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EP. REVIEW: Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba


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KarlFranz



Joined: 17 Jun 2019
Posts: 22
PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2019 7:53 am Reply with quote
MiloTheFirst wrote:
well, to be clear, I personally never had a problem with Zenitsu being an utter (seemingly) irredeemable coward, my problem were and still are 1) the show depicting his cowardice in the most cartoonish way it can imagine. and 2) the show shoving it on our faces like it is afraid of us forgetting how much of a wimp he is.

Having a main cast member with confidence issues is not even a bad idea, it lends itself for some classic character grow arc. the issue which I am guessing must come all the way from the original manga is the author being too in love with his own sense of humor to realize he is hurting the tone of the story and the audience's willingness to immerse into it

I also did ans still find issue with how how cartoonishly it treats the boar guy's shtick just the same as zenitsu

I think the author is a woman and this is actually her 2nd publishing work.
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Merida
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2019 9:39 am Reply with quote
It's not like i can't relate to Zenitsu. He's gotten into this demon slayer business involuntarily and now he's trying his best to become a hero, despite of his cowardly nature (which he is painfully aware of), i just wish he'd be less LOUD while doing that...

But my favourite part of the episode was definitely his master (who seemed to be quite the weirdo, too) blushing cutely after Zenitsu told him that he likes him. Very Happy
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Alexis.Anagram



Joined: 26 Jan 2011
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2019 2:40 pm Reply with quote
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Jigoro rescued him from debt and worked tirelessly to literally beat the cowardice out of Zenitsu, and while Zenitsu admits that all of the beatings might have been a bit much, he's also deeply grateful to the one man who never abandoned him in disgust. Every time Zenitsu tried to weasel his way out of his duties, Jigoro would drag him back, because he could see the potential in Zenitsu to be a truly noble man, if only the boy would muster up the courage and willpower to live up to that promise.

That's an extremely warped, unhealthy and cynical idea of masculinity and what it means to be a "man," and it helps me put my finger on why Zenitsu's introduction (aside from the ugliness of his characterization) caused me to lose whatever goodwill I had left for the series prior to dropping it. The way that Tanjirou regards Zenitsu with such outright contempt for crying and whining about what are supposed to be legitimately terrifying circumstances while he literally carries his muted sister around stuffed in a box "for her own protection", the way the show exaggerates Zenitsu's complaints to connote them as cartoonish hyperbole (undercutting its own central premise that the demons are actually supposed to be frightening and deadly), and now this apparent backstory indicating that what Zenitsu really needs is a good beating to set him straight and give him some nerve so he can fulfill his archetypal function as He-Man: warrior and protector (any bets on how long it takes for Nezuko to be reduced to his female talisman of courage and resolve?) all point to a really regressive view of gender dynamics even by shonen anime standards.

Tanjirou has more respect and empathy for the demons that are going around murdering people than the guy who's worried those demons might murder him, because it's unbecoming of a man to have emotions he hasn't conquered. smh.
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MiloTheFirst



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2019 5:34 pm Reply with quote
Alexis.Anagram wrote:

That's an extremely warped, unhealthy and cynical idea of masculinity and what it means to be a "man," and it helps me put my finger on why Zenitsu's introduction (aside from the ugliness of his characterization) caused me to lose whatever goodwill I had left for the series prior to dropping it.


just wow, talk about wanting to feel ofended then pushing a narrative. here being a man stands in opposition to being a boy, not being a woman. how did you even turned that around in your head? adults bite the bullet and deal with it, there is no toxicity in that

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The way that Tanjirou regards Zenitsu with such outright contempt for crying and whining about what are supposed to be legitimately terrifying circumstances


Tanjiro understandably held so much contempt to zenitsu because he was judging him as a soldier. why would he even take the demon slayer test then be granted the fancy sword if not to protect the weak. by being so wimpy and wailing so much he was insulting the resolve of the demon slayers and their vow to put themselves in danger protect the civilians.

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the way the show exaggerates Zenitsu's complaints to connote them as cartoonish hyperbole (undercutting its own central premise that the demons are actually supposed to be frightening and deadly),


you are totally right here, and you have probably see me complain about this several times.

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and now this apparent backstory indicating that what Zenitsu really needs is a good beating to set him straight and give him some nerve so he can fulfill his archetypal function as He-Man: warrior and protector


how did you even reach that conclusion? are you deliberately doing mental gymnastics? it is the complete oposite. beating the cowardice out of someone obviously doesn't work. just because gramps didn't know better doesn't mean the show is endorsing him, if anything it is low key commentary. if you pay attention you would realize that zenitsu already got that beating and as expected it only made things worse, present day zenitsu had not been said straight neither did he get any more nerve. his one OP technic is the result of him constantly practicing because he realized his teacher had not given up on him. but his backstory is actually meant to justify why he is that much of coward, because he was traumatically raised and trained under the archaic doctrine of his school.

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(...) while he literally carries his muted sister around stuffed in a box "for her own protection" (...) (any bets on how long it takes for Nezuko to be reduced to his female talisman of courage and resolve?) all point to a really regressive view of gender dynamics even by shonen anime standards.


he carries her in a box becuase she is harmed by sunlight. why would Nezuko need to be anything more than a source of resolve? that's the whole reason tanjiro is in this journey, because he wants to cure and protect the only family he has left, further in, unlike him nezuko didn't resolve to become a warrior nor did she undergo any training, so why should tanjiro just set her lose in the battlefield? he is not treating her as a damsel in distress, he is treating her as a child, because that is what she is to him, his kid sister. would a warrior bring their kids to the battlefield unless he absolutely has to? then why should tanjiro?

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Tanjirou has more respect and empathy for the demons that are going around murdering people than the guy who's worried those demons might murder him, because it's unbecoming of a man to have emotions he hasn't conquered.


that's just purposeful miss-characterization. to begin with when did tanjiro ever disrespect zenitsu? even when zenitsu was showing himself as his most disgraceful tanjiro just kept his opinion to himself. as I explained above, it isn't unbecoming of a man to show weakness, it is unbecoming of a warrior, one that already made a vow to protect the weak and unarmed. and also, tanjiro showed empathy to his enemies but he still ended up killing them, when zenitsu deserted his duty and refused to go into the Forrest tanjiro didn't force him to go nor threaten him, so what exactly is your point?
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Alexis.Anagram



Joined: 26 Jan 2011
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2019 7:08 pm Reply with quote
MiloTheFirst wrote:

wanting to feel ofended

Before accusing others of doing "mental gymnastics," you might want to reconsider leading your counterargument with this kind of bad faith, spurious platitude.

MiloTheFirst wrote:
here being a man stands in opposition to being a boy, not being a woman. how did you even turned that around in your head? adults bite the bullet and deal with it, there is no toxicity in that

Trying to make the case that this isn't a gendered statement, both in how James Beckett framed it in his review and how Demon Slayer's "warrior" culture is framed within the show itself, is foolhardy, if not disingenuous. It's also immaterial. The idea that adults are actualized through rigorous exposure to crisis and learning to "bite the bullet" is both false in its estimation of how humans mature, and an argument this series has been terrible at making from a dramatic standpoint.

MiloTheFirst wrote:
Tanjiro understandably held so much contempt to zenitsu because he was judging him as a soldier. why would he even take the demon slayer test then be granted the fancy sword if not to protect the weak. by being so wimpy and wailing so much he was insulting the resolve of the demon slayers and their vow to put themselves in danger protect the civilians.

Was he? The most "dishonorable" act Zenitsu committed was forcing himself onto a girl and begging for her to marry him, and the commentary I've seen around that basically boils down to, "Why doesn't he just grow some balls and stop asking." That's the entire reason I suspect he was characterized that way, not to provide valuable commentary on what it's like for women to have strange men assume they're available or interested (chances of that random female villager ever showing up again to explore her feelings on the matter? zero. chances Zenitsu-- who was immediately promoted to main character status-- will hook up with the hot imouto once he's proven himself "worthy" by slicing things better with his magic sword?), but to present the "rock bottom" male caricature, the incel (who is secretly a chad), begging for crumbs instead of confidently taking what's rightfully his, as befits a badass soldier with a weapon. The truth to that dichotomy is that both extremes are complementary in the kind of gross conceptualization of masculinity which they represent; thus the trajectory I see for Zenitsu is is not one of learning to be better or more honorable in his interactions with women-- it's one of earning women by training himself to shoulder the burden of an assertive masculine identity.

MiloTheFirst wrote:
how did you even reach that conclusion? are you deliberately doing mental gymnastics? it is the complete oposite. beating the cowardice out of someone obviously doesn't work. just because gramps didn't know better doesn't mean the show is endorsing him, if anything it is low key commentary. if you pay attention you would realize that zenitsu already got that beating and as expected it only made things worse, present day zenitsu had not been said straight neither did he get any more nerve. his one OP technic is the result of him constantly practicing because he realized his teacher had not given up on him. but his backstory is actually meant to justify why he is that much of coward, because he was traumatically raised and trained under the archaic doctrine of his school.

I was responding to the review and aligning it with my previous experience watching this show; if there's a discrepancy between what was presented in the reviewer's reading and what actually occurred in this specific episode, you'll have to take it up with him, because as I've clearly stated, I already dropped it.

As far as I can glean, Zenitsu's instructor falls under the "misguided but well meaning" mentor type who is ultimately redeemed because his training ends up being useful/has the intended effect in a roundabout way. I'm not sure how you could qualify that as anything but an endorsement of his methods. Your own commentary highlights the contradictions within this narrative: Zenitsu was "traumatized" through his training but nevertheless seeks his teacher's approval and obsessively trains himself to live up to those expectations, coming out stronger for it all in the end. So while he may be superficially prone to fits and outbursts, he's actually a super soldier wild card who benefited from all that tough love in the long run. It's a pretty straightforward, uncomplicated trope.

MiloTheFirst wrote:
he carries her in a box becuase she is harmed by sunlight. why would Nezuko need to be anything more than a source of resolve? that's the whole reason tanjiro is in this journey, because he wants to cure and protect the only family he has left, further in, unlike him nezuko didn't resolve to become a warrior nor did she undergo any training, so why should tanjiro just set her lose in the battlefield? he is not treating her as a damsel in distress, he is treating her as a child, because that is what she is to him, his kid sister. would a warrior bring their kids to the battlefield unless he absolutely has to? then why should tanjiro?

I'm not going to derail down the rabbit hole of how utterly inane Nezuko's characterization is, especially not when you've inadvertently preempted me in making such a winning case for that argument. With relation to Zenitsu's development, though, I'm sure it will be very gratifying when she's allotted yet another supportive/background role to play out.

MiloTheFirst wrote:
that's just purposeful miss-characterization. to begin with when did tanjiro ever disrespect zenitsu? even when zenitsu was showing himself as his most disgraceful tanjiro just kept his opinion to himself. as I explained above, it isn't unbecoming of a man to show weakness, it is unbecoming of a warrior, one that already made a vow to protect the weak and unarmed. and also, tanjiro showed empathy to his enemies but he still ended up killing them, when zenitsu deserted his duty and refused to go into the Forrest tanjiro didn't force him to go nor threaten him, so what exactly is your point?

It's a running gag that Tanjirou has nothing but contempt for Zenitsu's "weakness" of openly displaying emotion, and the audience is supposed to be in on it 100%. Because it's funny to laugh at guys who get scared and cry about things, and go into histrionics over life-and-death situations! This has nothing to do with Zenitsu being a "warrior" and everything to do with him being (or needing to become) a "man," and if you haven't contemplated why Zenitsu wasn't written as a female character by this point then that should make my point plain enough.
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MiloTheFirst



Joined: 10 Dec 2014
Posts: 382
PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2019 9:39 pm Reply with quote
Alexis.Anagram wrote:

Before accusing others of doing "mental gymnastics," you might want to reconsider leading your counterargument with this kind of bad faith, spurious platitude.


says the person that began his previous argument with "That's an extremely warped, unhealthy and cynical idea of masculinity and what it means to be a "man," "

Quote:
Trying to make the case that this isn't a gendered statement, both in how James Beckett framed it in his review and how Demon Slayer's "warrior" culture is framed within the show itself, is foolhardy, if not disingenuous.


why?. In the same way that you originally declared it a gender thing just because. because you say so? bring me an actual argument then we can talk.

Quote:
The idea that adults are actualized through rigorous exposure to crisis and learning to "bite the bullet" is both false in its estimation of how humans mature, and an argument this series has been terrible at making from a dramatic standpoint.


what constitute becoming an adult is a legitimate debatable topic. that been said, if you had been watching this series in good faith you would realize my argument is in line with one of its major themes "the bond with family" and the implied responsibility seniors have toward their younger relatives, it has been a major part of this series, not just with tanjiro and nezuko, it has been present in every arc with several different characters

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Was he? The most "dishonorable" act Zenitsu committed was forcing himself onto a girl and begging for her to marry him


first, there we go again with the miss characterizations "forcing himself onto a girl" is a pretty ill intended description for what was basically the guy grasping at her ancle while being a really anoying inoffensive wimp. and as you can see the girl beat him up when she couldn't take any more of his crap, as it is reasonable, this wasn't a sexual harassment situation just some dude being really annoying. then, again, what wrong did tanjiro ever did to zenitsu?

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and the commentary I've seen around that basically boils down to, "Why doesn't he just grow some balls and stop asking."


whatever commentary you claim to have seen else in the web is irrelevant nor does it serve as a base for any argument about jame's review or the show's story telling. stop trying to derail the conversation.

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That's the entire reason I suspect he was characterized that way, not to provide valuable commentary on what it's like for women to have strange men assume they're available or interested (chances of that random female villager ever showing up again to explore her feelings on the matter? zero. chances Zenitsu-- who was immediately promoted to main character status-- will hook up with the hot imouto once he's proven himself "worthy" by slicing things better with his magic sword?), but to present the "rock bottom" male caricature, the incel (who is secretly a chad), begging for crumbs instead of confidently taking what's rightfully his, as befits a badass soldier with a weapon. The truth to that dichotomy is that both extremes are complementary in the kind of gross conceptualization of masculinity which they represent; thus the trajectory I see for Zenitsu is is not one of learning to be better or more honorable in his interactions with women-- it's one of earning women by training himself to shoulder the burden of an assertive masculine identity.


could it be that I just got it wrong and you are just trolling? the amount of fallacies I have to deal with in your comment is just discouraging but lets try at least.

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"not to provide valuable commentary on what it's like for women to have strange men assume they're available or interested "


the weak soldier asking random kind women to marry him before being sent off to die is just a cliche, this is just demon slayer utterly failing at humor as per usual. if we are forced to take this situation seriously (which we shouldn't), then, no one got groped, no one praised zenitsu for it, the woman in question only lost a couple minutes of her day by being hold up by some whining dude. trying to depict this as the show endorsing patriarchy or men forcing themselves on women is just ill willed at best

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"chances Zenitsu-- who was immediately promoted to main character status-- will hook up with the hot imouto once he's proven himself "worthy" by slicing things better with his magic sword?)"


zenitsu didn't receive any reward for being so obnoxious to the village girl, the one thing he obtained from the whole affair was giving tanjiro an awful first impression, yet you conveniently forget about this event when claiming that tanjiro being disgusted with zenitsu's attitude is unjustified. the series has not done anything at all to suggest that zenitsu and nezuko will become a couple, this is just you throwing bland accusations in order to derail the conversation further

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"but to present the "rock bottom" male caricature, the incel (who is secretly a chad), begging for crumbs instead of confidently taking what's rightfully his, as befits a badass soldier with a weapon. The truth to that dichotomy is that both extremes are complementary in the kind of gross conceptualization of masculinity which they represent"


I won't dignify this garbage propaganda with an answer

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"thus the trajectory I see for Zenitsu is is not one of learning to be better or more honorable in his interactions with women-- it's one of earning women by training himself to shoulder the burden of an assertive masculine identity."


I would call that just a baseless assumption but you have proven to be deliberately miss representing. don't need to counter this argument , anyone actually watching the show can tell it won't go that direction




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I was responding to the review and aligning it with my previous experience watching this show; if there's a discrepancy between what was presented in the reviewer's reading and what actually occurred in this specific episode, you'll have to take it up with him, because as I've clearly stated, I already dropped it.


no you weren't. your whole original post was referring exclusively to the story of the show, not once did you direct your criticism to jame's article. then you try to reflect any criticism towards him, have some shame. then, to take it a step further you gave such strong unapologetic declarations of the events of an episode you didn't even watch your self. again, have some shame

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As far as I can glean, Zenitsu's instructor falls under the "misguided but well meaning" mentor type who is ultimately redeemed because his training ends up being useful/has the intended effect in a roundabout way. I'm not sure how you could qualify that as anything but an endorsement of his methods. Your own commentary highlights the contradictions within this narrative: Zenitsu was "traumatized" through his training but nevertheless seeks his teacher's approval and obsessively trains himself to live up to those expectations, coming out stronger for it all in the end.


no, the matters are separate. jigoro's forceful methods were wrong and traumatic, and the show asserts it by showing us that present day zenitsu is all the more mentally damaged because of them. then, zenitsu became strong because he did in fact ended up training, he was forced to but the fact is he ended up training and thus gaining strength, his new strength is going to be there when he needs them whether he liked the training or not. then we are shown that zenitsu really appreciates his master not having given up on him. not once the show is telling you to like zenitsu's master, not once it is telling you that because zenitsu is now strong that automatically redeems the guy. it just reinforces further the nuance of the narration, filial relationships are complicated, one will cherish some memories of their guardians while loathing some others, not every experience between parent figure and child will be a positive one, because mentors don't automatically become perfect humans by default. at the end zenitsu will keep hating the guy for some stuff while loving him for others, because close relationships are like that.

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So while he may be superficially prone to fits and outbursts, he's actually a super soldier wild card who benefited from all that tough love in the long run. It's a pretty straightforward, uncomplicated trope.


I won't say demon slayer is 10/10 storytelling. but you are assuming a lot of stuff there. all we can tell from this episode is that zenitsu is really good at this really flashy skills, you claiming that he is a wild card super soldier is just another attempt at dissing the series. if you had watch the episode you would realize we were also shown the blatant flaw of this one technique who happens to be the only one he knows

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I'm not going to derail down the rabbit hole of how utterly inane Nezuko's characterization is, especially not when you've inadvertently preempted me in making such a winning case for that argument.


everyone here has their own critiques of how the show is handling Nezuko, but that doesn't mean the show not knowing what to do with her is of itself an statement of some patriarchal narrative which your original comment suggesting. also, you claiming you won an argument doesn't equal you winning such argument, not that it was ever a contest

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It's a running gag that Tanjirou has nothing but contempt for Zenitsu's "weakness" of openly displaying emotion, and the audience is supposed to be in on it 100%. Because it's funny to laugh at guys who get scared and cry about things, and go into histrionics over life-and-death situations!


fallacies, fallacies, fallacies. this is exhausting. the running gag is that zenitsu is an utter wimp, and in case you didn't notice almost everyone agrees that the series is no longer A+ material because of it. saying that tanjiro has nothing but contempt fot zenitsu is 1 not the joke, and 2 just false, if he has only contempt for the guy then why did he give him his lunch while starving himself instead of telling the guy to go kill himself? then if tanjiro considered zenitsu useless why does he keep trying to get him to help?. we were supposed to laugh at the guy being cartoonishly loud, obviously that didn't work as well as they expected. some one forgot to give the author the memo that it pressed a tonal discrepancy in an otherwise relatively serious story.

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This has nothing to do with Zenitsu being a "warrior" and everything to do with him being (or needing to become) a "man," and if you haven't contemplated why Zenitsu wasn't written as a female character by this point then that should make my point plain enough.


why? because you want to feel offended so badly? because you really want it to be so? please bring better argument next time. assuming this really wasn't just trolling
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KarlFranz



Joined: 17 Jun 2019
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2019 11:36 pm Reply with quote
Alexis.Anagram wrote:
Quote:
Jigoro rescued him from debt and worked tirelessly to literally beat the cowardice out of Zenitsu, and while Zenitsu admits that all of the beatings might have been a bit much, he's also deeply grateful to the one man who never abandoned him in disgust. Every time Zenitsu tried to weasel his way out of his duties, Jigoro would drag him back, because he could see the potential in Zenitsu to be a truly noble man, if only the boy would muster up the courage and willpower to live up to that promise.

That's an extremely warped, unhealthy and cynical idea of masculinity and what it means to be a "man," and it helps me put my finger on why Zenitsu's introduction (aside from the ugliness of his characterization) caused me to lose whatever goodwill I had left for the series prior to dropping it. The way that Tanjirou regards Zenitsu with such outright contempt for crying and whining about what are supposed to be legitimately terrifying circumstances while he literally carries his muted sister around stuffed in a box "for her own protection", the way the show exaggerates Zenitsu's complaints to connote them as cartoonish hyperbole (undercutting its own central premise that the demons are actually supposed to be frightening and deadly), and now this apparent backstory indicating that what Zenitsu really needs is a good beating to set him straight and give him some nerve so he can fulfill his archetypal function as He-Man: warrior and protector (any bets on how long it takes for Nezuko to be reduced to his female talisman of courage and resolve?) all point to a really regressive view of gender dynamics even by shonen anime standards.

Tanjirou has more respect and empathy for the demons that are going around murdering people than the guy who's worried those demons might murder him, because it's unbecoming of a man to have emotions he hasn't conquered. smh.


Wow, you would actually know that all your words are bullshit if you even bother to pay attention to the series. Tanjirou only show contemp with Zenitsu once it it was because he was blaming Tanjirou make him lost the chance with a girl and demand Tanjirou to help him find a wife. Other time he try to make Zenitsu stop bother the people they saved( the kids). In fact, Tanjirou show extreme respect for Zenitsu desicion, when Zenitsu too scare to enter the demon house and the demon forest, Tanjirou didn't berate Zenitsu over that, he respect that decision and told Zenitsu it's okay for him to stay if he too scare. If you saw that act as he showing contemp for Zenitsu then you is the one having problem here. Also, Nezuko can't go out in the sun and don't eat human so she have to sleep to recover her strength, that why she stay in the box most of time. Tanjirou is a big brother, the last thing he want is for his sister to get hurt, even if demon can regen limb, they can still feel pain. So if the MC is kind and don't want the last person in his family get hurt, then he must be sexist then. Seriously, what kind of thinking is that? It would be more offensive highly out of character for him to use his sister like some kind of Pokemon. Finally, the point of Zenitsu character is that he already the person he want to be, he just to insecure to realize that. He always act more courageous and better than he though he is.
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Alexis.Anagram



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 1:28 pm Reply with quote
@ MiloTheFirst, You seem to be committed to misreading my position point by point and engaging in unqualified speculation as to my motive (ad hominem, one of those fallacies you enjoy referencing) rather than addressing the merits of the discourse-- which indicates moreso a lack of comprehension on your part than a lack of articulation on mine. I'm not going to do your work for you: if you aren't willing to consider the inherently gendered structure of the series and the ways in which that might lead to criticism of it, there's no productive conversation to be had.

@ KarlFranz, I appreciate that there is an internal logic (however flimsy) driving the composition of the narrative and the dynamics between the characters, my concern is more to do with the meta process surrounding that: the decision on the part of the author to frame things in the way that she has and the manner in which the audience is predicted to respond. It's not an arbitrary toss of a coin that determined which roles would be played by which characters: there's a reason that Tanjirou is the master swordsman and Nezuko is the vulnerable archetype and not the reverse. By that same token, there's a reason that Zenitsu is written as a man and not as a woman. These characters represent genre tropes which the author has chosen to lean into: for me, that is a point of contention as I think there is a credible case to be made that the show is proposing unhealthy binaries in its view of men and women and their relative stations in society. For some, that is simply incidental to the genre: I tend not to concede that ground as a prerequisite to its accessibility. This show would be better if Nezuko was more of a dramatic force within it, and it would be better if Zenitsu was less of a Cowardly Lion, so its present commitment to the rigors of genre convention is only to its discredit.
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KarlFranz



Joined: 17 Jun 2019
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2019 2:11 am Reply with quote
Alexis.Anagram wrote:
@ MiloTheFirst, You seem to be committed to misreading my position point by point and engaging in unqualified speculation as to my motive (ad hominem, one of those fallacies you enjoy referencing) rather than addressing the merits of the discourse-- which indicates moreso a lack of comprehension on your part than a lack of articulation on mine. I'm not going to do your work for you: if you aren't willing to consider the inherently gendered structure of the series and the ways in which that might lead to criticism of it, there's no productive conversation to be had.

@ KarlFranz, I appreciate that there is an internal logic (however flimsy) driving the composition of the narrative and the dynamics between the characters, my concern is more to do with the meta process surrounding that: the decision on the part of the author to frame things in the way that she has and the manner in which the audience is predicted to respond. It's not an arbitrary toss of a coin that determined which roles would be played by which characters: there's a reason that Tanjirou is the master swordsman and Nezuko is the vulnerable archetype and not the reverse. By that same token, there's a reason that Zenitsu is written as a man and not as a woman. These characters represent genre tropes which the author has chosen to lean into: for me, that is a point of contention as I think there is a credible case to be made that the show is proposing unhealthy binaries in its view of men and women and their relative stations in society. For some, that is simply incidental to the genre: I tend not to concede that ground as a prerequisite to its accessibility. This show would be better if Nezuko was more of a dramatic force within it, and it would be better if Zenitsu was less of a Cowardly Lion, so its present commitment to the rigors of genre convention is only to its discredit.


Really, Nezuko the vulnerable type? In any case, she the muscle of the duo. Unlike her, Tanjirou can't regenerate his limbs. The swordman in this series can't ever hope to compete with demon in term of stamina, strength or durability They have to make up by being more skillful and more resourceful than the demon. And what exactly are these " unhealthy binaries in its view of men and women and their relative stations in society" ? Is it unhealthy cause Tanjirou act like a big brother cause he was the oldest of a family that just lost their father recently? Or because you thing how it potrait of Zenitsu being fearful is promoting the stereotypes of man have to be fearless? Tanjirou himself also fear for his life, Zenitsu's master even tell Zenitsu that it okay to fear as long as he never give up. The only one that don't afraid is Inosuke and it because he never face anything that stronger than him before. The message isn't that being afraid is bad, it's to not giving up even when you are afraid, that what true courage mean.Even in the original Wizard of Oz, where the Cowardly Lion trope got it name from, the lion didn't even a coward, he just felt ashamed that he felt fear during danger situations. One of my favorite character is Courage the Cowardly Dog, who despite afraid his own shadow still always try to protect his family. Or maybe it unhealthy cause the series put Nezuko in the role of a damsel in distress even through she never been capture before and actually stand her ground again that one demon. Tanjirou journey is to cure his sister by learning more about demon and the demon slayer while Nezuko is about control her demonic urge while learn to control it power. The series theme around family bond and the ideas of karma in Buddhism and somehow you came to the conclusion that it proposing unhealthy binaries in its view of men and women and their relative stations in society.
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Alexis.Anagram



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2019 1:37 pm Reply with quote
@ KarlFranz, You're trying to have it both ways. Nezuko is both an extremely strong demon whom Tanjirou can't ever hope to compete with, but also a little sister who needs to be protected and kept secure from danger. Nezuko's story is about learning to control her demon nature, but that same dynamic also requires her to either be entirely removed from or extremely limited in her participation in the ongoing narrative. Tanjirou is on a journey to "cure" his sister, but his sister barely factors into the progression of that journey; her feelings, thoughts, and perspective are never addressed in a meaningful way and she has virtually no will or direction of her own. She's infantilized, even animalized, into a state of near total dependency upon Tanjirou, and while that's meant to be understood as the nature of her condition the fact is her condition was deliberately plotted so as to put her in a position in which she effectively has no agency. Her vulnerability is in every way emphasized over her capability: she is "allowed" to participate in battles when Tanjirou instructs her to do so, but outside of that her presence is symbolic of basic feminine tropes of virtue and victimization.

There's nothing wrong with a story exploring the seeming dichotomy between fear and courage, but framing is everything, and Demon Slayer frames the battlefield and the confrontation of fear which it represents as an explicitly male-dominated arena; and, as an extension of that approach, holds diversions from the normative masculine expectation of strength through perseverance in contempt. Zenitsu is indicative of this for the reasons I've already addressed. Inosuke (what little I saw of him) appears to be another example of how hyper-masculinity is regarded as a superior trait. The only characters who ran counter to this (and I believe I noted it at the time) were the two false elite baddies who were dispatched quickly and with little consequence; even then the "rugged, out of control woman" is set up to be overcome by the "respectable, restrained female." There may or may not have been an intentional statement embedded within that, but it's certainly questionable as a coincidence.
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KarlFranz



Joined: 17 Jun 2019
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 02, 2019 12:29 am Reply with quote
Alexis.Anagram wrote:
@ KarlFranz, You're trying to have it both ways. Nezuko is both an extremely strong demon whom Tanjirou can't ever hope to compete with, but also a little sister who needs to be protected and kept secure from danger. Nezuko's story is about learning to control her demon nature, but that same dynamic also requires her to either be entirely removed from or extremely limited in her participation in the ongoing narrative. Tanjirou is on a journey to "cure" his sister, but his sister barely factors into the progression of that journey; her feelings, thoughts, and perspective are never addressed in a meaningful way and she has virtually no will or direction of her own. She's infantilized, even animalized, into a state of near total dependency upon Tanjirou, and while that's meant to be understood as the nature of her condition the fact is her condition was deliberately plotted so as to put her in a position in which she effectively has no agency. Her vulnerability is in every way emphasized over her capability: she is "allowed" to participate in battles when Tanjirou instructs her to do so, but outside of that her presence is symbolic of basic feminine tropes of virtue and victimization.

There's nothing wrong with a story exploring the seeming dichotomy between fear and courage, but framing is everything, and Demon Slayer frames the battlefield and the confrontation of fear which it represents as an explicitly male-dominated arena; and, as an extension of that approach, holds diversions from the normative masculine expectation of strength through perseverance in contempt. Zenitsu is indicative of this for the reasons I've already addressed. Inosuke (what little I saw of him) appears to be another example of how hyper-masculinity is regarded as a superior trait. The only characters who ran counter to this (and I believe I noted it at the time) were the two false elite baddies who were dispatched quickly and with little consequence; even then the "rugged, out of control woman" is set up to be overcome by the "respectable, restrained female." There may or may not have been an intentional statement embedded within that, but it's certainly questionable as a coincidence.


Wow, you really didn't pay any attention to the show then. Becasue every point you have can be prove to be BS if you pay attention to the story:
1. Nezuko have no agency: Did you watch when Tamayo offer to take care of Nezuko and Tanjirou was contemplate to let Nezuko stay with her for her own safety? it Nezuko who change his mind. Nezuko also chose to view Tamayo as human and protect her ever if she a demon.Also she can get out of the box whenever she want, as demonstrate in the Swamp Demon fight. Just because she don't talk doesn't mean that she don't express emotion, she does through her action.
2.Tanjirou want to protect her: of course he is. He her [expletive] brother, she is his only remaining family member. That the point of the story. Even if she a demon with super strength and a hunger for human, she still his sister. It like the parents will always see their child as children even if they are older. It stupid and inconsistent for the character who entire motivation is saving his sister than suddenly throw her into danger.
3. Again, where is this contemp for Zenitsu by the show come from? The only character we saw show contempt for his fearful nature is the people he bother and harrass( the girl we saw him with when he first show up) and his senior in the flashback. the former is justified while the latter is clearly showed to be in the wrong. The show said that being afraid is okay and there nothing to be ashamed about that. Courage the Cowardly dog also a comedy show and frame Courage moment of coward as comedy, yet it message still clear and resonate, so calling Zenitsu fearfulness being frame as comedy mean that the show is showing contemp for that fact is just wrong.
4. Inosuke (what little I saw of him) appears to be another example of how hyper-masculinity is regarded as a superior trait: What? Did you miss the fact that he basically Tarzan with little to none understanding of human society. The show frame his issue that is one of ignorance of the world due to isolation. his recklessness lead to him been wounded and nearly killed if Tanjirou wasn't there. It didn't show that his trait is superior, it show that each characters have their own problem to work with
5.Did you even watch the fight with the "two false elite baddies". It not that Tamayo defeated her, it Muzan curse that placed on all of the demon that killed her. It show that demon in general just a tool to Muzan even though most of them idolize him.
6. Also, did you miss the fact that demon eat people, it not about "rugged, out of control woman" is set up to be overcome by the "respectable, restrained female.", it about those have lost their humanity and embracing their monsterhood being overcome by those still cling on to their humanity. In that fight, it the villains monsterhood, the curse that Muzan place on them when he turned them into demon was their undoing.
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Alexis.Anagram



Joined: 26 Jan 2011
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2019 11:03 am Reply with quote
To begin with, none of the moments you reiterated really stand apart as dramatically significant; my point was not that Nezuko never does anything (clearly, she does) but that her actions are not weighted or represented with the impact or importance of Tanjirou's or Zenitsu's in terms of progressing her character or the story as a whole. She's a glorified sidekick to Tanjirou at best, and the fact that she elects to stick with him instead of seeking out a different path only emphasizes the extent to which she is dependent upon her attachment to Tanjirou and how it's his actions that are predicted to determine her fate.

KarlFranz wrote:
of course he is. He her [expletive] brother, she is his only remaining family member. That the point of the story.

Right, and I would contend that the point of the story hinges on diminishing Nezuko's role within it when that doesn't have to be the case. If the story is about familial bonds and the natural desire of siblings to care for one another, that could be exemplified much more fruitfully through a narrative in which both the brother and sister are equally equipped to do so, and have an equal stake in driving the outcome of their efforts. I thought that was the premise of this show going in: the first episode seemed to point to that potential, but it got further and further away from that until it became clear that Nezuko is a narrative prop for Tanjirou and little else. There's no complexity to her-- she's purely functional, fighting demons every so often when the scene calls for it, acting cute so Tanjrou and the audience are reminded that she is the little sister character, and otherwise having limited to no interaction with the turning of the plot's wheels. It would be great to see Nezuko actually struggle with her demon instincts and fight for her own humanity; instead we've seen her sleep, get brainwashed, play kickball, and make the occasional puppy dog eyes. Beyond the question of how her portrayal leans into gender conventions, she's just a boring character and consistently represents the nadir of the show's already impotent writing: which is pretty damning considering she's supposed to be one of the main protagonists.

On the question of Zenitsu's characterization
I'm sorry, but the reading you put forward is simply too generous and selective. From his introduction through the first story incorporating him, the entire motif driving Zenitsu's characterization is that his antics are annoying/embarrassing to the people around him and they're intended to annoy the audience as well. Zenitsu himself even acknowledges this: he's aware that he's a miserable coward and that the people around him have no respect for him because of it (whether it's Tanjirou, the girl he was harassing, or even the little boy he's charged with protecting in the mansion). Not only is this played for laughs and he's basically made a mockery for it, but the show's clear answer to this dilemma is that Zenitsu should get better at fighting and grow some backbone in order to earn the respect of others: the gendered subtext underscoring this is that Zenitsu is acting "unmanly" in his fear and needs to earn a place in the male pantheon of heroes who kill things good, or else he's pretty much worthless, girls won't like him, and he deserves to be abandoned (basically, "why can't you be more like Tanjirou?"). His own conception of himself is only incorrect because he hasn't yet become aware of his own potential to do just that-- not because the show has any interest in validating his fears and general emotionality as healthy or, at the very least, self-justified.


Inosuke
Superior does not mean invincible; furthermore, your comments here make my case for me. Inosuke is a character who is strong because of his wild, untamed bloodlust and love for battle, and his weakness is only that his fighting instinct hasn't been channeled through proper training and guidance to give it a more targeted effect. In other words, Inosuke as a character will not be expected to temper his eagerness to draw his sword in order to improve as a slayer, he just needs to learn how to maximize his chances to kill when he does so.

That's not really a problem or a surprise for a show called "Demon Slayer," and my only real issue with Inosuke was that he was just as obnoxious as Zenitsu for me, but it still stands as additional context lending credence to the gendered dynamics coloring the show's characters.

Humanity VS demon curse
In this case a woman's retention of humanity is depicted through a maintained affiliation with the conventional feminine qualities of humility, beauty and polite intelligence, while a woman's loss of humanity is connoted via the degrading of such feminine features and a shift towards a kind of monstrous masculinity. Again, it may be that the author had no intention of insinuating that juxtaposition, but the normative conceptualization of the characters caused it to present nonetheless. That's the trouble with chauvinism: sometimes it just slips out.
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Probablytomorrow



Joined: 04 Aug 2019
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2019 12:17 am Reply with quote
@ Alexis.Anagram
I'm going to assume you didn't watch episode 13 at all. It's the only conclusion I can reach after reading your argument, since it runs so completely contrary to that episode's content. In that episode, Inosuke beats an unarmed Zenitsu to a bloody pulp, calls him spineless, and tries to kill him. The show very clearly wants us to be on Zenitsu's side in the scene, and disgusted with Inosuke. The show is not taking sides against Zenitsu, nor is it glorifying Inosuke's eagerness to fight. In its own roundabout way, I think the show is defending Zenitsu's behavior, by saying that no one deserves to be bullied over not wanting to fight.
This is the difference between reading an episode review as a companion to watching the show, and reading it instead of watching the show. You miss the stuff that is so obvious that the reviewer doesn't even bother pointing it out.
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AA751



Joined: 13 Nov 2017
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2019 8:27 pm Reply with quote
I reckon that Nezuka is going to pop out of the box very soon to save her brother's skin. Not only because he's lost his sword, and he's basically run out of options, but it fits the theme of family and it would be fitting to show what healthy bonds of family can do.

I wouldn't also be surprised that this when Giyu turns up and he gets to see how much the the bond between Tanjiro and Nezuko has grown and it wasn't a mistake to spare her all that time back.

Well, I hope that happens, it seems to be something that this arc is leading to.
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ThatMoonGuy



Joined: 13 Oct 2017
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2019 9:04 pm Reply with quote
Alexis.Anagram wrote:
Right, and I would contend that the point of the story hinges on diminishing Nezuko's role within it when that doesn't have to be the case. If the story is about familial bonds and the natural desire of siblings to care for one another, that could be exemplified much more fruitfully through a narrative in which both the brother and sister are equally equipped to do so, and have an equal stake in driving the outcome of their efforts.


Not gonna disagree with this particular point. Nezuko is a character that's not very well handled by the author. She does, however, try to fix that many times in the manga. What I don't agree is with the gender convention part. Not totally, at least. There are a few things I find objectionable in the series but most of those haven't come up yet. The conflict between Tamayo and Susamaru (the ball demon) wasn't about proper and improper women as much as the conflict between Tanjiro and the Swamp Demon or Drum demon wasn't about different types of masculinity. Susamaru was a demon and acted in a savage way, same as the Drum demon and swamp demon. I can see how one would read her coding as a more physically imposing female can be read as you said, which is unfortunate, but I wouldn't say it was intentional on Gotouge's part.



Alexis.Anagram wrote:
On the question of Zenitsu's characterization
I'm sorry, but the reading you put forward is simply too generous and selective. From his introduction through the first story incorporating him, the entire motif driving Zenitsu's characterization is that his antics are annoying/embarrassing to the people around him and they're intended to annoy the audience as well.


This is a misreading of the argument the series' was trying to make. Zenitsu is a coward and that's put as a negative thing, that much is true. But I'd say this doesn't have anything to do with him not being a prototypical male figure who gets things done and cuts enemies without mercy. This explicitly contradicts many of the things the series says. Zenitsu's behaviour is meant to be laughable because he's a Demon Slayer. His job is to fight monsters. He being a coward is like a fire fighter being afraid of fire or a medic being afraid of blood. If they can't even do that much why are they even wasting people's time? And not to mention how annoying he gets when women are involved.

Your reading about Inosuke also isn't right. He's a wild child, an hyperaggressive idiot who doesn't know the first thing about social behaviour. Yet, we've been seeing him warming to people and peacefully recalling the gentleness he was shown. This is something that becomes more pronounced later in the series. His fundamental nature may remain unchanged but he does larn how to be more respectful to people and just get 'softer'.

Alexis.Anagram wrote:
Humanity VS demon curse
In this case a woman's retention of humanity is depicted through a maintained affiliation with the conventional feminine qualities of humility, beauty and polite intelligence, while a woman's loss of humanity is connoted via the degrading of such feminine features and a shift towards a kind of monstrous masculinity.


I can see where this comes from and understand how that can be an issue. But the thing is that most demons become more 'wild' than when they were human. In this case, it manifested as physicality but it doesn't always happen like this. There are other female demons in the series that show different characteristics, some of which are overtly coded as feminine and even hyperfeminine. Your argument makes sense given some of what has been shown but does not necessarily hold when you take more of the material into account. Then again, some of those hyperfeminine portrayals can be problematic on their own.

All that said, I do thake issue with some of the portrayals in the series, too. Some of the villains are coded in a very... effeminate way that always makes me uneasy and while there are a lot of males that are soft spoken and definetely not very phisycally imposing, I wouldn't necessarily disagree that this series holds a rather conservative view on gender roles. It wouldn't say this in regards to masculinity since gentleness, compassion and empathy are things that the series values a lot but more in regards to feminine roles. I feel this is specially a shame since Gotouge is one of the few women to make a splash in Shonen Jump in recent years. There's also Posuka Demizu and Shiro Usazaki but they're "just" illustrators while Gotouge both writes and draws.

tl;dr: I don't think you're off base but I do feel like many of your conclusions are being made a tad too soon.
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