Demon Slayer Kimetsu no Yaiba: Swordsmith Village Arc
Tanjiro travels to the secretive Swordsmith Village to get his sword repaired, encountering some familiar Hashira (and one new one.) But despite the village's tight security, somehow Muzan, the demon lord, has discovered its location, and dispatches Upper Moon Demons 4 and 5 to destroy the village and its occupants.
Inosuke and Zenitsu largely disappear in this one, being sent off on missions of their own. I guess the disappearance of the latter, in particular, accounts for this installment being less shouty/whiny than any of the others. The show still does throw in a facetious gag every now and then, often in places counterproductive to a scene's intentions or mood, but I largely forgave it for that. (And don't get me wrong about Zenitsu; when he's in his reflective mode I rather like him. The problem is, he's not allowed to be in that mode very often.)
Young- and utterly deadpan- Mist Hashira Muichiro Tokito is one of the people Tanjiro re-encounters in the village. We'll get Muichiro's backstory this time, though it's a pretty standard-issue Slayer tale. It's fit into the series' episode formula, which kicks in here around the third episode (everything after this is one long battle): we'll start with the battle; then flashbacks to someone's (Hashira or demon) backstory; then MORE fighting; and finally a cliffhanger of some sort, to make us come back next week for the resolution.
Those battles, though, are as spectacularly animated as any I've EVER seen in a shonen series; they're every bit as viscerally thrilling as those in high-rent shows like Attack on Titan, and make the paltry efforts in drivel like Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer look disgraceful in comparison- even given that Demon Slayer's fights are almost all night battles. (This season's struggle does extend into the early morning hours, however. It was a very busy night.)
This season introduces us to the Love Hashira, Mitsuri Kanroji. In addition to being one of the few female Slayers, her backstory is quite different from the others, a story of a misfit rather than a story of horror like Tanjiro's or Muichiro's. (Her weird hair colors aren't just a whim of the artist's; they're part of her story.) She's equipped with a bizarre sword which seems implausible, but Crunchy commenters have noted it resembles a real Indian sword called a urumi. (First Lady Kocho, now Mitsuri; maybe there's a trend here for giving the female Hashiras oddball swords.)
Mitsuri's also super-strong, and that brings me to another point: the Demon Slayers are really sort of Taisho Era superheroes. Superman, in the early comic books, was not capable of sustained flight, but could only do gigantic leaps; that's got nothing on Mitsuri here. And Muichiro AT LEAST TWICE should have died from the attacks of the demon he's squared off against. Tanjiro, for his part, in his internal monologue is always thinking about the injuries that are rendering him immobile; but he's always somehow summoning that last reserve of strength that's always hidden in there somewhere. Well, all the Slayers SHOULD have died during the Entertainment District Arc, so you just accept that these guys are impossibly durable, and roll with it. (In fairness, of course, a few of the Slayers WERE slain in previous chapters, and Tengen, the Hashira in Entertainment District, did get disarmed. If you view the Slayers as superheroes, compared to U.S. comics they've more personality than the DC bunch, and maybe even a bit more personality than the Marvel characters.)
Their opponents in this season are Upper Moons 4 and 5. 5 lives in a jar, is fond of using water and fish as weapons, and has a highly inflated ego (and memorably bizarre appearance), but he is just one demon; while 4 is a composite demon (like the "one" in Entertainment District), able to split into separate entities, or have its parts recombine in different fashions. 4 is quite a bit more trouble to deal with not just because of this, but because it has a mult-layered defense as well, requiring Tanjiro, Nezuko, Mitsuri (late in the struggle), and Genya Shinazugawa all working together. (Genya I remembered from a previous installment- his personality is every bit as surly as a demon's.) There is a "shocking" scene (as it's been described in promos for the show) near the end, involving the apparent death of a key character- but Death can (as in the Tarot) simply mean "change".
I liked this one more than Entertainment District. Mostly I think it's because of Mitsuri, a fresh face in the show (and an utter charmer.) I'd rate this one the same as Mugen Train. — Allen Moody
Recommended Audience: The usual blood, gore, dismemberment, beheadings, skewerings (including of people here) are the main issues; though Mitsuri has a (non-explicit) nude scene in the bath. We'll stay at R (16+).
Version(s) Viewed: Version Viewed: Crunchyroll video stream
Review Status: Full (11/11)
Demon Slayer Kimetsu no Yaiba: Swordsmith Village Arc © 2023 UFOtable, Aniplex.
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