Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Episode 18: In which Tanjiro Dispenses Good Advice

Macaron Rini

I has been a week of blistering afternoons and wild festival movies and lots and lots of work. And lest you think I be complaining, these are all very good things. Except for the heat – I could do with less of that.
But good and fun as these things may be, they can end up a little exhausting, so I was looking forward to lazing around on the weekend and having a nice little Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba chat with my friend Crow. How are you Crow?

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I’m well, thanks for asking! It’s pretty hot down here in the States, too. Better than a couple of weeks ago, though. I’ll be bold his week (it still feels like an unnatural state!) and to be clear, there may be spoilers! 
What an episode, too! I can’t wait to dig in!

This week opened up not on our heroes battling the giant spider demon, but on what I can only assume is fan favourite Giyuu (if fan art is to be believed, this guy is everywhere!) and the butterfly girl whose name I’m not sure we know.

They mentioned her name like once in the previous episode. She’s Shinobu Kocho

Crow, is she the same girl that passed the final trial with Tanjiro? If so, she must have risen in the ranks extremely quickly to be accompanying Giyu now!

She looks just like her — seems to have an affinity for butterflies, too! So I dug deeply into the archives and searched for hours (okay, I Googled for a few minutes) — I think they’re separate. The other survivor from the trial is Kanao Tsuyuri. They have absolutely got to be connected somehow. I think that Shinobu is a demon. Can they have kids? Or maybe Kanao is her younger human sister? 

So, the scene opens on these two arriving in Spider forest to either rescue the surviving Demon corp members (about time there guys…) or kill the demons. The organization seems rather martial and hawkish, so my money is on the latter.

The butterfly girl whose name I don’t know (Hey! I just told you! Oh, right, writing is asynchronous! Sorry — carry on!) I just forgot sheesh – whose name is Kachow, is extremely cheerful through all of this and has this high pitched sing songy voice that clashes with the surroundings. I’m not scared of spiders at all, but butterflies creep me out. And this girl sends chills down my spine. It’s likely only due to my personal brand of crazy, but I have immediate distrust towards this poor young lady.

Actually, I think she earned it. I found her attitude to be quite scary. Not head spider-level terrifying, but enough to make me draw a sword. If I had one. And I don’t.

After the opening credits, we catch up with Inosuke and Tanjiro trying to deal with giant spider papa. Throughout the fight, he keeps repeating “Stay away from my family.” He’s consciousness seems a lot dimmer than all the other spider demons. Despite Tanjiro’s insistence to the contrary, I’m almost certain this guy is not one of the 12. Sure, he is very physically strong, but his mind seems mostly gone, like one of the underling demons.

All the higher ups have been frighteningly smart. They’ve needed to use some brains to survive,  I suppose. And we know that Kibutsuji isn’t exactly the patient type. I don’t see him putting up with spider dude for very long. Nope! I’m calling super obvious red herring on this one.

I don’t know for sure, but I agree with you! 

This said the fight was fun to watch. Choreography remains stellar. I think my favourite moment was seeing Inosuke skip across the water like a flat stone.

In my notes, I had written, “Inosuke skipped like a stone…” Great minds and all! The water animation, too, I thought was just fantastic! 

My second favourite part was seeing Inosuke run away. It was played for laughs and possibly that’s all it was. A gag. But in the context of that character, it’s a huge growth moment. Inosuke does not know when to quit. Often putting his life at risk and losing the advantage. He is a straightforward brawler without any strategic sophistication who considers anything other than raw strength embarrassing. But he still opted for a tactical retreat without anyone telling him, and he wasn’t that wounded yet. To me, it shows forethought and strategic thinking that were out of reach until now. Not to mention that he had to let go of whatever “honor” or “power” ideals he was holding onto. Even I think I’m reading too much into this.

I hope you’re not, because I picked up on the same thing. I think Tanjiro’s a good influence on him! 

We got a quick look at how Zenitsu is doing as well. In short, not great. Even the little nightmare spider creatures felt sorry for him. In what he thinks his last moments are, all he could do was uselessly apologize to Nezuko. I’m not sure for what. Not saving her I suppose. Still, it wasn’t a show of self pity, grief or vengeance fueled anger. It was regret of not being there for another. I thought that was sweet.

Of course, I don’t think we’re going to lose Zenitsu any time soon. It may be very gory but Demon Slayer is still something of a children’s show. Like those old terrifying fairy tales. The heroes don’t just die in the middle like that.

Sadly it’s suspicious butterfly girl that comes to his rescue so he  may wish he had died…

The animation of her butterflies, then her descent onto the cabin, was hauntingly beautiful. Her outfit even looked like butterfly wings as she landed. Given her cheerful and carefree attitude, I wonder if Zenitsu thought he was hallucinating? I’m pretty sure I would have thought so.

Now all three main Demon hunters are separated. Tanjiro, having been thrown far from Inosuke and the Spider papa, is just landing in another part of the woods. I almost expected him to fall on Giyuu. Instead though, he pulled off a pretty smart move, using his water wheel to curve and slow the trajectory of his fall allowing him to survive the landing. Although not exactly unscathed. I really liked this. It was a smart functional use of water breathing. Were you as impressed as I was, Crow?

Yes, I was! He used a similar technique when he fought the dying vector demon back in episode 10, didn’t he? Tanjiro never stops thinking, and I like that about him.

Tanjro may not have landed on Giyuu, but he did seem to land on little brother and sister demon instead. There were some really interesting speculations in the comments of last week’s post, over on Crow’s blog, that the two may actually be one and the same. It seems they are physically separate at least, not that they couldn’t turn out to be linked on some level.

That little sister is just so meek for a demon. She seems gentler than Nezuko and aside from calling for her daddy when a maniac wearing a bore head started screaming that he was going to kill her and brandishing weapons, she actually hasn’t done anything even remotely aggressive. And from my description, I bet you can tell I don’t think that was aggressive either.

The story is purposefully showing her not attacking a lot. I’m thinking there’s a reason behind that.

I had a hard time finding her name, but it seems to be Kumo oni: Ane. I’m reading her character the same way you are. And though I’m sure it’s just because I’m wired to feel sorry for a sobbing female, I really felt bad for her. Rui’s obvious cruelty helped that along, I’m sure! 

Out of the blue and unbelievably unharmed, not scared and rather jerky demon slayer shows up to give little bro a chance to show off his overpowered skills. I understand the function of the scene, but considering all that has happened, the odds are just too impossible that a random guy got separated from the group, has been just fine all this time and is happy about bumping into demons he can attack? It was way too contrived. There must have been a better way to establish little brother’s skills and power level. Magic glasses or something?

Even the little extra bit he said — about advancing up the ladder so he could earn more money, almost hinting at some kind of fiscal corruption, didn’t help. His attitude was the most un-Demon Slayer like we’ve seen. 

I could only come up with two explanations. First, we’re going to learn something amazing about that character in the near future that’ll blow us away. Or, the main writer went to get a drink or take a restroom break, and the junior writers just wanted to get to the next scene. 

I’m thinking number two. And you know what – you tried guys!

We got back to Inosuke, and I suddenly had a series of revelations. First, I realized that the characters are better individually than together. They just don’t have the proper chemistry as a group. They should be pen pals from now on. Second, as a wounded Inosuke is hiding and trying to survive, I realized that I was genuinely worried for Inosuke. How, why huh? Is it just a function of proper tension and dramatic timing? Inosuke is my least favourite character and I think he is responsible for a lot of the elements that don’t work in Demon Slayer, but I was biting my nails wishing that he would be ok. I’m so fickle!

Then, as he had his grand moment chopping of the demon’s arm, we got a fantastic scene where papa dropped everything and high tailed it out of there! I loved it and instantly changed my mind about the papa demon character (for now). Do I just like people who run away? Maybe I do. Maybe that’s why I’m a lot more forgiving of Zenitsu than most folks are. I respect people who know when to give up!

Pen pals? “Dear Insouke. I hope the day finds you well…” Well, it would certainly make for different pacing! But I see what you mean. I loved seeing Inosuke develop as he was apart from Tanjiro. He was forced to be honest with himself, especially given how powerful his opponent was.

But do you know what else I thought was really cool? You could see the impact Tanjiro has had on him in their short time together. Inosuke probably couldn’t put it into words, but he’s starting to really respect Tanjiro. Remember, just before papa spider sent Tanjiro practically into orbit, Insouke watched Tanjiro power up and thought, “He’s about to do something totally mind-blowing!” That’s not something Inosuke would have said just a week ago. 

Character development rocks.

Sadly, papa isn’t actually a huge demon version of Zenitsu, and he was just finding a safe spot to turn into… basically the same thing. A bigger version of himself with more eyes and I’m guessing even stronger and tougher but still just a brute strength gear check.

Too bad, he was really interesting for a second there.

Not that an unstoppable force isn’t an impressive opponent. Inosuke took quite the punishment and the skull crushing scene was difficult to watch. But at this point, it just seemed like something we’ve seen before. What do you think Crow?

Sure, papa spider 2.0 was an upgrade, but you make a good point. The only thing I thought was different was how Inosuke reacted. He nearly gave up, re-found his courage (always a stirring moment for me!), and tried again. 

Was that Inosuke’s mom we saw as he hovered on the edge of unconsciousness? Now I want to know more about his past! 

I think it was. It’s how I read the moment.

For the third time in the episode, we had a Demon Slayer unexpectedly showing up next to one of our main characters. This time Giyuu. Ok, I get it. Giyuu has a great design. I would draw him too!

Moreover, Giyuu uses water breathing. Did we know that?

Okay, now I know you somehow snuck into my computer and read my notes. At 20:19, I had written, “Did we know Giyuu uses water breathing techniques like Tanjiro?” 

I guess the other way to answer that is by just saying, “No!” Pretty cool, though. Assuming Tanjiro survives (and I’m trying not to get ahead of ourselves here!), he has quite a powerful future to look forward to.

Since Tanjiro learned his technique from Urokodaki, does that mean Giyuu also trained under him? And Crow, did you see if Giyuu had a black sword? They made a big deal about that but then just sort of forgot about it. So many questions!

Re-watching the scene, I think you’re right — it does look black. Good catch!  

The very last scene returned us to Tanjiro facing off with little brother. Nezuko still presumably in that crate on his back. I still don’t understand why we haven’t seen her in this arc. The episode ends on a first-person cliffhanger. Cheeky! And quite visceral. I felt that one!

I think this is the worst cliff-hanger they’ve sprung on us. What the heck, Demon Slayer? 

I’m excited to see what Giyuu and Butterfly girl can bring to the mix and curious about what little sister is hiding. She even looks a little like Nezuko. I think… We haven’t seen her in a long time. Any final thoughts Crow?

I’m still annoyed about that cliffhanger! That aside, I enjoyed seeing Inosuke and Tanjiro both pushed to their limits. Isn’t it interesting to see what a character does at the point of greatest stress? It really shows what they’re made of.

That cliffhanger, though…

Reviews of the Other Episodes

Irina

I'm much nicer than I seem, we should be friends!

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31 Responses

  1. Lynn says:

    Demon Slayer Pen Pals… loving it!

  2. Sheazer says:

    I’m ALWAYS excited when Hayami, Saori shows up in an anime. She does a good job bringing her characters to life.

  3. Karandi says:

    This one was a pretty intense episode and brought out the best in all three of the characters. Butterfly girl creeps me out as well but she looked so pretty falling onto the roof. I’m very much looking forward to seeing how this fight gets resolved.

    • Irina says:

      Demon Slayer has things it does very well and things it does badly, this arc mostly relies on the strengths imo

  4. Arekusu says:

    This is only episode 18. I would like to see Muzan’s back story and a fight with him. Other than that, was sad to see Zenitsu suffering during his moment.

  5. Thong Do says:

    Giyuu katana actually have a light blue color. Since he send Tanjirou to Orokodaki we can safely guess that he is Orokodaki former student. Also if you pay attention, half of the clothes Giyuu wear seem pretty familiar, can you remember who also wear something like that in this series?

    • Thong Do says:

      Sorry double comment, my computer acting again.

    • Irina says:

      it’s the same as the dead fox kid but the other half is the same as the kid with the face scar in the op so I figure it’s fabric the slayer corp has spares of?

      • Thong Do says:

        The cloak all of the Pillar ( what the rank of Buttlefly girl and Giyuu called in the manga translation) wear actually hold a symbolic or sentimental meaning to them, it not just cosmetic stuff.

        • Irina says:

          But didn’t Tanjiro have his before joining the corp? I guess it has sentimental value – he’s had it since he was a kid…

  6. Thong Do says:

    Giyuu sword actually have a light blue color. Since he send Tanjirou to a Urokodaki we can safely guess that he is Urokodaki former student. If you pay attention, you can see the half of clothes that Giyuu is wearing is very familiar, remember anyone else also wear something like that?

  7. I like how you’ve done the screen shots! Packs more visual goodness into the same space!

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