Posted by Lenlo on 25 August 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Kimetsu no Yaiba

This week in Kimetsu no Yaiba is, for the most part, a calm one. As we wind down this arc Yaiba shows us the cracks in the Demon Slayers, Rui’s backstory and more of Muzan’s manipulative side. Let’s dive in!

Starting off, the flashback opening. As much as I was dreading the possible empathization of Rui, I think this was actually pretty good. As it focused more on Muzan than many of the previous flashbacks, mostly likely because Rui was a Moon. I will admit it was rather confusing to open an episode with it, as I was lost for a moment. But once everything was established the content managed to stand on its own. I am still not the largest fan of these, as using them to bookend every single arc has started to get old. I felt it could have been delivered as we went through Rui’s family. But getting Muzan in this one burst really helped it. Splitting the focus from an already defeated foe with our ultimate big bad, continuing to build him up. Sadly, with the manga still ongoing, we probably won’t get him though.

Going back to Muzan in the flashback, as I said it was really more his show than Rui’s. Credit to you readers, you brought it to my attention first, yet this flashback made it clear. These exist less for the demons themselves and more to continue to build up our big bad. Yaiba uses them to show how cruel and manipulative he is. Finding these people in their moments of weakness and tempting them. Taking them in, only to constantly push their most negative aspects. It’s a textbook abusive relationship, which then cascades down his followers. Making a sort of pyramid scheme of abuse, with him at the top, his blood effectively a drug. I really like this method of characterization. Because Yaiba is effectively letting us see him interact with multiple different characters, instead of just our lead Tanjiro. And we get to see him through their eyes.

For Rui’s side of the flashback, like the rest, it did its job. Yaiba still seemed to be making him a tad sympathetic. However the end result of his parents choosing to go to hell with him was suitably tragic. Enough so that it offset the parts I didn’t like. To explain myself, while Rui is a tragic figure as a child, he has still murdered a lot of people. So seeing that Yaiba and Tanjiro didn’t forget or excuse that was very important for me. Face your Antagonists head on, acknowledge their actions, and let them stand on their own. Yaiba did this today. Additionally, this flashback also setup the conflict with Shinobu and Giyu well. Really setting apart Tanjiro’s world view and their own. That being still viewing Demon’s as tragic humans instead of just monsters. It’s the kind of conflict I was hoping to see with Nezuko.

Speaking of Nezuko, let’s talk about her and the inevitable conflict with the Demon Corp’s! I was wondering why no one had really confronted Tanjiro on it yet. You would think a Demon Slayer traveling with a Demon would be a big no-no. Turns out, it is, and no one had figured it out. Giyu probably thought they had died, while no one had seen the box on his back before now. As it is, it appears we will soon be meeting the rest of the Hashira’s next week. As Tanjiro is brought before what is seemingly a Court Martial scenario. I’m looking forward to how this goes down and what explanations there are. As this isn’t, or shouldn’t be, a situation Tanjiro can fight his way out of and words have rarely been his strong suit. Maybe we will even get to see Giyu speak up a bit?

This week we also got to meet another character from the Exam arc again. Based on her hairpin and movement, I suppose we can assume she is Shinobu’s apprentice? Using her same Breath of the Insect? Regardless, I look forward to learning more about her moving forward. It’s entirely possible that since she was from the same exam Zenitsu is from, she is going to be relevant moving forward. Either as a new companion, a rival or dare I even say it, a love interest? That last one of course is a joke, as Yaiba doesn’t seem like the kind of series to go for that. Not only does it not fit into Tanjiro’s current goals/lifestyle, but there really isn’t any room for it. Moving from fight to fight almost immediately with no downtime. Still, I suppose we will have to see in this final arc.

The last bit I want to talk about though has to be Good Boy Inosuke. He started out rather grating in his presentation, but I have to say, he has grown on me. He really is the most naive of the whole cast. Sure, Tanjiro has the classic MC sympathy for the villains, but he also lives in reality. Knowing he has to kill them and he won’t hold back against them, but that doesn’t mean he can’t recognize their tragedies. Inosuke however has lived his life up till now believing his was the strongest, with his own set world view. Yaiba has given us the pleasure of seeing that world view fall apart. From his personality/social issues to his own belief in himself, we have seen Inosuke broken down to his core. I look forward to what Yaiba does with this in the 5 episodes left.

So all in all, how was this weeks Yaiba? It was solid. The series is still riding the high of Tanjiro’s fight with Rui, and I am not expecting it to live up to that every episode. But the visuals are staying consistent and the story is progressing at Yaiba’s standard steady pace. Because of all this, I believe that at this point I can safely say Yaiba has moved beyond simply “competent”. The villain’s are compelling, the cast enjoyable and the fights a pleasure to watch. No single aspect of the show, besides its production of course, stand out. Yet they meld together into something that is greater than the sum of its parts. The music pairs great with the animation, both of which accentuate an otherwise basic story to greater heights. To say anything less than that I have thoroughly enjoyed Yaiba would be a lie.

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