In Demon Slayer Entertainment District Arc episode 7, “Transformation,” Nezuko’s confrontation with Warabihime/Daki seems to be a draw. Although Nezuko winning this fight might mean her losing something a lot more precious. But thankfully her brother is there for her. Meanwhile, Uzui finally catches up with them. It seems that there’s more than just flash to this ninja. He didn’t become a hashira by accident. Then again, Daki didn’t make it to upper six by accident either. And no, it’s not just because of her looks! Although that doesn’t hurt…
Crow from Crow’s World of Amine is once again joining us to discuss this episode. Crow is a professional writer and anime reviewer with a huge catalogue of episode reviews available. Don’t forget to check him out! Before we get into the episode, how was your week, Crow? Has the pandemic been difficult for you guys? How’re things at work?
It was one of those weeks at work. But my family and I have managed to remain healthy, so I’ll count that as a win! Omicron’s doing its thing all around me, and now I’m starting to worry about the next variant. I hope things are going well for you!
Last week’s Demon Slayer Entertainment District Arc left off on something of a cliffhanger as the ongoing fight between Nezuko and Daki seemed to be having unpredictable effects on Nezuko. Namely, it appeared that Nazuko was unlocking huge amounts of power making her as strong as one of the upper six. Before jumping into it, do you have any opening thoughts, Crow? What did you think of this twist and where did you think it was going?
I loved that Nezuko was going to have to pay a price for her leveling up. It gave the scene a lot more weight. It also had me wondering what would come of it. I was pretty sure she wasn’t going to die, but all sorts of other options were available! Also, it was a new direction. It was something I might have expected, but they did it in a way that I thought was cool to watch.
Te Nezuko and Daki fight went on for some time, all the while, Nezuko seemingly getting incrementally stronger with blow. If you remember, the general lore of Demon Slayer says that demons get stronger as they feed on humans. Yet Nezuko has never tasted human flesh. T our knowledge at least. I’m not sure what happened before Tanjirou found her. Maybe she had already scarfed down a couple of villages! I’m joking of course.
My point is if Nezuko is this strong now, exactly how strong would she be if she succumbed to her demonic instincts? Or is it her restraint that has made her this strong?
In many ways, Nezuko has always seemed like an unfinished demon to me. She can’t talk, she only grunts. Her behaviour often retreats into that of a small child, much younger than she actually is. And she just seems generally uncomfortable thinking for herself. Is that because she has never had human blood, I wonder?
I think that’s a good question. Remember how Muzan lamented to Daki (back in episode 3) that only Tamayo and Nezuko had escaped him? I’m still wondering what that means. Tamayo has tried to live a virtuous life, at least to the extent that she consumes no human meat. I guess that makes her a sort of flexitarian? But we know it’s possible for a demon to live without consuming humans. But there just aren’t enough data points to know what that means for Nezujo.
But wow, did she subject Daki to a beat down!
As the fight progressed, a second thing became apparent. Nezuko was enjoying it. She was enjoying inflicting pain. She liked the blood and carnage all around. It became a little uncomfortable to watch and I’m sure that was entirely the point.
I have to applaud Demon Slayer for going there. Since the start of the show, Nezuko has been a fan favourite and I have seen plenty of people defend her and vilify any characters that weren’t as kind. But the fact remains that Nezuko is a demon. And in this universe, demons are monsters. They kill people indiscriminately, in painful ways and large quantities. And the thing is, this puts them in danger. They’re not doing it just for fun. There is something driving them to that violence. Both the literal hunger for human flesh and a more primal need. They more or less exist for this destruction.
I also like Nezuko a lot. In season 1 she was my favourite. I think her character is a little odd and underused in season 2 but I still really like her. And when I say underused, the moral dilemma her existence just create is in fact a fantastic use of her character. Not only that but it completely explains why she has been mostly absent this season. Tanjirou is actively keeping her away from the action not because he is afraid that she will get hurt (I mean he let her fight all through season 1 so that would have been a very inconsistent motivation) but because he wanted to avoid this exact thing. He wants to keep Nezuko’s demon side as undeveloped as possible.
The thing is, even though Demon Slayer did acknowledge the Nezuko issue, I’m not sure they’re going to actually discuss it. They chickened out of making her actually kill someone and then turned her into an adorable chibi and that might just be it. What do you think Crow?
It’s a tough question to answer, especially from the perspective of the writer. Does he risk alienating the fans by playing it safe and avoiding the moral dilemma? Or does he plunge forward and explore the world he’s created?
I haven’t read the manga, so I don’t know what’s going to happen. But I found myself hoping to see what Nezuko will become. I want to see it discussed; I want to see it dramatized. That’s interesting stuff!
I’d like to think the cat’s out of the bag. Nezuko not only kicked Daki’s head clean off in the previous episode. As you said, she enjoyed the act. Then, seeing terrified humans all around her, she paused, fighting against her instincts. Then she charged snarling at one one them. I think her drool confirmed the decision she’d made.
So, where do they go from there? I’m really looking forward to seeing if the show takes the brave approach and confronts the issue. Because if Tanjirou had not been present, Nezuko would have feasted.
All of this said the lullaby scene was very touching. I’m glad we got to see it. And I would like to think that it wasn’t a coincidence that a lullaby was the key t it all. What I mean is that Tengen wasn’t suggesting it in jest, to begin with. He was serious all along.
Although I may be a bit too gracious with his character. Do you think I am, Crow? Did you like that lullaby scene? When Nezuko first exploded in tears, I could feel all the tension leaving my body, as if I was letting out a breath I had been holding unconsciously. Demon Slayer is good at creating those sorts of moments. The tension isn’t just about gore and fight scenes.
You know, as hard a week as I’ve had, and as cynical as I think I’ve become, I’ll be honest. The lullaby scene did make me tear-up. It was the combination of Tanjirou being absolutely at wit’s end, the innocence of Nezuko’s younger self, and the mom’s caring that sold the scene to me.
As far as Tengen goes, I’m beginning to understand that his flashiness is a facade he developed over time, both to protect himself from the world and to advance his place in it. He’s abundantly arrogant, but he’s a hashira. He goes on about how attractive he is, but then we have the proof of Makio, Suma, and Hinatsuru that at least, they agree with him. And it might sight strange to say, but I’ve started to trust their judgment.
At the very least, Demon Slayer has given us a character that’s has above average complexity, and it’s fun to talk about him.
Now, this was the first part of the episode and if you ask me, it had more than enough action and emotion to last 3 episodes but it wasn’t over yet. Not by a long shot.
I’ve been whining for a while now that Daki was a bit of a stereotypical villain and that I wished there was more to the antagonist of the season. Well ask and you shall receive… I guess.
It turns out that Daki is in fact hosting Gyuutarou, her older brother that appears to be the true upper demon in the family. I do like his character design a lot. I liked Daki’s as well but Gyuutarou’s emancipated form is more striking and just generally interesting. Demons are scary because they eat people. An obese one would therefore be scarier. Yet, visually, the protruding spine and exaggerated rib cage just sticking out above an impossibly thin waist had me in chills. It’s so instantly recognizable as a shape that shouldn’t exist. It will also make cosplaying this guy a real pain!
This said I’m still on the fence on whether this is an upgrade as far as characterization goes. We really don’t know much about him yet. We only got to see him for the last act and most of that time was taken up by a fight with Uzui. My initial impression is that he’s your typical creepy slightly pervy brocon character. He even got super mad at Tengen for having three wives. Just like nice guy Zenitsu. That running bit is going over my head. Weren’t multiple wives common at the time? Polygamy was legal in Japan until WWII. Tengen’s wives all seem very happy with their relationship. Why is everyone angry?
The tradeoff is that Daki became more interesting to me this week. Seeing her break down in tears really made me warm up to her. Not because I like seeing her cry. I will say the scene of her holding her own head upside down while crying was brilliant though. Such a great visual! It’s more than the events of this week completely destroyed her boss b*tch persona and revealed her to be just a little girl trying to front like she’s a big deal but hiding behind big brother whenever it gets rough. A spoiled brat that doesn’t want to admit that she is. Now that’s more interesting to me. And I hope they bring that out of the character more as the season goes forth. How about you Crow?
I had to laugh when Tengen felt shocked that Daki was throwing a tantrum. For a demon, it just felt so out of place! But in context of the relationship she had with her brother, it made perfect sense. Also, I agree that it showed her insecurities in a visually interesting way. Miyuki Sawashiro, Daki’s voice actor, sounded delightful in this part (and did a fine job overall!).
I would like to see more a complex motivation for Gyuutarou. Mere jealousy seems a little weak, but maybe not. Envy has destroyed people in the past, so maybe it’s a powerful enough motivation for someone to become a demon.
But you’re right. The image of Daki balling her eyes out, holding her severed head upside down, was really something. The transformation scene was pretty cool, too.
Once again, things are looking grim. This show doesn’t know how to end on a neutral event. Gyuutarou and Daki are reunited, making them a truly formidable foe. Tengen did get injured earlier and having a lot of people to protect puts him at a disadvantage.
On the upside, Inosuke and Zenitsu are finally ready to join the fight! And Zenitsu is still asleep which we all know is the best version of Zenitsu. Is it just me or has Zenitsu been asleep for like 3 episodes now? Are they really going to keep him unconscious for most of the season? That would be pretty hilarious.
And I’m sure that as soon as Tanjirou stuffs his sister back into her box, he’ll also be back. That will even the odds out a bit!
I was a little disappointed that Nezuko shrank when she fell asleep. It made me think they might try to sweep her attempt to snack on folks under the rug!
Zenitsu should be well rested when he wakes up. Which, I guess, means he’ll whine more? Though he did seem to be channeling more anger than fear the last few times. Guess we’ll have to wait and see!
The thing is, and I might be alone here, I kind of wish we had a break. Like I want them to retreat and regroup. This season, both the train and the entertainment district arc, have been nonstop action and I miss the quiet times when they were training or exploring cities and gathering clues. Or just goofing around. You know? There are four episodes left in this arc and I’m a little afraid that 3 of them will be this fight. As in, Gyuutarou & Daki vs Uzui, Zenitsu, Inosuke and Tajirou and then the last episode will be a wrap-up.
I’m not saying that will be horrible. The fight choreographies are very fun to watch in Demon Slayer. But I think there’s a missed opportunity. The guys had to do some growing up during this arc. They had to confront their weaknesses and assumptions. It would be nice to have an episode where they can take stock of all that. This way those of us in the audience will get a chance to appreciate it as well.
The pleasure district is such a fantastic setting but we hardly got a chance to see it properly. Why not have them go for a meal, visit one of those less reputable doctors that also help the geisha with their “problems”. Is there anything you would like to see Crow or are you happy with just letting the fight proceed?
The glimpses we got early in this arc just made me want to see more. Maybe get to spend some time with Koinatsu, who we last saw in episode 4, as she comes to grips with what happened to her. Or even get to know Makio, Suma, and Hinatsuru a little better.
I don’t want to complain, because as you’ve said, the fight choreography has been up to ufotable’s standards. But it’s hard to appreciate those scenes when they pile one on top of another.
Shouldn’t Demon Slayer’s success gives it a little more clout? So that they don’t have to rush to fit the story into a reduced number of episodes? Though to be honest, I don’t understand the intricacies of ufotable’s general ledger or anime financing in general.
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