There was a promise leading into this arc that the retelling of the events of the movie would be altered at least somewhat for the broadcast anime. I am getting the impression that almost all of that new footage was exclusively used for the first episode. Because everything I’ve seen over these two episodes feels like it has been lifted entirely from the movie. Not that I’m upset about that or anything.
Just makes me glad I didn’t go back and watch the movie a second time when it dropped onto streaming services.
In this episode we get to see the use of dreams serve two different purposes by peering into the memories of both Rengoku and Tanjiro to see what drives them both into a life of battle with a seemingly never ending hoard of demons. But before that we get to see the goofy dreams of both Zenitsu and Inosuke.
Y’know, when we first met Zenitsu all that time ago, he was portrayed as something of a womaniser. Which is a great primary character trait to have behind cowardice… But there’s something about his crush on Nezuko and his dream about them being together that just seems so wholesome and cute. And Inosuke is just a ridiculous person, so it only makes sense his dream would be equally ridiculous.
In the first episode of this series, we got to see Rengoku as the great man. The Flame Hashira and hero. Within his dreams we get to see where he came from. An heir to a dynasty of sorts, we learned in the first episode that he is the son of the previous Flame Hashira; a man who was very much like Rengoku himself in his youth.
With his dream though, he is taken back to the time where he arrives home to inform his father that he had become his successor. News that was met with anything but a warm reception. We see that Kyojuro senior is a broken men, unwilling to leave his futon and throwing his son’s good news back into his face.
On it’s surface it makes him seem like a cruel man, but based on what we already know his past and Rengoku’s own personality we can assume something happened to him. Something bad enough to rob him for his enthusiasm for life. While his remarks undoubtedly hurt Rengoku, the eldest son has a younger brother to take care of, to be the man for him that his own father was for him before he lost his vigour for life.
It’s a touching moment that adds even more to Rengoku’s character for me. He’s not just this loud, enthusiastic showboat. Like the translation for Hashira would imply, he needs to be a pillar for those around him to lean on and look up to as an example. His younger brother especially.
While this is unfolding, we see one of Enmu’s thrall also within the dream. Her mission, along with all the rest is to make her way to the edge of the dream, break through into the subconscious and destroy the Spiritual core of the dreamer within. Rendering them “crippled”. Maybe that’s what happened to Rengoku’s father. Either way, based on her monologuing, we learn that this is not the first time this girl has invaded someone’s dream on Enmu’s behest.
Which only means that these kids have been under the thrall of Enmu for some time, driven to the point of only being able to sleep and dream when the demon allows them. It’s a tragic fate to be honest, and one that makes stopping them all the tougher. Because while she makes her way to Rengoku’s spiritual core amongst his fiery subconscious, his survival instinct is strong enough for him to stand and choke her out even when fast asleep.
Meanwhile, as this is happening; in reality Nezuko falls out of her box in a big heap and proceeds to do a bunch of terribly adorable things.
While Rengoku’s dreams were a window into his past and some insight into what drives him, Tanjiro’s dreams are a reaffirmation as to what the young man is fighting for and a reminder of the events that kicked off his story in the first place. Which is pretty well placed within the story to be honest as it’s been a good long while since the beginning of the anime at this point.
Through his own drive and with some help of Nezuko’s actions outside of the dream, Tanjiro snaps himself out of his dream and realises that he is, in fact sleeping, although that doesn’t necessarily help him wake up. I could be super cynical and say the whole “dead family” as a motivating factor is pretty cliché for our protagonist. But I love Tanjiro so much as a main character that I can’t help but take anything that happens to him as anything but super earnest.
He’s such a pure, good soul that seeing him having the briefest moments of happiness with his family again before forcing himself to turn his back on them and walk away, all without a backwards glance for fear of falling into the dream again was really heart-wrenching. It’s a reminder of how much hardship the kid has had to endure in his short life so far and also how he’s never let it break him and stop him being that same person he was all the way at the beginning.
Only now he’s a lot more hardcore. As he quickly comes to the realisation that in order to wake himself up, his only option is to kill himself within his dream. An action he doesn’t know for sure won’t kill him in reality at the same time. Although he doesn’t dwell on it for too long to be honest.
I feel like we’re coming out of the dreams pretty quickly already, but then again, thinking about what’s still to come based on the events of the movie, it makes a lot of sense. I guess I thought the anime adaptation of the events might be prolonged a little bit. But unlike the anime versions of the two Dragon Ball movies that kicked off Super, which were horrible interpretations of an amazing and an okay movie, this is literally the same footage.
So I guess that means you can just look forward to me gushing about what a pure little good buy Tanjiro is next week when his subconscious basically hands his would-be murderer a knife.