Demon Slayer: Season 2 – Episode 13: Layered Memories

This is an intense one, so much so that I had to take a day off and then come back and watch it again before I could write the review. Totally has nothing to do with being burned out and not wanting to write as much anymore. Not at all, no way.

Almost the entirety of this episode details the continuing fight against Daki, a battle Tanjiro kind of almost seemed like he was holding his own in for a moment. Well, that is until Daki started pulling the “this isn’t even my final form” trope pretty much right away in this episode.

All of the sashes that made up her spider-like nest elsewhere in the district start to return to het and re-enter her body. Causing her hair colour to change and her power to increase dramatically. Now, where have we seen that before.

As Daki cackles in delight at the realisation there’s another Hashira in her territory for her to add to her collection of victims, the owners of the houses in the vicinity of the fight start to come out into the streets to see what the commotion is. One particular guy gets very irate and berates Tanjiro. His anger quickly turns to despair though, as with the simple flick of her sashes, Daki causes a mass of destruction.

And what looks like a mortal wound on Tanjiro who tries to defend the man. Surrounded by more death and destruction than he’s ever seen in one place before, something switches in Tanjiro’s brain. I’ve said before that I think there are few power boosts as satisfying to me in anime as righteous fury. And Tanjiro gets so mad he bursts the blood vessels in his eyes, causing his eyes to go red and him to look like he’s weeping tears of blood.

It’s a striking image.

Suddenly though, we cut away. To Rengoku Sr. writing a letter to Tanjiro, apologising for his behaviour on their first meeting him and thanking him for being there for his two sons. And letting him know that the scar on his head is a sign of him being chosen by the Sun Breathing technique and that it’s a gift. A letter Tanjiro has already read, as he argues against being “chosen” and feels himself a fraud.

The scar in his head is a result of his life experiences, not something he was born with like his father was. But Tanjiro doesn’t care. He doesn’t care that he’s not chosen nor worthy of the power of the Sun. All he knows is that he cannot forgive the inhuman act Daki just committed and she must be punished.

Then he goes Ultra Instinct.

I mean, it’s hard not to make the connection. Tanjiro’s demeanour totally changes, he’s overcome with this calm fury, his hair seems to stand more on end and even the way he fights seems to take on this entirely new persona. It’s really cool, one of my favourite fights of the series so far. Tanjiro takes her apart and gets a strike in on her neck, only for her to bend her body like fabric to absorb the blow.

Something that doesn’t deter Tanjiro for a moment, batting away her strikes and leading her into a trap that has him moving faster than he’s ever moved and is mere moments from putting an end to the demon once and for all. And then we realise, this whole time, Tanjiro hasn’t been breathing. The whole cornerstone of the Slayer’s sword techniques is breath control, and Tanjiro hasn’t done it once since the battle started.

And like with Ultra Instinct Goku’s battle against Jiren; the very moment he looks like he is about to win, his new power craps out on him. With devastating results. Tanjiro collapses to his knees, coughing and gasping for air. Leaving Daki dumbstruck for a moment at how close she came to death. A favour she almost delivers to Tanjiro in turn.

If not for one of the most satisfying kicks to the head I’ve ever seen, so much so that we see it multiple times. It’s Nezuko jumping to save her brother, and like Tanjiro, she isn’t just furious at the idea of her brother in danger, but all the death and destruction that Daki so callously caused. Now we get another badass fight to cap off the episode.

Here’s the thing with Demons, throughout the series, we’ve been told that Demon’s gain power through consuming humans. The more humans a demon consumes, the more powerful they become. The only alternative to that we’ve seen is being gifted power by Muzan directly. Nezuko, as far as we know, has never done either of these things. So by demon standards, she should be pretty weak right?

Bsst, wrong. Not only does Nezuko get back up from damn near being cut in half, Daki states that her power of regeneration is akin to that of an upper rank Demon somehow. To cap things off, even Nezuko undergoes some kind of transformation, with leaved vine like patterns showing up all over her body and a single horn growing from the right side of her head.

And then Nezuko proceeds to start beating the absolute crap out of Daki.

Man, this was a killer episode. I didn’t even get into the brief bit of goofiness with Uzui demanding Inosuke worship him for his coolness and then them, plus sleeping Zenitsu, setting off to back up in the fight against Daki. Although at this point I wonder whether they’ll be needed. The fight between powered up Tanjiro and Daki was amazing, and then the reveal of how strong Nezuko is following it was just as good.

There’s probably some explanation behind both of them getting as strong as they did suddenly thorough nothing but pure anger, but I don’t care. It was badass, close to Tanjiro’s fight against Rui in the first season. There are certainly a bunch of parallels between that fight and this one. But why not, you do something good, why not do it again.

I cannot wait for next week to see where this fight goes from here.

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