Posted by Lenlo on 15 April 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Kimetsu no Yaiba

Welcome one and all to the 2019 Spring Season! My name is Lenlo, and I am Shounen Trash. This, is Kimetsu no Yaiba, now with cute demon sisters, mysterious old men the the high possibility of developing a drool fetish. Sounds weird? Good, lets jump in!

First off, production. Its Ufotable, obviously Yaiba looks fantastic. It has the Ufotable style of heavy digital effects of course, it’s all very flashy. Yaiba isn’t as unique as Mob Psycho was. But you can’t deny the actual technical skill put into Yaiba. You just need to look at the CGI cut throughout the episode for proof of that. The last time CGI was done this well was Houseki no Kuni, and there it was the entire show. For instance, Yaiba gave us multiple shots of running through a CGI forest or mountain, with lots of 2D layered in there. It all looks great, in a much more traditional sense than Mob Psycho does. Naturally this means more static shots or less expressive faces/bodies. But the filters and effects at least make those very pretty stills. Think Violet Evergarden vs Mob Psycho, shoved into a traditional Shounen.

And as per traditional Shounen, the first arc we launch into is a training arc! This shouldn’t surprise anyone, it’s pretty standard Shounen fare. As good looking as Ufotable makes it, nothing groundbreaking is going to come out of this. At least, not unless this sister Nezuko joins it. We saw with the demon in this episode how weak our lead, Tanjiro, is. He could barely beat a disembodied head, while his starved sister took on the actual demon. I suspect that, at least for awhile, that’s how the dynamic will stay. Without lead fighting someone, being to weak to actually win, and then the sister dives in to save him. So long as Yaiba doesn’t overuse it, or takes to long for Tanjiro to grow, I don’t think it will be a problem. And based on Old Man Urokodaki, I expect Yaiba to grow him fast.

The reason for that is, Yaiba addresses Tanjiro’s flaw early on without overcoming it. Right out the gate Yaiba calls Tanjiro out for being unable to kill a demon. It’s still framed as a positive trait, being “to kind” or whatever. A virtue being down-played. But Yaiba also gives Urokodaki character by having him refuse to accept that. He doesn’t say Tanjiro is admirable, or anything. Instead he outright slaps him across the faces, calls him on his shit and tells him off for not being committed to his quest. I liked this. Again, its nothing novel, other series have done it before. But it is something I prefer in Shounen, they they leave out/call out the false moral high ground many Shounen leads have. Perhaps that’s just my cynical nature, but it makes me happy for the moral quandaries no doubt to come.

We also saw Yaiba lay the seeds for a greater mystery beyond just Nezuko’s cure. Apparently, Urokodaki also has a heightened sense of smell, just like our lead Tanjiro, and he is looking for an heir. I fully expect this to lead into some “You must slay the Demon King and save us all” sort of fare, which is a bit disappointing. I find the personal story of Tanjiro trying to cure his sister without letting her kill an innocent along the way much more engaging. Personal stakes are often so much more emotionally resonate than grand, world saving scale, ones after all. Still, maybe I will be wrong. And even if I am not, I fully expect to get some awesome fights along the way. Which, really, is all you can ever really ask a Shounen for.

Now, I have mentioned her a lot up until now. But I want to take a moment to talk about Nezuko. She is so cuuuuute! No doubt this is a surprise from me, but that whole scene with the hole in the cave was lovely to me. It added almost nothing, mostly just explaining her aversion to sunlight, but Yaiba presented it well. With her popping up out of the hole, then just… worming her way into the basket. You could argue it builds their brother/sister bond a bit, giving them some character interaction so we care about them. But while that is true, let’s face facts here, it’s just a cute scene. their relationship is more akin to a boy and their dog at this point than that of siblings. To argue its more would be disingenuous I feel.

So closing out, we have to ask, where does Yaiba go from here? Well, as I said, we are entering a training arc, and based on the OP there are still a few more characters to introduce. Most likely we are going to get the rest of our cast here, along with a bit of a timeskip. I would guess this is going to take up the next 2-3 episodes, before they move on to their first intentional demon hunt. Perhaps Nezuko will get out and they have to hunt her down and capture her again. But I suspect those kinds of plots to come up later, once the whole cast is established. For now, Yaiba will just continue its basic Shounen training arc.

So all in all, about what I expected. Yaiba is your basic Shounen action set piece, and doesn’t deviate from this. There were some pleasant surprised in CGI and some actual cuteness of the cast. It helps it not be to dark, considering people get eaten in both episodes so far. But the core of the series is unchanged. If you enjoy Shounen like I do, then Yaiba looks like it will be great. If you want more from your shows, it probably won’t. There’s nothing wrong with that, I love shows with deeper meaning and symbolism, with greater messages. But sometimes it’s nice to just sit back and enjoy something wellmade and fun. So long as Yaiba’s cast doesn’t get crazy and the story stays consistent, Yaiba will land firmly in my “simply fun” level of anime.

3 Responses

  1. Evidently it was some well done and well integrated cgi, because I didn’t really feel distracted by it/take much notice of it.
    When the mood suits me RARELY there are occassions I can get into something that almost never my thing, from these opening episodes Yaiba feels like a case of, much like I had with that quintuplets anime last season, something wholly familiar but shows that when executed well can be enjoyable, maybe even to those that aren’t generally a fan of it.

    Also fun lame fact, her name, Nezuko, if you split it means Nezu (rat/mouse/rodent) and ko (child).

  2. Avatar Archaon says:

    I like to point out that it not Tanjirou hesitate because he can’t kill the demon, but rather because he was trying to find a way to kill the demon quickly since bashing it head with a rock might not kill it immediately but leave it suffering. I found it very powerful since show Tanjirou do want to kill the demon to protect his sister and the innocent, but he also don’t want to needlessly prolong it suffering.

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