Alright! The sakuga train is rolling out of the station! We’re in for a wild one now, ladies and gents!
Tanjiro’s battle against Upper Moon Six, Daki, escalates. Assuming her true form, the demon unleashes devastating attacks, pushing our young hero to the limits of his body and heart. Enraged, he unleashes the true power of the Hinokami Kagura. But when his limits catch up to him, only Nezuko is left to protect him. In doing so, she may just lose what humanity she has left.
A few episodes ago, I mentioned how much I love the setting of this arc. Surrounding our heroes with normal people who are active only during the night was a move with a ton of potential. And in this episode, we see that potential realized to gruesome, heartbreaking effect. For the first time, we can see just how dangerous demon’s are on a large scale. Before, it was always a small handful of people. Now, we see the terrible heights of destruction these monsters are capable of.
And to go along with it, we can see the penultimate limits of our hero.
Shounen heroes going berserk and powering up isn’t a new concept. In fact, its a cliché just about as old as the genre. Luckily, this episode executed that trope remarkably well! Seeing the calm, gentle Tanjiro suddenly grow cold and fierce is a chilling change! One so dramatic that even the cells of Muzan inside of Daki’s body react with intense fear.
A small detail that I absolutely love is how Tanjiro thinks during this scene. Normally, he spends pretty much every second of a fight thinking and strategizing. Here, he is fighting almost entirely on instinct. The only thoughts he has are extremely simple. No worrying, no strategizing. He legit says, “Oh, all I have to do is cut them fast enough. That’s easy enough.”
It certainly helps that the animation in that scene is absolutely stunning. Easily the strongest of the season so far. From Daki’s cloths to the fire effects of the Hinokami Kagura to the choreography, everything is just so damn gorgeous! It’s smooth and crisp and perfectly communicates the sense of extreme speed and ferocity!
As for Nezuko’s transformation, I have… mixed feelings on it. The design of her new form is fine, but it feels a bit busy and messy. And seeing her go completely berserk doesn’t have the same impact that it does with Tanjiro. With his rage, we can feel the chills because it is so visually striking. With Nezuko’s, we need to have a flashback of Tanjiro’s little brother explaining why angry Nezuko is scary. It’s fine, but not nearly as effective.
Also, Tengen, Inosuke, and Zenitsu are in this episode. For, like, a minute. Their scene doesn’t do anything more than deliver a quick joke, then establish that they’re all on the way.
Hell, Shinjuro gets more screen time then they do. Although to be fair, that scene is really good. It’s nice to see him show some emotional growth after his meeting with Tanjiro. And I love how he calls Tanjiro a chosen one, only for Tanjiro himself to immediately explain why he isn’t. It’s a nice way to make his unique super-strong techniques feel earned while still keeping them mystical.
Overall, this was an incredibly strong episode. I’m looking forward to seeing if they can surpass it with the next one. They seem to be improving with each release, so I have high hopes for the rest of the battle.
I just hope we get the demon’s backstory before she dies this time around.