Demonic Domestic Violence
Kimetsu no Yaiba Episode 16
With Zenitsu still wandering about the mountain by himself and Tanjiro and Inosuke (tragically I learned his name by default given how many times Tanjiro said it this episode) fully involved in the fight against the spider demon’s puppets amazingly the annoyance factor was well and truly diluted. Certainly Inosuke still had a few moments where I wished someone would smack him across the back of the head but for the most part this was a tense and exciting episode with great moments for both Tanjiro and Inosuke in the fight.
Of course, Zenitsu still didn’t contribute anything and the cuts to him and his pathetic crying and meandering about well and truly disrupted the flow of the rest of the episode, but this was such a marked improvement on the dynamic of last week that I’m going to give that a pass and just focus on the rest of the episode.
One thing I continue to love about Kimetsu no Yaiba is that it doesn’t tell us demons are bad but by and large they don’t do anything wrong. While Nezuko and the demon doctor they encountered have muddied the water a bit, the demon here acts in a way that makes her death more or less a foregone conclusion. After Tanjiro and Inosuke more or less incapacitate the demon slayer puppets so that they can move on, she breaks their necks. While the anime might give us the context of the demon panicking and worrying about failure, essentially we have her slaughtering the captured enemy soldiers who have already been taken out of the fight for no practical reason. There’s not a lot of coming back from that.
However, this episode also pushed an uncomfortable agenda with the demon family being set up to be almost a text book case study in domestic violence. The male demon we saw last week approaches his ‘mother’ who is controlling the puppets and threatens her to hurry up and deal with the demon slayers or otherwise he will tell ‘father’. The female demon does more or less fall apart into a panic at that point and the one flash back we get shows her being beaten by the ‘father’ while the others look on and more or less blame her for the violence being bestowed upon her. It is kind of tragic and as I said, quite uncomfortable viewing.
This makes episode 16 a mixed bag as we are back to the tense and exciting demon fighting that made the first part of the series fairly solid. Tanjiro and Inosuke are working well together and provided we keep having a clear and pressing issue, Inosuke doesn’t have time to get too annoying. Yet I get the feeling what’s Zenitsu catches up with them we might lose some of the drama this episode spent so much time building up. Still, a definite improvement on the last couple of episodes.
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Images from: Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. Dir. H Sotozaki. Ufotable. 2019.