Posted by Lenlo on 1 July 2019 with categories: Kimetsu no Yaiba

Another week, another episode of Kimetsu no Yaiba, though not a great one. Zenitsu gets less annoying, and the fights are fun, but the pacing is off and the narrative is questionable. That said, let’s get into some details and jump in!

Starting off, like always, production. Animation wise, Yaiba was fine. The rotating room was still great, but it wasn’t as strong as last episode. It felt like Yaiba almost got too ambitious with the whole thing. Leading to some weaker angles that didn’t work. For the most part though, Yaiba looked fine. I still quite enjoy its style, the thick black lines and heavy contrast. Reminds me of some comics. No, the big question for me was narratively, specifically the pacing of it all. Yaiba just felt really weird this week. With a few repeated scenes, or odds timings. For example, at the end, as Tanjiro just stands there for upwards of 2-3 minutes. Or basically repeating Kyogai’s backstory twice, along with his whole defeat. Yaiba has been moving at a fast pace for awhile now, and normally it works well. But it seems to be catching up with itself.

The first instance of the narrative issues appeared in Kyogai’s fight. Let me start this bit by saying, I enjoy what Yaiba is doing with Tanjiro. He started the season as a kind-hearted kid who didn’t like killing/hurting people, even demons. He has progressed since, being able to fight and kill. But I like that Yaiba is keeping this part of his character consistent. Showing it in his fights. From the Slayer Exam as the demon dies, to two demons Muzan sent after him in the city, to Kyogai now. He doesn’t relish or enjoy his victories but sees them as necessities, doing his best to give them a peaceful rest. I like this from your usual Shounen protagonist who generally doesn’t think about the opponents they defeat. At least, not the ones who don’t become members of their party eventually.

The issue, and why I bring it up this week, is because it was ridiculous in fight. Tanjiro had no idea about Kyodai’s past, nor what the papers represented. He was in a fight to the death, yet randomly decided not to stop on paper.whose contents he didn’t know. Tanjiro’s words also felt very specific and random. He never complimented any other Demon’s Blood Arts, nor did he seem particularly concerned with them before. As wholesome as it was, it was as if Tanjiro had watched the flashbacks with us. If he had known Kyogai’s history, had learned it somehow, the actions make perfect sense. Tanjiro see’s demons as people still after all. But he had no way of knowing, and so no reason to do or act as he did. Everything was just… convenient for the plot. It felt out of place, lazy almost.

Speaking of Kyogai and his past, it was alright. I think had we more time with him, it would have hit harder. It’s hard to care for a character we have known for all of 20 minutes, however compelling their history. And Kyogai’s wasn’t the best. We don’t even see how he meets Muzan or anything, just that he was a Demon, and then killed the ones who mocked his art. It’s a little sad, but nothing sympathetic. The big issue with him though is how it was reused. Basically replaying the same scenes, with the same voice over, at the start and end of the fight. It’s as if Yaiba only had 20 minutes of content for a 24 minute episode, which is normally not a problem Shounen have. Just stretch a fight out a bit more, not… refuse flash backs.

This isn’t to say everything Yaiba did this week was bad. For one, it started Zenitsu on the path to redemption, as his character shines through his whining. With his incredible hearing, Zenitsu knew about Nezuko, a demon, from the start, but decided to trust Tanjiro. This sort of trusting nature, and incredible gift, naturally leading him to making a lot of false assumptions about people. It sorta gives reason for how he latches on to people, such as the woman from last episode, and how he fights while asleep. What I like is that Yaiba also hinted at the honorable aspect of his character last week. When he shared the rice-ball with Tanjiro. So him protecting Nezuko’s box isn’t out of place, nor is him hearing Tanjiro say it was precious. I still find him annoying when he whines, but if he tones it down, Zenitsu could be great.

On the other hand, the boar was just an insufferable dick. There is the competitive Shounen “rival”, and then there is just an ass. The Boar has entered into that territory. He has no personal rules, no code, it’s a wonder why he became a Demon Slayer at all, since apparently he was on the mountain. He just runs around starting fights, human or demon alike. There really is nothing likeable about him as a character for me. I suppose you could commend his VA for keeping that sort of aggression up. But that’s more of a staff praise than for the character. Still, Zenitsu has started to trend upwards, so it is possible that he improves. Surely he has to if he is going to be joining Tanjiro from now on, right?

So all in all, how was the episode? Probably the weakest episode of Yaiba yet. It had a lot of issues, from production to pacing to narrative. It felt like Yaiba had a set point it wanted to end at, but no clear idea how to get there naturally. Instead choosing to force an ending there via runtime. It wasn’t all about though. As characters like Zenitsu came out the better for it. I also found the soundtrack, by Go Shiina and Yuki Kajiura, to be fantastic this week. The OST for this series really is going to be one of the best I feel. Still, hopefully with this sorta forced introductory arc done with, our team can move on to being an actual team. Giving us an arc where we learn not to hate the new characters.

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