Posted by Lenlo on 11 August 2019 with categories: Kimetsu no Yaiba

With this episode, Kimetsu no Yaiba has cemented this as the best arc of its run. For those that don’t want to read 1,000 words: It was great. I loved it. I’m going to gush about animation for the next 10 minutes. Let’s freakin go.

Right off the bat, be prepared for 3 paragraph or so of this, Yaiba looked phenomenal. Eat your heart out Fire Force, because you no longer have the best animated fire of the season. Now for the sake of coherency, let’s break this up into 3 sections. Pre-dance, mid dance and money shot. Pre-dance, Rui’s threads were fantastic. I loved the impact of these tiny little flashes of light, really selling the power. The best shot pre-dance for me is no doubt Rui just obliterating his “sister” and the effects behind it. This isn’t to say the rest were bad, it just had the most “weight” to it. Also managing to sell Rui’s mental issues with the scenes before and after it. His emotional distress and such. Enough about all this though, you want to talk about that. Head below the break, and we will do just that.

Just look at that… That right there is our money shot, but before we get to it we have to talk the dance prior. Everything from the flashback to this was also fantastic. The effort put into the fathers dance was surprising, though subtle. A fantastic use of rotoscoping that I really haven’t seen since the Kaguya ED earlier this year. On top of that, the flames and use of a CGI environment just popped. The red threads and environment flying by doing a great job of framing everything. Let’s be clear here by the way, as amazing as the animation is, the direction/shot composition is also on point. Everyone clearly spent a lot of time on every aspect of this week’s episode. I want to call out specific names, like Masayuki Kunihiro and Nozomu Abe, but this was clearly a team effort by Ufotable, and it shows.

Now we can finally get to the money shot. Direct your attention above for reference, but my goodness was this great. Impact frames, fire effects, camera framing and lighting. I haven’t been this impressed since Mob Psycho earlier this year. I’m not even sure where to begin when talking about this segment, to be frank. I’m just happy it exists, watching the last 10 minutes of this episode on loop as I write this because everything about is fun. I suppose the best thing I can do is let the clip speak for itself, and talk about what supports it. Specifically in this case, the music. Yaiba pushed the OST front and center here, drowning out even the sound effects and speech. Letting it stand side by side, equal, with the animation, and I loved it. Mayhaps a bit loud in places, but the end effect was stunning.

Onto the content of the episode itself, and I want to talk about Rui first. He is without a doubt the strongest antagonist. Arguably more so than even Muzan, for much the same reason I love Muzan. Yaiba has given us a lot of time with him and those affected by him. Showing us his personality, informing us about his character, through the rest of his family. Though he hasn’t been on screen the whole time, he is the central figure of this arc. The longest arc of the series so far. Kouki Uchiyama has also been doing a great job selling his voice. Both the cold-hearted nature of the character and his clear mental instability. His breakdown over Nezuko, and being confronted with true siblings for the first time, was great. On that though, let’s take a moment to talk about that bond.

I said before that Yaiba has been giving us a lot of setup for Rui through other characters. I was specifically talking about the family dynamic of these demons and how it unfolded as the arc went on. Starting with a clearly abused motherly demon, with a misleading flashback of the father. Then the father himself, acting out the role of a caring protector. Bit by bit revealing the true terror of the family is the youngest brother, the Kizuki. You see, I wasn’t expecting them to be a forced family. I thought we would be getting some sort of arc on “Demons are people to, they can love each other”. And we sort of did, through Nezuko and the emotional distress of the Mother/Sister. But Yaiba approached the family aspect from the opposite angle, using it as something Rui lacks and desires, than something he already has.

Speaking of Nezuko, let’s talk about what happened to her this week. Demon Blood Arts had been mentioned before, and we have seen a few used up to now as well. However, it had completely slipped my mind that Nezuko could get one as well. She hasn’t been a central combatant recent and I forgot about her a bit. However, I think Yaiba did a great job here with timing her and Tanjiro’s power ups together. Theming together as fire both, allowing them to both make use of their shared history and connection. Not only does it lead to the beautiful visuals we got, but it reinforces the theme of the arc as well. That being family bonds, and what it means to each of them, etc etc. The power ups also don’t feel completely out of left field either, because of Shinobu/Zenitsu’s setup at the start.

What I am talking about there is Shinobu’s line about your “life flashing before your eyes”. How the individual is “searching for a way to survive”. From what I have seen, this is apparently anime only, the original line being delivered via narration. Either way though, I think it does a good job, showing why Tanjiro remembered the dance/breathe. Why it came to him and why he desperately tried it at the end of the episode. Is it still a classic Shounen power up? Yes, yes it is. Does that make it bad? Hell no. Personally I like it when everything has rules and systems behind it, like Tanjiro shouldn’t have any idea of the consequences of using the breathe. But the Rule of Cool exists for a reason. And when your this damn cool? I am more than willing to let nitpicks slide. Just gimme more.

All that said, I do find it interesting how it all worked. Him seemingly combining his father’s breathe technique with Urokodaki’s Water Breathe style. It gives a base to the new technique that a lot of Shounen power ups don’t have. A sort of shared history with his two father figures coming together with his Sister’s bond to defeat a monsterous representation of family. With how the series started, Tanjiro’s family being killed by Muzan, itsa fantastic bookend I feel. Managing to tie the whole season together with a nice bow on top. Now, do I think its over? Hell no, we still have 7 episodes left and neither Shinobu nor Giyu have really gotten to strut their stuff yet. I fully expect Rui to survive this somehow. But you know what Rui surviving mean? 7 more episodes of Nozomu Abe and Masayuki Kunihiro is what. I can’t wait.

So all in all, how was Yaiba this week? Well if everything I just wrote didn’t make it clear, it was great. I’ve nitpicked Yaiba before, because I have this personal issue with being 100% positive about something. I don’t believe perfection exists/is possible, and I feel the need to point out the occasional shortcoming. Often to my detriment as a critic, making me come off as a bit of an ass I am sure. But you know what, I just had fun this week. Dr.STONE got to the good stuff, Yaiba gave Fire Force a kick in the ass to step up, and Vinland airs tomorrow. I could not ask for a better of animation, and Yaiba is currently the highpoint of it all. So yeah, I loved Yaiba this week and I think anyone being honest with themselves did to.

7 Responses

  1. amun amun says:

    Woah woah woah…as the official reviewer of Fire Force, I’m not sure I can let that fire comment slide. While this was beautiful fire and it gave me the feelings…okay, it was pretty good. I guess we’ll give you this episode, but I must defend Fire Force in that it deals with all the aspects of fire (spark, flame, and ashes) instead of just popping it off during its epic money shots.

    • Avatar Lenlo says:

      You never know! Fire’s now an official element at play, and we still have 7 more episodes left! So far though, the Fire is 1 for 1!

      If Fire Force can pick itself back up next episode I won’t feel back giving it the fire crown. This week though I am claiming victory.

  2. Avatar Spike says:

    The colors! Ufotable’s choice to make the colors of skills really pop against the night backgrounds was such a great decision. They captured the essence of the manga and improved upon it. They created something memorable that really upstages the rest of the stale genre.

  3. Avatar Đỗ Thành Thông says:

    It goes without saying that the extraction of water is one of the key facets of creating charcoal, which is Tanjiro’s family trade and also an allegory for his black blade.

    Dry charcoal is mostly carbon but contains some of the hydrogren contained in wood fibers. When ignited by the energy of fire, charcoal mixes with air and catalysis the creation of water alongside the carbon monoxide and other gasses, releasing a torrent of energy that we exploit inefficiently for our needs. When compacted, the carbon atoms realign into stronger and more ordered structures until you are left with a shining diamond that refract sunlight beautifully.

    • Avatar Lenlo says:

      Interesting. I was unaware of the science behind Charcoal. This fits really well with his combining of his fathers breath and Urokodaki’s original water techniques. Thanks for the info!

  4. Avatar swa says:

    They sure burned their savings and all the remaining budget. Like someone once said regarding ufotable lack of constraint “a budget that could buy Belgium”. It looked great. Also, long life Go Shiina and Yuki Kajiura!

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