Anime

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 8: The Sun Breathing Style

Short Summary:

Demon Slayer Season 2 Episode 8 begins with Muzan Kibutsuji’s adopted parents are glowing over their brilliant and “kind” son. Muzan has assumed the form of a child. Suddenly, Akaza appears to debrief his master. Akaza informs Muzan that he failed to find the Blue Spider Lily but he did kill a Hashira. Sensing Akaza might feel he accomplished something, Muzan berates him. Calling him a “disappointment.” In the Butterfly Mansion, Zenitsu, Tanjiro, and Inosuke struggle to come to terms with Rengoku’s death. Still injured, Tanjiro visits Rengoku’s family. There, he learns of the Sun Technique and Rengoku’s fathers, Shinjuro’s, hatred of the users. After returning from a mission, Tanjiro encounters the Sound Hashira, former shinobi, Tengen Uzui.


Muzan abuses Akaza in Demon Slayer Season 2 Episode 8

The Oppressive Muzan

Muzan Kibutsuji is hands down on of the best anime villains. He just a massive narcissist and sees his demons as nothing but tools. In the last season, we saw how little Muzan cared for the lower six. I thought he held the upper moons to hire standards. No demon matters to Muzan. When Akaza tells him he killed Rengoku, Muzan becomes angry. He takes control over Akaza’s body causing him to bleed and decay. It was an impressive display of his power but also his manipulation. Muzan wants overwhelming control over his subordinates. They can’t think without him knowing what they think and their bodies are no longer theirs. He can’t be satisfied. If you do what he wants (kill a Hashira) he wants more. The twelve moons are always going to be failures in his eyes.

Senjuro is grateful for Tanjiro’s appearance

No matter how grueling or frustrating it may be. I am going to become a powerful Hashira like Kyojuro. – Tanjiro

Sun Breathing, the first breathing technique

After the bout with lower Rui, which Tanjiro displayed the Hinokami Kagura (Dance of the Fire God) for the first time. At this point in the series, Tanjiro only showed a affinity for the Water Breathing Style. In our general understanding of the basic elements, fire and water are opposites, so we were shocked when Tanjiro released a fire breathing style. However, Hinokami Kagura isn’t from the Flame Breathing Style. Shinjuro tells Tanjiro about the Sun Breathing Style without being asked. The bitter former Flame Hashira appeared jealous of the Sun Styles superiority. Shinjuro claims that the Sun Style was the “original Breathing Style,” the “most powerful,” and all other techniques are “derived” from it. Tanjiro was always going to need more than just hard work to become a stronger Demon Slayer, the Sun Breathing Style is it.

The trio continues to gain strength and experience

Training, solo missions, and growth

According to Tanjiro he already knows the Style. He just needs to continue to practice. While, Tanjiro may have access to the most powerful Style he’s not going to automatically excel at it. Demon Slayer makes it clear that Tanjiro and the others MUST work at it. Demon Slayer spends more time showing characters training the most anime I can think of. In this episode, Tanjiro remarks how much he hates his own “weakness.” He continues to train with Inosuke and Zenitsu. Tanjiro notes that Zenitsu is becoming braver and Inosuke is becoming more “aggressive.” Each of them are growing, increasing their strength, and learning to fight alone. Even Nezuko seems to have progressed, being more active in her and Tanjiro’s brief encounter with a demon in the mountain shrine. I hope she develops even more this season. So far Nezuko has been relegated to a bit character.

Tengen Uzui is a brute

The Sound Hashira

Each of the Hashira introduced in the last season have a distinct look and personality. The Sound Hashira, Tengen Uzui had a habit of saying “flamboyant” repeatedly. He values flash and is clearly self absorbed. Tengen is introduced in this episode as being a bit of an ass. He abuses his power as a Hashira, to kidnap Aoi and Naho. The moment tries to blend humor with Tengen’s inappropriate behavior but I just instantly disliked Tengen. The coolest moment of this episode was when Zenitsu and Inosuke stealth appear on opposite sides of Tengen. Our trio volunteer to go with Tengen instead of Aoi and Naho. Tengen tells them they’re heading to “The number-one spot in Japan that’s dripping with lust and desire. A super-flashy place. The Entertainment District, where demons reside”.