Posted by Lenlo on 5 May 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Kimetsu no Yaiba

Another week, another saturday morning cartoon episode of Yaiba. This week we finish up the exam, Nezuko wakes up and Tanjiro gets a fancy sword. Lets jump in!

As always, the visuals are great. Ufotable does right by Yaiba every week on this front. I have gone over the big stuff multiple times though, so instead, I want to take not of some smaller details. For instance, I love how Yaiba is employing the masks. They inform a bit about a person’s character, and also saves them time on animation. Letting them instead do a lot of character animation, such as Haganezuka’s waving arms. It’s something I think is worth pointing out. Another detail was the sound design this week, specifically the music. There were a lot of moments that were enhanced by it. I can’t comment or not on how “traditional” it actually is, but I quite enjoyed the string’s aspect of it. With Yuki Kaijura at the helm here though, this isn’t really surprising. However repetitive her style can be, fact is, it’s a good style.

A lot happened this week, so for simplicity’s sake, I am going to go in order. Yaiba started the episode with a really odd flashback. I liked this flashback, it introduced a lot of parallels between Tanjiro and the demon. What could have happened to him or Nezuko without each other. It also further connected Tanjiro to Urokodaki, and really setup the demon’s motivations better. However, it felt out of place at the start of the episode. It was so… final, that I think it would have been better served as the cap to an episode instead. However, I can’t blame Yaiba for this, because last episode was great. It packed a lot in and managed to end well. The only way to have this end an episode would be to extend a previous episode. With how Yaiba has been paced so far, I don’t think that’d be worth it.

Speaking of the pacing, Yaiba has once again surprised me. Woo. We just burned through this exam arc. On one hand, I wanted to see so much more. On the other hand, we are getting straight to the good stuff. Yaiba isn’t wasting any time on fluff, all the major story beats are getting hit, so it doesn’t feel rushed. I mean, think about it for a second. In 5 episodes we have gone through 3 arcs. Introduction, Training and an “Exam” arc. That’s an entire season for some Shounen and, if anything, it’s rather refreshing as Yaiba is able to jump straight into the main plot. Yet at the same time, Yaiba is taking it slow in other areas. Namely, the introduction of our inevitable tagalongs. Two of which we probably met this week.

What do I mean by that? Well, we saw 3 other Demon Slayers at the end of the Exam and we know from the OP that at least one will join Tanjiro. That one being the yellow, self-deprecating one. There was also the angry Slayer voiced by Nobuhiko, known for Hero Academia’s Bakugou Katsuki. With his obsession for swords and high-profile VA, I fully expect him to become a rival of sorts as well. Yet Yaiba doesn’t jump straight to this, doesn’t force them together. It instead introduces them first, lets them get established individually from Tanjiro our lead. This is, going forward I think, going to help them be their own character more than a bog standard MC posse member. I like this a lot, letting them be their own characters with their own stories, slowly getting drawn together. It’s details like these I enjoy.

This isn’t the only small detail Yaiba had this week that I enjoyed either. For instance, one of the strongest moments this week was when Tanjiro returned from the exam. I loved how Yaiba conveyed Urokodaki’s surprise and joy. Even through his mask you can tell what he is feeling. From dropping the wood, to the tears peeking out of the sides. Yeah, it’s nothing huge animation wise. But what I like about it is that Yaiba actually bothered to take the time with it at all. We are 5 episodes in and we have gotten a serious character moment for what is basically a side-character. The only thing that dragged this down for me was the exposition that came right after. Seriously, so much exposition. From ranks, to swords, to demon blood arts, Yaiba took this chance to drop it all. Yet even from this, we got something good.

We learned why Nezuko went to sleep! Yaiba actually explained it! Yay! I will admit, I was fully expecting this to be some kind of “mystery”. Something that we would have to figure out later on in the future, just for some early convenience during the training arc. Instead Yaiba actually gives us an explanation for it all. It’s nothing amazing sure, but it makes logical sense and that’s what’s important. Sleeping to preserve energy instead of devouring humans makes sense in universe, and helps explain why she hasn’t killed anyone yet. It also sets up a plot point later about her possibly being weaker than other demons because of this. Forcing the tempation of human flesh vs humanity. Its something Tokyo Ghoul did well to, before it fell apart. Hopefully Yaiba can explore this aspect of Best Little Sister this season.

Next up, let’s talk about Tanjiro’s new sword, and my fear of the edge. I poked fun at Yaiba’s exposition earlier, and while it was a bit much, it was mostly useful. For instance we learn why a Demon Slayer’s sword is one of the only ways to kill a demon. Because it’s metal has bathed in sunlight for years/decades, and all Demon Slayer swords are made out of this metal. While it doesn’t make scientific sense, it’s in-universe consistent and just logical enough to no break immersion. My issue/fear comes in though with the “color changing” aspect of these swords. Why do they do this? What does it symbolize? Why is Tanjiro’s sword black, and just how edgey are we going to get Yaiba? I just don’t see the point to it, and it sets a worrying precedent along the lines of Kirito in SAO.

Finally, let’s do some speculation and just call out a few other things I liked, but didn’t spend full paragraphs on. For instance, I liked Tanjiro’s continued characterization of being sympathetic towards demons. He prays for them and clearly doesn’t enjoy killing them. Seeing Nezuko, the humans they used to be, in each one. Yet he has grown over 2 years and is willing to do what must be done. Trying to at least make it fast. I enjoy this, the core character component is still there, but has evolved with his experiences. He isn’t suddenly a cold-hearted badass who loves combat. Speculation wise, I also think this next arc has a lot of promise. A demon attacking young girls, Tanjiro can see some “true evil” to challenge his sympathetic views, and Nezuko can be some bait. There’s plenty of possibilities for Yaiba right now, and I love it.

So tldr; how was Yaiba this week? I don’t think it was as standalone strong as last week, it wasn’t an individual set piece. But in terms of the story and character writing, I think Yaiba did well. Everyone got their moments, showed some growth. The story is progressing at a good click, without feeling rushed like Banana Fish did last year. My only real complaint is the exposition. We got ranks, which mean nothing to us. Swords, which seem overly complicated rule of cool, but at least make sense. And Nezuko’s sleep, which was actually a welcome addition. So even among as a complaint, it’s not half bad. Suffice to say, Yaiba feels like a compact, well thought out Shounen so far. It scratches that itch and more, and because of this I love it. I can’t wait to see more Yaiba, and I hope you feel the same.

2 Responses

  1. Avatar Archaon says:

    Actually the black sword have a symbolism reason and a story reason to it. Hint: What did Tanjirou family sell in the past?

    • Avatar Lenlo says:

      Coal, which if thats as far as the symbolism goes, I am OK.

      What I meant is I hope it doesnt have some “chosen one” or “tragic future” kind of thing to it. Thats all.

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