It’s finally starting to look like Christmas. And by that I mean we have a decent amount of beautiful white snow on the ground and even some up on the pine trees. Now if it can just manage to stick around for another week or so, we’ll be all set. 

I hope things are looking good for you as well! By the way, I have friends coming in a bit last minute so, for that reason, we’ve decided to celebrate on the 26th this year. I don’t know if Demon Slayer is airing next week and it shouldn’t be a problem as long as we can get the post together before 3 p.m. 

How are your celebration preparations coming along?

No worries if you have to delay! It being a major global holiday and all!

No snow down here. It was 50F yesterday. Today it’s 30F. So, typical Ohio! Speaking of holiday plans, my family’s plans are all over the place. Some are even getting together today, as we speak!

Like I said, it’s no issue if I can add my part before 3. Or I can host again if you prefer!

I’m pretty sure I mention this every week, but man do I love the Entertainment District OP. It’s not that it’s particularly special in any way. Of course, it’s really well animated but it’s a sort of classical OP with the characters doing things you would expect them to do in the show, nothing out of the ordinary. And although I don’t dislike the music, I can’t say it’s particularly striking or anything.

Yet when you put it all together, that OP just really makes me want to watch the episode. And at the end of the day, that’s the no 1 job of an OP. I can’t remember the last time an OP did its job this well. 

I was thinking about that same topic this week. I don’t even like Tengen as a character, but the shots of him watching the fireworks, then the shot of Makio, Suma (who I still think looks like Inosuke’s long lost big sister), and Hinatsuru looking so happy just feels inviting. Or maybe it’s that I wonder why three such accomplished and beautiful ninja would hang out with Tengen!

For better or for worse, Tanjirou, Zenitsu and Inosuke all have very strong and distinguished personalities. They’re not exactly neutral characters. You can tell who did and thinks what in any given situation, with very little effort.

Now, that may not be the best trait when it comes to an undercover situation. What do you think, Crow?

And again, you brought up something I was thinking while watching this episode. Twice, actually! There was an early scene of Insouke regarding Makio’s room. He looked at the meal the other worker had left for her. He tried to think out what his next move would be. Then, almost like he remembered who he was, he said (05:30), “Huh! Sitting here and not doing a thing…” That’s Inosuke!

I thought the same thing about Zenitsu. With alarm, in fact! But I’ll wait to talk about that, because I bet you’ll bring it up!

For all, its ups and downs though, I was reminded of something during this episode. There is a right and a wrong way to be yourself, at least when it comes to fictional characters, in my opinion. 

Inosuke is a man of the wild, He has these out-of-date ideas of machismo and relies mostly on instincts and brute force. When done wrong he’s a brutish oaf that just barrels into scenes destroying any idea of subtlety. Zenitsu is a coward (something I love in a shonen hero) and an immature boy with overactive hormones. He easily slips into the worst parody of the nice guy trope and his tendency to scream is annoying. While Tanjirou is both better and much worse off. His archetype is the good and efficient hero. His kindness can make him stumble and also tends to sadly flatten scenes, reducing complex moral dilemmas into simple black and white issues. I can forgive that, especially in a series that’s meant for a broad audience, but I still think it’s a shame. However, when it gets pushed just a bit too far, Tanjirou can become something of a Gary Stu, competing in strength and capabilities with Hashiras despite his lack of experience and training, all the while remaining morally untouchable and a paragon of virtue.

Stop me if I’m being unfair!

No, no. Please continue! And so far, I can’t argue against anything you’ve said!

However, this isn’t what we saw this week. What we saw was the boys being true to themselves in a way that works with the story.

Inosuke realizing that trying to think his way out of a situation is not likely to yield results, therefore committing himself to action and giving us an absolutely fantastic chase scene. I just love how Ufotable meshes CG mouvement with cell animation. I remember talking about it a few times during season 1 but this was even better. At this rate, they’ll make it completely seamless by the end of the season. I think I preferred it to the fight scenes. I just like that type of movement. What about you?

I won’t say I’m in awe of what Ufotable has accomplished. That’s become cliche. But in terms of what they can put on the screen, it’s so appealing that I lose the ability to be objective. It’s like it feeds right into the primitive part of my brain. It’s exciting, it’s absorbing, and it’s just a ton of fun.

Then Zenitsu got into his white knight persona but in an entirely justifiable way. And he didn’t go on to win the day or grind his enemies to dust. Not at all. But he did save the young girl. And he barely even made a deal about it. It was an entirely subdued performance on his part and in my opinion, one that makes him look much better. Once again, this is the Zenitsu that makes me understand why manga readers love him so much. 

Zenitsu’s scene really worked for me this week. Even when he was terrified because he knew an Upper Demon was standing behind him, he didn’t hesitate to grab Daki’s arm when she practically tore the little girl’s ear off. The moment just fit. It was exactly what I expected Zenitsu to do.

Finally, Tanjirou didn’t get much airtime this week. This in itself is a good way of not making him seem too impossibly perfect. Also, since they are all separated, we don’t get to directly compare the characters, making it obvious that Tanjirou is just better in every way. Instead, they showed us how that efficiency can turn in on itself, becoming impatience and restlessness. How those good intentions are just that, intentions. It brings the character back down to a normal flawed level, without having to actually punish him or make him fail. I liked it.

I really felt for the madam who tried to keep him busy. Looking back on my career, I suspect I accidentally pestered my bosses like Tanjirou did. You’re right. It did make him more human. For me, it even made him a little endearing. I guess I like heroes who sometimes lack the skills to interpret social situations!

When it actually comes down to it, nothing really happened in this episode. Inosuke tried to pursue a demon and lost it. Zenitsu stepped in to stop a young girl from being abused and got knocked out and Tanjirou did chores. I guess Zenitsu has at least seen the demon now but otherwise, they are really no more advanced than they were in the last episode. 

As for us in the audience, we got a bit of background on Warabihim, or Daki but nothing we didn’t already know. I think she looked beautiful with her hair down and I enjoyed the scene aesthetically. It also helped establish that Daki is not Muzan’s female form, so that was a nice clarification!

To be honest, it was halfway through this episode I realized Daki was a separate character! Glad I’m not the only one who missed that! And one thing did happen in this episode! Well, I should say almost happened. But I think you’re going to talk about that in a second.

Speaking of Muzan, even though he was back for only a minute or so, getting to hear his regular voice actor again, reminded me how amazing his voice is. I don’t know how the man does it, but everything he says is terrifying. Even when he’s having a pleasant casual conversation and I have no doubt that he’s going to remain calm and courteous, it still sends chills down my spine. 

It reminds me a little of Anthony Hopkins playing Hannibal Lecter. Toshihiko Seki, the voice actors, gives me the same sense of utter civility barely containing boundless violence. It really works for Muzan.

Once again, we end on a cliffhanger. You know, it never really occurred to me that the main characters could actually not make it through. I mean ultimately, the story can go one without any of them or at least, as long as Tanjirou survives, then it’s fine. So Zenitsu could be in very serious trouble.

I still think he’ll be fine ultimately. I’m not willing to bum myself out in that way until it becomes necessary.

I predict (hope?) Zenitsu will make it. But I’m really curious to see how?

Anything you would like to discuss about this episode Crow? 

I think you covered all of it! The only other thing that stood out for me was a specific example of what you talked about with Muzan. The way Muzan practically cooed at Daki as he gave her advice was chilling against the backdrop of what he would do to her if she forgot herself for an instant. We think she had a short fuse with Zenitsu? That’s nothing compared to Muzan!

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7 thoughts

  1. I can’t wait to see what happens when the fighting starts! But your points on characterization- both of you- makes me think about one of “Demon Slayers” STRONGEST Points: It’s memorable character! You may not like em all, but you’ll certainly remember them!

    1. I actually like almost all the characters. Some are a bit repetitive but that’s normal with so many characters in a series

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