I’m starting to understand why this arc is considered weaker than the Entertainment District arc. For the Entertainment District Arc, the action was only split up between parties for a little bit before coming all together at a certain point. Not to mention that the battles that were going on depended on defeating them together. However, with this arc, there are two separate problems and battles going on that aren’t dependent on each other. So I feel like the pacing and flow of the episode kind of gets messy when it’s jumping between the two situations. Which is a shame because I feel like this arc could have been a lot stronger if it was executed in a way where there wasn’t a constant back and forth.
I knew that Hantengu wouldn’t be that easy to defeat, even with Tanjiro’s exploding blood sword. However, before we could get our bearings on the situation, yet ANOTHER twist happens where a hidden emotion shows itself, HATRED. Hatred does look kinda silly to an extent, but I still really like his design. And while I do like the idea of Hatred originally coming from Anger that forcefully absorbed the others to form, I hate that it was freaking narrated. I have such a big problem when series narrate what happens instead of just allowing us to see it unfold in present time. Whenever every little thing is explained, it feels like the impact is lessened and it ends up feeling more like a classroom lesson. Which is something I’ve complained a lot in other series I’ve covered. I love you Demon Slayer, but you are not exempt from this sin! I understand what they were trying to portray with the sinister presence behind Tanjiro, but the overall execution just didn’t quite hit for me.
Hatred is definitely a very interesting concept as in a way, it does sort of embody all of the emotions that were presented with Anger being the core emotion. And for a split second I did feel bad for Sorrow when he seemed to be pleading for Anger to not engulf him. It’s honestly really interesting how he claims to want to protect the “weak” from “awful villains.” To which, feels INCREDIBLY hypocritical after what all of these demons have done so far. I would love to get more into Hatred’s mindset and see why he views himself as some guardian or hero. In one perspective, it does seem like he is protecting a sad creature who is getting attacked by a greater foe. However, after everything that has happened there is no doubt in our minds that Hantengu is no victim no matter how much he acts like one. The fact that he is an Upper Rank alone tells us he has devoured hundred if not THOUSANDS of people over the time he’s been alive. I love that Tanjiro knows this as well and denounces everything Hatred says. This is why I really appreciate Tanjiro because while he is empathetic towards who demons once were, he also knows that they all have taken so many lives and need to be stopped. I feel like any other shounen protagonist would think more about what Hatred was saying. But Tanjiro be like: I know you killed people, you’re not getting away with that. RESPECT.
We go back to Muichiro who has been trapped in that freaking water vase for like three episodes straight. This is also a problem with the pacing and the constant back and forths since it feels like he’s been trapped there forever and should most likely be dead at this point. Even in this episode, it still cuts away from him being in there for Gyokko to go harass Haganezuka. Who ends up developing some sort of rivalry with him as an artist since Haganezuka is not letting anything distract or hinder him from reviving the ancient sword. Even getting slashed by Gyokko’s water attacks doesn’t even deter him or make him flinch. Gyokko could easily just kill him right there, but it seems as if he wants to make him suffer before killing him, to which he needs him to give up on the sword first so that he can be satisfied. However, through sheer will and determination, Haganezuka isn’t willing to stop his progress. We’ll see just how far this goes and which artist soul is triumphant. Also I was not expecting Haganezuka to look like that under his mask lol.
Anyways back to Muichiro XD. Poor guy just feels like he’s been constantly forgotten for the past few episodes. Speaking of forgotten, it seems as if he’s slowly remembering things from his past. I did find it interesting how he associated Tanjiro with telling him essentially not to give up even though it was clear Tanjiro never said that to him. With Muichiro’s memories the way that they are, it makes sense that he imagined Tanjiro in place of the actual person who told him that. It was pretty touching and sad to find out that the person who told Muichiro this was his father, who has a striking resemblance to Tanjiro as they share the same eyes. I find it sad in the sense that he ended up forgetting his own family and just from his father’s words and smile, you can tell that he was a gentle and kind person. Anyone want to bet on how much Muichiro’s backstory destroys me? XD
I honestly don’t know how I feel about Kotetsu coming back to help Muichiro. On one hand, I understand him wanting to help him due to Tanjiro’s advice on helping others will come around to help them in the end. But on the other, it feels like it was a waste of time for Kanamori and Kotetsu to be shown running away, only for both of them to come back and be put in danger AGAIN. I also don’t know how I feel about Kotetsu being freaking stabbed by a rando fish demon with a freaking mustache. Like how random can this thing even be??? I hope he’s not actually dead, but it does show that Muichiro actually does care for innocent people despite him rationalizing that sacrifices had to be made for the greater good. The part that made me quirk my eyebrow was when Kotetsu blew air into the water to give Muichiro enough breath to break himself out of his prison. Especially since what we blow out isn’t even oxygen, it’s carbon dioxide. This isn’t the first series that has done something similar to this and every time this happens I cannot help but think: This isn’t how this works. I understand the sentimentality and meaning behind it, but I just couldn’t suspend my disbelief. Hopefully NOW Muichiro can show us what he’s made of.
I feel like a lot of the things portrayed in the opening is starting to come together now in the episodes since it felt like there were a lot of things that haven’t even been touched upon yet. Especially in regards to the fights with the Upper Ranks. I was wondering when those wood (to which I thought were stone initially) dragons would come into play and when they emerged this episode, I was like: Ah… so now we get to see them. Not to mention it’s obvious that Mitsuri will soon be joining the fight against Hatred considering the opening and I’m eager to see how that goes down since we haven’t really seen too much of Mitsuri in action yet. And I’m sure that Muichiro also ends up making it to the fight with Hantengu as he’s most likely going to deliver the new sword to Tanjiro as I predicted in an earlier post. The Hashiras really be slacking in this season so far. So hopefully both Mitsuri and Muichiro can show us why they are Hashiras. This episode was definitely on the weaker side with how certain things were executed, making it feel a bit weird. Hopefully things start picking back up.
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I also have problems with narration in many anime. Narrations works better in manga format, but in anime, it’s much better to just show it. Unlike manga, anime has more advantage thanks to sound, voice, visual, and animation, so it should be possible to pull this off without narration, just like the battle against Rui that has bit narration in the manga but not in the anime.