The tender shounen protagonist.
And here we go getting an abbreviated version of the fight we saw at the end of the last episode and between the demon’s head getting lopped and his death we see a flashback of his terrible luck turning into a demon and killing his family before the demon slayer came. I always wondered in Bleach why they felt that as a character was dying it was a good time to give the audience some context for their behaviour and life. I mean really, we might have cared back when they were still involved in things but given they are in the process of dying I don’t think it makes all that much difference.
Tanjiro’s farewell to the demon and to the other children trained by his master was however an affective moment and one that distinguishes Tanjiro from the other demon slayers we’ve seen thus far. His continued efforts to communicate with demons and to try to find a solution to his sister’s condition, even while he fights them is fairly admirable even if not overly practical. At least he isn’t hesitating to land the final blow anymore.
The test complete, the few survivors get a brief run down on levels and stuff and we have the sickly sweet Tanjiro, the girl who stares vaguely away for almost the entire sequence, the scaredy cat, and the angry and obnoxious guy. It isn’t the most nuanced scene and while I’m sure the choosing the ore is significant, really this scene was perhaps the low point in the episode. His new crow is cute though later when the crow speaks the voice isn’t at all what I was expecting and it kind of killed some of the cuteness.
However, Tanjiro finally returns and Nezuko is conveniently awake. They really are just having her sleep and wake to their own narrative convenience, but awake she is in order to welcome Tanjiro home. The music swells as he hugs her and then the master comes out to hug them both. It is sweet, touching, and entirely over-wrought. Served which about as much subtlety as the reminders of Tanjiro’s sense of smell or the demons being evil. It works, to be sure, but without any nuance it is a scene that is brazenly asking your heart to swell with the music and to be honest Demon Slayer has yet to move me emotionally so mostly I just kind of noted what it was trying but felt little.
By the end of the episode Nezuko is back asleep and Tanjiro has a first assignment. Of course, his master warned him about demons who can use supernatural powers so given he was warned about body morphing demons just before he was attacked by one I guess we can assume his first assignment involves a demon with magic powers?
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Images from: Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. Dir. H Sotozaki. Ufotable. 2019.