Kimetsu no Yaiba: Yuukaku-hen Episode 1 (First Impression)

After the Mugen Train arc, the second season finally begins! And with a double episode premiere! I was avoiding news about this season because I like to go blind so that was a surprise for me and what an episode this was! I thought it was a great episode from start to finish with some pretty good pacing, and a pretty good set up for the start of the next arc. This arc is looking like it’ll be an exciting one, especially now that the boys are going to be going on a mission with the other vocal (and kinda asshole-ish) Hashira, Tengen.

The episode opens up how you’d expect, with the aftermath of Rengoku’s death. Even though I just saw it (twice now) it still doesn’t stop it from being emotional. Ufotable really knows how to make things even more dramatic with the slow-mo and visuals, and that’s not the only time to get emotional.

But first, we meet up with Muzan and I’m surprised he’s now taken on the disguise of a child from an adopted family. Now it’s making me wonder, who exactly is Muzan and what does he really look like? We’ve seen him in three different forms: a man in a dapper suit with a wife and daughter, a woman in a kimono, and a child. All three forms look similar so Muzan may just have those same facial features, but with these three forms, does Muzan not have one true form and just shape shifts? Or temporarily takes over a body? There’s already so much mystery around Muzan and this just adds to it. Another big tid bit from this scene with Muzan and Akaza was the blue spider lily. It seems that Muzan is after this specific rare flower (normally these are red flowers), and it just may be connected with his overall goal: Completely eradicating the Demon Slayer Corps. And with that in mind, we know the reason why Akaza had shown up, which was to eliminate the demon slayers in the Mugen train because it’s part of his goal and Akaza just happened to be nearby. Nothing more. Of course, Akaza not being able to kill Tanjiro and the others didn’t sit well with Muzan. I’m at least glad that Akaza’s appearance wasn’t random, it would have been really disappointing writing-wise if it was. Other than the Demon Slayer Corps’ job is to literally slay demons, I imagine that Muzan has a personal grudge with them one way or another rather than just hating them because they simply slay demons. There has to be a connection with them for him to loathe them so much. So at the moment we know Muzan’s goal, Tanjiro having a target on his back aka Akaza, and the mystery of the blue spider lily.

The best part of the premiere was definitely the first half after Muzan’s scene, we head back to the butterfly mansion where the boys are recovering. Zenitsu gives a quick run down of everyone’s emotions during all this and as he sneakily steals some buns from the kitchen to cheer Tanjiro up, we find out he’s missing.

With Rengoku’s last words prompting Tanjiro, he follows his crow to the Rengoku residence where he immediately meets Senjuro. Now, the second I saw him collapse after the crow told Senjuro the news of his brother’s death hurt me so I was dreading this moment because I knew it would be full of emotions. Well, it sure was. All kinds of emotions! Sadness, anger, frustration, pondering. First of all, there was a lot that was going on with Rengoku’s father. He came off as harsh, rude, and just kind of an ass. Well, no, not kind of. He was very much an ass. Hitting Senjuro, yelling at him to quit his crying, saying all kinds of terrible things about Rengoku. As well as getting all aggressive and defensive at Tanjiro even though he clearly had no idea what he was talking about when he mentioned the Sun-breathing technique. He at least intrigues me, because even with how much of a bum he is, we know that Rengoku loved and cared about him, accepting him for who he was. His father had thought his last words would be of him calling out this behavior, but it was nothing more than “Please take care of yourself.” And that was enough to break him and finally, I imagine for the first time since receiving the news of his death, make him cry. That got me. He intrigues me because he wasn’t like this all the time as he was a Hashira himself before and we saw from flashbacks that he was a different person. What happened to make him go against everything he believed in?

And of course, what is this Sun-breathing technique? Tanjiro’s earrings that he inherited from his father have a connection to it, and we’ve seen the significance of those earrings more than once. We still don’t nearly know enough of what the sun-breathing technique is, but from the little we got to hear from Rengoku’s father was that it was the very first breathing technique that ever came to be, with the other breathing techniques being derived from this specific one. Of course, Tanjiro’s father and the Hinokami Kagura are important in all this but there’s so little information when his father isn’t here anymore, as well as the rest of his family and his old home, which didn’t really have much in the first place. So in regards to finding out information of the Hinokami Kagura, nothing really came up but we do know about the sun-breathing technique now. Whatever was written in that Flame Hashira book must have been important, and after this confrontation with Tanjiro, we won’t get any more info about all of this from him any time soon.

And of course the conversation between Tanjiro and Senjuro just killed me. The biggest moment that just killed me was when Senjuro went on about not having the proper sword skills for his Nichirin sword to change color, and giving up being a swordsman. This would mess up the Flame Hashira lineage in his family, and it hurts him inside for him to choose to do that and believes his brother would forgive him. And this just goes back to the Mugen Train arc in Rengoku’s dream. Really thinking about it, while the dream may not have been ideal to us because of his father having the same sour attitude, it was still ideal to Rengoku because as we know, he truly did love and accept his father the way he was. The only thing in that dream that he wanted in reality to happen was his words to Senjuro, when he reassured him to follow whatever path he wanted in his life and that he would be proud of him no matter what and always support him. Rengoku probably already knew how Senjuro was feeling about when it came to (not) becoming a swordsman, but sadly he was never able to tell him those words in real life. At least, Tanjiro was able to pass that message onto him. But AAAAHHH!!!! Ugh that hurt so bad! Rengoku looked on in his life with so much positivity and passion, but not being able to tell his brother what he wanted to tell him himself was probably his one regret, which we saw in his dream. Dammit dammit dammit! So much emotions here. T_T

After this, the rest of the premiere was straightforward as the boys continued to recover and train with a four month timeskip. They go on their solo missions, which was pretty nice to see. Again, good pacing here. The last bit of the episode ends with Tengen showing up and forcefully taking Aoi and Naho with him to his next mission. It was so cute to see Kanao remember Tanjiro’s words to her and she quickly jumped to action to protect the girls without flipping a coin to make a decision. Those are good first steps. Tanjiro and the others confronting Tengen was pretty funny, and in the end to protect the girls, the boys take their place for whatever Tengen’s mission is in the entertainment district. Though with how they look in the OP, I think I have a good idea why he needed females. Looks like we’ll jump straight into the arc next time!

This was a really good premiere. It was exciting getting back into the story and we took the appropriate amount of time with Rengoku’s family, as well as the characters recovering and getting ready to head out on their next mission. It was also great getting more of Muzan and what he’s truly after, so it just makes things more exciting. I’m really looking forward to what we have in store with this arc so I can’t wait to see more!

Also, Tanjiro sure loves to headbutt people…

Berry

Unfortunately still a weeb

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2 Responses

  1. Kazanova says:

    Rengoku’s father already lost his wife, and now he lost his eldest son, it must’ve hit him hard than he let it showed. All the trash-talking about his own dead son and being harsh to his last remaining son were his way to cope, to mask his sadness that he refused to show others. I can understand. There was a time when I was so sad that I acted like a jerk because I don’t want to admit my loss. And Senjuro, poor boy… I don’t know what you’ll become in the future, but like Rengoku did, I would support you! (TT_TT)

    The chase between Haganezuka and Tanjiro was even better animated than I imagined it would. Well, unlike before when Tanjiro broke the sword, I could tolerate Haganezuka’s anger this time because it was indeed fully Tanjiro’s fault for losing his sword (since he literally thrown it just to stab Akaza). But the swordsmith should be more lenient considering Tanjiro’s injuries and recent loss.

    Tengen the former shinobi! Finally, it’s your turn to shine! I like how the opening mirrors the same way Tanjiro and Rengoku did during the Mugen Train Arc, emphasizing how Tengen would be the one to guide Tanjiro and his friends this time. I’ve been waiting for the dynamic between Tanjiro and his friends with Tengen! Unlike the friendly and considerate Rengoku, Tengen has no consideration whatsoever with how the other Corps member feels as long as he got the job done (if not, there’s no way he would just kidnap girls for his mission while ignoring their plea). He said he didn’t need Shinobu’s permission to bring the girls for his mission, but I doubt Shinobu would stay quiet if she knew this. (^_^;)

    • Berry says:

      Oh absolutely if Shinobu knew what was happening, she wouldn’t let him go without a fight lol

      Yeah I can believe it was the loss of his wife that contributed to his sour attitude. Is he a bad father right now? Yeah, kind of. But he did care for his son and to experience another loss in his family must be eating at him again. It’s such a sad situation all around. I’m glad that Tanjiro was able to deliver those messages to them, and that Senjuro had the strength to still tell his father even after he yelled at him to go away. Believe in yourself, Senjuro!

      Yeah I hoped Haganezuka would be a little nicer this time but Tanjiro really didn’t have to throw his sword. But he sure did make an impression on Akaza! 😀

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