Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Episode 24: Taking a Breather

Macaron Rini

 

Hmm..well…where do I start here. Oh I know! Hi Crow, how are you today? I hope you had a good week. Mine was a bit exhausting but the weekend is looking pretty great (I actually have very little to do and plan to plop down on the couch and play video games for the rest of the day once my part of this review is done. I haven’t been able to do that in months! I can’t wait.

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That sounds great! I’ll try to turn the review around quickly so I don’t keep you from your video games. I haven’t had as much time for video games as I’d like, either. Like you, my week was exhausting, but I made it to the weekend! Oh, and just to make it official (since I bet it’s clear from the context), I’m bold this week!

 

Oh and because Crow has taught me well: spoiler warning. We are going to be discussing episode 24 of Demon Slayer in some detail so if you don’t want to know what happens, please go watch the episode first. Double spoiler, it’s not the type of episode with a lot of twists and turns, not that much to spoil here.

But if you like character moments as much as I do, there were some real gems in this episode! And the therapy nurses were just adorable in a little kid kind of way! And what they did for Tanjiro… Oops, don’t want to get ahead of ourselves… 

Before the beginning of the episode proper, we have a short opening tag between Shinobu and Rengoku. Seems a new powerful demon has risen and has devastated the ranks so Rengoku is going to investigate. This is only a short set up for something that obviously going to become important later, but it also served to make me a little interested in the character of Rengoku.

I like good humoured lugs and at first glance he falls into the category. Too bad the entire conversation was a gigantic death flag. It stopped just short of him announcing he has 3 weeks until retirement. I expect we will not see him alive for long and that bummed me out a little….

Well, at least he didn’t say he would finally get to spend time with his wife and kids or something like that. I agree with you. The scene had a seriously ominous overtone. Even his light-hearted question of what she was planning to do with the “head-butting kid” just emphasized that something’s up. 

Just for a bit of context, Tanjiro (and Nezuko although we don’t see her once again) are now slowly recovering at Shinobu’s manor after the events of spider mountain. Turns out that’s where Inosuke and Zenitsu have also been as the manor is something of a makeshift hospital because reasons.

Inosuke seems to be in a deep depression, which has the fortunate side effect of making him quiet and calm and generally rational, while Zenitsu is potentially worse than ever. Sigh…

Double sigh.

The three of them back together was a low point in the last episode and right from the get-go, we can tell that it’s going to be the majority of this episode. How did you feel about that Crow?

I keep wishing Zenitsu would show some growth like Inosuke did. I’ve developed more sympathy for Zenitsu since his fight on Spider Mountain, but a little of his sniveling goes a long way. A really, really long way.

Were you as happy as I was to see Murata alive and well? Looking might healthy too! I think it’s because Murata represents the everyman. A well meaning but otherwise unexceptional slayer caught at the wrong place in the wrong time and he made it! Most did not have his luck. In many ways Demon Slayer has not been a particularly kind narrative so this bit of improbable happy ending was welcomed in my book!

I’m not too proud to admit I cheered when he showed up, for exactly the reasons you just talked about. Kinda felt sorry for him, too, as he was saying how scary the Hashira were just as Shinobu walked in! Poor guy… 

Aside from resting and taking medicine, the boys have to go through recovery training with the staff(?) of the manor. I’m not quite sure what the relations are here. I know Kanao is a Demon Slayer and basically Shinobu’s apprentice. The girl with the twin tails was also wearing a uniform so she might be part of the corp but the three younger girls I’m not sure about.

I’ve taken to calling them the therapy nurses.

Anywho these ladies are tasked with whipping our heroes back into shape and health. I thought they seemed quite capable if a little scary. Crow, were you worried about them having to wrangle the likes of Tanjiro, Inosuke and Zenitsu?

At first I was worried! Then I saw them in action, and I started worrying for Tanjiro, Inosuke, and Zenitsu! Even the little therapy nurses were really strong! Great teamwork, too. 

In many ways, this episode reminded me of the Wisteria House one. Both are more or less set up and filler. Both involve the boys recovering from serious injuries and both have those silly little character head eye catches. Unfortunately, both feature the characters at their loudest and for me, most annoying. I really can’t blame Inosuke this time around, but Zenitsu stepped up to pick up the slack. Heck even Tanjiro started shouting at some point.

If Demon Slayer is at it’s best in tense and gory action, I think it’s at it’s worse when attempting “slice of life comedy”. Am I being too harsh?

No. My enjoyment dipped in direct relation to how much Zenitsu screamed. When he and Inosuke decided to stop going to therapy, I noticed that I perked up. In fact, there were some seriously cool moments when Tanjiro was alone with therapy nurses. 

Despite what I just said, Zenitsu’s initial glee in the rehabilitation training did make me smirk. It was cute. However, it was just a joke. What I mean by that is that to me, these scenes couldn’t be taken into account for character development or even establishment. This isn’t really the Zenitsu we’ve been introduced to so far. He becomes clingy and pathetic around girls, even more so than usual. Up until now, every time we’ve seen him try to seduce a woman, he was either terrified and physically clinging to her while crying or tripping over his own words.

Not to mention that the girl he was suddenly seducing was the exact same girl he was being a complete brat to when she was trying to give him his medicine. He’s seen and been very close to this exact girl for days now, there’s no reason for his drastic change into a smooth-talking Casanova.

That’s what I mean by it’s “just” a joke and if the humour doesn’t land for you, then it’s a wasted sequence. Did you enjoy it Crow?

The short answer is no. The long answer is also no. My favorite part, actually, was looking at the head nurse/doctor’s expression when Zenitsu tried to hit on her. She wasn’t having any of it. Yeah.. that’s what made me smirk and became my gif of the week!

The second half of the episode clams down a bit and becomes more introspective as Tanjiro decides to train in earnest.

Here we find out that the Hashiras and certain high-ranking slayers use total concentration breathing at all times. This seemed impossible to me and as amazing as the reveal was, something about it bothered me. First it sorts of cheapened the technique itself, so really it’s just normal breathing after a while. We’ve seen it visual portrayed as so impressive but it’s really just plain old breathing after a while.

Second, to both me and Tanjiro the prospect of constant total concentration was amazing. And although Tanjiro is outmatched by all the Hashiras, he is still in the same league. You can imagine him surpassing them after enough training. So exactly what kind of monster will Tanjiro become if he masters this technique? We’re slipping into Dragon Ball Z levels of constantly evolving power to the point that it becomes ridiculous. This should have been held of for later seasons in my opinion. What do you think?

I’m willing to wait and see what they do with it. I got the impression — and they didn’t really say, so it’s only an impression — that even after he learns to do it all the time, he had to give it constant attention. If he didn’t, he’d slowly lose the skill until he needed to restart training.

That being said, I don’t want him to become too powerful too fast. That would drain too much of the drama that they’ve used to such good effect. I’m a little heartened by some of the details in this episode, like it taking Tanjiro weeks to get his stamina back. I think that’s more realistic than many shows I’ve seen where the hero just brushes him or herself off and is fine.

And I just want to give a shout-out for the therapy nurses and how helpful they were to Tanjiro! I have to wonder if Shinobu coordinated with them, so that when they say he had potential and was willing to stick with it, they would give him hints about what to do next. 

I’m just going to assume that Crow’s favourite sequence is the rooftop conversation between Tanjiro and Shinobu. It’s an emotional reveal of Shinobu’s past and motivations that really fleshes out the character and thugs at the heartstrings. I did like the scene. It was well made and constructed. The quiet night and deserted rooftop created a melancholy ambience that was perfect for the story. I assume this will make Shinobu even more beloved by the part of the fandom that are already taken by her.

In practice, Shinobu’s background is on par with all the tragic backgrounds we’ve seen in Demon Slayer so far. Shinobu’s older sister was a slayer and eventually she lost a fight, this seems to be the destined fate of most slayers, unfortunately. As such, even though she does want to be understanding of demons as her sister was, Shinobu harbours a deep hatred and disgust for them that she simply cannot shake. It is admirable that she seems this hatred as something to surmount rather than embrace, but it does explain how brutal she is when dealing with demons.

You guess right. Did you see Shinobu’s expression when Tanjiro asked if she was angry? It was the first time I’ve ever seen her not in utter control of herself. She was shocked. That seemed to help her open up, though.

We’ve known that the Hashira all must have dark backstories. But seeing it so well portrayed in this case did make it more clear to me why most of the Hashira were so ready to kill Nezuko out of hand. It also makes Shinobu’s restraint — e.g., asking Tanjiro to tell his story before they decided — all the more remarkable.

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Shinobu’s expression when Tanjiro asked if she was angry!

Shinobu did say one thing that stuck in my ear, she told Tanjiro that she was letting him inherit her dream of peaceful coexistence with demons…Inherit her dream… Great! More death flags! Are we even going to have any Hashiras left by the end of this? I hope weird Mist boy is powerful cause he’s gonna have to step up!

That struck me, too. Especially when she said, “Knowing that you’re working hard in my place reassures me to no end. I can rest easy now.” What? You can do what? Just what is she planning to do? Is brining Tanjiro and friends into her household part of her exit plan? Not sure I like where this is heading! Just thinking about the strain they must always be under makes her saying how exhausted she was seem to tragic. What kind of decisions might that mental state allow?

All in all, this episode had a few great scenes in what was essentially filler. I’ve seen it before so I’m not too worried. I know that Demon Slayer will get back to exciting as soon as we find the next demon to fight. I sure am looking forward to that though!

Me, too! And the scenes that weren’t filler were really, really good. I’m still chuckling about Tanjiro’s reaction to Shinobu being so far in his personal space!

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Reviews of the Other Episodes

 

Irina

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

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9 Responses

  1. Having read the manga and knowing that there are only two episodes left, I think i know where episode 26 is gonna leave us at and I am bloody excited!

  2. Thong Do says:

    Speaking of DBZ, the constant total Breath actually pretty similar with Super Saiyan mode. In DBZ Cell arc, Goku train Gohan by having both of them stay in SS form as long as possible until it became like their second nature and they could eat, sleep and relax and still stay in SS mode. Rather than ifinding new power (like Vegeta), this method basically allow you to completely master what you already have

  3. Lynn says:

    Yeah, death flags everywhere, but then that must be a pretty constant part of being a Demon Slayer.

    I find it frustrating that no one actually trains anyone, they just keep doing the same thing, waiting for the trainee to suddenly work it out for themselves or until someone else steps in an gives them a push in the right direction.

    • “I find it frustrating that no one actually trains anyone, … waiting for the trainee to suddenly work it out for themselves or until someone else steps in an gives them a push in the right direction.”

      I noticed that, too. I’ve been thinking about this all day.

      The best I can figure, there are some techniques or abilities that depend on the student’s initiative. Maybe they’re based on truths that can’t be told; they have to be experienced.

      Frank Herbert played with those ideas in Dune. Remember the Gom Jabbar?

      If my theory’s right, the three therapy nurses could have told him and told him the ideas, but Inosuke and Zenitsu would have lacked the initiative to do anything with the concepts.

      I’m beginning to suspect that’s why the therapy nurses were so pleased with Tanjiro. Difficulty didn’t phase him; if he saw the path forward, even if it was crushingly hard, he’d try. Then try some more.

      He’s Tanjiro, after all!

    • Irina says:

      Shinobu seems more hands on? From the little we’ve seen…

  1. September 15, 2019

    […] Hi! It’s Irina’s turn to host our latest collaboration review of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba episode 24, “Rehabilitation Training.” So if you don’t want to read my teaser, you can jump to the review on Irina’s site by clicking on this link. […]

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