Posted by Lenlo on 22 September 2019 with categories: Kimetsu no Yaiba

Welcome one and all, to the penultimate week of Kimetsu no Yaiba. It’s an odd week I feel, though not a particularly negative one. Just the difference between “fine” and “good”, as this week covers more training, Kanao’s backstory and some actually good comedy. So without further ado, let’s dive in.

Starting off, let’s talk about this week’s structure, as the episode opens up on more training for Tanjiro. It’s funny, because this training arc almost feels longer than the initial one of the series. Most likely do to the subject matter at hand. The montage part just wasn’t as interesting as the whole mountain sequence. That isn’t to say it was bad, it had its moments. Tanjiro’s little fan club were always cute. As was seeming him slowly gain progress on Kanao and such. My major complaint though is that it all just feels very… subdued for what is the penultimate episode. Later one we get some new stuff, such as a flashback and an intro to next seasons first arc. And Yaiba is seemingly building up some mysteries in regards to Fire vs Flame breathing. I just didn’t find the first half of the episode particularly engaging.

It didn’t help that it feels like Yaiba sort of skipped over Zenitsu and Inosuke’s development. Both of them sulking around a bit, only to wake up one day and decide they are fine. It doesn’t really address any of their actual insecurities, nor did it ever give them much of a reason to refuse to train. Sure, Zenitsu has an inferiority complex, and Inosuke had his pride crushed in that forest. But nothing really… addressed those. Yes, Shinobu did do some clever manipulating. Attacking Inosuke’s magically healed pride and appealing to Zenitsu’s perversions. Those were fine. I just wish we had gotten a quiet moment with them. Either talking to Tanjiro, or figuring it out on their own. Zenitsu had a small bit of that, with his bird. It just felt to me like a wasted opportunity for more is all.

Moving on from them, lets talk about what was my favorite part of the episode, Kanao. I really enjoyed the presentation of her backstory. Not only does it mark her as a more important character going forward, but it helps explain why she is the way she is. Eventually snapping from her abuse and generally terrible living situation, doing only what she is told. The presentation of it was good as well. With the snapping rope, and the focus on her eyes. Across the board I just think Yaiba did a good job here. My only real issue with the whole thing is the romance push. Telling her that all she needs to do is find a man and everything will be ok. It just sort of undercuts her a bit I feel. And Yaiba doesn’t really need a romance in the first place. I suppose we will see.

Moving on from that, the flashback did reveal a few other things. Such as explaining the coin and how it helps her make decisions without actually “making” her decisions. Reminds me of an old bit of advice I was told. “Flip a coin, and before it lands you will know which you want”. Its similar here, in that Kanao seemed almost disappointed with the result of the flip. As if she was deciding whether or not to go talk to our trio. Another aspect of the flashback though was a younger Shinobu. It was interesting seeing her act completely different. Angry, smug, annoyed. As if that was her true self. Making it even clearer that after her sister’s death, she took on more than just the dream. But her personality and way of speaking and such as well. It makes it all a little more tragic.

After that we get into some of the funniest jokes Yaiba has had in awhile. That being everything involving the swords. Starting with Hotaru’s attitude with the sword being broken, it was just so sudden. Him immediately going for the kill with a simple knife. A simple gag, but one with layers in its presentation. The best gag though was between Inosuke and our new smith, Kozo. I wasn’t really expecting anything here, and Kozo was such a calm man. But the slow build of Inosuke just finding and taking a rock to his news swords? And Kozo’s reaction, so similar to Hotaru’s? Even walking away grumbling? That whole sequence was just some fantastic comedy. As it fit so well within their established characters, and explains a lot about how Inosuke’s swords got that way in the first place. So well done there Yaiba.

Lastly we need to talk about the train, because this is really weird. Its like Yaiba is introducing a whole new arc and villain, when there is only a single episode left. As a narrative tool, I am not to big a fan of this. As it feels like the whole thing is ending on a cliffhanger. On the other hand though, the odds Yaiba gets a second season is all but guaranteed. It’s been a hit, both in and out of Japan. So this sort of ending seems tailor made to setup/announce a second season after next week’s episode. So assuming that happens, I think I will be fine with this ending. As it would only really be a problem if we got baited and left with nothing. An incomplete story. A promise of more though makes it more palatable.

So all in all, another decent Yaiba episode. Small nitpicks here and there, but for the most part everything is still there. The series missed an opportunity for some greater development on some characters. And seems to be setting up for an odd ending. But the production is still solid. With reaction’s and some fun scenes being well animated. No doubt the reused backgrounds and such maybe gave them a bit more leeway/room here to have fun with things. But in general, it was a fine episode. I just hope, as a fan of villains, we get to see Muzan one last time before the end. Some kind of reminder about him before the inevitable 2nd season announcement. We will have to wait and see though. And please, tell me what you thought below! How do you think Yaiba will end?

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