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Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Hashira Training Arc
Episode 5

by James Beckett,

How would you rate episode 5 of
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Hashira Training Arc ?
Community score: 3.6

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“I Even Ate Demons” is yet another entry in this seemingly endless cycle of Tanjiro wandering around and getting a bunch of individual training sessions out of all the Hashira's we've kinda-sorta gotten to know over the years. That said, it feels significantly more substantial than the complete time-killer that was last week's episode, to the point where I feel mostly positive about it despite the return of my most despised and eternal nemesis. We don't have to talk about him yet, though.

Before we have to deal with…his return, the audience and Tanjiro get to spend some time with Kanroji, Obanai, and Sanemi Shinaguzawa. These different training sessions are of varying length and quality—with Kanroji's being the most clearly disposable of the bunch. Half of its incredibly short runtime consists of recycling the ending scene from last week, and after that, all we get is one bit where Tanjiro eats pancakes and then another one where Kanroji splits a poor trainee's groin in two while she instructs our boy in the way of yoga. It's all fine. I get that Kanroji is, by her very nature, not a character that demands a lot of development or examination but I honestly would have rather the show killed a bunch of time with a Love Hashira filler episode than the lame paper plane crap that we had to deal with last week. Kanroji could become an interesting character with more depth than a pot-hole puddle… you know, if Demon Slayer ever bothered to try.

Instead, we're simply whisked off to the next Hashira on Tanjiro's list, Obanai, aka the dude who I've just been calling Snake Guy since my brain can't be convinced to remember his name no matter how many times I bother to look it up. To Demon Slayer's credit, this is the first of these training sequences that actually manages to be compelling—as it makes the crazy decision to actually challenge Tanjiro in some visible manner. I'm not going to act like watching him figure out the crazy torture-rack katana maze that Snake Guy has built is anything especially brilliant or unexpected. However, it's the only time during this Training Arc that Tanjiro was learning something. Plus, it was cute how jealous Snake Guy got over Tanjiro getting attention from Kanjiro. Gotta love a Weird Little Jelly Bean Dude in an anime!

Alas, for as much as I loved the tension that comes from the next training session, where Tanjiro finds himself stuck in the middle of Genya and Sanemi's very violent sibling spat—all of the surprising amount of legitimate drama comes with one soul-curdling setback: Zenitsu. For some reason, Demon Slayer decided that this half of the episode, which is the closest I've come to giving a damn about any of these side-stories since the season began, just needed to be spiced with a bunch of Zenitsu screeching and hollering. As I have been saying for years, now, there has never been any scene, in any story, from any anime, that would be improved with more Zenitsu. Zenitsu is a poison that kills everything he touches. It would be a massive improvement if you went into every scene that Zenitsu has ever appeared in, replaced him with a bunch of poorly photoshopped stock photos of naked mole rats, and then overdubbed all of his lines with the sounds of soccer fans going buck wild with their vuvuzelas.

That said, Zenitsu spends almost the entire episode fearing for his life and then he nearly gets knocked out cold by Genya. I like it when Zenitsu gets punched. So long as at least 70% of Zenitsu's screen time consists of him being forced to endure a fraction of the torture he puts us through whenever he shows up on screen, I can be convinced to accept how unwatchable those scenes continue to be. I won't ever forgive them. But I will accept them.

Rating:

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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