This week, we will be looking at Demon Slayer Entertainment District Arc episode 5, “Things Are Gonna Get Real Flashy”. This is the establishment of Tengen Uzui’s “redemption”, if you could really call it that, established in the first episode of the arc. For those of you that remember, episode 4 ended on a bit of a cliffhanger, with Tanjirou facing off against an upper six demon all by himself. This week, we get to see a bit more of that fight but also, what Inosuke, Zenitsu and Tengen have been up to in the meantime. I didn’t think this would ever come into play in a Demon Slayer episode, but it seems that Inosuke has some pretty privilege happening!
Before we get started though, let me wish you all a very happy 2022. I’ve been taking it easy these past few days but I plan to get back into it this week! I hope you all enjoyed the end of what was a tough year for some. And I mostly hope that this year will be better for you, in every way that actually matters.
How about you Crow, did you enjoy your celebrations? Do you have any resolutions or wishes for the new year?
And a happy 2022 to you, too! No resolutions for 2022, though I have a hope and a plan. My hope is that that we all get past the pandemic with something resembling a coherent society. I believe in hoping big! And my plan is to publish my first novel. No, no, don’t laugh! I even wrote it and everything!
And “pretty privilege!” That made me laugh.
I mentioned in our review for the first episode of the arc, that Tengen’s introduction was a bit too obvious. And honestly, the way they are evolving the character is pretty transparent. Demon Slayer is well aware of who exactly the audience base for the show is and they are writing to get specific reactions from that audience without any subtlety at all.
Not that I dislike that mind you. And from what I’ve read, they have been extremely successful at it. I think they learned a bit from the first season and how those characters were perceived.
I had speculated that in Tegen, they purposefully made sure the audience would dislike him immediately. They played up all the parts that were likely to annoy the audience, made the other characters spell it out just in case and used this hammed-up cinematic language but also made sure that it wouldn’t create a situation where fans would drop the show because of it. Then they pulled back in order to slowly build up the character again.
Right in the first scene, we see Tengen rescuing Hinatsuru and not only is he the hero in the situation but what follows is one of the most gentle and delicately loving scenes that Demon Slayer has created so far. It’s a simple moment without too much grandstanding but you can feel the care in it. Tengen cradling his wife, comforting her with all he’s got and telling her to get herself out of danger.
It’s the type of scene Demon Slayer usually doesn’t have time for. After all, you can’t create such a calm and intimate moment if a murderous demon is right on your heels, so most of the time, the characters have mere seconds to rescue someone before getting swept up in the action again.
But the show specially created this situation and these few scenes to show us a more caring and humanizing moment, and they did that specifically for Tengen. That’s no coincidence, it was always the plan. I don’t know about you, but no matter how obvious it was, it worked like gangbusters on me!
I like how you framed the utter bluntness of Demon Slayer’s narrative style, including that it isn’t a negative. I hated myself for reacting to such an obvious ploy, but dang it, seeing him cradle Hinatsuru with such obvious care really touched me.
Though just before that, I had to wonder: With all the flashy stuff he wears, doesn’t he make a lot of noise for a Hashira? Not very good at sneaking up on his enemies, is he? Though thinking about it, most of his enemies might be able to sense the presence of a human, silent or not.
We didn’t have too long to bask in this peace though as the episode reminded us that Tanjirou is in big trouble. Now maybe I’m imagining things but I thought I saw an improvement in Tanjirou’s fighting during this sequence. I actually thought to myself, wow Tanjirou has come a long way. He can hold his own! Impressive.
I still don’t really like Warabihime as the main antagonist of the arc. Then again, maybe she won’t be, there’s still time. (I do have a caveat though and I’ll get back to it when we get to the worm belt scene.) The main reason I’m not jiving with her is that I find her very stereotypical and by this time in Demon Slayer, we have had some very interesting villains. She seems to be a step down from that. And that’s a real shame because her character design is sublime. Attractive yet intimidating and utterly fun to watch. Wasted on a paint by numbers baddie.
And yet again, we get another tired trope where Warabihime is going to fail to kill Tanjirou, and doubtlessly deeply regret it down the line, because she underestimated her opponent. How unique! Not to mention that we have an attractive female villain who is obsessed with superficial beauty…
I wish I could find a way to disagree, because the memory of villains like the Spider Family Mother set the bar high. At least, higher than Warabihime so far. There’s no subtlety to her. Again, I’m not saying that’s necessarily bad, because Demon Slayer is targeting a specific vibe. But I can’t help but feel a little disappointed.
As such the fight scene between Tanjiro and Warabihime was good. Of course it was, Ufotable doesn’t animate dull fight scenes, but it was also a bit standard. There weren’t any moments that made me gawk in awe at my screen.
There was however an interesting revelation about Tanjirou’s powers. We got a pretty good explanation that Tanjirou isn’t suited for water breathing. He can do it and is pretty good at it but it sort of goes against his natural inclinations so he will always be limited if he concentrates entirely on water technique. On the other hand, we know that his father was attuned to fire and Tanjirou himself has a much better affinity with the element, but he finds it so powerful that it becomes difficult to control, creating a heavy burden on his body.
I’m not sure if that means Tanjirou will go for some type of hybrid build or discover a whole new technique. Maybe he can be the Hashira of steam!
I like these technical aspects of the lore. I guess I’m a nerd through and through…
Seeing Tanjirou progress is fun. I think that his realization that his Water Breathing techniques had peaked, and he had to dedicate himself to the Hinokami Kagura (which I think is the Fire Breathing technique) felt like a big deal.
I liked how that showed how aware Tanjirou is of his own development. It’s obvious that he’s taken responsibility for it, but it’s just another way of showing how dedicated he is.
However, we did not get closure on Tanjirou’s fight as we were directed to Inosuke instead and his ongoing effort to sniff out the demon, literally. I have to say, the scene of him going through one of Warabihime’s obi tunnels was downright claustrophobic for me. I just couldn’t wait for him to get back into an open space and I actually caught myself exhaling when he popped out into the food cavern.
Boy, if you haven’t seen this episode, I bet a lot of these words sound like nonsense, huh?
Ok so here’s my caveat, although I think Warabihime is an extremely dull villain in characterization, I do like her powers. I don’t love them but I think they are unusual and adaptable enough to create some interesting situations. I had not realized before this episode that the sash actually had some type of independent mind of its own and although it’s very silly, it did make for a fun scene.
I also liked that Warabihime instructed that Inosuke was to be captured alive because he’s so pretty. The clash between Inosuke’s personality and looks has been used as a running gag since the beginning of the show and to have it have some plot relevance, no matter how minute, was a really fun addition.
Inosuke is coming into his own in this arc. Sure he’s still gruff and lacks anything even resembling delicacy but his character feels much less like a caricature I find. And I am digging the scenes where he’s essentially on his own. Something I couldn’t have bet on in the past. He’s been carrying his own plotline very well and I’m pleasantly surprised.
That battle showcased how far he’s come. First, I loved his initial reaction. He at first thought the sash was decorative, and he wondered why it was decorated with decorations that looked like people. Then, his senses told him that no, they were alive. I thought that was a cool detail.
I also loved how the sash realized his slashing had not been random. Instead, he had cut away the people. Within just a few moments, Inosuke had freed allies!
His sash naming skills were hilarious. “So it traps humans inside a woman’s belly band, huh?” he said (12:58). Who calls a sash a belly band? That’s not a rhetorical question, because it’s Inosuke, of course!
Oh, I thought that belly band was a common term…
Really? Hmmm. Guess my fashion vocabulary is lacking… Though even Makio liked his other term. “You came up with a great name! ‘Worm belt’!” she said (15:53).
This said I can’t deny that I was pretty happy to see everyone starting to come together. First Makio and Suma showed up. Or rather got free. We had seen a bit of Makio before to get some idea of what she was like but Suma was a complete surprise and I didn’t hate it. She is slightly reminiscent of Zenitsu in that she’s a complete crybaby and that’s used as comic relief in the middle of otherwise tense scenes. I don’t know if it’s a double standard or maybe it’s because this is the first time we see Suma but I really liked it. A lot more than when Zenitsu grows a fit. And I like Zenitsu in general but he is a little much at times.
Speaking of Zenitsu though, he wasn’t too much this week. In fact, this may have been his best god mode moment yet. I think it’s in the voice acting. Hiro Shimono really nailed it this week.
I also loved Inosuke’s reaction when, after seeing Zenitsu clean house, he said, “Maybe you should stay asleep the whole time” (17:12). I like their banter, even if it’s not particularly innovative.
Of course, all of that good cheer got completely dwarfed with the arrival of Tengen. The show is doing a very good job at showing us the power disparity between average demon slayers and Hasira. I think that’s very important. There are too many shows that tell us a character is so much more powerful but you never get a sense of it in action. Not here, Tengen basically just dominated the situation and made everyone else look like amateurs.
And this is when the episode really drove home the hero aspect. We got a flashback showing that Tengen has always been deeply caring and protective of his wives. That they are a very happy family and that he is not just kind but particularly so. He’s still not perfect, and I’m sure some of the fans (if not most) still have their reservations towards the character. Like he’s better than they thought at first but you can’t let your guard down yet. To me, that means they’re probably not going to kill the character off yet. And that’s a good thing cause the flashy bastard is growing on me!
When he told them that in the order of priority they were first, civilians were second, and he was third, I will admit that my dislike for the guy plummeted. Do you know what drove my response? The reaction from Hinatsuru, Suma, and particularly Makio. What he told them was so unusual for their culture that I had to appreciate it.
That, and I tend to trust the three of them. They’re really capable, despite what Suma seemed to think of herself.
But guys, let’s not forget, Tanjiro is in the middle of a fight with a very strong opponent! They better get to his side soon. Or maybe the destruction of the sash will hurt Warabihiime somehow…
I’m still not sure if the sash is its own demon or an extension of Warabhihime’s powers. She almost talked to it as if it were independent, but it looks identical to the sashes on her person, so maybe it’s an extension.
In any case, you’re right. Tanjirou’s in trouble, no matter how far his skills have come. I mean, she’s killed what, seven Hashira? So now I’m excited for the next episode!
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- Demon Slayer 2 Episode 2: Bliss
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- Demon Slayer 2 Episode 4: Sleep When You’re Dead
- Demon Slayer 2 Episode 5 Review: Right on the Money
- Demon Slayer 2 Episode 6: Still Fighting
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- Demon Slayer 2 Episode 8: A Flashy Entrance
- Demon Slayer Entertainment District Arc Episode 2: The Undercover Operation