Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Episode 20: Playing House

Macaron Rini

Guys, have I told you how lucky I am to work with Crow? He is always supporting and incisive. I can count on him and it’s a big deal. For instance, I am way late with this review. I’ve been burning the candle at every possible end and then some, so after I watched Demon Slayer yesterday, I dashed out the door got back late in the evening and just collapsed without putting my end of the post together. I do that a lot. Crow has never so much as grumbled if anything he wants to know if I had fun and is genuinely happy for me when I did.

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I’m not blushing at all. No sir. Not one little bit!

And it’s not just me. He goes out of his way to shout out other blogs in his episode reviews. That’s a lot of work, believe me! He’s always happy to answer questions and help other bloggers out and to this day, I have never seen him ask for anything in return.

No, you didn’t accidentally stumble onto my Crow appreciation post. I have a point, and it’s this: having a social support system with people who honestly care about you and want your happiness changes everything, as we learned in this week’s Demon Slayer!

And she brought it home! Swoosh!

I’m impressed! It’s thematically perfect. And you’re right — social support is important. As far as this episode goes, I’m dying to talk about the “family” and my new favorite character Shinobu (but I don’t want to say it too loudly for fear of offending her…), but I think it’s best we follow the forms.

So, I’m bold his week and there will be spoilers. I know, saying that is repetitive, but I’d really hate to spoil something without warning someone first!

So this week was the long-expected conclusion to the Spider Forest arc. Or at least I assume. And although I knew (we all knew) that this is what was going to happen (i.e. Demon Slayers rool, demons drool – now let’s get outta here), I personally didn’t expect it to happen quite this way! How about your Crow?

I think it’s safe to say what happened took me by surprise. Now, part of it I probably could have guessed, but even that part had a Demon Slayer spin on it. While last week was all about spectacle, this week was all about playing with expectations. 

I was both exhausted and exhilarated to see Rui get back up. The fight had already lasted a while and was so visceral and punishing that I wasn’t sure if I could take more. But at the same time, I love that Rui is a genuine threat, one that Tanjrou may not be able to deal with yet, no matter how hard she tries.

I had expected Giyuu ex Machina last week, I had to admit Rui’s revival had me so surprised I almost forgot about Giyuu. Almost, not completely, the boy is kind of unforgettable. 

The fight was great as usual, but you know what I got out of it? “Giyuu is unreachable”. That’s how Rui put it as his threads were being blown away the second they got close. I think this will be a metaphor that comes back. Giyuu’s strength and calm have built an impenetrable wall around him and he is alone now. We’ll see if Tanjirou can change that. Any thoughts on this awesome fight or the foreshadowing?

First, did you see Rui use webbing to pick up and reattach his head? That was creepy and effective! 

I remember thinking why isn’t the body disintegrating and then….

You know, when Rui explained that he’d cut his own head off to prevent Tanjiro from doing so, I almost felt cheated. Part of the exhilaration last week was a product of Tanjiro and Nezuko working together to take down an unstoppable foe. Learning they’d actually failed hurt. 

But as soon as Giyuu announced he was about to use Total Concentration, Water Breathing, Eleventh Form, Dead Calm, I was as surprised as Tanjirou. And I forgot all about my disappointment.

I think your point about Giyuu is insightful. Nothing gets to him; nonone can touch him. In a way, he’s the perfect antithesis of Tanjirou in that the latter’s in this for his family, whereas (as far as we know), Giyuu is alone. Now that you’re mentioned it, I’m really interested to see where this goes!

ven though Giyuu made very quick work of the situation, a demon never goes gown that quickly, and we finally got an explanation of what’s been happening here through Rui’s extended backstory, and boy was it sad.

Oh sheesh, pretend I said this at the beginning of the post: THERE WILL BE SPOILERS. LOTS AND LOTS OF SOILERS!

I got you covered!

See what I mean, you can count on this guy!

Rui is incredibly strong and somehow got permission to spread his blood, something usually taboo among Demons. Rui’s blood is so strong in fact that it can transform demons that take it in, in Rui’s likeness. Although it’s an imperfect and impermanent transformation. It also grants these demons exceptional powers they did not have before. That is what Rui’s family is. Just a collection of random demons Rui took in. That’s why instead of names they have functions such as Big Brother or Mother. 

None of them care about Rui or each other really. And Rui, having lost all memory of his human life, was forcing this charade because he felt the need to recapture something. Although he didn’t really know what anymore. One thing is for sure, he did not manage to create a family.

I think one of the scenes that hit me most was seeing mother revert back to her true form. As a seemingly very young demon. Believing her to be a lost woman in an abusive relationship with “father” was one thing, knowing that she’s a random little girl demon forced into this bizarre play is a completely different type of nightmare. One I’m less familiar with so it makes it scary. One that could potentially still encompass the other as well. How about you Crow, what were your takeaways from Rui’s home life (they use to be a very large family I notice…)

Seeing them all sit around the table for a family “dinner” was surreal. The utensils were cracked and broken. There was no food. Just a fandom collection of demons, united in fear of Rui, taking on the form of the family with none of its substance. 

What really drove home Rui’s deranged state was how, as you pointed out, we started out with a pretty large family — but by the current timeline in the story, there weren’t many left. And they weren’t killed by Demon Slayers! Kumo Oni Ane (sister) betray another family member, just to show her worth to Rui, was both horrifying and understandable. Rui tortured the other sister, then tied her to the top of the house facing east. Seeing the betrayed sister begin to cry as the morning sun struck her and turned her to ash kinda summed up everything wrong with Rui’s delusion. 

In the tail end of the episode, we catch up with Big Sister, now alone and the super scary butterfly demon slayer lady. I have to admit the butterfly kimono design sure works well in movement. Good collaboration between character design and animation there. That fight (like most demon slayer fights) was delightful to watch.

And butterflies are often carrion creatures that feed on corpses. This weird overlay of fragility, beauty and grim appetite somehow personifies the character well.

A lot of people think that the girl is a demon. I can see why. They are probably right. A tiny part of me is wishing that she isn’t. She isn’t strong enough to decapitate a demon for one. That’s unusual as we have seen demons always have greatly increased physical strength. But maybe this case is special. She also doesn’t seem to sense other demons… Something is off about that girl. I’m not saying she’s human, that may be even weirder but I’m thinking she may be a hybrid or a “something else”.

Maybe it’s just me, but I think Shinobu stole the show! Sure, Giyuu was his normal awesome and cool self. But Shinobu… When she pinned Kumo Oni Ane to the ground and asked her how many people the demon had killed, she already knew the answer. She was just giving the poor demon enough rope to hang herself with. Did I just say “poor demon?” In this context, yeah, the demon was really at a disadvantage. Shinobu was so cheerful, and so upbeat, and so beautiful, that when she talked about how she was going to have to torture the demon to satisfy justice, the contrast was almost hard to articulate. 

Statements like “Let’s both give it our all!” — where Shinobu’s all would be inflicting torture and sister demon’s would be healing from the torture — were within a context that was outside my experience. Did you catch how she lamented that she was weak to kill a demon by decapitation, but she compensated by creating a demon-deadly poison? It was chillingly in character for her to add, “I’m also rather awesome!” 

And her swordplay… 

You’d think the character impressed me or something!

For me, it was all about Big Sister.Thie fierce drive for survival she has that overrides everything else. Betraying friends, associated even her own self without hesitation in order to survive. It’s pIt really created a tangible ethos with powerful motivation that my mind latched on to.

Well, this is a short review by our usual standards. The episode was great in my opinion. I really liked it. And it once again showed that Demon Slayer works better when our three boys aren’t roughhousing together (or at all). But it was also a plain, straightforward emotional tale. I think this one is best felt rather than overanalyzed. And I respect that Demon Slayer has the range for those sorts of stories as well. How about you Crow?

I’ll echo your observation that Demon Slayer has the range for both the glorious combat from the previous episode and the quietly developed, emotional horror of this episode. It takes skill to pull off either; even more skill to pull off both. I’m impressed.

I also liked how the last shot was of Rui’s severed head on the ground, facing the thing he wanted most but couldn’t have — or could not ever have had given his technqiues. 

He was facing Tanjirou, who couldn’t even stand. He had barely managed to drag his body over to Nezuko. Now, he had wrapped his arms around her unconscious head. All he could do was say her name.

And all Rui could do was turn to ash. 

At least, I hope he turned to ash. I guess we didn’t really get to see it!

Demon Slayer ep20-4 (2)

Reviews of the Other Episodes

Irina

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

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13 Responses

  1. AnimeFused says:

    I’m starting to like Shinobo as well, her aura is really mysterious and her way of fighting is mind-blowing. I think her pass is really cruel. Also I wonder if she is really serious about forgiving the demon girl after torturing her.

  2. Scott says:

    I like Shinobu too. Her eccentricity was needed in a den of pretty straight forward people.

  3. Lynn says:

    I too felt a little cheated that Rui survived. It would have been better to give us a hint that maybe he hadn’t been killed at the end of the last one.

    I’m with Crow on Shinobu too, she was excellent and terrifying. Talking of terrifying, do you think we’ll be heading back to Wisteria House for some rest and recovery?

    • Irina says:

      I would ove to see them hauled back to Demon Slayer headquarters!

    • “Talking of terrifying, do you think we’ll be heading back to Wisteria House for some rest and recovery?”

      The terrifying part would be all of the shouting, right?

      I don’t think I’m emotionally ready for that!

      But what if…

      And this is a BIG if…

      Zenitsu has matured and gained some confidence?

      What if…

      And this is another big if…

      Inosuke now sees Giyuu as the one he wants to surpass and sees Tanjirou as his colleague?

      Yeah, it’s too much to ask, isn’t it? Still, humor aside, I’m really curious to see how they’ve grown. I think the writers are good enough to show some interesting development in the characters!

  1. August 18, 2019

    […] Find out what Irina and I thought about this episode on I Drink and Watch Anime! […]

  2. August 25, 2019

    […] seen him die at the end of the amazing episode 19. Then I saw him not dead and then killed again in episode 20. I don’t want to see any more Rui, okay, Demon Slayer? Let’s move on. I am absolutely not going […]

  3. October 13, 2019

    […] Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Episode 20: Playing House […]

  4. October 26, 2019

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