Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Entertainment District Arc
by James Beckett,
How would you rate episode 7 of
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Entertainment District Arc ?
Community score: 4.2
”Layered Memories" was an incredible showcase episode for Demon Slayer, full stop. I was curious, then, to see how the show would follow up such a confident display of carnage and spectacle, and whether or not this week's episode would come close to matching its predecessor in sheer entertainment value. Well, “Transformation” has plenty of carnage and spectacle, so I can't complain too much on that front. It also has a bunch of weird shit going on, too, and it's the weird shit that has me feeling much more dubious.
For one, we have to talk about Nezuko. Last week, I was so excited that she got to rip off that damned muzzle and get to some ass-kicking for once, though I was even more excited at the prospect of Nezuko finally getting some character development after all this time. What do we get this week? An admittedly cool couple of extra scenes of Nezuko whooping Daki's ass (and with partially severed blood limbs, no less!), and then a whole lot of the same old same old.
A cheesy and completely unnecessary interlude from one of Tanjiro's ghost siblings? Check. A whole bunch of Tanjiro trying to hold back Nezuko while she mindlessly lusts after the sweet blood of the innocent? Check. Nezuko transforming back into a baby and immediately being put back in the box for the umpteenth time? That's a wheelbarrow full of checks, right there.
I'm just getting sick of how Nezuko is only ever treated as a get-out-of-dying-free card before getting stuffed away again, and the only bone that Demon Slayer has ever thrown her way is a couple of flashbacks and dream sequences where she's cast as this perfect little cherub of goodness and whatever. Demon Slayer has plenty of characters that are fun, cool, or exciting to watch in a battle (and also there's Zenitsu). I just wouldn't mind if there were more than one or two characters in the main cast that felt like more than jokes or simple Archetypes.
Then there's the way that “Transformation" handles Daki's character, which…okay, on paper, I really dig the idea of an emaciated murder brother that just creeps up out of Daki's flesh. That's just the sort of generally neat, gross, and weird dose of body horror that I love to see in my action anime. What I don't like is how Daki's brother comes out after Uzui shows up and basically negs Daki into submission, causing her decapitated head to thrash about in a childish tantrum until Gyutaro comes out. Then, Gyutaro proceeds to insult and belittle Daki more, even as he threatens Uzui with an imminent disemboweling courtesy of his gnarly sickles.
In other words, we have yet another instance of Demon Slayer taking a really promising concept and undercutting it with lame attempts at really broad and out-of-place comedy. Comedy is subjective, of course, and clearly there are a great many fans of Demon Slayer who don't mind its abrupt and very loud shifts in tone and tenor. It often falls flat for me, though, especially in the middle of what is supposed to be an intense and dramatic battle. I don't hate the basic concept of jokes, obviously, and I usually don't mind when a serious story uses a bit of levity to keep things fresh. I just wish Demon Slayer knew how to use its humor well.
That said, I'm still giving “Transformation” a decent score because, as is often the case, Demon Slayer is still really enjoyable to watch, even when a lot of its writing choices are actively lame and unfunny. What can I say? A bad script can get away with a lot when you're constantly being distracted by cool action and geysers of gore. Gyutaro is an interesting addition to this fight, if nothing else, and I'll bet that things are going to be even “flashier" when he starts trying to rip a few new orifices into each of our heroes. Still, great production values will only save a weak story for so long, so hopefully this Entertainment District Arc will have a few more tricks up its sleeve to bust out before things start to get stale.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Entertainment District Arc is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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