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 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 10: The introduction of Upper Demon, Daki.

Short Summary:

Demon Slayer Season 2 Episode 10 opens with an attendant accusing Oiran of being responsible for the disappearances. She vanishes after entering the room with the accused. In the Ogimoto House, Makio is tortured for information regarding who she sent the letters to. The demon notices Inosuke approaching. He opens the room to find it empty. The destroyed nature of the room triggers Inosuke’s suspicion. The demon flees, as Inosuke rampages through the brothel trying to catch it. However, running into a client he loses the demon. Zenitsu realizes he been distracted from locating Hinatsuru. He hears a little girl crying and quickly rushes to her. There he encounters Warabihime, whom he assumes is the Upper Demon.

Daki kills Omitsu in Demon Slayer Season 2 Episode 10

Read: Demon Slayer Season 2, Episode 8: The Sun Breathing Style

She’s outraged by the mess in her room and grabs the crying girl by the ear causing her to bleed. Zenitsu grabs her arm demanding she let her go. Warabihime reaches back and strikes him. Elsewhere, Tanjiro is enjoying his time working in the Tokito House. He does his chores eagerly and freaks out the house madam. In a flashback, we witness the events that lead to the death of the Kyogoku House owner, Omitsu. During this flashback, Warabihime sees Muzan Kibutsuji in her room. He congratulates her for getting stronger and compliments her beauty. He then reveals that her demon name is Daki and she’s killed seven Hashiras. Finally, Zenitsu awakens to fine the three young girls her rescued. They thank him his help and leave him to rest. As Zenitsu relaxes, Daki kidnaps him with her sashes.

Tanjiro is always so eager

Fear of the Upper Ranks

It was always obvious who the demon was. The question was did anyone else notice the strange disappearances. Demon Slayer Episode 10 reveals that Daki has been confronted several times by other attendants. They’ve all meet their ends. Both woman were foolish for confronting someone they though was a killer. What did they think would happen? Interestingly, Daki notes how stupid Omitsu was for revealing her hand before she dropped her to her death. The number of years Daki has spent in the Entertainment District isn’t clear but she appears to have been active for centuries. This arc has been teasing the first appearance of an Upper Rank Six, which we learned last season are far stronger the bottom six. This episode increased the anticipation for when Daki eventually faces Tengen and the trio. When Muzan appears, he confirms her strength when revealing that she has killed seven Hashira. Having just witnessed Rengoku’s fight against Akaza, we understand both the power of the Hashira and the advantage Upper Rank Six have. Depending on how strong Daki is compare to Akaza, Tanjiro, Inosuke, Zenitsu, and Tengen might not have a chance.

Sitting here thinking and not doing a thing . . . is not my style – Inosuke

Zenitsu is knocked out by Daki.

To this point, the trio has gotten stronger as well but by how much? Hashira’s aren’t rank compared to each other so it’s difficult to determine if Tengen is stronger than Rengoku. However, I find it hard to believe Demon Slayer would kill another Hashira so quickly. Speaking of Tengen, he was absent from this episode. This arc is being slow and deliberate in telling the narrative so far. But I expect it to turn up the action now. After episode 8, Tanjiro has really taken a backseat to the others. I don’t know what to make of it. It’s refreshing that the series isn’t obsessed with it’s own main character still it’s an interesting choice from Demon Slayer. This has allowed Inosuke and Zenitsu to show how they’ve matured. Inosuke did show signs of maturity in the last episode but in this episode he realized he wasn’t making much progress. Zenitsu was placed in a position were he could have easily panic like he use to. Instead he acknowledge his fear and pushed through it to save the girl. Their growth is subtle enough to be believable and makes them more effective Demon Slayers.

Anime

Demon Slayer Season 2, Episode 9: The god of flashiness

Short Summary:

In Demon Slayer Season 2 Episode 9, Tanjiro, Zenitsu, and Inosuke head to the Yoshiwara Pleasure distinct with Sound Hashira, Uzi Tengen. Zenitsu and Inosuke become overwhelmed by the environment. The district is quite during the day but active at night. A perfect place for demons. Inside the Wisteria hotel, Tengen orders the trio to find his three wives, Suma, Makio, and Hinatsuru. Each wife is a kunoichi (female ninja) and has been sent to the district to find out information on the demons. Tengen forces the trio to cross dress in order to infiltrate the brothels, Tokito, Ogimoto, and Kyogoku. Tanjiro learns Suma committed “Ashinuke” – the act of a prostitutes’ leaving her house without paying her debts. Elsewhere, Inosuke learns one of Uzi’s wife has fallen ill and doesn’t want to leave her room. Behind a door, Makio is being tortured by hidden figure.

Our trio dress as women in Demon Slayer Season 2 Episode 9

This girls gonna be the number one Oiran in all of Yoshiwara – Zenitsu

This episode was largely set up for the Entertainment District arc. The Sound Hashira, Uzi Tengen was introduced in the last episode as an abrasive character and I instantly disliked him. I felt the same regarding Zenitsu and to a lesser extent Inosuke. However, over time (and it took time) I grew to like Zenitsu and Inosuke, as they stopped being so annoying and developed more as a character. It’s too early for Uzi to go through this transformation but I wounder if he will. Towards the end of this episode I got the impression Uzi really cares for his wives. It’s the most likely angle to give a more complicated personality. Regardless, one thing we learn about Uzi is he’s pretty. Something Zenitsu (the ugliest one) can’t get over.

This episode is feature the most comedy I’ve seen so far in this series. Zenitsu specifically made me laugh with the ease at which he accepted the role of a woman. At one point he blurts out that “this girls gonna be the number one Oiran in all of Yoshiwara,” after Uzi calls him “ugly.” I doubt there would be enough time for that to happen but I thought the moment was hilarious. Zenitsu seems to have reached some higher level of control over his Thunder Breathing as he was able to breathe some electricity when anger. On the surface it might seem like that would indicate he doesn’t have control but if you consider he could only use his breathing while unconscious, releasing some electricity while awake is progress.

Tengen searches for the demons in hope of finding his wives

A pretty face hidden under ugly makeup

Inosuke was introduced as a pretty boy in the first season. His looks payoff in this arc, as another one of the humorous moments in this episodes. When the attendants remove the makeup they reveal the more beautiful Inosuke underneath. Despite his muscular form the attendants think they’ve lucked out. So far in this series, Inosuke has been the strong silent type. I was surprise when “spoke” so much during his internal dialogue. Inosuke was surprisingly coherent. If Zenitsu is gaining control over his Thunder Breathing, Inosuke is using his head more. There isn’t a whole lot of action in this episode but a great deal of humor. The men dressed as women is an old trope but Zenitsu’s response was refreshing. Tanjiro disappears in this episode. It’s rare for a series to put it’s main character in the background while others shine. It’s possible that the loud and flamboyant Uzi, Inosuke, and Zenitsu overwhelm our quiet hero Tanjiro.

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.