Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Episode 23 Review

Originally published on The Fandom Post

What They Say: Hashira Meeting

The Review:

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)

With only three episodes left, I wish Demon Slayer would pick up the pace a little bit. I understand the need for a breather episode every now and then, especially after all that happened in the previous arc, but it’s getting a little late to have two episodes in a row that barely do anything to move the plot along. Much like last week, it feels like the anime is intentionally dragging out content so it can end at a specific point. I understand wanting to end the season at a good stopping point, but this approach grows tedious fast. It also doesn’t help that the episode’s one big moment, Nezuko maintaining control in the face of Sanemi’s temptation, falls completely flat.

The scene starts okay, with Nezuko visibly struggling to hold back, but then goes back to Urokodaki’s hypnosis. Having that be her main reason for holding on destroys any sense of accomplishment or agency for the character, once again leaving her more of an object than a character on her own. Her vow to never harm humans is framed as a triumph, but lacks any real impact. Using hypnosis as a way to skip dealing with Nezuko’s control as a plot point is one thing, but Demon Slayer seems to want to have its cake and eat it too. You can’t remove a character’s agency and spend so much time ignoring them, then just turn around and give them a big moment with no build up. Demon Slayer has proven before that it can write good characters (Inosuke, for example), so its consistently poor use of Nezuko is almost baffling. I’m still holding out hope that it improves, but that hope is dwindling by the episode.

Things don’t get any better when Tanjiro reunites with Zenitsu in the infirmary. We’re once again treated to more of Zenitsu yelling and being scared, which hasn’t gotten any funnier or less annoying than before. It once again feels like the episode’s just using him to kill time, and having him go back to his fearful yelling somewhat weakens his big moment on the mountain.

Inosuke, on the other hand, is actually quiet and subdued rather than his usual belligerent self. Part of it is because he hurt his throat from yelling so much after being hurt, which is both funny and perfectly in character, but he’s also still grappling with his own uselessness against the spider demon he fought. For someone whose primary motivation is strength, learning his own relative weakness comes as a heavy blow, and is no doubt something he’ll have to come to terms with going forward. Inosuke once again proves that he’s the best character in the show, and is a welcome relief after having to listen to Zenitsu yelling for the millionth time.

Even though it’s the title of the episode, the Hashira meeting itself only takes up a few minutes near the end of the episode and doesn’t give us much to talk about. All we really learn is that the number and quality of recruits is down, so the Corps needs to start recruiting more aggressively in order to fight the demon threat. It could prove interesting going forward (assuming Demon Slayer gets another season), but isn’t much for now. It does, however, give us another look at Ubuyashiki, the leader of the corps. Both during the meeting and Nezuko’s test, he maintains the same calm demeanor, like a parent watching over children. Even when he’s swearing to kill Muzan, he remains unflappable. There’s clearly far more to him than meets the eye, and I’m actually curious to see what’s behind that smile, particularly since he seems to know Tamayo and that Tanjiro met her.

In Summary:

Outside of a few interesting tidbits and a couple of gags that landed, this episode mostly felt like a way to kill time. Nezuko’s character continues to disappoint, there’s not much plot movement, and Zenitsu returns to being his usual annoying self. Wasting time like this when there are only three episodes left isn’t a good sign, especially if there isn’t another season. Demon Slayer still shows potential for improvement, but potential is meaningless if it’s never realized. Demon Slayer’s going to need to go out with a real bang to wash the bad taste of these past couple of episodes out.

Grade: C+

Streamed By: Crunchyroll, Funimation, Hulu

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