I’m going to have to try and remember how I used to write these, it feels like millions and millions of years since I was doing episodic reviews of Demon Slayer. I guess you could call this a practice run though seeing as how the studio decided to incense their fandom by going and spending the first chunk of the season recapping the movie we’ve already seen.
Well, maybe it would be, if the events of this episode shared any similarities with the movie whatsoever. Whereas the movie jumped right into the events that took place on the Mugan Train, this first episode of the anime acts like a prequel to those events. All starring Flame Hashira Kyojuro Rengoku himself.
I don’t want top outright spoil the events of the movie here, but I feel the compulsion to talk about it at least a little. As much as I loved the Mugan Train movie, one of the few things that irked me about it was how it ended and the emotional punch it obviously wanted me to feel as a result.
It’s the inherent weakness of a movie adapted from a more long form piece of source material, you don’t get that extra time to marinate and grow closer with the characters. As great as Rengoku was in the movie, I don’t think we really spent enough time with him to get really close with him.
Which is why it feels to me that an episode like this is a perfect way to start off this new series of the show, preceding the events of the train trauma. Now, if we’ve learned anything about Tanjiro throughout the first series of Demon Slayer; it’s that he’s the goodist boy. And if Tanjiro is the goodist boy, then Rengoku is the greatest boy.
He’s a guy who takes to life with the utmost gusto, and it makes him a ridiculously likeable and and attractive character to someone like me who really enjoys classic heroic archetypes in their characters. While investigating a series of murders that have been taking place in and around the train line, during where he encounters and instantly befriends all the blue collar workers that make their lives around the train line.
When he’s not buying dozens of bentos and just giving them out to anyone he meets, he manages to cross paths with a speedster demon, a blue striped bastard who seems to relish his life as a torturing, evil monster, I guess it’s only Tanjiro that manages to attract all of the demons with a tragic past.
Maybe this guy had a sob story to tell as well, not that we ever get the opportunity to know considering Rengoku takes his head off with even more blistering speed. It’s a pretty open and closed case and easy work for one of the strongest swordsmen in the country. Doing it all the time with a weirdly intense stare and big old smile on his face.
Right away, I like Rengoku a whole bunch. Even more than I did in the movie, where his time for development was limited at best. He seems like the most likeable of all the Hashira’s, all of which seem to have some edge or strange personality quirk that gives me some cause to distrust their true motives.
Even Shinobu Kocho, who we know the most about has some tortured history that makes that permanent smile of hers read false. There’s nothing false about Rengoku, he’s upfront about everything and pretty positive about everything too. Which makes him a super admirable kinda guy in my book.
The episode ends with us not seeing Tanjiro at all and the events of the movie about to kick off in earnest. And I’m excited, this was an entire episode of original content as far as I remember, so I’m hoping the rest of the arc gets similar attention and characters like Zenitso and Nezuko get a little more attention during the arc whereas they were hardly present in the movie.
I’m excited to get back into Demon Slayer again. This first episode did a great job of reminding me what I was missing. I feel like I very well may become like a broken record over the course of the coming weeks or months: but this is such a pretty show. The scenes and background as so absurdly well animated, and the combination of CG with traditional animation makes the action sequences something special to behold.
I very well might know what’s coming thanks to the events of the movie, which is usually something that kills my enthusiasm for watching a show like this, but I’m hyped for Demon Slayer again. I feel like 2021 has been a little quiet for me in terms of finding entertainment I can genuinely feel excited to be consuming, it seems like it was all getting saved up for the final few months of the year because now I’m up to my eyeballs in it.