split into two cours and the first one would be a retelling of the Mugen Train Arc I was disappointed. It feels lazy. It’s also unnecessary. Why waste the first seven episodes? Sure maybe some fans haven’t seen the movie, but release the film on the streaming services if you want fans to see it. For those that don’t know a “cour” is, it’s an “essentially one production block of episodes that may or may not have a break in between it and the next block.” Anyway, the first cour is called, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – Mugen Train Arc. The first episode is brand new and focuses on Kyojuro Rengoku hunt for a demon prior to boarding the Mugen train.

The Slasher

The first episode adds greater context for the Mugen Train Arc. Rengoku is altered to a demon attacking people at night. In Demon Slayer most of the people are ignorant of the existence of demons. This means society doesn’t respond to demons at all, instead people assume that people just disappear. It’s convenient to the plot as well. If humans avoid demons, then there might not be much conflict in the series. However, in this episode the people are aware of the demon presence. Fuku is the exception at first. She doesn’t believe demon exists even though her grandmother does. Rengoku buys all of Fuku’s bento and pretends to be a salesmen to get close to the Mugen train. In the maintenance station, he finally encounters the demon.

Referred to as the “Slasher,” the demon is bald and gray with a body covered in blue tattoos. When he uses his Blood Demon Art these tattoos glow. The Slasher has sharp dark blue nails and moves quickly due to his Demon Art. The Slasher claims that he’s “the fastest demon,” and taunts Rengoku as he holds a boy hostage. Rengoku warns him not to get too cocky. Before the Slasher can harm the boy further, Rengoku rushes forward and cuts off both of the demons hands. The Slasher flees, as Rengoku treats the boy. Once the demon detects the scent of Fuku and her grandmother, he uses his Demon Art to give chase.

Echo’s of Shinjuro Rengoku

Leaving the boy in the care of other demon slayers, Rengoku follows Slayer using his Total Concentration Breathing. With the headstart, Slasher terrorizes Fuku and her grandmother before Rengoku appears. The arrogant demon challenges Rengoku’s speed. Rengoku turns out to be faster and quickly decapitates Slasher with his Flame Breathing, First Form: Unknowing Fire. Watching from behind, Fuku’s grandmother is reminded of the moment when Shinjuro Rengoku saved her and Fuku’s mother. She initially mistakes Rengoku for his father, as the latter has the same clothing and mannerisms his father does.

It’s a moment that reminds us that each demon is a threat to innocent people. This series epic fights with demon can focus to much on the action. We should remember that the Demon Corps have a noble cause and they have profound effects on the lives of humans. I remain disappointed in the retelling of the Mugen Arc, but appreciate the new episode. Demon Slayer Season 2 Episode 1 perfectly blends in with the movie already covered. I not an impressive episode but one that adds to the arc.

Weekly Anime Round-Up

Weekly Anime Round-Up (May 23th – May 29th): A Review of Castle In The Sky, Popularity, and Quality in Anime, and the Top 5 Anime Kitsune

Laputa: Castle in the sky – image of characters flying away from danger.

In this week’s edition of Weekly Anime Round-up, the Traditional Catholic Weeb (TCW) reviews the Studio Ghibli film, Laputa – Castle In The Sky. Studio Ghibli is renowned for its high quality and innovative anime film’s. Personally, I’ve never heard of this film. I was released before I was born, so that’s likely the reason. Regardless, was well-received, garnering positive reviews and grossing over $150 million between box office, home video, and soundtrack sales. TCW has a positive view of the film:

the origins of Studio Ghibli‘s filmography can be traced back to one film: Laputa – Castle In The Sky, an action/adventure film which would centralize the ongoing tradition of Miyazaki’s magical tales, featuring gallant visuals, charming characters, majestic worlds and captivating stories that continue to enthrall folks of all ages worldwide.

Tradition Catholic Weeb

Tanjiro admiring Wisteria.

Popularity, Quality, and Anime fandom

This post was posted on May 5th but I think it’s interesting. DAZE3X over at the blog A Certain Dazed Producer, explores the relationship “between how good an anime is and how popular it is.” Anime fans have been fighting over whether particular anime is actually good or is just hype. In the past few years, popular anime like Demon Slayer and Jujutsu Kaisen has been labeled “overrated.” Anything that is considered popular or mainstream is often going to receive criticism for being undeserving of the attention. Ultimately it doesn’t matter if you think a series has worthy of praise, if people like it, then it’s going to be popular. DAZE3X, who didn’t like Demon Slayer, argues:

If we could remove the concept of popularity away from the discussions over the quality of anime, we could have much more meaningful discussions over quality. Yes, there are bound to be some people who base their impressions of an anime depending on it’s popularity. I’ve seen people use statistics to show that people watch it so it must be good. And lots of people do follow the hype train and watch whatever else people are talking about and pretty much ignore everything else.

DAZE3X

Soushi from Inu x Boku.

The Top 5 Anime Kitsune

If you’re an anime fan you have probably noticed that the Kitsune or Nine Tails Fox is a common trope in anime. Irina limits her list to “to characters that are more clearly defined as Kitsune.” So, no Naruto. In Japanese folklore, the Kitsune can shapeshift into humans and often trick others with this ability. Each tail of the Kitsune correlates with how old, wise, and powerful the Yokai is. They are considered magical and are classified into two categories; the zenko and the yako. Irina’s list includes Pyo from The God of Highschool, Mugetsu from XXXHolic, Ginji from Kakuriyo: Bed and Breakfast for Spirits, Soushi from Inu X Boku SS, and Kokkuri-san from Gugure! Kokkuri-san. I would have added Kurama from Yu Yu Hakusho, but I don’t think he fits the criteria Irina set. Irina fav is Kokkuri-san. She states:

I sure like him a lot and he fits all the traditional requirements. And I say him but Kukuri-san actually changes gender at will. They aren’t all that worried by social impositions, or biological ones either.

Irina
Top 5

My Top 5 Demon Slaying Anime

Demon slaying is common in pop culture. They come in several varieties. The hunter who kills demons for revenge. The “chosen one,” who is born to kill demons, or the half demon that a target for full fledge demons. Family raises some demon slayers to fight demons. Specifically, demon slayers are common in anime and manga. In the last few years anime that focuses on “demon slaying” have gain prominence. So what are my top 5 demon slaying anime:


Berserk

Berserk is a little extreme for my tastes. A manga series created by Kentaro Miura, Berserk follows Guts as he fights evil spirits and demons from hell. Guts was cursed with the “Brand of Sacrifice.” As a result, ghosts and demons want to eat him. After the betrayal by his former best friend Griffith, Guts seeks venegance. Born from the womb of a hanged woman, he was raised as a child soldier. The series begins in the middle, establishing Guts character and the setting. It then flashes back revealling Guts tragic childhood.

Berserk is frequently disturbing, including child abuse, torture, sexual violence, and gore. It’s not a series for everyone, however, if you can stomach it the series explores themes like revenge, moralitiy, and coping with a cruel world. Berserk is inspired by Kaoru Kurimoto’s Guin Saga, Buronson’s Fist of the North Star, and Go Nagai’s Devilman. I don’t read the manga but I do search on Pinterest for Miura’s phenominal art work. If anything is going to attract you to this series it’s his art. Unfortunately, the anime often has terrible animation, I don’t recommend them.

Inuyasha

If your looking for a lighter series then Inuyasha is a great series. Rumiko Takahashi created the series in the 90s. The manga was serialized from 1996 to 2008 and the anime ran for seven seasons. Kagome Higurashi is a Middle School student that time travels to feudal Japan. While there she encounters youkai, ghosts, orges, and many other creatures. I really loved this series for it’s use of Japanese mythology. Kagome meets Inuyasha a teenage half-youkai.

Kagome is the reincarnation of Kikiyo, the former girlfriend of Inuyasha. She sealed Inuyasha to a sacred tree 50 years ago and it’s Kagome that frees him. Kagome and Inuyasha begin a dramatic relationship that spans time and space, as Kagome goes back and forth between this world and hers. The series follows the monster of the week structure. Kagome and Inuyasha are joined by friends, Shippo, Miroku, and Sango. Together they batlle againist the forces of Naraku, as they search for the shards of the Shikon jewel.

Jujutsu Kaisen

Jujutsu Kaisen is the latest entry into the demon slayer anime. While technically, Yuji and his friends exorcise “cursed spirits” I consider them basically the same as demons. Written and illustrated by Gege Akutami, Jujutsu Kaisen began its run in 2018. The first season of the anime began in 2020. Yuji is a high school student, when his grandfather is about to die, Yuji promises to: do good so others can die the “right” way. When Yuji meets sorcerer Megumi Fushiguro his life changes.

After releasing a cursed object that attracts cursed spirits, Yuji and Megumi rescue them. During this fight, Yuji swallows the cursed object, a finger of the “King of Curses,” Ryomen Sukuna. In doing so he becomes the new vessel of Sukuna. I’ll begin reading the manga after this seasons over, but I reccomend watching the anime. MAPPA is really starting to master their craft and Jujutsu Kaisen benefits from it.

Demon Slayer

Apparently, American audiences favor Jujutsu Kaisen over last years anime darling Demon Slayer. However, Demon Slayer continued to set records in 2020 outselling the One Piece manga and making history in the box office. I think when the Demon Slayer anime returns it will resume its run at the top. The series tells the tragic story of Tanjiro Kamado. After returning from selling charcoal, Tanjiro finds his family slaughtered and his sister Nezuko turned into a demon.

Desperate to turn his sister back and prevent others from being harmed, Tanjiro and Nezuko enbark on a quest to find a cure. Tanjiro joins the Demon Corps. Armed with a katana, the water breathing techniques, and his selfless motivation, Tanjiro battles demons. He joins forces with the dumb prettyboy Inosuke, the powerful coward Zenitsu, and the always sleeping Nezuko. Can they stop Muzan before he can eliminate the Demon Corps?

Yu Yu Hakusho

Demon Slayer and Jujutsu Kaisen maybe new demon slayer series, but Yu Yu Hakusho is a classic. A shonen fighting manga by Yoshihiro Togashi. Yu Yu Hakusho tells the story of Yusuke Urameshi, a cynical, smart mouthed junior high school student. One day Yusuke dies after saving a little boy from being hit by a car. This heroic act is rewarded with an opportunity to return from the dead. Koenma, the son of the King of the Dead, makes him the Spirit Detective. Yusuke hunts demons that threaten Earth. He’s sent to train with Genkai, the crotchety old master spirit user.

Yusuke, his best friend Kazuma Kuwabara, demon fox vessel Kurama, and anti-hero Hiei. Yu Yu Hakusho set the bar for anime animation, and fight choreography. I rewatch the Dark Tournament arc occasionally and still believe that it’s one of the greatest anime arc ever.

Anime Movie

Kimetsu no Yaiba: The Movie – Mugen Train Review

Demon Slayer – The Mugen Train Arc

The Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba manga was first published in Weekly Shonen Jump from February 2016 until May 2020. The series was written and illustrated by Koyoharu Gotoge. Demon Slayer tells the tragic story of Tanjiro Kamado and his sister Nezuko, who become orphans after their family is massacred by a demon. Nezuko herself is turned into a demon. Driven to return his sister to normal, Tanjiro embarks on a journey to find a cure. The series became a hit especially after the anime adaptation in 2019. As of December 2020, the manga had over 120 million copies circulation and surpassed One Piece as the highest-selling manga of 2019 and has gone on to sell over 82 million copies in 2020. 

Kimetsu no Yaiba: The Movie – Mugen Train is the first film from the series. A direct sequel from the anime series, the film retells the Mugen Train arc. In the anime, Enmu was given Muzan’s blood after the demon leader disbanded (and killed) the lower Twelve Kizuki. Meanwhile, Tanjiro, Zenitsu, and Inosuke are sent to join the Flame Hashira, Kyojuro Rengoku. The Hashira is investigating disappearances on the Infinity Train. Enmu is the cause of these disappearances. Enmu’s demon ability is dream manipulation. He can enter and control someone’s dream, it’s possible to kill them if he can destroy their “Spiritual Core.” Zenitsu, Tanjiro, Kyojuro, and Inosuke all get trapped in vivid dreams. Tanjiro dreams of his family, Zenitsu dreams of dating Nezuko, Inosuke dreams of being a “cave explorer” with Tanjiro, Nezuko, and Zenitsu as animal helpers, and finally, Kyojuro dreams of his family, particularly his father and brother. 

Kyojuro’s dream

Kimetsu no Yaiba: The Movie – Mugen Train has the task of humanizing Kyojuro. At this point in the series we only just meet him. It’s important to make us care about him, especially considering how this movie ends. His father, Shinjuro Rengoku, was the previous Flame Hashira. Shinjuro seems nihilistic, responding to Kyojuro’s announcement that he became a Hashira, with “it was pointless.” It unclear what made Shinjuro this way but it’s obvious that Kyojuro wants his approval. As the four children enter the dreams and locate the spiritual core’s they’re attacked by Kyojuro, Tanjiro, Zenitsu, and Inosuke. After everyone awakens, Tanjiro heads to the roof of the train to face Enmu. Tanjiro attempts to cut Enmu’s head off, but the demon keeps putting him to sleep. However, Tanjiro can wake up almost instantly each time. 

Eventually, Tanjiro decapitates Enmu using Water Breathing 10th Form: Constant Flux. However, Enmu is still alive because he’s merged with the train. The concept of a demon changing its form and therefore its anatomy is interesting. I wonder if the series will explore this further or if this is a one-off. However, the following fight between the demon slayers and Enmu wasn’t interesting. The use of CGI was distracting and I found the repetitive hacking of Enmu computer-generated flesh boring. Only when Inosuke and Tanjiro worked together to defeat Enmu did it become enjoyable. After the train crashes the most exciting fight begins. After Kyojuro teaches Tanjiro to stop his internal bleeding, something lands behind them creating a dust cloud.

Akaza, the Upper Rank 3 was revealed in the first Demon Slayer movie.
Akaza is the Upper Rank 3

Upper Rank 3 Akaza verses Kyojuro

It’s revealed that the Upper Rank 3, Akaza was the cause. He instantly tries to attack Tanjiro, however, Kyojuro uses Flame Breathing: Second Form – Rising Scorching Sun, splitting Akaza’s arm in half. The demon attempts to recruit Kyojuro, asking him to become a demon. Kyojuro refuses and Akaza attacks with his Blood Demon Art: Technique Development – Destructive Death – Compass Needle. Akaza and Kyojuro move so fast that Tanjiro can’t follow them. Throughout the battle, it becomes clear that demons have a natural advantage over humans in battle. No matter how much damage Kyojuro delivers to Akaza, the demon simply heals and does so quickly. It’s still possible to win but it must be done quickly. Until Kimetsu no Yaiba: The Movie – Mugen Train, those of us that only watch the anime was told that Hashira’s and Upper-Level Demons are at another level. 

Akaza and Kyojuro’s fight is a good display of the difference between the lower demon’s like Enmu and lower slayer’s like Tanjiro. Furthermore, the Upper Six can fight recklessly since the loss of limbs isn’t a concern, whereas, Demon Slayers much pace themselves, be disciplined, skilled, and cautious. Akaza and Inosuke note that Kyojuro’s form is flawless. When the fight reaches its climax, Kyojuro uses his Flame Breathing: Ninth Form – Rengoku verses Akaza’s Destructive Death: Annihilation Type. Kyojuro wounded both externally and internally is at his limit. After the dust clears, it’s revealed that Akaza has stuck his arm through the chest of Kyojuro. Undaunted, Kyojuro swings his sword into Akaza’s neck, Akaza tries to punch him but Kyojuro grabs his forearm. Akaza can’t break free and the sun begins to rise. After the blade digs deeper into Akaza’s neck he finally pulls free tearing his limbs off. He flees into the forest, as Tanjiro calls him a coward. 

Demon Slayer is about heart

Anime movies are often non-canon, creating lore that doesn’t impact the main series. In a lot of ways, this allows for more creative freedom. However, because Kimetsu no Yaiba: The Movie – Mugen Train is adapted from an arc in the main story it has an impact on the story. This movie feels more “real.” This movie’s central themes focus on the “beauty of being human,” and “the sorrow of death.” Kyojuro argues for humanity’s value. He says that “growing old and dying” is beautiful and humans are only “loveable and precious” because of this. He notes that the strength in humans isn’t based on the body. The film opens with Ubeyashiki and his wife, Amane walking through a graveyard for demon slayers. He laments all the death and hopes that it will end with the next generation.

It’s a foreshadowing of Kyojuro Rengoku’s death. I expect that Demon Slayer is going to kill off more of the “good” guys, Tanjiro and Nezuko might be safe but I’m not sure anyone else will be. What has set Demon Slayer apart from other shonen series has been the emotional maturity of Tanjiro Kamado. He is willing to sacrifice himself to protect others, however, unlike other shounen protagonists, he does pursue power for power’s sake. Tanjiro’s heartbreak at the end was probably the most impactful part of the film, he barely knew Kyojuro but was devasted as he knew him for years. Kimetsu no Yaiba: The Movie – Mugen Train tells a story that emphasizes that it’s not strength that matters, it’s the heart. 

Challenge: The A-Z of Anime! · Misc

Challenge: The A-Z of Anime!

I’ve been looking for another challenge to do and finally found one. The A-Z of Anime Challenge is probably self-explanatory, regardless the rules are as follows:

Rules:

#1 Pick a favorite series/movie for each letter of the alphabet. For titles starting with “a” “an” or “the” use the first letter of the next word of the title.

#2 Since many titles have multiple names based on the language that you are using please pick one language for the entire list (Use all English titles or all Japanese titles) and let the readers know which language you will be using. If a title has the same name regardless of the language then it can be used in any list.

#3 If you don’t have a title that fits under a particular letter, you can name another favorite from a different letter in it’s place, just indicate which letter spot you are using for that series. This can be done up to three times. If you can’t fill a spot then you can leave it blank. No more than 26 total series are allowed.

#4 Including a picture for each series is encouraged.

#5 Share who tagged you for this challenge and nominate 3 more to try it themselves and include links to their blogs.

#6 Just have fun with this challenge. I wanted to get everyone to share some favorite series and to spread the word about awesome blogs!

Since I haven’t been tagged I will be ignoring part of #5. I will be using English titles. Let’s go.


A is for Attack on Titan

B is for Bleach

C is for Cardcaptor Sakura

D is for Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba

E is for Evangelion

F is for Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

G is for Goblin Slayer

H is for Hunter X Hunter

I is for Inuyasha

J is for JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure

K is for Kill La Kill

L is for Little Witch Academia

M is for My Hero Academia

N is for Naruto

O is for One Piece

P is for The Promised Neverland

Q is for Made in Abyss

R is for Rurouni Kenshin

S is for Samurai Champloo

T is for Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann

U is for Mob Psycho 100

V is for Vinland Saga

W is for Witch Hunter Robin

X is for One-Punch Man

Y is for Yu Yu Hakusho

Z is for Zombieland Saga