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This Week in Anime
Why Demon Slayer Needs More Nezuko

by Nicholas Dupree & Monique Thomas,

The latest arc of Demon Slayer has introduced some great new characters and villains, but the newest episodes proves that keeping Nezuko in the box is a missed opportunity.

This series is streaming on Funimation and Crunchyroll

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the participants in this chatlog are not the views of Anime News Network.
Spoiler Warning for discussion of the series ahead.

@Lossthief @mouse_inhouse @NickyEnchilada @vestenet

Alright Nicky, we've put it off long enough. It's time to talk about the biggest, hottest, most anticipated media released last year: Tengen Uzui's mixtape
I know that's a joke but honestly?! Yeah, I'd listen to it...
His Kanye covers slap, I tell ya.
Anyways, for those late to the party, we're here and ready to face off with Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Entertainment District Arc!
It took two months of rehashing the Mugen Train arc, but we're finally moving on from that story and the loss of Rengoku! With a new Hashira mentor, a new setting, and a brand spankin' new demon to slay! ...after roughly 30 minutes of everyone crying over Rengoku again.
I definitely cried for more than 30 minutes. That first double episode was hard for me to watch because I was so tired from gestures all of the past two years that I couldn't not let it get to me. It might be my favorite part of the season so far even if it does take a little long and feels more like ANOTHER extension of the movie rather than part of this new arc proper.
I'm sorry but I just cannot get on board the Rengoku train. He's fine. He's fine! He's fine. But between the Mugen Train movie and this, it felt like I spent six months watching these characters mourn him and I was ready to just move on, not meet his shitty dad.
To summarize, Tanjiro and The Boiz returned to the Butterfly House to recover but he eventually gets lead by Rengoku's crow to his shitty alcoholic former Hashira dad's house and his dad yells at Tanjiro about Sun Breathing and then Tanjiro de-escalates by headbutting the shit out of him. And then everyone cries!

I hadn't watched any Demon Slayer since the movie hit theaters so it was a big wallop for me, but its real function is to tie up that thread while also giving Tanjiro a lead on his family's history.
Really gotta hand it to the show: they make their bad dad real damn bad. Guy's first present day appearance is him drunkenly picking a fight with a teenager's birthmark because he thinks it's making fun of him.

There's having a chip on your shoulder and then there's getting into a fist fight with a minor's forehead in front of your own son.
He's just living off of booze and copium fumes at this point. I was more touched by Rengoku's younger brother, too weak to really avenge his sibling but deciding to step away from the cycle of violence by doing things in his own way, and this being framed as like, a good thing. Especially when it also involves helping Tanjiro get the information he needs after his dad destroyed all of the IMPORTANT PLOT BOOK.

It's a nice moment, and another thematic thread I wish Demon Slayer would spend more time playing with. I get that the big, dramatic fights are the draw for the show, but all too often it feels like its Talky Moments and Bloody Moments are too disparate. Though I'll take both over the Shouty Moments.
Yeah, I will say my least favorite part of Demon Slayer is just that the comedy can be super hit or miss. Unless it involves the GOODEST BOAR BOY INOSUKE! That's always a win. It's overall very cutesy though and does break up the tone as we transition to this new segment of the story.
I just don't dig how often the punchline is just characters yelling and then some cartoon violence. You can make good use of that, but you also gotta mix in stuff like the new Big Deal character dunking on our little boy band here.

Sorry bros but he's right: you're all Basic.
Honestly, I was surprised how funny Zenitsu ended up here. He's quietly seething out of jealousy over this new ridiculous hotshot narcissist man. It's just so much funnier than when he's screaming about being scared and pissing his pants or gushing over Nezuko. The whole intro convo is absurd. (Note: Zenitsu is simultaneously my most relatable boy even if he's also the most grating.)
Never thought I'd see the day The Yellow Screech is the straightman of the group, but Tanjiro is too nice to call Uzui on his shit and Inosuke is too feral to understand metaphors.

They're good boys. But who is this Uzui guy, anyways? Well first of all he's actually the Sound Hashira, and second of all he's a ninja who actually hates being forced to blend in. And so he became the God of Flashiness! And also, he's got THREE WIVES, making him three times the wife guy most people will ever be. And the whole reason he's desperate for help is because all three of his wives went missing while undercover in the red light district (localized as the "Entertainment District") looking for a demon.
So, having read the manga, I can confidently say for spoilery reasons that Tengen is the smartest person in all of Demon Slayer. Which is really kind of damning when his Plan B is this:

This Powerpuff Girls Z sequel sucks.
So the plan is to let these boys disguise themselves as girls so they can infiltrate the three big houses where his wife disappears, only they're terrible at being undercover because Tengen doesn't really teach them anything about being stealthy or maintaining proper etiquette. SPY x FAMILY this is NOT! Though really, that could've been solved with some halfway decent make-up. Zenitsu and Tanjiro get in pretty much on Tengen's hotness, while Inosuke gets snatched up when a woman realizes how pretty he is and surprisingly has the easiest time passing assuming he never speaks or does anything.
Yeah with the other boys I think everyone there's just too polite to ask about what their whole deal is. Well, except for the HBIC Oiran at Zenitsu's place.
Tanjiro is such a polite and hard worker that there's really no use being rude to him, and Zenitsu happens to rock it on the shamisen. Which is another point to him this season. They suspect the demon must be high-level and using the nature of the night life to blend in. The women employed at the houses have often been sold for poverty or debt, but in return they get housing and the potential to maybe reach a higher status as an Oiran. But in return, this also makes them vulnerable if someone wanted to make them disappear and not have to worry about anyone looking for them.
Yeah, it's a pretty interesting setting, and I kind of wish we got more time to dig into that here. Maybe have each of the boys develop some companionship with the women and girls there so we really want to see them catch whatever demon is preying on them. Why, here's the perfect chance for Zenitsu to do just tha-

Aw crabapples.
It's actually more of a creeping horror rather than an undercover thing which is very different to the action-y part of Demon Slayer. There's some good build up. Any normal person would assume that all of Tengen's wives are dead and give up, but the fact that we don't know the whole story or how it happened is somehow scarier.
Well we do kinda know, since we see one of them getting strung up by the demon at the end of an episode. And then right after we see Daki in all her horny glory anyway.
I also super love the occasional film-style stuff used here. From the silent-film era effect used for Tanjiro's panic moment...

...to the grain-y and tense scene where the head mistress addresses the snooty Oiran like it's some sort of mob drama. Combined with spooky backstory! Those tone flourishes are what makes Demon Slayer as an adaptation really riveting to watch compared to when I just read the manga.

Yeah, while I have complaints about the pacing of DS' adaptation, the amount of polish it gets as an anime is fantastic, though I could have done with less polish on these FurAffinity commissions:
I enjoy the creepily buff mice, they are at least very useful.
I hate them. I need a super jacked cat to devour them and remove these creatures from my sight.
They did grant us Inosuke just launching himself into the ceiling though.
I respect the choice to let Inosuke go full Looney Tunes this season.
Wonderful feral hog child becomes liquid.
Cracking all the joints in my body to slither down the Worm Hole to Wife City. Like literally that's where two of Uzui's wives are being held captive, along with Zenitsu who thought it was nap time.
Let him keep resting his eyes for a few more minutes, he's more useful that way.
Come to think of it, if they got Zenitsu on a proper sleep schedule he could spend all night as the Lethal Somnambulist, killing demons while counting sheep. He's be way more helpful that way.

Anyway, everyone else is down in the Wife Pit which unfortunately leaves Tanjiro alone to fight Daki on his own. Doesn't go too well for him.

We also really haven't talked too much about the demon in this season of Demon Slayer other than the rumors about her backstory. So let's get into that.
Well she hasn't lost yet so we don't have her obligatory sad backstory. Mostly all we know is she has extremely high standards and that Steve would like her.
I meant more the fact that she was feeding by bullying other women to the point where people believed they were running away or committing suicide, and that the houses would cover up for her because she's so good at doing what she does as an entertainer. Though, as a rule, she only eats the beautiful and the strong as part of her vanity. All to please her demon lord and master, Muzan. She's pretty much the first big upper-rank demon the boys have had to face on their own. Though, her outfit does fucking rock. It's super stylish, and her obi-weapon is a the highlight of this arc in terms of action, using her sash to slash and sashay poor Tanjiro into a bloody pulp.
And in case you couldn't read the character in her eyeballs, she's an Upper Moon demon, meaning she's about 1000x above Tanjiro's weight class. If he has any hope of winning this he's going to need every bit of help he can ge-

Or not. I guess. Sigh.
Yeah watching Nezuko get sidelined at first is still pretty frustrating after seeing some of the things she can do. But, it gave time for Daki to kill a bunch of people and subsequently trigger Tanjiro's berserk button.

Behold! Punished Cinnamon Roll.
I just...do not get what this show is doing with Nezuko. Like, remember that whole thing with Akaza where he tried to get Rengoku to demonify himself so he could pursue infinite strength? The first thing that popped into my head when he said that was: what if they trained Nezuko in concentrated breathing? Combine the skill of a demon slayer with the innate power of a demon! But nope, stay in that box for a couple more episodes, sis.
She hasn't left her box all season and she barely even grunts, so it's hard to remember she's there if the show doesn't occasionally go out of its way to remind us, like Tanjiro being precious about the box. But he might as well be carrying around her corpse, rather than an additional character.

Like even in the "DISGUISE OURSELVES AS GIRLS" arc the actual girl on the team doesn't get to come out and interact at all.

And again, he could really use the help! Especially when Daki pulls out her true form and levels a city block because of this dude from the Home Owner's Association getting uppity.
And it was pretty gruesome! Good to see the "shōnen with the R-rated violence" still applies. Lots of uncensored crushed bodies and a couple dismembered corpses there. Would've helped if we had someone else to distract the demon before she showed off her flagrant disregard to the lives of innocent civilians, wouldn't it? It was a pretty big shock after the other team managed to rescue everyone from the food storage.
Speaking of R-rated, we learn that demon regeneration also works for their clothes. Which I think technically means those stockings are her skin and Daki's been naked this whole time.

Put her up there with Hagakure from MHA as a stealth nudist in a kids cartoon.
Well her Obi DOES spill blood so I guess it's technically just flesh?!

And then there's this great moment.
Come to think of it there's a lot more bare skin than usual for Demon Slayer this season. Daki, of course, but also Uzui's wives all wear their best Ninja Negligee.
Seems to be part of the uniform. Which is funny considering the men aren't supposed to stand out but women in high stockings and tits out in the 1900s is apparently inconspicuous. Talk about a double-standard. We also saw them tied up a lot which didn't help. (Also, this line here is BS. Be strong, ladies! Kick men's asses!!)

Despite this, I actually super love Tengen's wives and how much he loves them and it seems like they get along with each other.
Put him alongside Naze from Gundam IBO as a weirdly lovable anime polygamist.
He also basically gives the opposite of a Naruto speech here where he emphasizes that it's more important that they live with their own lives than value the success of the mission. Similar to Rengoku's younger brother, it's reframing the abandonment of duty in favor of living as the just thing rather than something that's normally seen as cowardly. Ninjas and demon slayers are all about dying in the line of duty, but the emphasis here is that it's not worth it to die unless you care at all about the living.

but also, LOVE!

Like I said, smartest person in this show. What's the point of being a super strong badass with three spouses if you can't go back with them at the end of the day?

The ladies are no slouches either. Hinatsuru fed herself poison for weeks on end to keep her cover from Daki. God damn.
And they seem good in a pinch. Again, the biggest problem is that we don't get enough time with them. Demon Slayer overall is an extremely economical shōnen series, and most of the extra time seems to be just stretching out those big battle moments. It's pretty cool, so I can't really complain.
I can though! Big cool moments are what shōnen are built on, but they only mean so much because of all the time that's spent building them up. And while this arc has been better about building to its fights than Mugen Train was, it's still left me wanting in a lot of ways. So even though Tanjiro's big final(ish) stand looks great, it's also hindered by needing a flashback in the middle of the battle to set it up.
I also think the stakes of this arc dissipated once Tengen's wives are okay. This was a problem when I read the manga too, and I think it's probs my least favorite out of all of them overall. But I was still surprised how engaged I was by what is a really well-produced popcorn series.
I still like it more than Mugen Train, though the pacing problems are definitely more apparent now that I'm not just reading it all in one go. And Tanjiro's big attack did look really god damn cool.
And when Nezuko DOES get out of the GODDAMN BOX it's pretty good too.
She does. But so does every woman this season. Support the girls and they'll support you! (by not giving you terrible back pain).
I don't even care that this is technically a Shōnen Anime Designated Girl Fight™. I'm just glad to finally see the second most central character in this show get to do something. KICK HER ASS!
Unfortunately, the episode ends rather quickly after that. So as much as we'd love to show more Nezuko destroying things, we can't!
All I know is this is the most excited I've been for a Demon Slayer episode since the Spider Mountain Arc. This arc has had its share of issues, but it'll all be worth it to see all the ufotable pomp and circumstance thrown behind Nezuko setting a motherfucker on fire.
It starts a bit slow (y'know, after I cried my heart out at the first episode) but ultimately it was pretty painless to binge even in my dead-tired state just because the production is sooooo smooth. New OP by Aimer is a fun bop. Most of the jokes weren't bad, partially due to Uzui's super extra presence. Plus, I do always like seeing my good boys, especially my stupid boar son.
Demon Slayer's probably never going to be a favorite of mine, but when it's in gear it can be a blast, and considering it's a license to print yen I'm glad it can do that. Now please, give me a Nezuko fight.
I have some parts of Demon Slayer that I absolutely LOVE and destroy me and this arc just isn't one of them. But I enjoy it all the same, and I'm not gonna curse getting more.
And I want to see these mice obliterated.
Mayhaps next time! See you!

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