We’re finally into season two 46 minute proper. As much as I have enjoyed talking about the anime version of Mugen Train, I’ve been very eager to see some new story and in this introductory, 45 minute episode of the new story arc we’ve got a hell of a lot to sink our teeth into with this one.
After a brief reminder of what just happened and a flip around the supporting charactrs and their reaction to Rengoku’s death, we move into a cool score driven introduction that slowly reveals a quiet, young boy borrowing a book from a library.
All throughout this sequence I found myself thinking, that no doubt, this boy would be a heavy focus of the upcoming arc. Which is the new title logo we get at the end of the sequence beginning the “Entertainment District Arc”. I kind of find it funny the assumptions I jump to when looking back at my notes to type up this review.
I find it weird that Demon Slayer has chosen to start labelling their story arcs outright in this second series. Most other Shonen kind of obscure the arcs from us to some degree and just roll through episodes. I just hope I don’t live to regret just continuing to count up the episode number in my review titles.
So this kid, we learn he is a model son and his adoptive parents gush over him. It’s kind of obvious he’s a demon, it’s when Akaza shows up at his window that we realise he is the Demon: Muzan himself in one of his many guises.
Muzan’s beratement of Akaza for his failures is actually pretty scary. Muzan is an intimidating villain, very much one of those unnervingly calm types. His precise and effortless torture of Azaka while the upper three demon does nothing but bow and bleed in deference really does a number on me. Despite Akaza’s murder of a Hashira, Muzan is very unhappy with him. Although he let’s his minoion leave with little more than a slap on the wrists by the end.
And as I predicted Akaza is super pissed at Tanjiro’s parting verbal jabs. Something that’s certainly going to put him on a collision course with Tanjiro’s again at some point in the future. Let’s just hope our boy can get stronger enough to hold his own against this monster.
Back at the Butterfly eEstate for some healing, It’s Zenitsu who seems to be the most optimistic of the bunch of all people. With both Tanjiro and Insuke very down in the dumps about the death of the Flame Hashira and their own weakness in their inability to do anything to prevent it. Although, as Zenitsu returns to their room with some stolen buns, we see that Tanjiro has vanished.
Following Rengoku’s final request, Tanjiro arrives at the Kyojuro estate to pass the final messages of the house’s eldest son onto his surviving father and brother. It goes pretty poorly right off the bat, the elder Kyojuro is out of bed for a change, but he’s a drunken mess. His anger seems to be directed at everyone around him, badmouthing his dead son and saying his weakness at birth all but guaranteed his demise.
It’s difficult to tell how much of this rage is genuine and how much of it is self loathing. This man was a former Hashira, and a hero by many people’s estimation, but the loss of his wife and his current standing make me think he is at the lowest of his low points.
Through his drunken rantings though, we finally begin to get some answers to the question behind Tanjiro’s flame based powers: the “Hinokami Kagura”. Kyojuro Sr. described Tanjiro as the “accursed Sun Breathing style user”; the original and most powerful style from which all other techniques derived from. Giving some context to the unique earrings that both Tanjiro and his father are always seen wearing.
Although, the dad’s ranting and anger set off Tanjiro, who is in an understandably emotionally fragile state. And he rushes at the guy only to get his ass kicked by the former Hashira. That is until he pulls out his trusty special move: The retribution headbutt. Gotta love that rock hard head of Tanjiro getting him out of fights against much tougher opponents.
It’s the younger brother, Senjuro who ends up helping Tanjiro get access to the book that Rengoku spoke of, although as Tanjiro takes a couple of steps forward, he ends up having to take one back, as the Flame Hashira Chronicles book he is handed has been torn to shreds, robbing him of any concrete information about this Sun Breathing style. Although, he has a name to go off now, so that’s something.
Tanjiro goes off on a frustrated rant about being too weak, how that there is no shortcut to getting his body stronger to keep up with the powerful Hinokami Kagura, and that he needs to struggle a lot at a slower pace. Which feels like a call-back to the conversation between Rengoku and Akaza at times, where the demon did talk about a quick path to power in becoming a demon; something Rengoku found unthinkable, and something I’d imagine Tanjrio would share his sentiments on also.
The heart to heart between Tanjiro and Rengoku’s younger brother so pure and wholesome. I can’t help but feel all warm and fuzzy over how good and pure all these good kids are. Senjuro concludes their visit by gifting Tanjiro with Rengoku’s sword guard; an everlasting reminder of link between the two. And of the vengeance owed between Tanjiro and Akaza.
After Tanjiro leaves, Senjuro passes on Rengoku’s final message to his father, one that finally does break through and cause his mess of a dad to break down in grief filled tears. It makes me wonder if this could be the spark to get the former Hashira out of his funk.
On his way back to the Butterfly Estate, Tanjiro is acosted by the swordsmith. I told him he’d regret losing another sword so quickly after getting it replaced. Although I’m kind of surprised Tanjiro’s third sword doesn’t get Rengoku’s guard incorporated into it’s design.
At this point, time starts to move forward. Over the following four months, we see Tanjiro, Inosuke and Zenitsu using the estate as their base of operations as they are sent out on various missions. Even Zenitsu manages to have overcome some of his fears and it able to complete a number of missions all on his own. No doubt the thought of Nezuko being the thing urging to come back every time.
I actually like the little vignette we get of the day to day life of a working member of the Demon Slayer Corps. Tanjiro going out, encountering a demon, apologising to them for their plight and then absolutely destroying them. It’s good stuff.
As he returns from this mission, 35 minutes into the episode, we finally see the appearance of the episode’s titular character: Sound hHshira Tengen Uzui. The self announced flashy former shinobi and his amazing skill of being immune to pissant headbutts. Oh dear, whatever will Tanjiro do now. And wait, is this Flashy Flash? Did he get way more buff and jump across from One Punch Man?
Uzui has shown up to kidnap Aoi for a mission in the Entertainment District. A choice he seems to quickly rescind when Tanjiro and his compatriots indignantly berate him and volunteer themselves in her place.
At a glance, Uzui seems to be everything Rengoku is not: arrogant, dismissive, huge, prone to lavish excess and not a good boy at all. Although he still does have a bit of goofiness to him. I’m sure we’ll grow to know more about him and his history as this arc goes on, I’m sure he’s probably a good guy underneath all the desire to stand out.
Wow, this was full to the brim of stuff.
Episode 8 was very much a transitional episode, capping off the last arc before kicking off the new one, and I loved every minute of it. It’s nice that this one was one longer episode and not split into two parts. Jumping around, catching up with characters and setting up the pieces for the next arc in one fell swoop was a lot of fun. and I’m super primed to see where this arc is going next.
From the new Opening that ends the episode, it looks like there’s going to be a lot of boobs. Which I guess is to be expected from an arc that’s actually called the Red Light District arc in the original Japanese. In a place of excess and vice, no doubt the place will be rife with Demons.
It’ll be interesting to see how quickly the story gets into another Upper six Moon Demons in this arc, or if it could forgo them for now and just have this be Uzui’s personal playground. I still don’t feel like I have a good gauge of how strong Tanjiro is in comparison to the average member of the slayer corps these days.
Of late it seems like the Hashira are becoming the main focus, which makes me believe that Tanjiro could be on the cusp of getting close to their levels of strength. No doubt, whenever he starts to learn more about this Sun Breathing style and how he plans to incorporate it into his current style will give him a big boost in power.
We’re in it now folks. Demon Slayer is back! Let’s go meet some ladies of the evening.