We are finally at the end of Demon Slayer Entertainment District Arc. “No Matter How Many Lives”, marks the finale of the second…third? season of Demon Slayer and Crow and I are here to tell you all about it. It’s a bit of an odd title considering the episode went out of its way to assure us that there were no casualties. Maybe Crow can explain it to us.
You guys remember Crow right? He’s an amazing blogger who somehow manages to bring us timely episode reviews of all the best anime each season. I find it almost impossible that you aren’t already following him but just in case you somehow missed out, you should head on over to Crow’s World Of Anime right now! Well not right now, right after this post! Yeah!
So Crow, tell us how you’ve been. What do you think the episode title refers to? Any opening thoughts?
That was a great introduction – thanks! My week’s been busy, but that’s nothing new. Been keeping up with seasonal anime, and might I take a moment and say I loved your recent review of My Dress-Up Darling? You have a knack for capturing the spirit of a show and its characters.
The one that came out today? Thank you so much! I actually like the one I did for episode 4. That was my favourite one!
Hope you had a good week, too!
But this episode’s title: I think it could go at least two ways. No matter how many Hashira or rank and file Demon Slayers they throw at the demons, there will always be more. Seeing…
Oh, wait, there will be spoilers in this review!
Seeing Akaza likely being promoted supports that view. Or, it could be that no matter how many demons they promote, the Demon Slayers will prevail. Seeing Kagaya Ubuyashiki very cool reaction to their victory, with him saying that he saw that, relying on the newest generation of Demon Slayers, he foresaw the fall of Muzan Kibutsuji within the current generation.
Good question to start the episode on, because it sums up where the episode leaves us!
The last episode left us on yet another cliffhanger (it has been a bit of a cliffhanger season but that’s somewhat unavoidable when most of the season is over the course of a single confrontation). However, it was a bait ‘n switch as the threat was resolved within seconds. And really conveniently, I might add. Nezuko just suddenly being able to cancel out other demons’ blood arts is not something that was foreshadowed and remains unexplained.
This said I didn’t mind at all. Actually, I kind of like this turn of events. Framing Nezuko as a purifying force balances out her characterization as a destructive force earlier on in the season. And it makes her reintroduction into the group, no questions asked, easier to accept.
Now I say I like this and I do. It makes me happy and cheerful. But from a purely narrative standpoint, I think it’s actually quite weak, and potentially a mistake. It sort of negates, or at the least pushes aside one of the most interesting conflicts that came up this season and cheapens the core question at the heart of Demon Slayer (i.e. Are Demons really evil). It was a question that was layered and difficult to answer because you can always point at Nezuko and say well maybe not. However, that argument loses a lot of ground if Nezuko is portrayed as the picture of innocence and kindness and now a literal healing force.
So I’m conflicted. Part of me thinks this was a cop-out and a dumbing down of the story but another part of me thinks, heck yeah Nezuko!!!!
From a purely structural perspective, I think it could easily have been fixed by showing that she had some ability to counteract other Blood Arts. Something small; it need not have broadcast her ability to purge poison.
But like you, I cheered for her. It was nice seeing her act like sweet, non-homicidal Nezuko. She was sweet before she went murderous, so maybe they could keep that ambiguity going, because as you said, it’s an interesting question.
Just a few asides:
- I really liked when Nezuko went to heal Tengen but for a minute it looked like she just lit him on fire or something. Suma who was already not in her calmest state naturally freaked out. But her big threat was “I am very angry with you young lady”. That made me laugh. I thought it would have been hilarious if, just before Nezuko let loose, Tanjirou would have said, “Light ‘im up.” Not sure why my brain went there!
- I also had completely forgotten that Tanjiro was collecting blood for Tamayo. (A character that I just realized has a perfectly reasonable height). I was confused when a cat showed up for a second there but now that I remember, I hope this plot thread gets picked up again soon. It’s cool! Seconded!
- Although I prefer to watch anime subtitles, I admit it’s a bit confusing when several people are talking at the same time. I almost alway miss some part of it unless I pause. Or go back and lose the emotion of the moment!
- I found Tanjiro intervening when the siblings were turning on each other to be both super foolish and quite sweet. Tanjirou doing Tanjirou things. I was wondering what form it would take this time!
- Seeing a traditional geisha look with white hair struck me as really odd. Not bad but uncanny somehow. I think this is the very first time I see anything other than back. She was striking. She would have been popular with the customers, except for the whole “stick a hairpin in their eye” thing. Though, to be honest, I really can’t blame her.
Ok, back to the episode proper. We finally got a flashback for the demon siblings. I had predicted that but I honestly thought it would come much earlier. I did find the resolution of that sequence touching. That sort of pseudo redemption in the siblings deciding to figuratively go to hell together. Or maybe literally. But as for the long flashback itself, I once again think the pacing was off. If this flashback had been a few episodes earlier it would have had a greater impact on me. And I think I would also have been more invested in the outcome of the battle. But to get it now, once the stakes have already been resolved, just didn’t work for me.
Maybe it was just that after so many weeks of violence and pain, I was too numb to it to really care about more of the same now that it didn’t even affect the outcome. As such. I don’t have much to say about the flashback itself. But that’s just me though. Crow, please tell us your impressions of the events of the flashback! It was most of the episode after all.
I’ve been thinking a lot about it, because the part of my brain that tries to plot and control pacing agreed with your thoughts about that flashback. Revealing Gyuutarou and Ume’s backstory earlier would have given the fight more emotional texture. At its core, it would have been the same fight, with the same stakes for our heroes. I would have rooted for Tanjirou, Tengen, and the rest with the same intensity.
So, do I think it was effective? Did I feel sympathy in the end for the two demons, in spite of what they’ve done? I have to admit that I did. That might sound like I’m just making excuses for them, but I’m not. What they did was flat-out evil. There is no excuse. As Tanjirou said, no one will defend them; no one will forgive them.
At the same time, I have to recognize that what they went through was dreadful. No human should have to endure that. I understand why Gyuutarou had the attitude he did. I now understand why Uwe felt the way she did. And I respect how Gyuutarou’s self-reflection revealed his own role in Uwe’s fall.
All that said, the last image I have of them is a sobbing and lonely young woman clinging to the back of her brother as he walked into the flames. I might feel some satisfaction that they’re done for, and I certainly feel relief they can’t threaten anyone else. But I can’t hate them.
It’s cliche in Western culture to say hate the sin, love the sinner. But I think that concept, or one very near it, is at the heart of Demon Slayer.
I guess I did enjoy the last few minutes. I thought the snake guy whose name I had to look up (it’s Obanai) was really fun. He brought a lot of contrast to the episode and I enjoyed that. I look forward to getting to know him better. If I had to guess, he’s also going to win us over with being ever so awesome beneath his gruff exterior and then we’ll be super sad when he dies. I’m just saying his speech and Tengen’s retirement already bring up two death flags for the poor guy.
I liked how the scene between Tengen and his 3 wives was then mirrored with the main cast making it seem like Nezuko, Zenitsu and InosukeInuzaki are Tanjiro’s 3 wives. And I liked that Oyakata-sama was so happy about the success of the Demon Slayers and what it means for the future. It really made me excited for another season even if the scene itself was a little hard to watch.
Speaking of which, Oyakata-sama has some type of demon disease/curse, doesn’t he? Can’t Nezuko cure that now? I don’t see why not. It would force everyone in the corp to accept her if she did.
Oh! Glad to see you asked that, because I wondered the same thing! His skin looked just like Tengen’s pre-Nezuko’s inferno!
That scene with the Master really hit the spot, didn’t it? It was great seeing him throw off his usually serene, almost emotionless facade and practically gush with excitement. And did you notice that when he said that the Tengen, Tanjirou, Zenitsu, and Inosuke, that he mentioned Neuzko, too? I thought that was cool.
We say goodbye to the entertainment district, what’s left of it. Which might be nothing at all now that I think of it. Whatever flaws it may have had, it was an exciting and breathtaking ride. Any thoughts on the season, Crow?
I enjoyed watching ufotable hone their craft. Some of those battle scenes challenged the top of the line movies for impact! If was also nice seeing how far Zenitsu has come, even if he has to be asleep to do it. Seems like he didn’t remember his performance either. Poor guy!
Thanks for reviewing the season with me, Irina! It was an honor and a privilege.
No thank you, the pleasure was certainly entirely mine!
- Demon Slayer 2 Episode 1 Review: He Brought Us Bento!
- Demon Slayer 2 Episode 2: Bliss
- Demon Slayer 2 Episode 3 Review: I Wish I Could Stay Here Forever
- 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
- Demon Slayer Mugen Train Arc Episode 7: Until The End
- Demon Slayer Entertainment District Arc Episode Episode 1: A Flashy Entrance
- Demon Slayer Entertainment District Arc Episode 2: The Undercover Operation
- Demon Slayer Entertainment District Arc Episode 3 – To Thine Own Self Be True
- Demon Slayer Entertainment District Arc Episode 4: The Spirit of Comin’ Through
- Demon Slayer Entertainment District Arc Episode 5 – Family Reunion
- Demon Slayer Entertainment District Arc Episode 6: Gentle But Scary
- Demon Slayer Entertainment District Arc Episode 7 – Crying Demons
- Demon Slayer Entertainment District Arc Episode 8: Remarkable Child
- Demon Slayer Entertainment District Arc Episode 9 – And Then There Was One
- Demon Slayer Entertainment District Arc Episode 10: Not Over Yet