Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Episode 26: The House of Escher

Macaron Rini

 

Well, here we are. It was quite a ride! Demon Slayer was not without its lows, but it’s highs were impressive and now that season 1 is all said and done, I can confidently say that I am very happy I got to watch this! But maybe I’m getting ahead of myself here. First, let’s get to some important stuff: How are you Crow?

 

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Hi, Irina! I’m doing well. I hope you enjoyed your week! Gotta say — this episode’s energy surprised me. It felt more like an opening than a closing! Oh, I’m bold, and we’ll likely have spoilers. Don’t want to mislead anyone!

 

For those of you that may not know – Demon Slayer was Crow’s recommendation and I’m sure glad he made it! How about we get this finale rolling.

When the episode opened back in Shinobu’s hospital, I thought we were in for another training montage and although I enjoy those, it seemed a little lackluster for a last episode, you know?

I was pretty happy when we suddenly moved to some creepy otherworldly demon meeting. Let’s say that poor guy’s question of “Where the Hell is this” may have been a little too accurate! But as hellish as it was, that twisty house was superb! Don’t you think?

It was architecturally fantastic. I felt like I was inside an M. C. Escher painting. It was also really cool to see how the demons themselves reacted. More than one of them were completely freaked out, which gave even more power to the feeling of unease. I’m pretty sure Crow hadn’t noticed my title when he made this comment….

And it was beautiful, too. This show excels at making evil look good.

As it happens the lower 5 kuzukis (Rui’s contemporaries) had been brought together by a rather dissatisfied Muzan. But they didn’t quite know that yet. I have been consistent in my praise for the Demons’ designs in Demon Slayer, and this episode was a treat in that regard. The lower 5 were just as varied and interesting as the hashiras but they don’t have to conform to a uniform or reasonable designs which made them even more interesting to me.

It’s impressive how much effort was put into each of their very individual appearances and even personalities considering how much time they got.

The range was amazing and the designs vibrant with individuality. One of the demons was more classical in that she had horns. The other, Lower One, was quiet and almost conservative, but here eyes and facial markings made it clear she was a demon. Even without know what was to come, there was something about her that marked her as particularly dangerous. Maybe the way she walked? How she stayed calm when some of the other demons were clearly skittish? Whatever it was, the show continued its tradition of being gorgeous. 

Turns out, Muzan had decided to be a beautiful Japanese lady that day. No one knows why. Just in the mood for it I guess. It’s all good. The thing is, this particular design overlaps somewhat with lady Tamayo, and it’s never in your advantage to compare yourself to Tamayo

I don’t know about you, but a female Muzan felt terrifying in a way the male form never did for me. It might be that I kept seeing Michael Jackson instead! But his female form? Dang. 

What follows was an education. It made sure I had properly assimilated the lessons of this season of Demon Slayer. (I say this season, I’ll get back to it).

First, being a Demon is no fun. It simply isn’t. They might grin like cheshires but no one wants to end up in their shoes. Well, maybe some people do but they are not o.k. Demons are without value even to each other as even kuzukis’ lives are cheap. Although I guess those aren’t exactly “lives”.

Second, Muzan is a monster, and whatever humanity he may have had has leaked out a while ago. There’s little point in hoping for any type of understanding. He’s also a rather horrible boss. I certainly have a whole new appreciation for mine after this episode.

And third, Tanjiro is special. Out of everything that is happening to encite Muzan’s rage; all the priorities he may have with the Demon Slayer corp nipping at his heels; the one thing he cares about is getting the slayer with the hanafuda earrings. At this point I’m seriously beginning to wonder why Tanjiro doesn’t take those earrings off, they constantly get him in trouble.

What were your takeaways from the scene?

His interactions with them were brutal. Of the demons was dumb enough to beg for mercy. What was he thinking? Another tried to argue; that didn’t get much farther. A third tired to escape — you can guess what happened to him. And when another tried to plead his case, Muzan accused him of disagreeing. “Whatever I say is right is the right thing,” he said as he killed the poor demon.

By the end of the scene, that’s how I thought of these blood-thirsty creatures — poor demons! 

But did you see how Lower One watched the others die before fashioning her response? “This is like a dream to me,” she said. “To die by your hand in person… I thank you for leaving me for last.”

He “spared” her by giving her an injection of his own blood, which will give her a power up — if she survives!

You’re absolutely right. Being a Demon is no fun!

After Muzan neetly culls his troupe, leaving only one particularly interesting looking one behind (this guy (or girl – seems Crow thinks it’s a girl and he may be right) will make for some great cosplay – also that gravity defying transition shot was the bomb!) the episode brings us back to the present where Tanjiro, Zenitsu and Inosuke seem to have mostly recovered from their wounds. And just in time as it seems the “train incident” is getting worse!

Before leaving on their new mission though, the boys have on last day at Shinobu’s to say their goodbyes. We mostly follow Tanjiro, though, and he is his usual overly earnest and touching self. First he takes on Aoi in a scene that was touching but rang hollow to me.

Aoi is chastising herself for not being an active combattant and Tanjiro cheers her up by saying he’ll carry her feelings in battle with him. I would feel worse if someone told me that. Aoi works tirelessly to help slayers recover. She basically was their nurse, doctor, maid, cook and physical therapist for months. That’s no small feat! Why is Tanjiro just basically saying – Yup you’re a coward but it’s OK cause I’m brave! I know it was animated and conveened as words of compassion and encouragement and that’s how most fans will see them. Just for me, I thought the double message was pretty amusing.

I didn’t take it that way — and I think this might be a case of a gender bias I didn’t realize I had. I saw the scene as touching: Here was Tanjiro being the combat form of Tooru Honda again, spreading cheer and forgiveness! But if I put myself in Aoi’s position, and if Tanjiro were to say that to me, I would feel humiliated. 

I’m reminded of when the two Kakushi grabbed Tanjiro and Nezuko back in episode 23. Tanjiro seriously wanted to head butt Sanemi for stabbing Nezuko, but the Master finally convinced him to stand down. As the two Kakushi carried our two heroes to the hospital, one of them practically screamed that she was furious with him for putting her in such a terrifying position. “Ready the room!” she yelled at him. That’s Tanjiro, though, isn’t it? He’s so earnest that he often misses little details — like he does later with Kanao

Then Tanjiro bid farewell to Kanao in a scene that was akin to emotional fanservice. I’m saying that as a good thing. I do think most fans would really enjoy this scene. It was very sweet.

For a second I thought Tanjiro may actually have lost the coin (I thought he was going to throw it away for a bit as well), and that the entire thing would have turned to slapstick comedy with Kanao royally beating him up. It stayed sweet instead.

This is where Tanjiro showed his oblivious side again! When he told her that he was going to flip the coin to determine if she would listen to the little voice in her heart, she almost looked panicked. The prospect was clearly scary for her! He showed her it was heads and was so happy that he grabbed both her hands. He had no idea what he was doing to her feelings at that point. He was just focused on the idea that he had helped her move forward!

And when he gave her his carefree grin and said goodbye, he had not a clue the emotional confusion he left in his wake. He had just introduced a huge change into his life, then skipped off to war! 

Seriously, Tanjiro, read the room!

I forgot to mention that we also saw scar boy in the halls and I don’t know what type of Demon steroids he’s been taking. I think he was roughly the same size as Tanjiro last time we saw him, now he dwarfs him. And it’s not like Tanjiro has been laying around on the couch eating chips or anything…

Can confirm. Not a single chip was consumed.

Were you as surprised as I was by the fact that all three of them could break the big jugs with their breath? Zenitsu and Inosuke actually ended up taking their training seriously enough to not be left behind. That’s pretty impressive. I figure Inosuke may have powered through on brute force but Zenitsu must have actually put in the work at some point!

They even got a reward from the three scary therapy girls. With the way they handle Zenitsu and Inosuke, I’m thinking just send these three after the demons, they’ll make short work of it. Or is that too mean to the demons?

I didn’t think they were scary! To be fair, I didn’t try to subject them to emotional blackmail like Zenitsu did. I loved how they told him, “Maser Zenitsu, please try to learn how to be considerate and respectful of girls.” I laughed even harder when he asked if they were even a little sad he was leaving.

In unison, they answered, “We are not sad.”

From that perspective? I can see how scary they can be! And good for them.

As the last scenes were coming up, I realized something. This isn’t an ending. As in, not even close. It’s a clear set up for the next arc. There’s no pretense that the story has any sort of end point here. You might as well have stopped the season mid sentence.

The reason it took me so long to realize this though is because the boys were about to board a train. A first for both Inosuke and Tanjiro who have lived isolated in the mountains their entire lives. So it was up to city boy Zenitsu to be the voice of wisdom. And he was! It was so weird!!

I almost felt dizzy because of that. It was so disorienting! 

Not only did this last scene set up the “train incident” it also brought up a lot of other great world building tidbits. Trains are still not common in the countryside, which means the world of Demon Slayer is right at the cusp of heavy industrialization. This is bound to change how Demons live and how Slayers hunt! Tanjiro has visited the big city once, it’s where he met Muzan but he was in a daze and frantic then. I’m not sure Inosuke ever has. How will they take the culture shock? Slayers are not officially sanctioned, and it seems law enforcement does take its job seriously. A clash between Slayers and the government could be an amazing storyline. And why aren’t they sanctioned, aren’t demons a huge problem? All these questions brought up in the last minutes. How mean!

I agree. It didn’t feel like an ending at all. The energy was much more like the first few episodes! 

Back in the first episode, I did a little research. According to Manga Tokyo, the series takes place during the Taisho Era, which was between 1912 and 1926. I hadn’t considered that “modern” transportation wouldn’t have reached non urban areas. It was hilarious how Inosuke thought the locomotive was the master of the land — an opponent he had to confront. Tanjiro spoke up, and I thought okay, he’s going to correct Inosuke. But no, he suggested they shouldn’t attack because it might be the “guardian spirit of this land.” Like you said, it was Zenitsu who set them straight.

Did you notice how he was more subdued this episode? Do you think it’s too much to hope this is a permanent thing?

I firmly believe it will last for the rest of the season….

All in all, this last episode was a showcase for what Demon Slayer does best. Breathtaking animation, ambitious CG integration, eye popping designs mixed with a bit of action, a bit of comedy, a measure of intrigue, a few feels for good measure, and just buckets of blood! It was fun, heartwarming and harshly disturbing all in a single episode without giving me whiplash! What did you think Crow?

I think you summed it up! Oh, do you want to share the news about the movie? Or do you want me to?

Well all we really know for now is that a movie adaptation of the Infinite Train arc has been greenlit. Demon Slayer must be so impressive on a big screen!

*** I had made a gif for my header but it turned out a bit too gruesome so I made a different one. Still it was a nice gif so here it is:

Demon Slayer ep26(1)

Reviews of the Other Episodes

 

Irina

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

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13 Responses

  1. Thong Do says:

    Remember the Drum demon? The one that got kick out of the 12? Yeah we can see why since Muzan basically have a minion with a better version of his power, the Biwa playing demon.
    Also the reason why Aoi so upset about not being brave enough to fight is that she like Kanao, she also one of Shinobu successor. She might think she not able to live up to her master expectation.

  2. “I’m pretty sure Crow hadn’t noticed my title when he made this comment….”

    Well, tha’s embarrassing. I actually remember reading “The House of…” and getting interrupted. I blame my cat.

    “I firmly believe it will last for the rest of the season….”

    LOL. That’s probably the best I can hope for.

    I’m looking forward to the movie. I think the show was popular enough, so I hope we get a second season soon!

    • Matthew says:

      I know that the scene with the lower 5 kuzukis was meant to reinforce how cruel and vicious Muzan was along with introducing the next story arc but do you think it was really smart for muzan to clean house at that moment? They still could have been useful to him.

      • Irina says:

        I see where you’re coming from. Mind you I haven’t read the manga for all I know Muzan could already have their replacements all lined up and he is getting rid of liabilities…

        • “Muzan could already have their replacements all lined up and he is getting rid of liabilities…”

          That’s a possibility.

          I also wonder if it’s a survival of the fittest sort of thing? If they’re consuming but are not getting as strong as he needs them to be, then those are humans that could feed more powerful demons.

          I hate to be so utilitarian about it, but it seems like it might be a factor.

      • Thong Do says:

        I think Muzan have anger issue. It not about how smart he is, it about how he can’t control his anger, just like when he kill the drunken guys who dare to piss him of after he met Tanjirou.

  1. September 29, 2019

    […] Can you believe we’re at the end of Demon Slayer’s first season? Irina from I Drink and Watch Anime and I would like to share our review of the 26th episode with you. You can find it here on Irina’s site. […]

  2. October 13, 2019

    […] Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Episode 26: The House of Escher […]

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