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 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 15: The trio returns to face Daki and Gyutaro

In Demon Slayer Season 2 Episode 15, “Gathering,” we learn a little about Tengen’s childhood and Zenitsu, Tanjiro, and Inosuke join the battle. The demonic siblings, Gyutaro and Daki, share more than just the title of Upper Rank Six. When Gyutaro said he and his sister share bodies he wasn’t kidding. Gyutaro and Daki may have two different physical bodies but they can exchange body parts. Gyutaro gives Daki one of his eyes. This increases her power and allows them to coordinate their attacks. Daki and Gyutaro are able to fight Tengen, Tanjiro, Inosuke, and Zenitsu together despite being in two different places.

This episode was mostly a well animated high action packed one but we did get a short deviation to Tengen’s backstory and the larger Demon Slayer world. Gyutaro compliments Tengen on his fighting abilities claiming that “none of the Hashira he has killed are like him,” and Tengen was “born special.” Tengen states that he wasn’t “anyone special.” While demon slayers like Muichiro became Hashira only after two months, Tengen argues that he’s not “chosen like them.” It’s not made explicit whether the current generation of Hashira are stronger than previous ones, the fact that Gyutaro killed 15 and Daki killed 7 suggests this generation might be.

If someone like me gives that impression, you really are living a blessed life. – Tengen Uzui

We also learned that the shinobi were “wiped out” in the Edo era. Tengen was born one of nine siblings, with seven being killed by the time he was 15. His father, afraid of their clans extinction, increased training. Tengen’s younger brother resembled his fathers worldview more closely, “viewing his wives as expendable.” In order to become a Demon Slayer, Tengen and his wives had to reject shinobi ideology. I hope we’ll get more information on the past world in Demon Slayer. In the present, Tengen separates Daki and Gyutaro by kicking Daki into the air. At this point it seems Daki is comically weak. Demon Slayer went through all this effort to present her as a powerhouse only to quickly show her as a weakling.

In Demon Slayer Season 2 Episode 15 Gyutaro and Daki fuse together
In Demon Slayer Season 2 Episode 15 Gyutaro and Daki fuse together

It’s a odd choice. I’m all for running gags (her head getting cut off) but she’s been minimized into hindrance. Her power seems to mostly due to her brother. I’m sure there’s a typical brother protects sister narrative between Gyutaro and Daki, but the shift in how I perceived Daki (strength wise) is dramatic and it’s clearly deliberate. Anyway, Tengen is joined by Tanjiro, Inosuke, and Zenitsu. I have remarked many times how surprised I am that Demon Slayer is willing to sideline it’s main character (Tanjiro) and it seems that will remain true this arc. Tanjiro is simply not stronger than Tengen. In most anime he would be or the stronger characters wouldn’t be present for some reason.

I also noticed that this season has more fights in the presence of civilians. In the first season most of battles to place in distant areas away from people but this season is different. I was surprised that Demon Slayer bothered to show Tengen’s wives evacuate the town, normally the civilians would have been ignored. Tanjiro and Tengen have teamed up against Gyutaro, while Inosuke and the sleeping Zenitsu fight Daki. Zenitsu seems to be able to fight and talk while completely asleep. I wonder if he’ll be sleep for the entire fight or wake up in the middle. I realized that neither Zenitsu or Inosuke have been able to show their full power yet. Hopefully, they will get a chance now that Tanjiro isn’t at the center. Demon Slayer Season 2 Episode 15 is full of action. Tengen and Gyutaro fighting while Daki rains down her Obi was a marvelous sight.

Anime

Demon Slayer Season 2, Episode 14: The secret hiding in Daki

The main theme of Demon Slayer Season 2 Episode 14 is transformation, hence it’s title. Daki and Nezuko are the ones who transform, but in opposite directions. Daki loses her confidence and while Nezuko gains some. They both end up crying but for completely different reasons. Nezuko goes through a mental transformation. She enjoys the violent abuse she inflicts on Daki. When she gets a scent of human blood she prepares to attack. This means that when Nezuko transforms she’s looses all the control she had. To be clear, Nezuko has never been unaffected by blood but she’s always resisted. Luckily, Tanjiro arrives to hold her back. He’s desperate to keep his sisters from killing, especially considering all the consequences that will occur if they fail.

Like getting skinned alive or maybe getting your belly slit open

– Gyutaro

Daki loses her head in Demon Slayer Season 2 Episode 14
Daki loses her head in Demon Slayer Season 2 Episode 14

Nezuko misses her family and snaps out of her rage buy singing a lullaby their mother use to sing. Her tears are born from sorrow, whereas, Daki’s tears are largely due to her bruised ego. Poor, poor Daki. First, she gets humiliated by a rampaging Nezuko. Then Uzui decapitates her and dismisses her power, claiming she “too weak” to be a “Upper Demon.” Her insecurities rise to the surface. She practically begs Uzui to believe she strong. She becomes whinny, screeching and crying. Daki becomes pathetic. Demon Slayer has always tried to balance its more sentimental moments with action. This episode definitely exemplifies that.

I’m amazing, you hear me?

I rarely notice voice acting in anime but the voices of Daki and her brother Gyutaro were perfect. Daki’s high pitched wailing and nonstop talking really sold her desperation. However, her brothers voice was perfect. I’m not going to be able to do it justice by describing it, but it’s creepy. Both voices irate the ear but still felt appropriate. This episode suggested something tragic happened to both Daki and Gyutaro. When Nezuko’s Demon Art sets Daki ablaze, she recalls a brief flashback and says it’s “just like that day.” In the flashback we see a swordsmen and a female silhouette.

Gyutaro body is emaciated and he has a cringy tendency to scratch himself. It think he starved as a human and gave his little sister any food they had. Together, Daki and Gyutaro are, according to Gyutaro “two people in one.” Gyutaro is clearly the stronger of the two, but if they fight together, Daki’s obis could become a problem. Gyutaro has a powerful Blood Demon Art. As Tengen noticed he has amazing reflects. With his speed, Uzui might be able to avoid most of their attacks, but I think he’ll need help. I like the fact that Demon Slayer is willing to let other characters shine, but it seems odd if Inosuke, Tanjiro, and Zenitsu just sit idly by and watch. Regardless, I’m excited to see how this fight goes.

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.