Oh my god, this episode was awesome! The animators went freaking crazy with this one, it looks so good! The last five minutes are nothing but super fast, gorgeously crafted sakuga! It’s an absolute delight on the eyes!
As for the narrative itself… well, we’ll get to that.
With Nezuko’s demonic rampage subdued, the Demon Slayers can focus entirely on their battle against Daki and Gyutaro, the two Upper Six demons. But with Tengen poisoned, Tanjiro exhausted, and Zenitsu and Inosuke overwhelmed, do they have any hope of victory?
I’m not super hot on the majority of this episode’s narrative. A lot of it boils down to somewhat childish boasting. It’s mostly just Tengen and the boys going, “We’re gonna win,” then Daki and Gyutaro going, “Nuh-uh, we’re gonna win!” Half of what Tengen says is literally just a bluff a kid would make up to try and sound tough. It comes across more as annoying than exciting.
Although it does have some highlights. Particularly with Tengen’s full backstory finally being revealed, from his time as a shinobi to his first meeting of the Master of the Demon Slayers. Most of it is delivered through exposition, which is a shame, but the info dump is at least supported by some unique and interesting visuals. We learn exactly why he cares so much for his wives and why they’re so shocked that he is. On top of that, he has a remarkably humanizing moment where he admits that he isn’t some special hero who can protect everyone. He compares himself to Rengoku in saying this, which is an absolute stroke of genius; since he first showed up, many fans have undoubtedly compared him to Rengoku (myself included), and he straight-up admits to them that yes, he isn’t the hero that Rengoku was, but he’s going to try his best anyways.
Which makes it all the more touching when Tanjiro sees Rengoku in him.
I also love that none of Tengen’s wives are just chilling out. They’re all three taking an active role in the story, with two of them handling the evacuation and one of them busting out some cool ninja weapons to help in the battle! Where she was keeping something that fucking big, I have no idea. But it’s cool, and I really appreciate that they didn’t immediately get sidelined like other side characters in this series up until now.
Zenitsu also has a really strong moment facing down Daki. It’s somewhat undercut by him looking ridiculous and talking in his sleep, but the speech itself was pretty badass. And it’s nice to see him being more than just comic relief for a bit.
Unlike poor Inosuke. Who is still very much the comic relief.
And this one might sound small, but I love the post-credits scene of this one. Is it purely because I’m a Rengoku fanboy? Absolutely. But I appreciate getting one scene of these two Hashira sharing time on the screen together. Even if one of them is a ghost and the scene itself is only debatably canon.
However, at the end of the day, those are all small things. Good character moments or bits of action. In terms of actual narrative progression, this episode doesn’t do much. The dialogue between heroes and villains is childish and somewhat annoying and it takes up a large chunk of the runtime. Writing wise, it’s a fine episode, but not spectacular.
Action wise? This episode is fucking awesome!!
The animation is an easy 10/10, like I mentioned at the start. But it’s not just that. The choreography of the fighting is insane! From Tengen’s crazy maneuvers with his two chain-bound swords to the destructive Blood Demon Arts of our two villains, every character pulls of some truly jaw-dropping moves in this fight. I legit shouted out of pure excitement half a dozen times!
It certainly helps that this amazing animation is accompanied by blood-pounding music! The composers brought their A game for this one! From returning motifs to all-new tracks, they’re all incredible!
It’s hard to complain about the narrative of this episode. It’s a shounen anime and the action is kicking it into high gear. You can only manage so much story writing into an episode that mostly boils down to fighting.
Especially when the fighting itself is an easy 10/10.
Overall, this was a very strong episode. Shounen action lovers rejoice, because this is one to remember. It’s a jaw-dropping display of the animator’s skills. The narrative isn’t flawless, but it has a few strong highlights to make it worthwhile. This is definitely a highlight of the season.
I get the feeling I’ll be saying that quite a bit for the rest of this season.