What They Say:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With Muzan’s two subordinates defeated, it’s time for Demon Slayer to once again move into building the larger story as it transitions into a new arc. Aside from one final attack to try and throw Tanjiro around, the arrow demon, Yahaba is done for. Desperate as it is, though, that final attack still packs a punch. Even though he’s already beaten his opponent, it still feels like Tanjiro’s in danger as he barely manages to disperse Yahaba’s arrows by transitioning them into various sword techniques. It’s a clever strategy that quite literally turns his enemy’s momentum against him, and Tanjiro just barely manages to last until Yahaba dies for good.
Meanwhile, Nezuko’s fight against Susamaru, the temari demon, gives us a glimpse into Nezuko’s potential, as she’s now able to match Susamaru’s strength and kick the temari back with equal force, something that was beyond her just minutes before. Even without formal training, Nezuko seems just as capable as Tanjiro, and may very well surpass him at this rate. I’m glad we’re seeing more of her holding her own without relying on him instead of being fridged like during Tanjiro’s training. The fight itself is equally compelling, even when it starts becoming the world’s deadliest game of kickball. The sheer force behind each strike keeps it from just being comical, particularly when Nezuko is able to kick the temari back hard enough to smash the wall.
Even so, it’s Tamayo’s wit that wins the match rather than Nezuko’s strength. Her ability seems to be manipulating the scent of her blood to influence people’s minds, which could be quite formidable. Exploiting Muzan’s curse to kill Susamaru feels almost anticlimactic after such a show of force, but it goes to show just how cruel Muzan is. The anime pulls no punches about showing arms bursting out of her body and ripping her apart, which is easily Demon Slayer’s most brutal moment yet. Cruel as she seems, it’s hard not to feel sorry for Susamaru after she dies such a painful and meaningless death, particularly when her dying words are begging for her temari. As it turns out, she and Yahaba aren’t actually members of the Twelve Kizuki, and were only told that by Muzan to manipulate them. At this point, they seem as much victims of Muzan as servants.
The fact that they were able to give Tanjiro and Nezuko so much trouble when they’re not even Muzan’s top subordinates (Tamayo even described them as weak) gives us a good measurement of where Tanjiro is now, and it’s not a favorable one. If he was barely able to win against these two, then it’s a clear sign that he’s miles away from being able to confront Muzan himself. He might not have to do it alone, though, as his constant compassion toward his enemies may very well win him more allies among the demons, particularly now that he knows how cruel Muzan is to his own people. Tamayo is proof that not all demons are monsters, so perhaps we’ll see more of that in the future.
Unfortunately, this episode also brings back the hypnosis plot thread a few episodes ago, with the same issues as before. Heartwarming as it is to see Tamayo realize that Nezuko views her and Yushiro as human, it’s undercut by the fact that Nezuko still sees her family when she looks at them. It’s frustrating to see such an interesting character lose so much agency like this, especially when it’s so unnecessary. Having her control herself on her own and choose to help Tamayo and Yushiro would be far more impactful than having her manipulated into seeing her siblings.
At the very least Demon Slayer somewhat redeems itself there by having Tanjiro reject Tamayo’s offer to take care of Nezuko so she’d be safe while he hunts demons. They’ve only had a few battles together, but the two of them already feel like an inseparable team, and I’m glad to see the show acknowledge that. Tanjiro seems to understand that, even if Nezuko would be safer with Tamayo, the two of them are the only family they have left. It’d be cruel to Nezuko and himself to separate them again. Nezuko’s quiet devotion confirms this, speaking volumes even though all she does is squeeze his hand.
This episode once again marks the end of one arc and the beginning of another. The denouement after last week’s big battle is just as warm and empathetic as we’ve seen in previous arcs, even when it’s slightly undercut by the poorly conceived hypnosis plotline. Ending the episode with Tanjiro running into one of the other new slayers from his final selection gives the impression that we’re going to start meeting the other supporting characters from the opening, which hopefully means that the show is building towards something big. When shonen start expanding their cast and world the way Demon Slayer has been these past few episodes, it usually means we’re in for something exciting soon. With how solid Demon Slayer’s preliminary arcs have been, I’m excited to see it start growing in these coming weeks.