Demon Slayer: Episode 9

Episode 9

We may have slipped into even more standard shounen territory this week on Demon Slayer as the battle with the two demons extends the length of the episode and we end with the battle as yet unresolved. Not that it was bad. In fact, the fight has been pretty interesting so far and some of Tanjiro’s attacks are bordering on spectacular even if they’ve yet to actually do significant damage.

One criticism I will make of the episode is the amount of reused sequences. We get a flashback to them discussing collecting demon blood and a replay of a sequence within the same episode. Not to mention the opening sequence is essentially a replay of the end of the previous episode. While the new material we got looked great, there was definitely some padding in this episode that just didn’t sit right and definitely felt like a cost cutting measure.

However, petty criticisms aside, it was difficult not to get swept up in the fight this week. As Tanjiro, Nezuko, and the demon doctor and her body guard go from cowering from attacks and getting beaten down to moving onto the attack. Even knowing three out of the four of them are demons and can regenerate, there’s still substantial weight behind the situation as characters lose heads and limbs alike (though they are going to have to explain why losing his whole head didn’t kill him).

As for Tanjiro, he’s being pushed harder than ever before (not that previous battles have been easy). He’s pulling out all the moves he’s got and for once his sense of smell showing him the winning move didn’t decisively and more or less instantly end the battle. Equally, he hasn’t pulled out some new secret move or gotten a mysterious power up. He’s combining the skills he’s shown the audience he has in new ways to fight a foe more powerful than any he has faced and while he’s taken a battering he isn’t down yet.

I do love the water effects when he’s fighting though. Early on it seemed a little odd and slightly intrusive, but honestly it is beautiful and makes his attacks so much more dynamic and interesting to watch. Plus they continue to change up how he uses these attacks allowing for a variety of appealing visuals.

The fight goes on and while I am still hoping this doesn’t end up being the kind of show that drags on fights for episodes at a time, there’s very little to complain about in this episode other than the fact that the fight is yet to resolve and a little too much repetition in between spectacular attacks.

Demon Slayer: Episode 8

Episode 8

I think I could do almost anything for that smile.

After the dramatic conclusion to the last episode this episode hit the brakes pretty hard but that actually works out well. Rather than forcing a confrontation between Kibutsuji and Tanjiro 8 episodes in Tanjiro is held up holding down the newly turned demon and Kibutsuji walks away with his family. However, both know that isn’t the end of things.

Also, the conversation was kept fairly interesting because of Nezuko. And no, she didn’t join in the conversation at all but throughout it she was lying on her back and kicking her legs in the air or holding tightly to Tanjiro’s hand. She was so adorable it was almost easy to forget she’s a demon who may have been brainwashe

Also, the conversation was kept fairly interesting because of Nezuko. And no, she didn’t join in the conversation at all but throughout it she was lying on her back and kicking her legs in the air or holding tightly to Tanjiro’s hand. She was so adorable it was almost easy to forget she’s a demon who may have been brainwashed

Cutest demon ever.

There were a few questions that I ended up with though. For instance, how does the demon doctor know that Nezuko slept for two years? It wasn’t really raised in the conversation and she didn’t indicate that she had any other information source so her pointing out Nezuko’s unique traits as a demon didn’t make a lot of sense prior to having a chance to actually examine her.

That one might just end up being a hole in the story but the other question I had was about Kibutsuji’s flashback to an exorcist wearing the same earrings as Tanjiro. We hadn’t been given any indication prior that his earrings were anything significant but it now seems like maybe there’s some history. In which case, wouldn’t Tanjiro have known more about demons? Or maybe there’s a bunch of stuff we’re missing at the moment.

Oh yes, these two.

Anyway, the episode ends again on a cliff-hanger which is pretty standard for Demon Slayer at this point and fairly standard for shounen in general so I guess we’ll see what happens next week with the demons who’ve shown up to attack. Then again, if the doctor lady wants demon blood it looks like two donors have literally just dropped in to her house.

Demon Slayer: Episode 7

Episode 7

I think I could do almost anything for that smile.  

That was a beautiful escalation at the end of episode 7 of Demon Slayer. This anime is definitely racing but that is more to the benefit as I am constantly caught up in what is happening and never have time to get bored or even feel things are just kind of meandering.

The majority of this episode is finishing off the fight from last week but even that has a few key parts. Tanjiro decides to have Nezuko protect the boy and the rescued girl while he goes into the swamp to fight the demon. The underwater fight is interesting though over fairly abruptly. Realistically, eventually we’re going to have to see Tanjiro not be able to use a move or a demon will have to avoid it otherwise this is going to get a little tedious.

 Meanwhile, Nezuko has a much more dynamic fight with the one remaining demon on the surface. Considering she doesn’t eat people she’s putting up one excellent fight but eventually the demon gets the upper hand. This fight is a lot more thrilling even if Tanjiro’s return and intervention is a foregone conclusion.

Once again though, Tanjiro doesn’t finish the kill straight away. He’s pretty determined to get answers and now he’s got the name of the demon he’s supposed to be finding, Muzan Kibutsuji. However, the demon he’s interrogating first turns to putty at the mention of the name and then does a kamikaze attack and its all over.
This fight sequence is solid, progresses the story while showing us how Tanjiro is going to go dealing with demons, as well as how Nezuko is going to factor in, and it is just fun with no part really lingering too long. The farewell to the boy gets a little sappy and then we’re off to the next mission, straight away.

I loved seeing Tanjiro’s reaction to the city.

And then we get to the end of the episode where Tanjiro catches the scent of a demon and I was very surprised by how quickly this all happened and yet I absolutely loved how this episode ended. Really looking forward to seeing what happens at the start of the next episode.

He does look good in that uniform though.

Demon Slayer: Episode 6

Episode 6

Oh look, my guess was right. Episode 5 we’re told about demons with supernatural abilities and episode 6 of Demon Slayer brings us face to face with a demon who moves through water and can just kind of pop out of the ground or walls at will, and somehow has divided himself into three. It isn’t bad foreshadowing so much as just kind of telegraphed and lacking in any kind of build up, but that’s more or less the only fault I’m going to pick here and it is at least a consistent feature of this anime.

Nezuko now has her own custom suitcase to ride around in, or sleep in as the case may be, and while it looks too small for an actual human let’s just go with it. I wonder how much better and faster Tanjiro would be at fighting if he put the case down first before trying to fight. I mean at one point he was fighting a demon while holding a girl and carrying his sister on his back. That has to slow him down some.

That’s something a creepy stalker would say before locking you in a basement.

Just in case we thought his keen sense of smell was just a gimmick this episode uses it as an ongoing point as Tanjiro tracks the demon around town and ultimately uses scent to attack. The visuals of the red smoke for the demon’s scent are quite effective and at least it is a practical counter to an enemy you can’t see until it attacks.

On that note, Tanjiro’s water based attacks look awesome this episode. Actually, the whole fight sequence was kind of fun, which is just as well because the tracking the demon and the fight took up the lion’s share of the screen time. There was one odd moment where the episode went to first person with Tanjiro’s sword waving in front of the audience that was a little jarring (and to be honest made me a bit queasy – there’s a reason I have no interest in trying virtual reality), but otherwise the visuals worked very well.

Lastly, Nezuko’s appearance at the end was more or less expected but still pretty awesome. I’m not entirely sure about the morality of hypnotising her and I’m pretty sure it would be narratively better if she just wanted to help others because of her attachment to her brother, but it does at least mean they don’t have to justify her actions as she fights demons.

Kimetsu no Yaiba continues to be entertaining and the quick pace of the story means there’s no time to be bored. While there’s not a huge amount of depth here it is working well enough.

He does look good in that uniform though.

Demon Slayer: Episode 5

Episode 5

And here we go getting an abbreviated version of the fight we saw at the end of the last episode and between the demon’s head getting lopped and his death we see a flashback of his terrible luck turning into a demon and killing his family before the demon slayer came. I always wondered in Bleach why they felt that as a character was dying it was a good time to give the audience some context for their behaviour and life. I mean really, we might have cared back when they were still involved in things but given they are in the process of dying I don’t think it makes all that much difference.

Tanjiro’s farewell to the demon and to the other children trained by his master was however an affective moment and one that distinguishes Tanjiro from the other demon slayers we’ve seen thus far. His continued efforts to communicate with demons and to try to find a solution to his sister’s condition, even while he fights them is fairly admirable even if not overly practical. At least he isn’t hesitating to land the final blow anymore.

Most of these kids never even spoke or had any real screen time and yet I still feel kind of sad for them.
The test complete, the few survivors get a brief run down on levels and stuff and we have the sickly sweet Tanjiro, the girl who stares vaguely away for almost the entire sequence, the scaredy cat, and the angry and obnoxious guy. It isn’t the most nuanced scene and while I’m sure the choosing the ore is significant, really this scene was perhaps the low point in the episode. His new crow is cute though later when the crow speaks the voice isn’t at all what I was expecting and it kind of killed some of the cuteness.

However, Tanjiro finally returns and Nezuko is conveniently awake. They really are just having her sleep and wake to their own narrative convenience, but awake she is in order to welcome Tanjiro home. The music swells as he hugs her and then the master comes out to hug them both. It is sweet, touching, and entirely over-wrought. Served which about as much subtlety as the reminders of Tanjiro’s sense of smell or the demons being evil. It works, to be sure, but without any nuance it is a scene that is brazenly asking your heart to swell with the music and to be honest Demon Slayer has yet to move me emotionally so mostly I just kind of noted what it was trying but felt littl

Demon Slayer: Episodes 4

Episode 4

There’s definitely a few staples of shounen stories and Kimetsu no Yaiba is stepping us through each and every one of them. For those who desire novelty in their entertainment, this isn’t going to work at all as we’ve gone through the standard call to arms, finding a mentor, training, and now the first test sequence, but honestly Demon Slayer isn’t doing too bad of a job at delivering this story.

Kimetsu no Yaiba Episode 4

Where the plot might be dismissed as cliché and each step is pretty much a standard stepping stone, the pace has been pretty quick as we’ve covered all these steps in four episodes rather than stretching out a training sequence over an entire arc, and realistically each episode has been well enough executed in its own way, though episode 3 is still the low point so far.

Kimetsu no Yaiba Episode 4

In keeping with standard shounen trappings though, this episode begins by replaying the final exchange between Tanjiro and the fox-masked boy. This type of replay of a battle that has taken place at the end of an episode is actually one of my pet hates of the genre. Worse than a recap at the start of an episode. Mostly because it eats episode time and somehow implies that within seven days I forgot the pivotal climax of the previous episode. Throw in the idea that our protagonist Tanjiro claims he can smell the winning strike and I just have to wonder how far they were reaching to try and find any novel trait to give him.

Oh, and I almost forgot this anime’s obsession with foreshadowing something that happens like a minute later. Old guy warns Tanjiro of demons who eat lots of humans and transform their bodies and guess what Tanjiro runs into on the exam?

Kimetsu no Yaiba Episode 4

It is good to have goals.
Despite those complaints though, this was another fun enough episode to watch. From the warm mentor/student moments before Tanjiro sets out to the exam, to seeing Tanjiro fight post-training sequence against two demons, there was more than enough going on and nothing really lingered past its welcome. Even the giant, taunting demon fight was completed fairly quickly and even if we learn next week it isn’t quite dead yet (I guess that’s possible), it doesn’t feel like they are going to stretch these fights for episodes as some less reserved stories might.

Kimetsu no Yaiba Episode 4

So far, Kimetsu no Yaiba has remained just interesting enough for me to enjoy it even as I pick at the more obvious genre elements and wonder just where this intends to go. If nothing else, at least Tanjiro isn’t a shouting protagonist because shouting shounen protagonist is now a trope I will not put up with after dealing with Asta in Black Clover for only 12 episodes before pulling the plug.

Demon Slayer: Episodes 3

Episode 3

Training episode. I could probably leave the review at that. We’re going to see Tanjiro run, jump, swing a sword, get beaten down, get up again, and so on and so forth. Training episodes are all much the same regardless of the anime they are a part of.

Kimetsu no Yaiba Episode 3

To be honest though, this episode really highlighted how little impact Tanjiro has a protagonist. While there was nothing wrong with this episode, and formulaic training episodes are part and parcel of the genre, there was also nothing to cling to during the episode because his character just doesn’t really have any character. Or at least not a particularly interesting one.

Kimetsu no Yaiba Episode 3

It also seems way too convenient to the narrative that Nezuko is sleeping during the whole training period. I wonder if the writer didn’t know what to do with her while Tanjiro trained, but it just seems really ridiculous that for nearly two years she is sleeping while he gets stronger. It would have been different if she’d been injured or something in the previous episode and it took a length of time for her to recover, but even then there’s a limit to how long someone can conveniently be unconscious.

Kimetsu no Yaiba Episode 3

I kind of had to wonder why the old guy hadn’t done this, but then again, he didn’t really want Tanjiro to take the test so maybe it makes sense.
On the bright side, I’m curious as to what Tanjiro will do now that the training sequence is done with. Clearly he needs to still pass the special test to actual become a demon slayer but I wonder if we’ll go straight to that or if something more interesting might happen first. I’m kind of hoping for something more interesting because this episode was pretty ordinary to say the least with the only point of real interest being the two kids who show up to help him slice the boulder.

Demon Slayer: Episodes 2

Episode 2

Visually, Demon Slayer continues to impress and the second half of this episode we get a sequence of Tanjiro running down a mountain covered in traps that is fluid to watch and despite the darkness of the scene manages to contrast just right so that you are never left wondering what is happening on screen. It is an impressive display for a second episode and it would be lovely if this anime could keep up this standard for the entire run.

Kimetsu no Yaiba Episode 2

In terms of story, episode 2 is still fairly much set-up with Tanjiro figuring out how to travel with his sister when she can’t go into sunlight before encountering a demon at a temple. The following fight shows Tanjiro’s inexperience nicely while also showing off his more brazen nature when push comes to shove. That said, when it comes to ending the demon’s life Tanjiro hesitates and the old guy he has met who is the one who will probably end up training him is not impressed.

Kimetsu no Yaiba Episode 2

The old guy trainer cliché is in full force here but despite it not being a particularly original development, it is kind of needed. Without some drastic training you can’t imagine Tanjiro surviving all that much longer while trying to protect his demon sister. The only real hope is that maybe they’ll do something to make this particular old mentor memorable, though so far the mask wearing man has had very little in the way of presence.

Kimetsu no Yaiba Episode 2

Despite the episode seeming to move along at a good pace, on reflection very little actually happens and we’re left at the end of the episode barely a step further along. Still, while watching it is entertaining and doesn’t feel like it is dragging at all, and I’m so far enjoying what they are setting up so hopefully this one continues to entertain. I’ve got reasonably high hopes for this one being fairly solidly entertaining this season.

Demon Slayer: Episodes 1

Episode 1

Ufotable are continuing their trend of really pretty set piece anime where at times the characters don’t quite blend into the backgrounds. I have this issue with a lot of their anime where I love the backgrounds, love the character designs, but find some scenes really jarring where the characters seem totally disconnected from those backgrounds. That said, Demon Slayer has so far managed to minimise how often that happens and mostly this is a pretty gorgeous first episode, provided of course you find blood splattered snow and simple fight sequences gorgeous.

Kimetsu no Yaiba Episode 1

There is however the matter of the anime clearly not really trusting the audience. They go out of their way to give us multiple messages about Tanjiro’s sense of smell and while it hasn’t really done much yet I’m guessing this is going to be important given how many references they made including someone in town asking him to solve a case of who broke the plate by sniffing it. I’m mostly guessing he’s going to use this to track down the demon who killed his family, but it still felt excessively referenced within twenty minutes. The invitation to stay the night in the old guy’s house was also pretty clumsily handled as a way to introduce the idea of demons and demon slayers right before they became important to the story.

Kimetsu no Yaiba Episode 1

Gee, I wonder if his sense of smell will be important.
Still, I had fun with this first episode and I’m looking forward to more of this story. It might not end up paying off and maybe the clumsy handling of pivotal plot points will ultimately weigh it down, but right now it is visually impressive, the characters have a lot of potential, and the set up makes enough sense and gives a fairly clear direction for the story to travel in. As a first episode, Demon Slayer does a lot right at hopefully it manages to do something with that set-up.