Well, things are certainly looking though in Demon Slayer Entertainment District Arc episode 9, “Defeating and Upper Rank Demon”. That’s quite a misleading episode title there!  I’m going to break up the post in a more general discussion of the seasons as well as a few targeted observations about the episode itself. I do plan on doing something similar when I review the last episode as well as I think that will be the perfect time to look back on the Entertainment district arc but it’s also nice to touch base along the way and see where we’re at. It gives a good sense of evolution.

I hope all you guys out there are enjoying the season as well. And please, do let us know what you are thinking about it! The more perspectives, the more interesting it gets. 

But before we get to all that, let’s say hi to Crow from Crow’s World of Amine. He has been my co-host on this season of Demon Slayer and is really amazing at capturing an episode on paper. You should check his blog for great episode reviews on all the most exciting seasonal anime!

How have you been this week Crow? Anything interesting happens. What was your favourite episode this week? Aside from Demon Slayer of course!

Hi, Irina! The week’s going well. There’s a major storm forecast for Wednesday into Thursday, and the area I’m in is right on the border of possible snow or possible freezing rain. I work from home, so I’m not worried, but my son works second shift, and he just bought a new truck. I’m already getting anxious, and it’s only Sunday!

Favorite episode this week (excepting this one!) has to be My Dress-Up Darling’s fourth episode, “Are These Your Girlfriend’s?” The best word I can come up with is wholesome! The characters are just so warm.

But like you said, things are looking tough for our heroes in Demon Slayer. So let’s talk about this episode!

I have been having an unusual experience with this season of Demon Slayer. And when I say this season, I mean both the Train and Entertainment district arcs as they have really been airing as one continuous season. And I’m not sure if that was the best way to take them in. Maybe…

I will say that both arcs are some of the most technically impressive displays I have seen in anime. Just jaw-dropping and beautiful. I’m not sure exactly what resources are going into it but man, it’s certainly paying off. And even just for that, I think it’s worth watching Demon Slayer right now. 

But it’s not just for that. There is more to it. I thought the train arc was maybe a touch too drawn out but emotionally resonant, It was also the most severe setback the main characters had experienced in their “careers” as Demon Slayers and that’s an important milestone. 

I will say, I thought the plot thread of the orphans or sick children that were going into their minds to destroy their egos felt unresolved. It was dropped quickly and we never really got much of a feeling for those characters which I a shame because I think there was potential there.

Anyway, from the emotional low at the end of the Train arc, we got swept right into the lights and glitz of the Entertainment District. It felt like a breath of heavily perfumed air and exactly what I needed. I was sooo excited for this arc. And I’m not disappointed. I’m not… but…

I’ve said it before, to me, the balance between storytelling and plot/character building and action is a little off. We don’t get a second to catch our breaths so nothing has time to sink in that much. Yes, there were a few nice character moments here and there, but by and large, this was an adventure. It felt like a great arc that is part of a season but not the entire season if that makes sense. I understand that the creators probably saw this coming and that’s why they called it an arc. I just still wish I could have spent more time just lazily wandering around the entertainment district with my favourite layers. And with only two episodes left, that seems unlikely to happen.

So with two very action-heavy arcs back to back, I am left feeling like we didn’t get much story in the end. Do you know what I mean?

I do, and I’m having a similar experience. I went back over my notes for the last couple of episodes. There were several extraordinary moments, sometimes in almost every scene. In the moment, as I experienced them for the first time, they resonated, and I’m left with the impression that this season or arc is more emotionally deep than the previous season.

But I look at the moments in my notes, and now, I can barely remember them. So much astonishing action has taken place, executed at such a high level, that it has become a mass of amazement without detail.

As much as I enjoy this arc, and I am seriously enjoying it, I’m missing the kind of beauty that’s best enjoyed in reflection, like season one episode 16’s “Fifth Form, Blessed Rain After the Drought.” Even now, it’s been what, a year and a half since that episode? But even just thinking about that moment gives me chills.

I say all this but let me remind you, I really did enjoy this arc. I guess I would have liked it sandwiched between more plot-heavy arcs or something like that.

As for episode 9. It’s still the fight between the slayers and siblings Daki and Gyuutarou. I’m not sure how to discuss this episode. Objectively speaking a lot happened but it was mostly, and then Tanjirou jumped out of the way, and then Gyuutarou caught the blade and then… You guys aren’t here for that. It’s way better to just watch the episode. A lot more fun as well! I’m not that gifted with description.

However, there were a few points that stood out.

I had been predicting that we would get a flashback episode. Although I wouldn’t call this an actual flashback episode, there were quite a few in the first half. Mostly of Uzui and his wives. That actually surprised me. I really thought they would give us some history on the demon twins but thawing quiet, generally happy family moments with Tengen, really softened the episode. I’m not sure if it did anything narratively. I guess they might still be trying to rehabilitate Tengen’s character for the few holdouts but we get it. He’s an ok dude. 

All I could think of what “death-flags-o-plenty!” Especially for Hinatsuru. I have serious fear for that woman’s longevity! 

But seeing them visit Tengen’s family grave, then sit down for a quiet picnic lunch really sold me on how well they get along, and how much they care for each other. 

I will say, they also segued right into a flashback of Tanjirou’s training days and I think that was a bit messy. The tone and atmosphere of these flashbacks were very different and they served completely different purposes in the episode. Having them so close to each other gave me a bit of whiplash. 

I see what you mean! To me, it contrasted the state of minds of Tengen and Hinatsuru and Tanjirou. It almost felt like the difference between maturity and youth. Tanjirou still does not know how to get out of his own way. Given the freaking cliffhanger at the end of this episode, I hope he doesn’t have to pay too high a price to learn that lesson!

Tanjirou’s flashback was more an underscore to what is likely to become an actually narratively significant event. Namely, Tajirou learned to combine two completely different breathing techniques. This is likely to give him a lot more power and maybe make him stand out a little. After all, he is the hero of this story. He should be a little special. In my notes, I wrote that Tnajirou is steam-powered now! 

Now all he needs is goggles and some cool steam-punk accessories! I did think it was seriously cool. The fire techniques might offer the most raw power, but in protracted battles like this one, power isn’t the only thing he needs. He also needs stamina, and his water techniques can give him that.

As the episode progressed and Tanjirou broke off to fight Daki with Inosuke and Zenitsu, I think we got some of the most fun moments of the season. First of all, it was just satisfying to see the three of them fight together again. And when I say again, I’m not sure we’ve ever seen them synch up this way before. That was honestly just a hoot to watch. Of course visually impressive but also uplifting. 

And then, when Inosuke finally reached his goal. There was the hilarious notion that he would just be running around for the rest of the fight, playing keep-away with Daki’s head. Both the notion and the image of this were pure silly fun in the middle of this rather grim arc.

As an aside, I’m just going to say that getting your head sliced off is already horrific enough but the thought of getting it sawed off has to be one of the more gruesome ways to go.

Sixth Fang, Palisade Bite has not vote for most “yuck!” ways to attack an opponent! Inosuke’s serrated blades do seem uniquely suited for the task, though! 

Wasn’t it great to see Zenitsu keep his cool and keep Inosuke in line? And then to see Inosuke say, “Damn! You really are something else!”

I’m going to assume they all get out of this – because they’re the main characters and all! – so I really, really want to see what they can do as a team in the future. But man, that cliffhanger…

Unfortunately, the fun was short-lived as everything, and I mean EVERYTHING went wrong in the blink of an eye.

What do you think of the ending Crow? And clues for what’s going to happen next.

My wife actually came into my office to make sure everything was okay. Even that cat wondered why I would randomly exclaim, “Oh no!” 

Using that moment of levity, where Inosuke is insulting Daki’s head as he carries it like a football, and then seeing one of Gyuutarou’s blades protruding from his chest? Dang! His body falling in slow motion, then Zenitsu flying out of nowhere to knock Tanjirou out of the explosion’s path, then seeing the two of them plummet towards the ground, only to see Tengen lying face down beside his own severed arm…

You know, that’s about as dark a situation as I’ve seen a hero in! Talk about effective!

Now here’s the thing. I don’t think there’s any chance that Inosuke isn’t going to pull through. Now I’m not basing this on anything aside from the fact that 1- I want Inosuke to be OK and 2 – I simply don’t think Demon Slayer is that type of show. Considering everything that’s happened up until now, I think the main characters are likely to make it to the end of the story. Otherwise, they should have been dispatched sooner. This arc, where the emotional stakes are really almost entirely with Tengen, is not where you can write off a main character in a satisfying way.

As for Tengen, I would say that it is in fact a great place to kill him off but I also don’t think he or his wives are likely to bite it. And this is just because the last arc ended with the death of a hasira. It would be way too repetitive to do that two times in a row. Especially in a season with shortened episode counts. Either the demons get away and we go into a second cour of the entertainment district arc and maybe they kill him off at the end of that. But most likely, if Tengen is going to join his siblings, it won’t be due to these demon siblings. That’s my guess.

It’s sort of telling that my predictions for the story are all based on the structure of the show rather than what’s actually happening in the story… 

That’d be close to, well, not my prediction, but my hope. I want to see a one-armed Tengen retire with his wives to someplace nice, where he can randomly pick cherry blossoms out of their hair after learning to do it one on one so the other two don’t react with jealousy. 

Managing the internal politics of a polygamous relationhip has got to be as hard as fighting an Upper Six! But seriously, I would like a happy ending for them. It’d be nice to know that membership in the Demon Slayers includes a retirement plan other than a grave. 

But that cliffhanger is a monster! 

Personally, I’m not entirely sure what Tanjirou is seeing is reality. Something seems a bit off.

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