Kimetsu no Yaiba Episode 19: The obligatory return

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Inosuke is ignored

Well, it’s been a while since I talked about this series, but this episode earned it. I feel like a bad person for slinking back to this series, but I was impressed and felt like I needed to talk about it. Other episodes have had strong animation moments as well, but I think this episode also adds some incredibly strong themes as well. Well, it also has Nezuko in it, but that’s definitely just a coincidence, right?

Nezuko appears to save Tanjirou

I admit I was completely expecting to see Giyuu bail Tanjirou out after seeing his sword snap in the previous episode. I think that’s part of what made this episode great for me. Giyuu appears at the beginning of the episode to save Inosuke, so it’s a logical conclusion that he will also help Tanjirou. It was a moment I was waiting for constantly throughout the episode, which would have pushed Tanjirou several steps back in his quest to take on the Twelve Kizuki. And yet, it doesn’t happen. Tanjirou fought against incredible odds and he’s rewarded for it.

The demon reveals himself

I also think it’s great that Tanjirou’s fighting an enemy with a view of sibling bonds that is antithetical to his own. It gives him a reason to refuse to back down, and forces him into a moral battle. It takes the fight away from being about demons and humans. I’m also not surprised at all that this kid is the Twelve Kizuki instead of the father. That wasn’t a hard one.

Tanjirou cuts the blades with a hidden technique

This entire battle makes me wonder if Tanjirou even needs the blade on his sword. He seemed to do just fine without it. I look forward to seeing the conversation that goes along with repairing it, though.

Tanjirou remembers his past

Still, I think the strongest part about this episode is how many callbacks it has. Tanjirou’s memory sequence starts right as he’s facing death in a thread cage. In an earlier scene, the butterfly girl saves a dying Zenitsu while talking about near-death experiences. She talks about why memories flash before a mind when it’s close to death, and Tanjirou does the same thing later in the episode.

Tanjirou unleashes a new attack

Giving Tanjirou fire powers to contrast his water techniques is pretty cool. I remember from a previous episode that someone mentions the importance of Tanjirou’s red hair, so it’s nice to see that finally come back around with the memory of the Kagura dance. It could also be why his blade is black, given that he has multiple affinities (as opposed to the blue blade of Giyuu, who uses the same water techniques).

Nezuko is awakened by her mother

Most importantly, the episode brings the sibling bond conversation back around by having Tanjirou beat the Twelve Kizuki demon with last-minute help from Nezuko. There haven’t been many battles in this series where Tanjirou and Nezuko can fight together, so I loved the significance of this scene. Usually, the two are split up by multiple opponents. Finally, it’s great that Nezuko gets a spoken line. It felt like a scene that had quite a lot going for it.

Tanjirou unleashes a combined attack

And yeah, the scenes just look great in general. That’s probably worth mentioning. For once, I felt like everything that Tanjirou does in this episode was deserved. I just hope that the next episode doesn’t pull it away by having the demon stay alive for a Giyuu entrance or something.

Summer 2019 Grab Bag Week 1: Fruits Basket, Kimetsu no Yaiba

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It’s time for a brief break from the newer shows. I haven’t forgotten these shows!

Tohru visits her mother

Fruits Basket Episode 14

Just when I thought that this week’s episode would be a carefree grave visit (cough), the series throws another crazy emotional loop with Momiji’s backstory. Does anyone have a happy childhood in this series? This episode definitely made me feel sorry for Momiji in a way I didn’t think was possible. Additionally, it also seems to waste no time building on the respective mysteries surrounding the pasts of Yuuki and Kyou, which remain somewhat unknown.

Momiji's mother rejects him

Momiji’s resolve in this episode was truly impressive. It’s clearly not his fault that his mother rejected him, but it’s touching that he’s willing to endure being treated like an absolute stranger by her just so he can see her. It’s such a harsh reality that he has to live. At this point, the series has introduced such tragic characters in the Souma family, that I’m looking forward to seeing Tohru singlehandedly save every one of them. I sure hope that’s where the series is going.

Tohru talks about her father

The feels are making it hard for me to pay full attention to rest of the episode. A few moments in the episode felt like they were setting up some reveals further down. For example, the fact that Tohru only has second-hand knowledge of her father’s death is oddly suspicious. Additionally, Kyou starts to act obviously disturbed by Kyouko’s grave.

Kyou apologizes to Tohru

I’m curious to see what this scene means. Based on the content of this episode, it feels like there’s only one thing that Kyou could be apologizing about, but it seems too easy.

Tanjirou questions Inosuke

Kimetsu no Yaiba Episode 14

Well, that was an odd one. I know I’ve said this about a different character very recently, but I find Inosuke to be hard to tolerate. I’m also not sure I buy his shtick as the pretty boy with a brutish personality yet. If the series comes up with a reasonable story surrounding it, I might change my mind on it, though.

Inosuke is convinced to help bury people

I did think it was funny to see how Tanjirou deals with Inosuke’s personality, though. He effectively tries to spin everything Inosuke does as productive and elaborates some kind of grand plan behind his actions. Additionally, I did think it was funny to watch Inosuke bashing trees throughout the episode.

The three characters have broken ribs

Is this just a running gag now?

Nezuko arises

We’ve missed you, Nezuko. I’m not sure how I feel about Zenitsu’s reaction to Nezuko’s appearance. It’s true that it fits his lovesick personality, but it almost feels like the scene is making light of Nezuko’s condition. I don’t know if I’m okay with that…

Kimetsu no Yaiba Episode 13: Choosing to protect

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Zenitsu relies on Shoichi

My concerns regarding this series as a whole haven’t changed much. This episode definitely had a couple of moments that made me further question the pacing of this series. It’s a shame, though, since I think that the overall fight between Tanjirou and Kyogai was interesting. Tanjirou definitely complains too much about his broken bones, but having him fight in a constantly shifting environment gives the fight some complexity.

Kyogai deals with an editor

Kyogai’s flashbacks add an interesting question into the mix. We see him turning into a demon to retaliate against his abusive editor, which seems a bit strange. It’s possible that the memory is meant to be entirely symbolic, which would mean that Kyogai’s editor is one of his early victims after he becomes a demon.

If we take it at face value, though, it could suggest that Kyogai was a demon while he was writing his novels. We’ve already seen demons who try to coexist with humans peacefully, so it’s possible that he become one of Muzan’s generals because of his mistreatment.

Kyogai slashes his editor

This scene is also an example of the weird pacing I noticed in the episode. As Kyogai dies later in the episode, we basically get a complete repeat of this scene as he finally gets the acknowledgment he desires. The emotional point is fine, but we really didn’t need the rehash.

Tanjirou dodges the papers

I wonder if this scene was meant to give some form of reward for Tanjirou’s kindness. He respects Kyogai by avoiding the papers strewn across the ground, and it allows him to figure out how to win. It’s kind of a weird sequence on its own, but it makes more sense if it’s supposed to give positive feedback for Tanjirou’s empathy.

Cat appears for service

Delivery cat: here for all of your blood transport needs.

Also, is this meant to be a joke about the rivalry between cats and crows? Maybe I just watch too much Haikyuu.

Zenitsu protects Nezuko

Honestly, I really like the fact that Zenitsu acknowledges that there is a demon in the box but chooses to protect it anyway because of what it meant to Tanjirou. His magic hearing aside, he seems to have a healthy sense of charity for others. Despite being lied to in the past, he’s willing to accept that other people might have good reasons for their actions.

Tanjirou leaps into action

On the flip side, Tanjirou has a weird reaction to this entire scene. Watching Zenitsu get beaten up is indeed a brutal thing, which is why it’s odd that Tanjirou has to build his rage before acting. As someone who blurs the lines between demons and humans, Tanjirou seems like the last person who would hesitate to attack a human who was acting cruel. So, I feel like I have to conclude that this is just meant to drag out the scene again…

Kimetsu no Yaiba Episode 12: In a flash

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Tanjirou chastises the boar

Comparatively speaking, I found this week’s episode to be more fun than last week’s episode (I can’t imagine why). While the episode definitely treads into some weird territory with its “magic blood”, I liked what it did for its characters. Even Tanjirou seems to have a decent growth moment in this episode, as opposed to skipping through it.

The boar is not a gentleman

There’s not too much to go on for the boar man in this episode. It’s clear that he’s more of a loose cannon than the other characters, but that much was already obvious. The episode also seems to imply that he’s not a Demon Slayer in the same sense as Tanjirou and Zenitsu.

Zenitsu strikes

I’m not entirely sure if this moment makes up for Zenitsu’s display in the previous episode (and in this episode), but that attack was pretty awesome. Additionally, I like the use of thunder as a theme for his character. As opposed to the consistent flexibility of Tanjirou, Zenitsu is clearly someone who’s only useful in a pinch. Similar to his thematic namesake, he strikes in an instant and disappears immediately.

The demon attempts to regain his status

It’s still too early for Tanjirou to face one of the Twelve Kizuki? Let’s put him against a former member as a stepping stone. Honestly, I’m not too sure about the whole “marechi” thing in this episode. It implies that the Twelve Kizuki are just a bunch of demons who drink special blood, which I think makes them feel questionable as enemies.

The crow appears

The birds in this series are amazing. That aside, I do like that the brother’s struggle to survive in the demon house inspires Tanjirou in his later fight. I think it comes off as a bit archaic to refer back to being the firstborn, but it’s an interesting way to motivate Tanjirou as a character.

Tanjirou becomes one with water

It feels a bit late for Tanjirou to be learning this, but I don’t think it’s a bad development for him. It’s nice to see him actually learning through battle, rather than just having the skills. Also, he seems to do a good job of analyzing his opponent in the fight. We saw the beginning of this in the previous episode when he starts to watch the tsuzumi strikes, but I do like to see Tanjirou using his head in combat.

Being Nezuko is suffering

I feel so bad for Nezuko…

Dororo Final Episode (24): At what cost?

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Biwamaru returns to support

As bad as things were looking in the previous episode, I actually quite liked this ending. There are a couple of parts that felt a little bit rushed, but I liked the overall bittersweet tone to this finale. This series as a whole has been a fun journey. It’s rough around the edges at times, but it’s a gritty look at humanity. Admittedly, the message has an archaic undertone to it, but there’s still plenty of relevant material to find.

Hyakkimaru questions his brother

I enjoyed this conversation between Hyakkimaru and Tahoumaru in the end. Tahoumaru basically starts with a tirade about all that Daigo has given him, and Hyakkimaru asks why its made him feel inadequate. It’s hard not to feel sorry for Tahoumaru given what we’ve seen of his childhood, but Hyakkimaru definitely has a point here.

Jukai arrives to save Hyakkimaru

This series doesn’t let up on its painful scenes, even right at the end. Of all the heart-wrenching scenes that depict Hyakkimaru regaining his organs, I think this is the saddest one. After fighting so hard to regain his vision, the first scene he sees with them is the loss of the two mothers willing to give everything to help him.

The final demon falls

In contrast, the final demon goes down pretty easily. I guess it’s meant to imply that Hyakkimaru’s final battle was purely mental after all, but it’s disappointing to see. The characters hyped up that demon so much, and it basically gets taken out in a single attack.

Daigo finally talks with Hyakkimaru

It’s strange that Daigo gets to survive in the end, but I do like that he’s used to prove that Hyakkimaru has finally changed. I guess there’s something to be said about Daigo being forced to live with everything he’s done, assuming he doesn’t die immediately after Hyakkimaru leaves him. There was definitely a lot of blood in that scene despite Hyakkimaru’s choice.

Hyakkimaru leaves on his own journey

I also think it’s sad that Hyakkimaru has to leave Dororo behind after finally getting his body back. Honestly, I understand this development, but it’s still sad to see. Given the speech Dororo makes about using her own strength to survive rather than relying on the samurai, it would be awkward if she continued to rely on Hyakkimaru to protect her. It’s fitting that she forges out on her own, but it would have been nice to have more of an epilogue where the two reunite. Oh well…

Final Score: 8/10

This series has been fun to watch, if not for the fight scenes alone. It’s not lacking in emotional scenes to give it more flavor, though.

Dororo Episode 23: Things are going great

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Tahoumaru tries to talk down the raging Hyakkimaru

This episode is really not making me feel good about how this series is going to end. However, I like that the episode finally attempts to address the moral question that has been looming over the series as a whole. Dororo is a great advocate for Hyakkimaru in this episode, and I’m hoping that the ending won’t end up as grim as the series seems to be foreshadowing.

Hyogo taunts Hyakkimaru

I get that these people are trying to protect their land, but it’s lines like these that make it hard to sympathize with them. Hyakkimaru’s sacrifice is necessary to keep them alive, but they could at least accept the cruel thing that they’re doing. The idea that Hyakkimaru’s body was Daigo’s to give to the demons feels like a way to dodge the guilt the sacrifice to me.

Mutsu and Hyogo finally take down the horse

The scene with the flaming horse was interesting for me, since it seemed like a clear parallel for Hyakkimaru. A cherished loved one calls out to the horse, allowing it to regain its senses. However, Mutsu and Hyogo use the opportunity to cut the beast down, losing their own lives in the process. Dororo is even clearly shown in the reflection of the horse’s pupil as it dies, which heavily implies that something similar is going to happen with Hyakkimaru.

Dororo berates the villager

I’m happy to see this debate happening. Many of the conversations before now have been fairly sanctimonious, so they never felt like they were getting at the core issue. Hyakkimaru isn’t even exempt from this, since his quest to regain his body has become entirely one-dimensional without Dororo’s intervention.

Hyakkimaru's mother comments on the situation

I’m not entirely sure I understand the outcome of the interaction, though. Dororo seems to side with Hyakkimaru, but she also looks ready to beg Hyakkimaru to give up his body in the next episode. Perhaps she’s just saying that she wants Hyakkimaru to do whatever it takes to remain human.

Daigo faces off against the Asakura army

Part of me is annoyed at how much Daigo is sidelined in this series by the war with the Asakura lands. This is really his problem, but it looks like the battle is being entirely decided by his sons.

Jukai prepares to do what he must

Seeing Jukai doesn’t inspire confidence. Hyakkimaru’s surrogate mother and his real mother are both racing to his side at the moment along with Dororo. This can’t end well, huh?

Kimetsu no Yaiba Episode 11: Apparently not a liability

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Tanjirou steps in for the sparrow

When I said that Tanjirou should interact more with his fellow Demon Slayers, this isn’t quite what I had in mind. I guess someone like Tanjirou needs to be grouped together with some extreme personalities. That being said, Tanjirou’s abilities were getting a bit stale, so I think this is a good time to introduce some completely new fighting styles. I’m looking forward to seeing more of that in the next episode.

And because it absolutely needs to be said, the sparrow was the best part of this episode.

Zenitsu takes a beating

I can understand the idea behind a character like Zenitsu, but I still think he was overdone in this episode. I think he’s fine as a background character for someone as resolute as Tanjirou, but giving him center stage for 80% of the episode was not the best idea. He’s a bit much on his own…

Zenitsu hears something

I think it’s pretty clear that Zenitsu is secretly going to have strength comparable to Tanjirou. I’m not sure I agree with the idea that the first Demon Slayer that Tanjirou meets has a similar heightened sense. Is this the hidden requirement to become a Demon Slayer? Does the boar man have better eyesight or something?

That being said, I do like this scene. Later parts of the episode seem to explain the sounds that Zenitsu hears, which gives this scene a better sense of purpose. It can be inferred that Zenitsu is hearing the demon changes the layout of the house to combat the boar.

Tanjirou leaves behind the box

I’m a little sad that Nezuko gets no scenes in this episode, but the comedy surrounding her is funny. In a later scene, Tanjirou is crestfallen to see that the kids have abandoned Nezuko’s box, which I thought was a nice joke.

Tanjirou is out of commission

I’m happy to see that Tanjirou isn’t walking away from his previous encounter unscathed. The crow doesn’t give him any time to relax, so it makes sense that he wouldn’t be fully healed. Of course, this scene is undercut slightly when he attempts to fight the demon, but at least it’s here.

The boar man appears

This guy looks pretty interesting (and quiet). Serrated blades always seem really inefficient to me, so I’m curious to see how he fights with them.

Dororo Episode 22: Poking the hornet’s nest

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Hyakkimaru vows to get Dororo back

Well, it seems that things aren’t going much better in this episode. As expected, Hyakkimaru isn’t taking the kidnap of Dororo very well, and his new demon friend probably isn’t helping. It actually makes for an interesting setup for a finale, because it’s hard to truly decide who to root for. Hyakkimaru seems to be standing in a better position, but I get the sense that his current course of action won’t ultimately work.

Mutsu succumbs to illness

Mutsu goes through kind of a weird arc in this episode. I think she has a strong performance throughout the episode, but I’m not so sure about the ending. With her speech about being Tahoumaru’s right arm in the previous episode, I really liked this line to Hyogo. With Hyogo’s left arm lost, Mutsu is effectively asking him to fight in her place and fulfill her role as Tahoumaru’s right arm. It’s a great interaction.

Daigo's wife tends to the sick

Am I the only who thinks that everything about this episode seems to suggest that Hyakkimaru’s mother is going to die? I’m honestly surprised she’s survived so long, but it seems like she’s meant to contribute to Hyakkimaru’s return to humanity.

Hyakkimaru rides forth on his new steed

Look, I know I’m not supposed to enjoy this outcome, but this combination of Hyakkimaru and the flaming horse is really cool. I also like that Hyakkimaru’s clearly exuding the red demonic aura that he typically sees in others.

Mutsu offers herself to the demon

This scene was one that I feel I initially misjudged. From the onset, Mutsu’s escape seemed to contradict her earlier words to Hyogo, so I was surprised when she comes just to offer herself in Hyakkimaru’s place. I was expecting her to be here asking the demon for power, but she instead chooses to sacrifice herself for the land. It would have put an interesting spin on the moral argument of the episode if it had worked.

Tahoumaru fights with some new eyes

I have trouble with the ending, though. Mutsu goes through an impressive character story throughout the episode, but I tend to think it goes away when she accepts Hyakkimaru’s arm from the demon to replace her lost one. To me, it seems to slightly cheapen her ability to let go from earlier. I get that Tahoumaru needs his loyal retainers to fight Hyakkimaru, but I think it’s a bit unfortunate.

I’ll be curious to see how this turns out, though. From Hyakkimaru’s side, it’s hard to blame him for being enraged at Tahoumaru for this move.

Kimetsu no Yaiba Episode 10: Finding the true humans

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Tanjirou uses his opponent's power to his advantage

This week’s episode felt better than last week’s episode. It seemed more properly paced, and it ended on some good notes. The series as a whole seems to be approaching the idea of what humanity is in a decent way. I think my overall complaint with this series is that it seems to hand-wave many of the explanations, which leaves a general sense of confusion in my case. Anyway, it looks like next week’s episode is finally bringing a different Demon Slayer into the mix, which should be interesting now that Tanjirou has some battles under his belt.

Tanjirou uses his moves to stop himself

This is probably just starting off with nitpicking, but this dramatic scene seemed a bit undercut for me. It’s cool to see Tanjirou pushing himself to survive the aftermath of his opponent’s defeat. However, it’s hard to feel engaged when he just decides that he has to keep using his moves to survive. Any small acknowledgment that the moves cancel the arrows or cushion the impact would have been nice.

Nezuko comforts Yushirou

Ah, Nezuko has the best moments in this episode. I like how she seems to be developed in this episode. While it’s true that her opponent never truly takes her seriously, it’s great to see Nezuko rush forward to defend Tamayo and Yushirou. The bit about the healing serum doesn’t fully add up for me, because the strength still has to come from somewhere. The most reasonable explanation to me is that Nezuko was sleep-deprived in the first part of the battle, so Tamayo restored her to a more normal state.

Tamayo taunts the demon

I don’t know where to start with Tamayo in this scene. My surface-level interpretation of the scene is that she tricks Susamaru into defending Kibitsuji despite knowing differently. Maybe the demons close to Kibutsuji have grown to suspect his true intentions, so Susamaru is goaded into saying something she no longer truly believes. This triggers Tamayo’s ability, which rips her apart. However, Tamayo seems to suggest that the curse is more related to Kibutsuji’s cells, which makes her own ability all the more confusing.

The demons were impostors

Well, that’s a letdown.

Tanjirou hears the demon's last words

I like that the series is continuing to push Tanjirou’s sympathy for the demons. I suppose he has to weigh the death caused by this demon with the fact that she’s effectively a child.

Nezuko recognizes the demons as humans

I still question Nezuko’s hypnosis thing, but I think it’s used well here. It seems to be getting at the question of what truly makes someone human, which Nezuko has identified as something other than pure physiology. I wonder if a similar idea will be leveraged in the future to allow Nezuko to attack some nasty humans. That being said, I will probably continue to believe that this scene would be more impactful without the hypnosis.

Dororo Episode 21: A familiar flaming horse

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Dororo spots some soldiers

The hard times are not getting any easier. This series has an interesting sense of subdued drama to it. Normally, you’d expect to see heavy, over-the-top screaming in these fights, but the main encounter goes along at a reasonable pace. It’s definitely hard to see Hyakkimaru falling deeper and deeper towards a more feral side, given how much we’ve seen him grow. It makes me wonder if we’re just headed towards more tragedy at this point.

Daigo sacrifices some villages

I suppose this is the weekly reminder that Daigo’s land is suffering. I’m curious to see how they’ll resolve this, but this certainly has been the main moral dilemma of the series. Daigo cruelly cuts off the villages that are infected by the epidemic, and it’s not like any of those villagers played a part in his decision. Or did they?

Dororo tries to stop Hyakkimaru

I understand why Dororo pushes to stop Hyakkimaru from fighting his family, but it’s still kind of a hard choice. I can’t fault Hyakkimaru for wanting a normal body. That being said, Dororo watched her parents die, so it’s reasonable for her to not want Hyakkimaru to go through that. Also, it’s clear at this point that Hyakkimaru is losing his way, so she surely want to help him.

The mother is worried

This was an odd scene for me. It’s reasonable for Hyakkimaru’s mother to worry about her sons and curse her own powerlessness in the matter. However, this seems to be the first time I recall seeing her act genuinely concerned for Tahoumaru. Where was this before?

Hyogo and Mutsu join Tahoumaru to face Hyakkimaru

Showing Hyogo and Mutsu’s past in this episode doesn’t bode well for their futures. They seem to have gotten out of this fight with their lives, but Mutsu is looking pretty dim in this scene. Is this just a function of their relative resolve to fight Hyakkimaru? Or is Mutsu facing another problem entirely?

Hyakkimaru faces off against Tahoumaru

To be completely honest, I liked the last fight between Tahoumaru and Hyakkimaru more than this one. That being said, this fight was still pretty impressive. The camera largely centers on the two as they face off, and there’s a clear progression of moves in the fight itself.

Hyakkimaru is pushed off the cliff

The random intervention at the end seemed a bit overboard, though. I get that Daigo instructs that guy to watch over Tahoumaru, but the character itself seems to come out of nowhere. Anyway, I look forward to seeing Hyakkimaru ride in on a flaming horse next week. If he does it, that certainly won’t be a good sign, since he typically kills demons without prejudice.