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Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Hashira Training Arc
Episode 3

by James Beckett,

How would you rate episode 3 of
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Hashira Training Arc ?
Community score: 3.6


Hoo boy, this season of Demon Slayer is going to be really hard to write about, isn't it?

I've been doing this job for a long time, and one of the most consistent rules of writing criticism, at least for me, is that the graph of “How Fun and Interesting Is It to Write About This Anime” is a horseshoe-shaped curve. When something is really well-executed and compelling, it lends itself to analysis and reflection, and the same goes for when a work fails in a significant or very obvious manner that drags the whole production down. It's all the stuff in the middle depths of that curve, though, that can be really hard to cover in any meaningful or clever way. How much can a guy be expected to say about the fifty-eighth episode of a television series that leaves the barest minimum amount of impact needed to be considered vaguely “okay”?

Here's the thing: I actually think Demon Slayer is at its best when it is prioritizing its “vibes” over its long-running narrative and major character arcs—if only because it isn't very good at either of those two core storytelling components. When it comes to vibes, though, Demon Slayer does pretty danged alright for itself, and “Fully Recovered Tanjiro Joins the Hashira Training!!” is nothing but chill-ass vibes from stem to stern. Just like it says in the title, this episode focuses almost exclusively on Tanjiro diving headfirst into life at the training camp that the Demon Slayer Corps is so hellbent on building up before Muzan gets the chance to do… whatever it is he is planning on doing.

(By the by, I know I cannot be the only one who finds it weird that the main villain of this entire series—the dude whose evil machinations are the driving force behind everything the DSC is up to right now—has barely had any screentime in what feels like forever.)

The point is, I'm not against the notion of an episode where Tanjiro just kind of hangs out with all of the side characters for a bit. Despite the ostensibly world-threatening stakes, Tanjiro is as happy as a pig in shit to be running drills and eating in the mess hall with his fellow Corps members. With our main character treating this entire experience like an all-expenses-paid vacation, Demon Slayer itself has no problem cranking up the Comfy Knob and just going with the flow. It's nice to see more of Tengen and His Absurdly Happy Harem; it was cute, too, the way that the episode paid off the noodle contest between Tanjiro and Giyu from last week. Oh, and what's this I hear? Is that the blessed silence that comes from Zenitsu still being left in whatever off-screen pit he's been mercifully consigned to? Demon Slayer, I am normally against taking bribes, but you'll continue to earn your bonus stars from me every single week if you keep this up!

So, yes, this episode was cozy enough to keep me pleasantly distracted for around twenty-two minutes or so, plus or minus the times that I paused the show to change over my laundry and reorganize the spices in my kitchen cabinets. That said, at the end of the day, this is an episode that is merely designed to kill time—and that's really saying something when you consider how much of the Hashira Training Arc has been positively brimming with action and thrills so far. Nothing of real consequence happens and it isn't like the cast of Demon Slayer possesses the hidden depths of character and chemistry that would make a more “slice-of-life” episode feel satisfying on its own. Instead, all we get is about twenty minutes worth of pretty pictures and decently acted scenes of small talk that are just serviceable enough to keep you from turning off the episode and finding something better to do with your time. That might make for an episode of Demon Slayer that is technically successful at what it sets out to do but when the bar is being set so low, is that something worth celebrating?


Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Hashira Training Arc is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

James is a writer with many thoughts and feelings about anime and other pop-culture, which can also be found on Twitter, his blog, and his podcast.

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