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Demon Slayer Season 2, Episode 18: The tragic life of Daki (Ume) and Gyutaro

Demon Slayer Season 2 Episode 18 is the final episode of this season. I’ve been eager to see the backstory of Daki and Gyutaro and wondered if would change my view of them. Demon Slayer has a way of redeeming it’s villains. All tragic figures forced to serve Muzan. This arc gave hints at what life was like for the siblings. The consequences from Gyutaro’s explosion wasn’t nearly as devasting as I assumed but it was an opportunity to reveal Nezuko’s new ability to heal with her fiery blood. She rescues both Inosuke and Tengen from probably death. The bulk of this episode centered on the past of the Upper Six demon siblings. Gyutaro and Daki berate each other. She calls him “ugly” and he retorts that she’s “weak.” Daki’s tears up as she does it, giving the impression that she doesn’t mean what she says. It’s a subtle moment that Tanjiro confirms when he stops the two from fight further. He tells them “with all they have done, they will be despised and resented by all in the world without anyone but themselves.”

In the end Gyutaro and Daki will only have each other. Gyutaro and Daki’s whose real name is Ume, were born into the Rashomon Riverbanks, the lowest caste of the Entertainment District. Due to the extreme poverty, children were considered a burden. His mother tried to kill him multiple times, he was constantly berated by the civilians for his appearance, dirtiness, and his voice. However, this changed when the beautiful Ume was born. In the Entertainment District, your value is determined by your looks. This means Ume has a lot of value compared to her brother that had none. With his natural fighting ability, Gyutaro becomes a debt collector. He derived a greater self-worth from his sisters beauty and the effect it had on others. Life was looking good until Ume got on the bad side of a samurai. When returning home one night, Gyutaro finds Ume’s charred body.

Demons are the result of a cruel human society

Ume’s madam and the samurai collude to get revenge on the siblings. The samurai slashes Gyutaro from behind. Enraged, Gyutaro leaps into the air killing the madam. Gyutaro compliments the samurai on his kimono and skin complexion. Gyutaro kills the samurai by slicing his face in half. He carries Ume’s body through the district but no one would help. Suddenly, a Upper Rank Six appears carrying the corpse of a partially eaten woman. He offers to turn the siblings into demons and wonders if the two can “become a Twelve Kizuki demon and rise up like him.” Demon Slayer has made a point of showing how demons take advantage of suffering to fill their ranks. In a weird way, the demon population is fueled by the consequences of a cruel human society. I would argue that if humans treated each other better, it would be difficult for Muzan to recruit. Demons are a product of human society as much as they’re a product of Muzan.

Gyutaro blames himself for Ume’s death and wishes he had never taught her to take from others before they take from her. In the afterworld, Gyutaro and Ume meet again. He tells her to leave him and go into the light. Ume shows that she’s not as vapid as previously characterized. She reminds him of their promise as children to always stay together. The two cling to each other as they walk into the fires of hell together. Demon Slayer balances these moments well. It always clear that the series doesn’t think a tragic childhood excuses future behavior but without such tragedy maybe there’s no destructive future. My view of Ume and Gyutaro didn’t change but my understanding of their relationship was greater.

The rest of this episode serves to set up next season. Obanai Iguro appears a little to late to help and praises Tengen (kinda) for defeating an Upper Six. With his left eye and hand gone, Tengen decides he’s going to retire. Iguro is concerned that with Rengoku’s death another Hashira vacancy is unacceptable. Tengen suggests that Tanjiro would one day reach the potential of Hashira. As the crows spread the news of Tengen, Tanjiro, Nezuko, Zenitsu, and Inosuke’s triumph a sickly Kagaya Ubuyashiki is excited. An Upper Rank hadn’t been defeated in over a century. He believes this moment is “an omen that fate is taking a dramatic turn,” and that Muzan will fall during this generation. Finally, we get a short scene with Akaza being summoned to the Infinity Castle. The last time this happened it didn’t end well for Muzan’s demons. I don’t think that will be the outcome this time, but as Kagaya states it does mark a dramatic turn. Demon Slayer once again doesn’t disappoint. I can’t wait until next season.

Anime

Demon Slayer Season 2, Episode 17: The Entertainment District arc comes to an epic conclusion

Demon Slayer Season 2 Episode 17, “Never Give Up,” opens with a scene of despair. Tengen’s unconscious, Inosuke lies motionless with a gapping hole in his chest, while Zenitsu struggles under rubble. All of the Yoshiwara District is enflamed. Tanjiro is the only one awake and is in shocked at the surrounding horrors. He blames himself. If he wasn’t so distracted he would have been more useful. He apologizes to everyone before Gyutaro appears. The Upper Rank Six takes joy in the predicament Tanjiro and the others find themselves. In a flashback, Tanjiro is reminded by Nezuko that humans “can never expect everything to go their way.” He should stop blaming himself and fight harder.

Gyutaro asks Tanjiro if Nezuko is his sister and when confirms that she is, the Upper Demon mocks him for failing to protect her. Gyutaro’s cruelty is on full display. He breaks several of Tanjiro’s fingers and begins pulling his hair, and slapping him. It’s like he’s pulling wings of a butterfly. His arrogance may be well founded but it’s also allows Tanjiro to gain the upper hand. Fleeing with Nezuko, Tanjiro grabs one of Tengen’s poisoned kunai’s. He uses one of his headbutts to distract Gyutaro from noticing the kunai in his leg. Caught of guard, Tanjiro is able to cut Gyutaro’s neck with Hinokami Kagura.

Daki watches her brother torture Tanjiro in Demon Slayer Season 2 Episode 17
Daki watches her brother torture Tanjiro in Demon Slayer Season 2 Episode 17

The sibling relationship between Daki and Gyutaro and Nezuko and Tanjiro is made explicit when Tanjiro mistakes Daki’s voice for Nezuko. He envisions himself as a demon, believing that the Demon Slayer Corps would “have the mercy to kill him.” Unfortunately for Tanjiro his cut isn’t instant and Gyutaro struggles while Daki looks on concerned. She finally attempts to stop Tanjiro with her Obi, when Zenitsu erupts from the rubble to stop her with Thunder Breathing. Confident she can handle a move she’s seen so often, Daki is taken by surprise when Zenitsu uses Thunder Breathing, First Form: Thunderclap and Flash, God Speed.

He manages to cut the obi in Daki’s neck. Zenitsu hopes that he can decapitate Daki at the same time Tanjiro cut’s Gyutaro’s neck. However, Gyutaro is able to overcome the weakened Tanjiro and put him on the defensive. Enraged, Gyutaro increases the speed of his attacks and prepares to gouge Tanjiro’s eye out when Tengen appears. The Hashira stopped his own heart and in doing so the poison. Tengen declares the he can now use his “Musical Score Technique.” He’s able to hear Gyutaro’s blood blade as if they were parts of a score. This allows him to deflect them.

Tengen and Gyutaro clash in a fire display of explosions. Meanwhile, Tanjiro stalks in the background, looking for the chance to decapitate Gyutaro. When Gyutaro stabs Tengen and cuts his eye, Tanjiro leaps up and slashes at the Upper Demon’s neck. However, Gyutaro manages to stab Tanjiro through the jaw. Tanjiro is determined to use everything he has to kill the demon and his mark ignites granting him enough strength. Gyutaro assumes his sister won’t be decapitated, along with him. Zenitsu runs out of strength but Inosuke appears. He strikes from the opposite direction. In a epic moment, the trio manages to send the Upper Rank sibling heads flying. But the celebratory moment is short lived as Gyutaro explodes.

Demon Slayer remains one of the best anime series and this episode is certainly evidence to this fact. The animation was stunning. I couldn’t help but notice the parallels between this fight and the one with Rengoku. The trio were simply bystanders then but this time they were active participants. The same limitation between humans and demons was present. As Gyutaro notes, human are inherently weaker than demons. He also offers to turn Tanjiro into a demon just like Akaza did to Rengoku. Of course the outcome seems different. The demons are dead and the Hashira is alive. Had Tengen fought alone, he would have joined Rengoku. Next weeks episode will be the final one of the season, I’m looking forward to seeing Daki and Gyutaro backstory.

Check Out Demon Slayer Season 2 Episode 16 Review.

Anime

Demon Slayer Season 2, Episode 13: Tanjiro and Nezuko let loose

Demon Slayer Season 2 Episode 13, “Layered Memories” is an action packed episode that adds to the lore of demons and may have exposed Muzan’s only weakness. Daki gains more power as her obi sashes are absorbed. Her hair changes white, as she get excited at the prospect of facing another Hashira. She ignores Tanjiro who’s already struggling psychically. After she destroys part of a city block, killing several people and maiming another. Tanjiro is also cut deeply trying to reflect her attack. Witnessing the carnage Daki created and her indifference to the suffering, Tanjiro explodes with rage.

Tanjiro rages after Daki kills innocents in Demon Slayer Episode 13
Tanjiro rages after Daki kills innocents in Demon Slayer Episode 13

Demons have nothing to lose

Daki tries to escape but Tanjiro grabs her by the leg, attempting to decapitate her. She evades, only losing her foot. Like most demons at her level she quickly heals. Demon Slayer has consistently made the point that humans are at a natural disadvantage against demons. Tanjiro has always felt like he was struggling against the more powerful Daki. He constantly under pressure, pushing his body past its natural limits just to inflict pain on the Upper Demon. Bloodshot and determined, Tanjiro accelerates towards Daki. She uses Blood Demon Art: Eight-Layered Obi Slash trying to cut Tanjiro into pieces.

Tanjiro uses Hinokami Kagura: Burning Bones, Summer Sun, creating a series of circular flame spirals. Daki feels pain from the burning and cannot regenerate quickly. Daki leaps to another house, wondering how Tanjiro can still move. Following the demon, Tanjiro manages to cut Daki’s neck, but she protects herself using a soft sash. Feeling the heat, she increases her sashes to 13. Tanjiro is able to easily parry them as they appear to move slowly. He stabs all the obis, pinning them down. With explosive movement, he leaps into the air slashing the obi with fiery strikes. It’s an amazing moment that displays what makes Demon Slayer such an amazing series, beautiful animation, colorful design, and impressive action.

The evolution of Nezuko

Nezuko occupies a strange position in the Demon Slayer series. She not a very active character. She’s literally muzzled and sleeping in a box most of the time. Nezuko is often out of sight and out of mind. Obviously, she can’t walk around during the day but she could come out at night. If we consider the fact that most humans are ignorant of demons existence and their white skin doesn’t trigger too much suspicion (Muzan claims he has a special disease) there’s no reason for her to be so absent. Especially, because she protects Tanjiro more than her protects her. Anyway, that trend continues.

Tanjiro apparently stopped breathing while he was fighting and just before he decapitates Daki, he’s stopped by a vision of his sister telling him “to breathe.” Tanjiro collapses in agony, giving Daki a chance to capitalize. Suddenly, Nezuko appears behind her and crushes Daki’s head while sending the demon flying. Nezuko attacks Daki with her trademark right kick. Daki slices off her leg, arm, and cuts deep into her torso. Nezuko has never eaten a human and hasn’t developed in the normal way demon tend to.

Like Tamayo, Nezuko escapes the control Muzan exerts on his progeny. Regardless, Nezuko begins to regenerate, according to Daki at “a Upper Demon level,” develops vinelike markings and grows a horn. She stomps Daki into the ground giving her a menacing stare. Nezuko shouldn’t have this much power especially considering she doesn’t train at all. It conflicts with the painful effort demon slayers like Tanjiro put into their breathing. Granted she’s a demon so they generally have it easier than humans. However, she doesn’t even have to consume humans like those demons.

Marks, Scars, and Cells

Demon Slayer Episode 13 introduces the more subtle aspects of the power system of the series, marks, scars, and cells. When Muzan creates a demon he gives a human his blood, this process is “performed at a cellular level.” Normally, Muzan maintains control over demons, but for some reason Nezuko and Tamayo can’t be controlled. One thing they both refused to do is eat humans which is likely the main reason. In this episode, Shinjuro Rengoku writes Tanjiro a letter in which he explains that Sun Breathing users have a “red mark on their forehead.” While Tanjiro denies he’s the “chosen one” claiming that he got the scar through other means, I think Shinjuro is one to something. Especially after we witness the memories of Muzan. The man in the vision has the mark Shinjuro referred to.

I don’t know who the man in the vision was but I don’t think it was Tanjiro’s father. Maybe a grandfather? It doesn’t matter. What is important to know is that Muzan was afraid of this Demon Slayer, who like Tanjiro can use Sun Breathing. Nezuko’s markings are only seen, but it’s obvious they’re associated with her transformation. I expect we’ll get more information next episode. This episode was great. While Nezuko’s transformation is a bit of an ass pull, I’m still excited to see her fight.

Anime

Demon Slayer Season 2, Episode 12: The power of Hinokami Kagura and Tengen

Short Summary:

While Tanjiro fights Daki alone and becomes overwhelmed by the strain Hinokami Kagura. Tengen finds his first wife, Hinatsuru. After he gives her the antidote he goes in search of the demon. Using his hearing to find Zenitsu, Inosuke, and his two wives fighting underground. Inosuke, Zenitsu, and Tengen all get a chance to show off how flashy they can be.

In Demon Slayer Season 2 Episode 12 Tanjiro uses Hinokami Kagura
In Demon Slayer Season 2 Episode 12 Tanjiro uses Hinokami Kagura

Demon Slayer Season 2 Episode 12 goes to get pains to show how much effort it takes for demon slayers to fight. Even the focus on “breathing,” something we assume would require very little effort, feels exhausting. In a flashback, Tanjiro recalls the intense pressure attempting to use Flame Dance: Clear Blue Sky caused. At the time it’s “sheer force,” was too much for him to handle. In the present, Tanjiro remembers Rengoku’s words: “set your heart ablaze.” He performs Hinokami Kagura: Raging Sun, successful cutting Daki’s obi. The Upper Demon quickly notices the “sharpening” of Tanjiro’s skills. However, he’s still not able to handle Hinokami and collapses.

Daki attempts to gain the advantage and kill Tanjiro while he’s incapacitated on the ground. In danger, Tanjiro uses Recovery Breathing to regain his some of his movement. Throughout this fight, Daki is impressed Tanjiro has kept up, but she’s not the least bit concerned. It’s clear that Tanjiro is already heading towards his end. Regardless, he’s determined to protect the innocent. Meanwhile, Inosuke is terrorizing the women in the brothel as he rampages, while searching for the demon. He finds the hole leading to the demon lair and creepily dislocates his joints to slither through the tunnel. Once inside, Inosuke finds Daki’s Obi, draped around like webbing. He finds he victims trapped inside including Zenitsu.

Maybe you should stay asleep the whole time

– Inosuke

Things are going to get real flashy

Suddenly, the sash, with a face and mouth, begins attacking Inosuke. He easily avoids it, while freeing the captured humans. Daki orders the sash to catch Inosuke and the “ten most beautiful,” she can kill all the rest. Makio and Suma help battle the “worm belt,” as Inosuke calls it. Inosuke is concerned if the worm belt isn’t the real body then he will be stuck down their “forever.” Without warning, Zenitsu uses Thunder Breathing, First Form: Thunderclap and Flash, Sixfold, and begins cutting up the sashes. While Zenitsu was causing a ruckus, Tengen was crashing through the ground. He enters the lair in epic fashion. The worm belt instantly identifies Tengen as a Hashira. Tengen attacks, slicing the belt into tiny pieces.

Demon Slayer Season 2 Episode 12 shows us the difference between the trio and Tengen. First the worm belt is impressed with Inosuke’s “intuition”, his ability to “detect murderous intent”. He’s able to avoid the worm belt’s attacks. Zenitsu, who still needs to be unconscienced has amazing speed but wasn’t able to kill the worm belt either. When Tengen appears, the worm belt doesn’t have time to dodge. Tengen’s speed overwhelms her and she’s quickly killed. The gap in power between Inosuke, Zenitsu, and Tanjiro when compared to Tengen and Daki is notable.

Anime

Demon Slayer Season 2, Episode 11: Tanjiro prepares to face Daki

Short Summary:

In Demon Slayer Season 2 Episode 11, Tanjiro prepares to fight a Upper Rank Demon. With Zenitsu missing, Inosuke, Tanjiro, and Tengen dig deeper into the location of the demon. Tengen regrets bring low level Demon Slayers into this fight and dismisses Inosuke and Tanjiro, as he intents to look for the demon alone. However, Tanjiro and Inosuke are only inspired to step up their since of urgency. Tanjiro detects the scent of the demon at the Tokito House. Alone, he encounters the Upper Rank Six Demon, Daki.

Koiuatsu’s kindess

So far in this arc I’m having a difficult time telling the Oiran apart. I wasn’t sure Koinatsu was Daki or a different character until her name was mentioned. This isn’t a big problem, but it can cause confusion. I wonder if anyone else had this issue. Regardless, episode 11 shows use the other side of the entertainment district. Koinatsu’s young assistants look up to her and she clearly cares about them. She gifts them each a hirauchi kanzashi hairpin. It’s a touching moment. However, the district is still an unhealthy environment featuring constant death and disappearances. The master of Kyogoku House is informed by a chaperone that “Zenko (Zenitsu)” is missing. Daki has used fear to gain the complicity of figures like the owners of the brothels. If they cross her she’ll kill them. Regardless, the master still feels guilty for his cowardice and is clearly heartbroken over his wife death.

The Wisteria Flower Engraving

I can’t get over how much Inosuke’s personality has change. He’s changed from a mindless brute to a think brute. He’s likely to be more effective this way. When he and Tanjiro discuss their situation, he thoroughly explains the ranking system, specifically the “Wisteria Flower Engraving.” Each member has their rank inscribed on their hand. If they wish to check their rank they can say the password and flex their arm to reveal it. After candidates become members of the Demon Slayer Corp, they’re granted the lowest rank in the organization: Mizunoto. Overall, there are ten, beginning with Mizunoto, there’s: Mizunoe, Kanoto, Kanoe, Tsuchinoto, Tsuchinoe, Hinoto, Hinoe, Kinoto, and Kinoe. According to Inosuke, our trio has reach the rank of Kanoe. The Hashira are the most elite. In order to reach this level, as Demon Slayer must “either successfully kill 50 demons or a member of Twelve Kizuki as a Kinoe.”

With Zenitsu’s kidnapping, Tengen admits his motives were selfish. He wanted to rescue his wives more than anything leaving Zenitsu vulnerable. He dismisses Tanjiro and Inosuke telling them he “regrets in making them join him in his mission.” Neither, Tanjiro nor Inosuke are going to quit. They plan to search for the demon at night. Tengen has become more directly involved and threatens the master of the Kyogoku House. He gives Tengen Daki’s location but the demon isn’t present. He runs off to the Kirimise district to speak to Hinatsuru, leaving Tanjiro and Inosuke vulnerable. Tanjiro encounters Daki, as she begins to “consume” Koinatsu. Daki seems interested in the prospect of encountering another Hashira. Seeing the Upper Six kanji in her eye, Tanjiro orders her to “let Koinatsu go.”

Upper Six Daki verses Tanjiro

Angered at the disrespect, Daki attacks him with her obi, sending Tanjiro hurling into a nearby house. Realizing he’s outmatched, Tanjiro resolves to face her. They clash, with Tanjiro using his Water Breathing, Fourth Form: Striking Tide, Turbulent to counter her obi’s attack. He manages to cut one off “freeing” Koinatsu. Daki is impressed with his “mid-air” abilities. Still, Tanjiro is going up an Upper Demon, can he do it without aid? It doesn’t matter. Tanjiro knows he must face her and prepares to do so. Where in the early cat and mouse phase of this fight. Just how large is the gap between Tanjiro and Daki? Zenitsu and Tengen have conveniently been removed from the story (temporarily), leaving Inosuke and Tanjiro to fight. It would be reasonable to expect Tanjiro to defeat Daki but with a Hashira present it would be silly to leave him to fight some underling. If Daki is strong enough to kill seven Hashira, Tengen may need Tanjiro, Inosuke, and Zenitsu’s help.