Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Episode 22: The Voice of the Master

Macaron Rini

I just realized, just now, that there are only two episodes of Demon Slayer left. That seems impossible. It feels like it basically just started. This is crazy. Judging from the Demon Slayer cosplay and merch I was seeing at the latest convention, fan reaction is pretty good to this one. Well, Montreal fan reaction, which is naturally what everyone goes by! I’m thinking there’s a decent chance for a second season and if so, I will watch it. Preferably with Crow. 

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That sounds like a capital idea! And you’re right. It seems like we just saw Nezuko stand over Tanjiro’s fallen body to protect him from Giyuu… And now here we are at episode 22, and truth be told, I’m more angry with some of these characters than I ever was with Muzan Kibutsuji! But, as usual, I’m getting ahead of myself! I’m Crow, and I’ll be in bold this week. And there will be spoilers!

So this episode picks up right where we left off last week. A few seconds before in fact. Tanjiro’s been brought back against his will to Demon Slayer headquarters to stand trial for the high crime of defending his little sister. Who is a terrifying demon, to be fair. We get our first good look at the Hashira’s and they seem to be quite the eccentric bunch. More than a few are happy to forgo formalities and execute Tanjiro on the spot.

At first glance, I was rather fond of Mitsuri. Fangirls are not a very common archetype for high powered shonen characters. Although I can also see her being big trouble. She didn’t get to where she is by accident and she’s suspiciously nice… I actually have more thoughts on the Hashidas coming up but tell me, was Shinobu still your favourite Hashida at that point or did last week’s Nezuko attempted murder coool your fervour?

I get what you’re saying about Mitsuri. Plus, I liked her because she didn’t immediately call for Tanjiro and Nezuko to be beheaded! 

Think about how low the bar is if that’s the measure! 

If you had asked me about Shinobu before I watched this episode, I would have had many unkind things to say about her. After thinking about how the Tanjiro/Nezuko situation looked from her perspective, though, I can forgive her initial attack on Nezuko in the forest. Also, she’s the one who insisted on hearing Tanjiro’s story before the Hashiras passed judgement. So, I’ve put her on probation!

In many ways this episode used Tanjiro’s “trial” to introduce the Hashiras. It wasn’t so much a trial as the Hashida’s arguing over a heavily injured and bound Tanjiro in a courtyard until the Master arrived. Then arguing some more. but you know what I mean. In any case, the first part showed us all the Hashidas and their respective areas of power. There’s ten and most are elemental, but you can also be an insect, snake and love Hashira. I’m very intrigued by that last one. Can’t wait to see it in action.

I realize that we’ve only really seen Giyuu, Tanjiro and Zenitsu’s combat skills. Looking forward to the rest.

Anywho, most of the Hashiras are all over the top tough boy types, Shinobu and Mitsuri being the only ladies. They really reminded me of classic fighting shonen shows more than anything we’ve seen from the series so far. Aside from Mitsuri, who remains my fave (with Giyuu I suppose, I put him in the main cast category), I took a liking to Muichiro. He wasn’t calling for Tanjiro’s execution one of the few and seems to be the cloudcuckoolander of the bunch. I usually like those characters and I’m defensive of them since most fans usually do not like them at all. Besides, I think Mist would probably be a very visually interesting power to have. Any first impressions on your end?

 I’ll second your endorsement of Muichiro. I thought his attitude was perfect for a Mist Hashira, even though I have no idea what a Mist Hashira is! His demeanor just seemed to fit. Plus, he didn’t seem eager to kill Tanjiro and Nezuko. Remember my low bar comment earlier? It still applies! 

It might be cliche, but I liked how Mitsuri thought it was beautiful that Nezuko’s brother was trying to protect her. Of all of the reactions, hers was probably closest to the truth.  

While everything else is going on, I kept thinking where’s Giyuu? He’s a Hashira. Did he run away with Nezuko? Just to have the camera show us that he was basically standing one foot to the left. He’s in trouble too, it seems, but it hasn’t affected his usual impassive mood much. For some reason, the fact that he was right there all along was really funny to me. I was also just glad to see him.

I felt relieved. Like, with him there, there’s at least a little hope. Not much, because I doubt even he could stand alone against the rest of the Hashira. But some. It’s low bar day in my review world! 

Finally, at the mid episode mark, we got the introduction of who will surely be our main antagonist or potential frenemy for season 2 (cough). Sanemi, the heavily scarred wind Hashira. This guy is just too obvious. He visually looks like a stereotypical bad guy, he stabs poor Nezuko through her box in broad daylight so she can’t even escape. He is violent and mean to Tanjiro. Not that he’s technically wrong from his perspective. He’s probably seen countless people get killed by demons and is past giving chance. And he did not attack Tanjiro. In many ways, Inosuke did worse. But he’s just presented in such an Evil way.

What did you think Crow?

I think I’m glad you can’t see my notes at this point in the show. I was ready to climb through my screen, confront Sanemi, and potentially make him slip in the pool of my blood (when he was done with me) to give Tanjiro a chance to get away with Nezuko.

It’s not a good plan, but it’s the best I could come up with. 

I was seriously angry with that guy. Tanjiro gets major points in my book for using what had to be the last of his strength to charge at Sanemi, use Giyuu’s distraction to leap straight into the air, then slam his forehead into Sanemi. Even a Hashira couldn’t stand against the all-powerful Tanjiro Forehead!

Before things got too beheady, everyone gets interrupted by the Master. We had seen glimpses of him in past episodes, and I somehow got the impression that he’s a demon. Well, I know how I got the impression. We saw just a little bit of his scar and it looked like a deformity a demon would have.

Turns out the Master is a handsome and soft-spoken man who must have been in a horrible accident as half his face is completely scarred. It looks like it’s been burned maybe? It’s also left him blind. Yet, despite his gentle tone, he seems to command a huge amount of respect. And true respect at that.

It looked like either flame or acid burns. I thought it was touching how the two little girls (was one of them Kanata Ubuyashiki from the selection match — the one Tanjiro protected from the hot-head?) had to guide him to the edge of the porch because of his blindness. Though just as we got a sense that Mitsuri might be more formidable than her manner suggests, I have a feeling that the Master would be wildly dangerous to fight. 

The Master reveals that he is aware of Tanjiro and Nezuko’s situation and has given his blessing. I couldn’t help but think that he may have wanted to share that information with his lieutenants just a bit sooner. Have the crows spread the word or something… Don’t get me wrong, he seems cool and all, but he is bad at communication!

Take it from me — the Crows would have been happy to spread that news!

Apparently, his approval isn’t enough to sway the Hashiras though. And this is what I mean by true respect. They aren’t blindly (uhm…) or mindlessly following orders. They don’t worship him. They disagree and argue their points. They are willing to go against his wishes if they believe it is the wisest course. But even in disagreements, they show him tremendous respect and deference. There must be a reason for that…. What do you think Crow?

As a group, I’m in a harsh mood toward them because of how they treated Tanjiro and, especially, Nezuko. So I’d say they know he could kick their butts in battle! But if I put aside my protective instincts, I’d say that he fought gallantly on their behalf some time in the past — maybe even earning the wounds he has today. Their attitude toward him feels like he did something major to earn it.

But I’m still quite cross with them.

In order to make his point, the Master reads a letter from Urokodaki vouching for Nezuko and swearing that if she should ever attack a human he would kill himself along with Tanjirou and Giyuu. I won’t lie, I cried a bit at the show of faith. Giyuu didn’t seem the least bit surprised by this, so he must have in fact given his consent and staked his own life on Nezuko.

You and me both! And not just kill himself. He committed that he, Tanjiro, and Giyuu would commit seppuku! That moment was absolutely beautiful.  That’s what trust and faith is all about. Talk about contrast to Sanemi!

However, this still doesn’t convince our manly wind man Sanemi, who is desperate to show the master that demons cannot be trusted. Once again he tries to provoke Nezuko, first by wounding her through the box, then by letting his own blood leak in to tempt her, and finally by throwing her into the shadows so that she could come out. It was a surprisingly intense scene. I was on the edge of my seat. Seeing a very angry Nezuko finally emerge had me biting my nails to the knuckle. Seeing the credits roll right at that moment, had me screaming obscenities at my TV.  Demon Slayer if amazing/horrible with the cliffhangers!

My cat’s virgin ears will never be the same… Oh, who am I kidding? She’s already bored with my harsh language at times like this. You’re absolutely right — that scene was intense. Did you see how the Serpent Hashira Iguro Obanai slammed his elbow into Tanjiro’s back in this scene? These Hashiras didn’t impress me at all. Attacking a bound, wounded, fellow demon slayer? That was disgusting. They act more like demons than many of the demons did! 

At the same time, the Demon Slayer produced Urokodaki and Giyuu. I’m beginning to trust the Master, but time will tell. So I guess I’ll give them a little time. But far from being impressed, they made me wonder if I was backing the wrong side all this time.

In fact, it reminded me of one of a comment from David Boone (Moonhawk81) after our review of the first episode. He said, “Please forgive my crass opening, but: SCREW THE DEMON HUNTER!!! Family is family, whatever malady they might have. Do what you need to do to protect your sister, your brother, your family. Any goodie-two-shoes can hope for Heaven; be better than that, be loving and loyal.” After meeting the Hashiras, with just a couple of exceptions, I’m beginning to think he was right!

Demon slayer ep22-6 (7)

Reviews of the Other Episodes

Irina

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

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19 Responses

  1. C says:

    Tanjiro commented that it seemed to be illness that caused the Master’s scar.

  2. Sheazer says:

    It honestly feels like this show can’t introduce new characters without making them have some extreme personality trait. Even among these top ranking Demon Slayers, most of them feel incredibly one dimensional – extreme. Obviously, they’ve only had a single episode so you can hardly expect them to have out fully fleshed characters, but this isn’t a good side to lead with.

    I can understand their perspectives and mistrust of Nezuko’s situation, but the fact that most of them seem to have zero self control leaves a bad taste in my mouth. They are supposed to be the leaders of this group, but they only seem to act like it for a single person – their boss. Everybody here has probably worked with/for someone who only acts professional in front of their boss; it is never a good look. And now we have a whole group of them.

    • Irina says:

      The over the topness is a bit much for me too but I think I’m more understanding than most about their reactions. If this was a war anime and army generals found out one of their men was harbouring an enemy, it wouldn’t be that odd to ask for an execution. I’ve seen a lot of very similar situations in “serious” shows

  3. Thong Do says:

    There 9 pillars (Hashiras) since the kanji word for Hashiras have 9 stroke
    I think most people forgot that the in-universe characters have no reason to trust Nezuko and Tanjirou. From the Pillars( Hashiras), Nezuko is a demon while Tanjirou is her brother and have bias opinion so he can’t be trust. Also i think why the master don’t tell anyone until now is to wait for this moment. He need the Pillars to trust and accept the sibling. Yes he can just give his blessing and order but it in the long term, as they work together, they need to trust Nezuko won’t turn again them. He also know his Pillars well-enough to know how to convince them. The Wind guy probably have too much respect for his master that he can’t comprehend why his master would do something like this.

    • I understand your perspective, and Incan’t disagree.

      However…

      Stabbing Nezuko, right in front of Tanjiro? Taunting him and daring her to respond?

      Driving an elbow into Tanjiro’s back as he lay helpless, still bound?

      Those are actions I expect from a demon like Murzan. At least Shinobu was going to use painless poison to kill Nezuko. That was a relative act of kindness out of respect to Tanjiro.

      So sure, I can understand the initial reaction. And I applaud Shinobu for trying to get the whole picture. But the cruelty they exhibited against one of their own did not impress me.

      • Thong Do says:

        Try to put yourself in their shoe. They have found Demon for many years, losing many friends and family to demons and none of those demon they found ever show remorse. And it probably not the first case some naive kid think that his family members is different from other demons only turn out to be wrong and cause the death of many innocent people. It the goal of the entire corp for hundreds of years to exterminate the demons to protect human. What they saw in Tanjirou is a naive kid that put other people life in danger. Some is more forgiving to him, while other see that as foolish and irresponsible. We know it not true but they don’t..

        • Irina says:

          I’m sort of with you. She’s cute and Tanjiro is nice but what are you going to tell the family when she snaps (as all demons have done up until now) and kills all their children…. Mercy has to be balanced out with strength and reason. Risking other people for your morals is not a choice you can make easily.

          • “but what are you going to tell the family when she snaps (as all demons have done up until now) and kills all their children”

            That is absolutely a serious consideration.

            Tamayo hasn’t snapped, at least as far as we know. Now, I think it’s pretty clear Yushirou would sell Tanjirou out in a second (and even “joked” as much), but at least we know one demon who’s different.

            Most of the other demons we’ve met are more on the aggressive side, that’s for sure. And aside from Tamayo, I think most demons do need to eat humans to stay alive. That rather undermines my argument…

            Still, the Demon Slayer corps being blind to Tamayo’s work means they’re missing out on a major opportunity.

            • Irina says:

              I’m not entirely sure how much they know about Tamayo at all. She may have decided to keep her existence hidden from them as well. After all she’s in danger from all fronts.
              My only point was that the situation was shown in a very theatrical bad guy way but having an army, in the midst of a very difficult war in which they are heavily disadvantages, summarily execute a traitor who’s harbouring the enemy isn’t exactly unheard of. Whether I personally agree with extreme measures or not, I can see how one would justify them. That’s why I am 100% team Nezuko and will always be. I still think the situation they’re in now is the logical outcome. I wouldn’t have been super comfortable with the corp just saying – oh o.k., we’ll make an exception because this one guy says his sister is different.
              I also assume they have been in this exact situation A LOT of times. Before they got to the end of their rope, Rui’s parents protected and defended him. How many people ended up dying because of their mercy. And I like Rui.

          • “summarily execute a traitor who’s harbouring the enemy isn’t exactly unheard of.”

            Those were called drumhead trials, weren’t they? Viewed from that perspective, the Hashiras’ reaction is historically accurate.

            Any act of mercy can result in tragedy; any act of justice can end in a travesty. That might be why I’ve gravitated to Shinobu’s perspective in this episode. She’s trying to get to the facts.

            “I also assume they have been in this exact situation A LOT of times.”

            The problem I often have is that if I really get into a show, I really get _into_ it. I stop thinking like an impartial observer and start reacting to characters as if I were within the world. So rather than recall that yes, drumhead trials were a thing — a necessary thing — I defend the people who I’m invested in.

            It’s an interesting problem when I’m writing; I have to firmly keep my perspective as writer so I can write antagonists who I might personally hate, but who behave realistically.

            “How many people ended up dying because of their mercy. ”

            That makes me wonder if the Master is letting Sanemi assault Nezuko. If she fails the test, then mercy would have been the wrong decision. But if she passes, then it’s no longer just a merciful decision. It’s a tactical decision. Why? Because if Nezuko passes the test, then she’s proven she’s something new — something that might be of use to the Demon Slayers.

            Still, I think the Hashiras mistreating Tanjirou while his hands were tied behind his back was shameful…

        • “Try to put yourself in their shoe”

          Interestingly, I have, though I don’t think I’ve gotten that idea across. I kinda think my age is actually a factor. I’ve seen far too many enemies demon-ized (if you’ll pardon the pun-ish). For example, the Japanese during WWII (from the US perspective) and some major religious groups today (again, from the US perspective). That kind of thing almost always causes more problems than it solves. Almost.

          We’ve seen Tamayo, so we know demons can live what I’d call a virtuous life. So even in this world, painting all demons with the same brush is just incorrect.

          “What they saw in Tanjirou is a naive kid that put other people life in danger. ”

          Another thing my experience has taught me is that my experience can’t always be trusted. Sometimes a naive kid sees the world more clearly than I do. Dismissing his insights simply because he’s naive is a mistake.

          I guess what it comes down to is this: Using a stereotype to condemn someone to death isn’t something I expect a virtuous person to do. It’s something I’d expect a stereotypical demon to do. That’s why I am not high on Gyomei, Iguro, Tengen, Kyojuro, or Sanemi.

          It’s also why I _was_ impressed with Shinobu in this episode: she had previously tried to kill Nezuko, but she now recognized there might be something else going on. So she insisted on gathering the facts first. If she wants to vote to convict after gathering those facts, then I can’t really complain (unless I’ve misinterpreted her motives and it’s all a sham; but I don’t think so).

          Plus, we have the testimonies of Sakonji and Giyuu that Nezuko is worth keeping alive. They believe in her so much that they’ve put their own lives on the line.

          I feel like I’ve turned into Nezuko’s defense lawyer! I think that’s a good sign of how relatable these characters are.

    • Irina says:

      I agree it makes no sense for them to accept Nezuko

  4. ramon3ljamon says:

    David Boone is a legend

  5. Arekusu says:

    “I just realized, just now, that there are only two episodes of Demon Slayer left.”

    Demon Slayer doesn’t have 24 episodes, not trying to be stingy or anything. It has 26 episodes (source: https://anilist.co/anime/101922/Kimetsu-no-Yaiba)

    The remaining episodes, at least in my knowledge, will probably cover chapters 45-48. Then most likely getting season 2. This anime is one of the best season to be hyped up for. Fingers crossed.

  6. I really like the layout you’re using for the screen caps. Very cool!

    And the GIF of Nezuko? That’s the shot I’ll remember from this episode!

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