Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba was a series that I honestly wasn’t expecting to like. The PV made the animation look weird. But then I watched the pilot and the second episode, and I fell in love with it as so many other folks have. It’s not a perfect masterpiece, but it’s a shōnen that I’ve gotten rather invested in without much effort, which doesn’t happen too easily for me.
Since I was getting so attached, I waited a few weeks so that I’d have a decent number of episodes to binge through. The time has arrived for me to get off my arse and do just that! Feel free to visit my initial impressions of the series if it strikes your fancy.
Also, since this shall be a 26-episode long series (so far), there will be multiple mutterings rather than one mid-season and one seasonal wrap-up. Plus, it gives me an opportunity to flesh out my thoughts and reactions.
Tanjirō’s training continues until he reaches a critical moment that shall determine if he ultimately has what it takes to be the warrior that he needs to be in order to protect his sister.
The most surprising part of this episode for me was the sequence of his training. Tanjirō shares via journal entries to his sister what his training had consisted of, and how much he struggled. Normally, training excursions can span a multitude of segments before the narrative and characters are ready to move forward; something about shōnen that I have both a love-hate relationship with depending on the series. Yet, here, we were given everything in short, easy to digest morsels. It stuck to the point and didn’t really waste any time. I don’t know how I feel about it, which is strange. A part of me liked that it didn’t dilly-dally, then there is this other part that is concerned about how it will impact the development later on.
That aside, the episode itself was enjoyable. Tanjirō’s anecdotal commentary was both amusing and insightful into how taxed he was feeling emotionally and mentally. Given that he’s lost his entire family and must deal with his sister becoming a monster of sorts, he’s got it together much better than most other folks in that situation probably would have.
Even though the twenty-some-odd minutes were spent on Tanjirō’s physical growth, there wasn’t much beyond that. I appreciate the succinctness, but I also feel that it may have been too rushed for the sake of giving the plot some heavy momentum and grazed over a part that would have been excellent for some character growth. I suppose only time shall tell.
Tanjirō moves on from training to take the ultimate examination to see if he can become an official demon slayer; in the process he learns a little crumble about his sensei’s history.
Damn… that was one hell of a fucking fight. One of the things that Tanjirō encounters during this test was super creepy and grotesque, and once again I was expecting the kid’s first real big fight to take at least two episodes. It didn’t. Colour me shook.
An excellent quality of Demon Slayer is the transition from a comfortable and relaxed scene into one of anxiety and inherent discomfort, even dread, within a handful of seconds or couple of minutes. That shift in atmosphere can be extremely difficult to execute, especially when there’s this intense veil of suspense and tension. Yet, Demon Slayer seems to be quite great at it.
The use of woodblock-print artistic styles when exhibiting Tanjirō’s special moves can be a touch disjointed, but overall, I feel it’s quite a marvellous accompaniment to the animation and hand-drawn flairs of the show’s general creativity and aesthetics. The use of vibrant colours is also a great contrast thematically to the dark motifs of death and decomposition usually associated with ghouls and demons.
I still feel like shit is moving super-fast. Then again, I’m so unused to it that it could just be throwing my shōnen-o-meter off balance (don’t ask, I don’t know what that is either, but is sounded like a good fit for whatever I was trying to convey).
I also finally understood why everyone was gushing about the wisteria in this episode. They were absolutely stunning! Another distinction of life to the shadowy forest’s stench of death.
The kiddo passes the examination of doom and gloom, gets an animal messenger companion, and a badarse katana now that he’s an official demon slayer. This was a basic wrap-up instalment that finishes off Tanjirō’s training and sets him up to move into the next arc of the anime, which will involve his first mission.
The most interesting part of this was learning the backstory of the creepy Hutt demon he slayed in the previous episode. I think when we’re faced with vicious beings trying to eat us it can be very easy to forget that they were once humans and had family and friends just as much as the people they’re trying to consume. They didn’t ask to become the demons they are. There are many themes here that centre on that duality of good and evil, as well as the fine lines that can push a person into column A or B that I look forward to exploring in my review whenever this thing hits its finale. Tanjirō’s ability to empathise with demons when appropriate will probably be what sets him apart from others like him. Having a demonic sister may also help with that sense of compassion.
I’m most looking forward to Tanjirō getting into more fights because they are supremely fun to watch, and I also wouldn’t mind more tender moments between brother and sister (not in an incestuous way) because they are too cute.
Tanjirō makes it where he needed to and quickly starts to hunt down the demon in question to prevent more casualties.
This episode was a mixture of the kid doing his thing combined with flashbacks from lessons learned by his sensei. Flashback storytelling isn’t a bad thing, but when you have so much of it as to disrupt the natural flow of events occurring in the present time period, it can become mildly frustrating. It’s also typically used as a tactic to fluff things out. I hope this doesn’t become the norm for the series because it can really detract from all of the rather pleasant facets it has going for it. This kind of narrative technique isn’t one that I care too much for.
That bit aside, I’m curious as to whether Tanjirō shall develop new abilities or special attacks as he gains more experience and goes up in rank. I also want to know what type of elemental powers his black sword shall take on since everyone (characters in the serial) has been making a big deal about it.
The tail end of the episode showed Nezuko popping out of her box and getting ready to kick some arse. More flashback sequences revealed some interesting information about an exchange between sensei and Nezuko while she was recuperating that I think will fun to watch develop.
Another aspect that was somewhat awkward about episode six was the animation. There was a more prominent incoherence in the differing animation styles that came off as slightly clunky. This has only happened a few times since the pilot, and even then, it was never this imbalanced.
Demon Slayer is still one awesome ride. The story has been pretty consistent in pacing, which is a trait I will always appreciate. Character development wise, there hasn’t been much going on, however, there hasn’t been that much opportunity for growth to occur.
As I go into the next chunk of the series, I’m sincerely wishing for three things. Firstly, for the flashbacks to slow down a tad bit. Secondly, for Nezuko to have a more prominent role aside from saving her brother’s rear end and taking long naps. Lastly, for Tanjirō to obtain more depth beyond being a kid trying to save his sister. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it can become weak and significantly one-dimensional in the long run.