Fans of guts and heart alike will find something to love in Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, as it continues its wild ride of spectacle and intrigue. This week, Andy and Steve geek out over their favorite moments in ufotable's blockbuster adaptation so far.
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Hey Andy, I have a lot of nice things to say about Demon Slayer, but more than anything, I'm impressed by how well this story set during the Taisho period manages to capture the mood of being alive in 2019.
This is truer than I'd like to admit, especially when it captures so well what keeps us going:
food and monster girls.
But we've got a lot to talk about before swooning over girls that can tear us apart with their six arms, because so much has happened since we last checked in with Demon Slayer!
Tanjiro finished his training!
We got some Creepy Twins!
And this guy!
And Taisho-era memes!
Yeah, from a narrative standpoint Demon Slayer has been playing pretty close to the shounen template, with all the good and bad that comes with the territory.
On the good side, demons! We got us some demons.
Finally! I mean, the show is called Demon Slayer, so I was going to be disappointed if we didn't start seeing more demons that needed slaying. And this handful of opening acts has certainly delivered the creativity and weirdness I was hoping for.
The tip of the iceberg is a giant mass of arms that shoots out more arms, which means our starting point is about 3/4 of the way through a Dark Souls game.
He's got that Dark Souls NPC smugness down pat too.
Look, he's had like forty years of vengeful child murder to get it down right. And that reminds me of another thing Demon Slayer has blessed us with: ghosts!
Admittedly, it's hard for friendly ghosts to make much impact compared to man-eating demons with Stand powers, but yes ghosts.
It feels off-kilter at first, when we think demons are just your garden-variety cannibalistic vampires, but it clicks a lot more once we get into the wackier variations on their species.
Structurally speaking, it's a neat way to tie Tanjiro's training arc up with a bow, with his final exam being to slay the demon who murdered all of the other students that Tengu Grandpa has been taking under his wing and inadvertently sending to their deaths. It's only right that some of those other students lend him a hand, even if it's a spectral one.
It's also our first introduction to how horrific these demon fights are gonna get. While Tanjiro's last tussle with a demon had some slapstick elements, we got way more of the horror this time around. Especially as the demon bragged about his encounters with those past students.
Yeah, that sequence does NOT pull punches.
It's one thing to know those kids have become ghosts, but it's another to actually see their stylized deaths.
That's one thing I'm really enjoying about Demon Slayer. It doesn't shy away from being gore-tastic, and I imagine that's only gonna get more intense as the demons Tanjiro faces get stronger and stronger. It's definitely not for everyone, but so far I think it's done a good job spicing its fights up with more specific attention to the physical reality of dealing with these monsters.
We're somewhere between Resident Evil and Cronenberg, which is pretty astounding for a Shonen Jump series.
Yes, Cronenberg is totally the flavor of body horror it seems to be going for, and I'm here for it. This fight also gives us our proper introduction to Tanjiro's water-breathing sword technique, which both looks cool as heck AND gets the job done
Gonna give ufotable a lot of praise for this. Looking at the manga, it's hard to tell how it'd even be possible to animate some of those style choices, but they're doing a helluva job with all of Tanjiro's water moves. I hope future styles get similar treatment, like the glimpse we get of Tamayo's illusions.
And on a related note, those are created by some truly great gore.
The show's aesthetic is just so lovely overall. The bright saturated colors combined with all this gory surreal imagery make Demon Slayer easily stand out from the crowd. I haven't read much of the manga, but the folks at ufotable have definitely done a commendable job translating everything into color.
I'm in awe of the various ways they depict the things Tanjiro smells as their own distinct patterns.
I love that the artistic influences seem to span everything from ukiyo-e to Salad Fingers.
I am here for Gotoge bringing back all the ancient eras of art, from Edo to Newgrounds.
All Tanjiro faces are blessed.
Some quite literally more than others.
With the introduction of other non-violent demons, we are very much towing the line that it's not being a demon that makes you a monster, it's forgetting your humanity.
Forgetting your humanity or being just the hugest creep.
Okay yeah, that was a demon I was happy to see Tanjiro shut up.
That brings us back around to the fact that it's not necessarily the fault of the demons for succumbing to bloodlust. The real problem is this dude who I already know too many people want to fuck.
Ah yes, the King of Pop(ping dudes' brains out
of their heads).
Come now, he's just your average super-dapper family man! (Who preys on the weak and desperate and replaces their worries with nothing but an obsession over survival and power.)
I was surprised to see the big villain show up so soon, but his introduction basically being "u mad?" is too perfect to pass up.
Especially when combined with an "oh no, he mad" directly after. Big tip: never suggest Kibutsuji is not in perfect health at all times.
God that was disgusting (and beautiful).
So yeah, homeboy WANTS TO LIVE FOREVER, and he's not exactly subtle about how his lingering mortality bothers the hell out of him.
The dude's clearly not gonna stop trying for his goals, and he has the power to turn anybody into a stupidly powerful demon or cause every cell in their bodies to break down on a molecular level. Plus he wears a fedora. He's bad news all around!
As shitty as the guy is, I gotta admire some
of his handiwork.
Girls with beefy arms: hello
Girls with SIX beefy arms: HELLO
This is the Spider-Man sequel we deserve.
Spiderverse 2 better give us this or they're all cowards.
You hear that, Sony? BRING IT. Blow our minds.
So yeah, demons are bad news, but luckily Tanjiro has mystical powers on his side. And I don't mean his magic swordplay, I mean Nezuko's powerful kicks.
Her rigorous exercise routine is paying off!
It's highly effective training! ...Most of the time.
The gore slapstick is so high level. I'm so proud of Demon Slayer for delivering.
Between that and Tanjiro going on a roller coaster ride of pain, the Arrow/Temari demon fight is fantastic so far. It literally has pinball noises as our poor boy smacks into things over and over.
Yeah, so this dude has eyeballs in his hands that seem to be able to manipulate momentum, which manifests itself as these bright red WordArt arrows. I mean, let's call a spade a spade: that's a Stand. He has a Stand.
And his fight with Tanjiro is full of this JoJo's caliber beautiful bullshit. I want so much more of this!
I believe last time
we did this, I gave you the description of "Jojo's but if the heroes had continued to use Hamon".
And it has not disappointed in the follow-through.
It's a great balance of borrowing strengths from existing material while putting its own spin on things.
(No pun intended.)
I love fights that are visually dynamic but also have this element of puzzle solving, and if Demon Slayer can keep this level of creativity up, I'm totally in it for the long haul. Or just keep delivering beefy monster girls. That'd be good too.
I am happy to say that we'll be together on that long haul. Also may I interest you in more Nezuko faces?
I will say on that note that my major disappointment so far is Nezuko's lack of proactivity. Having her nap for two straight years so Tanjiro could do things was a pretty shitty narrative choice.
That's a fair complaint, and I wouldn't levy it solely against Nezuko. I mean, remember these weirdos who showed up for a single scene several episodes ago?
Especially this one.
Yeah! I wanna see more of the other demon slayers soon. Especially the dude with the boar head who's only been in the OP so far but I can already tell I will love.
He is my blessed pig son. Demon Slayer has a bangin' OP, but it does commit the anime crime of making you want to see everything that it's hinting at ASAP. By the same token, I give Demon Slayer credit for spending so much time in Tanjiro's head. His perspective and empathy gives us that injection of pure heart from the get-go, which matters a lot to a shonen jump story.
He's a very good boy, and I wish nothing but the best for him, even though I know he's voiced by Natsuki Hanae and thus irrevocably doomed.
If he were alone I'd agree, but this ain't your loner Hanae. He's got someone watching his back.
Bless these dorks.
I absolutely love Demon Slayer. and as long as we keep getting these good feelings, good fights, and of course the good gore, I'm gonna keep on smiling.