This was the start and the end of Tanjiro’s training arc. I’m just as surprised as a lot of people. I have no idea if the manga made the training go by just as quickly, or if there were more chapters and the anime team decided to just condense it all into a single episode just so we could get to the Final Selection faster. I’m not sure how I feel about this decision anyway.
I can’t believe we sped by two years worth of training! On one hand, I get it. Training episodes can be pretty boring and bland, seeing the same thing after awhile isn’t exactly fun. Then again, you really do need to see some training done just so you can even believe the character got stronger. We did see Tanjiro learn and struggle this episode, but I wasn’t too interested in it. The actual training itself kind of confused me. So for one and a half years, Tanjiro was just running through the mountain and sometimes swinging his sword around? Maybe I just don’t get these training regimens, I mean it’s not like people really do this kind of stuff anymore. But it sounds kind of insane that in all that time it was just running through the mountain, sometimes using his sword, and doing the breathing. The last six months of his training, Urokodoki left him on his own so he could slice the boulder in half. The first half was pretty comedic with Tanjiro screwing up and Urokodoki being strict. I was hoping we would see more of his character this episode, but he was barely in it so that was a little disappointing. Most of the episode was narrated by Tanjiro, his inner monologue being the words he was writing down in the journal he started keeping just for Nezuko when eventually she would wake up.
Speaking of, why was Nezuko stuck in a long slumber? I don’t remember anything triggering this sleep of hers, and apparently there’s nothing really wrong with her. But the fact that she’s in this deep sleep, and has been for two whole years is surprising and strange. I would have liked if the episode maybe had taken some time to focus on this, see what Urokodoki maybe thought was the reason. Just to tell us “Hey, Nezuko’s sleeping! She’s been sleeping the whole time he’s been training!” and not give us any clue why makes no sense. Especially when nothing led up to this sleep. Though I do admit that Tanjiro being fearful of Nezuko possibly dying one morning made me sad. Poor kid. 🙁
The second half dealt with Tanjiro and the boulder, as well as two new characters. Sabito, the boy that challenged Tanjiro, and Makomo, the girl that stayed behind and helped him out. They both mysteriously appeared out of nowhere but Makomo explained that they were both brought up by Urokodoki after they were both orphaned. Since they both knew the sword techniques and breathing technique, I just thought that they were his past students paying a visit or something. But their presence was just strange the whole way and Makomo’s choice of words was also noteworthy. There’s more siblings like them watching over him? It wasn’t until the very end when Tanjiro won his face off with Sabito that it clicked for me. At least from what I understand, when Sabito disappeared and what stood in front of Tanjiro was the boulder sliced in half, was that these two are spirits. Maybe they did train under Urokodoki but they died awhile ago? Their sudden disappearance sure made it seem like they were just ghosts. Sabito’s sad but happy smile painted someone proud of Tanjiro’s growth, but sad that he would have to leave him since he’s completed his role. The same goes to Makomo, who gave Tanjiro her own words of goodbye. Don’t forget what you did.
It’s not totally clear but they were most likely spirits. The two years worth of training goes to show how hard Tanjiro has been working, and I’m really proud of him! But I wish maybe this mini training arc could have been expanded at least with one more episode? The first half could have been one episode, and the second half another episode to explore the mystery with Sabito and Makomo. I mean…you’re really gonna grab Kaji Yuki and just make him say a couple lines, some of which were the same? H-Haha… The episode had its ups and downs, but I feel like it could have been done better. Still, it wasn’t totally bad.