I’ve been impressed by the visuals of Demon Slayer on repeated instances at this point, but for the season finale it really seemed like the studio wanted to go out with a bang. That, this is the longest stint of the show without any action in it, so we need to end with some kind of high octane thrill ride.
Finally cutting away from Tanjiro’s training arc, we find ourselves in an impossible space of twisting staircases and intercrossing walkways, within are the remaining five Twelve Moon demons of the lower six, there at the summons of Muzan. Then he kills them all. The following action sequence is really impressive and a nice farewell reminder of what this show has consistently done very well throughout.
One of the demons attempting to flee in a mind bending sequence of leaping around this computer generated space as the camera sweeps around him is something to behold, reminiscent of the twisting house sequences earlier in the series, Demon Slayer has been one of the cleanest, visually impressive series of action sequences I’ve seen in anime.
As great as the action sequences in Mob Psycho 100 could get, there’s a warping of the models and the world that makes the insane action have a distinct look from the rest of the series, everything in Demon Slayer always looks so on model and so crisp that I can’t help but endlessly praise it. I mean it’s not perfect, some of that blood is a bit oof, but it’s something.
With all but one of the lower six dead, the final demon’s weird getting off to all the death impresses Muzan enough to provide the demon with some of his own blood and task him with destroying the Hashira, not only that though, he specifically tells him to target Tanijiro. Not by name, but he made enough of an impression with the bag bad that he’s given himself a target on his back.
Y’know, this is a much more impressive showing from the series main villain. I always thought his first appearance, early in the series feel a little flat for me. Sure, he had a sequence where he murdered some thugs, but it never made him seem any more or less intimidating than any of the other demons we’d encountered so far.
If this had been his first appearance in the series, it would have been a far more impactful introduction to the main villain. He obviously terrifies demons of Rui’s caliber, and we have the context to know how strong he was at this point.
Meanwhile, it appears that Tanjiro and the gang’s rehabilitation training is complete and they are sent off to assist the flame pillar; Rengoku in combating a demon attacking a steam train. Thus we get a sequence that exemplifies the other aspect of this show I’ve loved outside of the animation; the characterisation. Specifically, what a great protagonist Tanjiro is.
He goes around thanking everyone at the Butterfly manor and saying his goodbyes, taking apart the standoffish Miss Aoi with a few words affirming what she is doing is good work, despite her apparent self loathing that kind of comes out of nowhere. And he does a real number on Kanao.
Able to find cracks in her staunch reliance on using a coin flip to make her own choices, grabbing the coin and cheerfully betting her entire personal philosophy on an (incredibly charming) coin flip. Then saying he would have flipped it over and over until he got the result he wanted anyway.
It’s such a blindly simple way of him giving some resolution to her horrible history of abuse, but Tanjrio knows nothing of that, and his pure, caring nature seems to be the real catalyst to jump start Kanao’s heart again. I mentioned it more than once before, but I love Tanjiro and a protagonist. He’s not really got much of an edge to him, but his simple, no nonsense approach to life, coupled with his extreme empathy for everyone and everything makes him an extremely attractive character to me.
Edgy characters are all well and good, but a purely heroic hero is sometimes exactly what you want. Even his biggest crutch as a character is his near suicidal love for his family and friends. Sure, he is a bundle of the most generic shonen tropes in classic protagonists of the genre, but it’s all executed so perfectly that he even outshines the like of Izuku Midoriya for me as a protagonist.
The episode ends with all three of the gang having mastered Total Concentration, Constant. Being able to burst the giant gourds, which kind of surprises me considering how behind the pace Zenitsu and Inosuke in their training, and make their way to the station to meet the demon haunted train.
One final curiosity to end on though, apparently the Demon Slayer aren’t recognised by the Japanese Government. In fact, the police and the government don’t even believe demons actually exist… What?! How is that even possible. We exist in a world with giant Spider headed hulks, people able to manifest water dragons out of swords and dozens of people going missing or showing up slaughtered on a weekly basis… How the hell can the government not be well aware, and heavily supporting the slayers?!
They couldn’t help but drop a bombshell like that on me while walking out of the door could they.
Anyway, as the gang run from the police and jump on the train, we get a brief flashback to the events of the series thus far before cutting away to the Flame Pillar on board the same train as the powered up, last remaining member of the lower six demons stands atop the carriage, staring out into the night. Thus ending the first, of I hope many, series of Demon Slayer.
This was a phenomenal ride. It felt like the standard shonen formula boiled down into a more condensed format the the standard weekly release schedule of a Boruto or Dragon Ball Super. And oh boy does it benefit from that. The animation has been stellar throughout, as was the story development and character work. Not to mention some hauntingly beautiful music throughout.
The series kept up a good pace throughout and really shone from week to week, rarely did it feel like there was a wasted moment of unnecessary filler episode in the mix. It’s already one of my favourite shows I’ve seen since I started watching anime again last year and I feel like I’m going to have a lot more to say about it come my end of the year lists.
And to add a cherry to the cake that was Demon Slayer, the series ends with the revelation that a movie has been green lit, covering the next arc of the series.
~Coming of Age arc