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.
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.