Looks like we’re getting that “Training arc”, if two episodes can be described as such. Demon Slayer has been a show that’s kept fast pace with fast action. It’s not been especially interested in spending much time with things like down time. Tanjiro gets stronger through a trial by fire-type approach.
We haven’t seen a training sequence since the first handful of episodes. But these episodes have been due for a while now; establishing that our overpowered protagonist isn’t actually all-powerful. Tanjiro has been cleaving through enemies with nary a real struggle up until now, the show needed to bring him down to earth lest it be over in another couple dozen episodes.
Tanjiro always felt like he could rise to pretty much any challenge that he would meet, already having encountered the series main villain pretty unscathed. And, had a plot contrivance not taken the victory away from him, he could have defeated Rui too. However, it seems the mangaka finally decided to slow things down a notch and pull the reigns back on Tanjiro’s unstoppable stampede through so many unwitting demons.
Unlike so many other training arcs i’ve seen in shonen anime though, Demon Slayer wants to get through this one as quickly as humanly possible. Strangely, rather than focusing on how Tanjiro is going to get stronger, a good portion of the training in this episode is exactly what the title says, it’s rehabilitation. Not getting Tanjiro to a point where he is stronger, but getting him back to the point he was at before nearly getting cut to ribbons by a hostile spider family.
From here we establish a power hierarchy, in which Tanjiro is woefully behind the hashiramas, and then between him and them is Tsuyuri; the silent girl from exams. She is Shinobu’s apprentice? I guess. She is shown to be stronger still than Tanjiro and gives him a more attainable measuring bar for the short term future.
When everyone is up to snuff, we learn the key to Tanjiro’s next level;’ being able to use his breathing techniques constantly, even when he sleeps. Meaning he is always in a state of readiness, but also that he can withstand the strain of using the techniques with no ill effects.
The goal, to burst a reinforced gourd with only the power of his lungs. And we get a size comparison of the gourd Tsuyuri can burst as a nice piece of visual shorthand for the process he needs to make.
My favourite part of the episode though, are the scenes where we get to see the inherent good boy-ness of Tanjiro and he connects and empathises with everyone around him. The three young apprentices who have been helping with his training seem quite enamoured with him as a result of his attitude and his work ethic.
The best scene is the one between him and Shinobu on the roof. I always thought there was something kind of creepy about the insect pillar, but after their first real one-to-one conversation, Tanjrio is able to smell right through her. It turns out, her weird false smile is exactly that; a mask to cover how angry she always is.
Thus we learn of her sister, who was very much like Tanjiro in his unending capacity for empathy for the demons, even to her dying breath. It was a nice, slower episode.
It’s just too bad that, right to the point I was okay with Zenitsu, he become a huge creep. Which might be worse than his constant wailing to be honest. It wasn’t really worth him punching Inosuke in the face either.