Posted by Lenlo on 21 July 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Kimetsu no Yaiba

Welcome one and all to one of the more tragic episodes of Kimetsu no Yaiba. This week a Demon falls, Inosuke becomes a dating sim and Tanjiro makes googly eyes at someones mom. Let’s dive in!

Right off the bat, this week makes up for last in terms of production. Not even talking about the animation, which I enjoyed, this week Yaiba had some fantastic scenes. There were some legitimately beautiful shots, mostly near the end, but that doesn’t negate their effect. Narratively they don’t make the most sense, I have some niggling questions behind them. That Yaiba went for style over substance in some instances here. Now, considering that Yaiba is a fun Shounen romp, this isn’t a death sentence by any means. Rule of Cool has existed for decades, and it’s a rule I love. Kabaneri for instance existed on that rule. It is however the sort of thing that holds a series back. Keeping it as “good” instead of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood “Great” and “genre defining”. Still, hard to complain about getting something “good”.

Now, before I get into the meat of the episode, it’s time for our weekly party member segment. Like always, Zenitsu was a bit of a bore. However! With this episode, Inosuke has wormed his way into my heart. The man reacted like a veritable dating sim every time Tanjiro praised him or spoke to him like an equal and he returned it in kind. I loved it, he clearly treats people as they treat him, and is unused to being treated kindly. So with Tanjiro, he is learning that he doesn’t have to compete. He doesn’t have to be the best or strongest or first, because Tanjiro just cares about the end result. And as Inosuke goes, he is starting to be able to express that through his actions more. Staying true to his competitive nature, but putting it to use constructively. I love it.

For the fights themselves, they were surprisingly brutal. I shouldn’t be surprised at this point, Yaiba has never held back before on this. But what always surprises me about it is how clear Yaiba is in showing it. No dimming, no censoring, just straight up neck cracking body horror. The threads flinging their bodies around with such strength as to break bones and rip the living dolls muscles. Most Shounen sort of soft-censor this, not bringing attention to it or having the wounds only ever be scratches on a characters bodies. So I can understand why some people would be turned off by the brutality. For me though, I love it, Yaiba doesn’t really romanticize its combat. It’s a terrible thing that just needs to be done. Even in his mercy, Tanjiro can’t let his opponent live, because he knows what they can and have done.

Speaking of Tanjiro’s opponent, let’s talk about the Spider Demons. There seems to be a lot of internal family politics here. We are seeing a continuation of the trend among Demon’s where might makes right. And that not all Demons like or support this. It was first shown with Tamayo, who rejected the entire Demon society outright. Now we see it with the Spider Mother, who did not reject it, but has suffered by it regardless. Embracing her death at the end just to get away from it. The rest of her “family” not defending her, but rather embracing her treatment. Even going so far as to threaten her with more if she doesn’t perform. Now I have some issues with how she was handled narratively in places. But that isn’t unique to her, more to Yaiba’s villains as a whole.

Before I get to my criticism of the Villain’s as a whole, let’s keep talking about the Mother. Specifically, her death, cause that was beautiful. It was the sort of tragedy I really enjoy. However, this is where my previous criticism of the “Rule of Cool” comes in. Because Tanjiro’s actions regarding it didn’t work for me. There are no rules to his combat. So one minute he is about to use his “First Form”, for a violent end. Yet he is able to completely flip it at the last second to a “Fifth Form”? One that is veritably the same, yet gentler? Why would such a technique exist for a Demon Slayer, what sets it apart from the First? Visually it was stunning, and it fit Tanjiro’s character to do it. I just question why it exists at all in the combat system. There are no rules.

All that said, let’s get to my main criticism of the Mother, that being how Yaiba handles backstory. It seems to me that Yaiba is artificially integrating drama into a scene/character. Shoehorning their entire backstory into their final moments. On a surface level, it works, in the moment its dramatic and intense. Creating immediate results. But it’s so obvious in execution that it causes the villains to not leave a lasting impression because they exist only in the moment. The only villain I find myself returning to again and again is Muzan, because he is the only one being built up over time. The only villain to get proper room to breathe, as most are killed off right as they are introduced. It’s a consequence of Yaiba’s blistering pace. This is fine early in a series. But we have gotten far enough that we need stronger characters.

So, how was the episode? Good. I had a lot of fun with it on every level. The combat was a treat, the scenery was beautiful and Inosuke has become my 2nd favorite character. Yaiba has done a great job turning him from a raving, one note simpleton, into a naive and straightforward mountainous shut in. Yaiba also seems to be giving us a longer arc here. Taking down 1 of 5 Demons on this mountain, leaving us with plenty of room to move around in. With 10 episodes left, I suspect this will be our penultimate arc of the series. I am looking forward to the two experienced Demon Slayers showing up at the end. To really show us what the upper level of power looks like in this series. As so far, Tanjiro and Inosuke seem unbeatable. We all need a reality check for a compelling end.

6 Responses

  1. Avatar swa says:

    Inosuke best girl

  2. Avatar arekusu says:

    I really like Inosuke’s play today. But what I don’t understand are these two things:

    1) What did the spider mother did to begin with? In the flashback, it wasn’t explained why her husband was bullying her.

    2) Who was that guy when she remembered that human?

    Either way, this episode was good? After 16 episodes so far, I am wanting to see Muzan.

    • Avatar Lenlo says:

      1) I have no idea, it wasnt explained. I assume just abusive relationship?

      2) I assumed it was just someone from her past. I dont think we are supposed to get answers to either of these. They are just ploys to be sympathetic towards her right at her death. Which hits at my criticism for how Yaiba handles villains.

      As for whether or not it was good this week, I mean, I enjoyed it. I had fun with it. Would I like more Muzan? Yes. Yes I would love more Muzan. Hes the best villain in the show. But Inosuke was enough to keep me entertained and invested for the 20 minutes the episode took. I really enjoyed him, when I thought I would hate him. So yeah, I call that kind of turn around on a character a success.

      • Avatar arekusu says:

        Yeah. Muzan is the lead for the demon catastrophic. I am hoping to see what happened in the past. During the episode he was introduced, didn’t explained much.

        ~ By the way, in my opinion, you should get Disqus comments feed. Anyone can sign up, and when users sees the same avatar, they’ll already know who it is and whose active. I have it on my site (am recently new). Come check it out!

        • Avatar Lenlo says:

          Will take a look! Part of the issue with upgrading to things like Disqus is just the age of the site. Been around for… almost a decade now I think. Leads to a lot of newer systems not fitting in, and any migrations/upgrades would be a big endeavor.

          I will inquire though.

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