Anime

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba Episode 11: The Monster’s House in the Woods

Thanks so much for joining us for the collaboration review of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba episode 11, “Tsuzumi Mansion.” I’ll be in plain ordinary boring text this week, and Irina from I Drink and Watch Anime will be in bold.

Crow! You sound sooo professional! That’s a good thing. You need to balance me out here. The weekend has come and I’in that fun Saturday euphoria high! I’ll try to make sense, no promises!

This week’s episode throttled back the action, but it kept us entertained with a startlingly violent act of revenge, the revelation that Tanjiro isn’t the only person with a super power, that demon power comes in an increasingly wide variety, that children have reassuringly high standards, and that even demon slayers can become ensnared in a demon’s trap — if the demon is powerful enough.

Plus, we find out the answer to Irina’s question last week, “Where was his (Zenitsu’s) birdy?”

As usual, there will be spoilers.

Irina, any opening remarks?

Actually no. I have a lot of remarks but I think we need to get into the episode a bit for them to make sense.

Okay! Let’s start by answering Irina’s question from last week. Remember how, at the end of the previous episode, we saw Zenitsu grovelling in front of a poor young woman? He was whining about how he didn’t have long to live and he was begging her to marry him. We first met him after the selection match when he received a sparrow to deliver his assignments, and that sparrow was nowhere to be seen.

We, we found him! He was apparently looking for help (and with a “partner” like Zenitsu, I can’t blame the poor little bird!). He gratefully flew to Tanjiro and asked for his help. Tanjiro listened intently (I did not know he spoke Sparrow; good for him!) and agreed to help. That’s one mystery solved!

I have a question here, can Tanjirou actually speak the language of birds or was that a gag? Sometimes I’m a little slow… It would be kind of odd if Tanjiro could just talk to birds out of the blue here.

I assumed Tanjiro could speak Sparrow, because the bird seemed happy to be finally understood! Maybe it’s an extension of Tanjiro’s naturally nice guy mystique? Though now that you mentioned it, it’s not like it would be hard to get the gist of it — the context was pretty clear!

Regardless whether Tanjiro could speak Sparrow, it was pretty clear what the bird was concerned about. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream

So how did Tanjiro help? He strode up to the blubbering Zenitsu, grabbed him by the collar, yanked him to his feel (and away from the disgusted young woman), and gave him a stern talking to. I particularly liked the part where he said “Can’t you see she wants no part of you? And don’t go making trouble for your sparrow, either!”

Just after Tanjiro told the young woman that the situation was handled and she could go home “without any worries,” Zenitsu proved that he just can’t take a hint (or a clearly-stated warning). He tried to protest that the girl was in love with him. That’s when the show gave us a startlingly violent act of revenge: she slapped him — hard — across the face. It was apparently liberating, because she commenced to smacking on him (as I used to say back on the far). So much so that Tanjiro had to step in to save him.

Irina, any thoughts on this exchange? Did you think that Zenitsu got off easy?

My takeaway was that girls are scarier than demons… but I already knew that. Unfortunately, the over the top delivery made the story hard to follow, but the thought of this poor girl stopping to see if a seemingly ill Zenitsu was doing o.k. just to have him desperately offer marriage was pretty funny. And I liked that they recounted it instead of showing it.

Yeah, I really didn’t need to see that!

I think we should probably address something right off the bat: Zenitsu’s constant whining is kinda painful. Like, “I want to wrap his face with duct tape” painful. But I’m going to try to endure it, because a) I’m thoroughly enjoying the show otherwise and b) I remember the Rule of Asta (as I’ve started calling it). If you haven’t seen Black Clover, one of its main characters, Asta, would scream all of his lines (at least early in the series). It got to the point where I almost dropped the show because of it. Then, something strange happened. After he joined the Black Bulls, he met Magna Swing, and they became friends. There was one episode where they ran down a hallway screaming their lines at each other, and suddenly, it wasn’t annoying anymore. It was funny. I’m hoping something similar will happen here.

I’m going to file this under “A little goes a long way” and hope Irina’s character analysis is as spot on as it always is. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream

Do you think I’m just being overly optimistic, Irina? Are we going to have to break out the duct tape?

I didn’t know how to approach this since Zenitsu was an early favourite of yours but just like you, I think he’s a bit much. This said he’s not unreasonable. His reactions are way too exaggerated for my tastes but at the core, they’re logical given the circumstances.

I haven’t seen Black Clover, however by the end of the episode, I realized that to me, he’s a bit like the manager in Zombieland Saga. He is too much and I find him generally grating but I think I can see the basis of a good character underneath. Good as in developed, complete and even potentially layered. For half the season I could hardly stand Kotaro but by the end of the series, I liked him a lot and was happy he was part of the show.

He is a lot like Koutarou Tatsumi, isn’t he? That gives me hope!

After some back and forth where Tanjiro tries (in vain) to instill some pride in the sniveling one and they split lunch (where it must be said, in the spirit of fairness, that Zenitsu could have eaten Tanjiro’s last bit of food but decided to share it), Tanjiro’s Crow urged them to run. Apparently, the demon was up to no good. Some distance in the woods, they found the building that this episode was titled after: the Tsuzumi mansion. They discover something truly amazing. I mean, given what we know so far, it borders on astounding.

Zenitsu isn’t useless! He actually has a super power similar to Tanjiro’s! Whereas Tanjiro is sensitive to smells, Zenitsu has equally sensitive hearing. They both can tell there’s a demon (at least one) in the mansion, and Tanjiro is sure he smells something else that he’s never encountered before. As they compared notes, they realized they weren’t alone. There were two terrified children cowering just in sight of the mansion. Tanjiro showed how good he was with kids by using the “tame” sparrow to help them calm down enough so they could tell him why they were there: A monster had kidnapped their brother right in front of them as they walked home. They followed the blood drops to the mansion, but they were too terrified to enter. He promised to help them as Zenitsu reported that the sounds were getting more concerning.

Wait, Zenitsu has a useful power? That’s encouraging! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream

I’m actually wondering if this is a common thing in Demon Slayers, having some kind of super sense that is. Certainly, they need all the advantages they can get to survive. Sorry, go on, what was Zenitsu listening for?

He was hearing the sound of a small drum — a tsuzumi, as we learn later. This show’s titles are teaching me a lot of new Japanese words! As the sound reached a crescendo, a terribly wounded man flew out of a second story window and crashed in a bloody heap on the ground. All Tanjiro could do was stay with him for his last moments; his wounds were too deep.

Man this scene was traumatic. The deaths in this show have been gory and just so plain harsh! This one was no exception. It was difficult to watch and despite literally having never seen the guy before, it left me quite distraught for a while.

The only positive from this situation is that the man wasn’t the kids’ brother. Tanjiro left the Nezuko box with the kids after telling them it would keep them safe. Then he convinced Zenitsu to enter the house with him. Actually, he had to shame him into it.

Irina, would you have taken Zenitsu in with you? Wouldn’t you be worried he’d be more of a liability in a fight? Or do you think his craven act might be a defense mechanism or something?

Let’s be honest, if I was there I would be Zenitsu. I’m not proud of this but I know myself.

You know Zenitsu did survival the final trial. And I don’t think you can do so on luck alone. Heck at this point, being that lucky could be considered a skill. At the very least, he could be a useful shield… I said I wasn’t proud of this….

A Zenitsu shield… Hmmm…. That has potential. Oh, great, now I have shame…

Remember how we worried about how Tanjiro’s broken leg had healed too fast in the previous episode? Well, as the sniveling one begs Tanjiro to protect him, Tanjiro gives him some bad news: “I’ve got a broken rib and leg from my previous battle.”

How did Zenitsu react to the news that Tanjiro had broken bones? Let’s just say it was predictable and leave it at that. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream

Is he main-lining ibuprofen or something? How’s the guy still standing? He should really talk to his employer about his health plan. It’s almost as bad as living in the United States (I say as a citizen of said country).

My thoughts exactly! Ok maybe you can power through a cracked ribbed when you’re a super-powered demon slayer and all, but walking on a broken leg? I’m beginning to think that maybe Tanjiro doesn’t have the best grasp of medicine. Like it’s just a bad bruise and he’s actually being a big baby about it.

Otherwise, we’re rewriting the rules here. Or Demon Slayers also regenerate even though they keep making a big pint over the fact that they don’t…

I really like your idea that Tanjiro has misdiagnosed a bruise.

Zenitsu freaks out in a predictable way (eyes bulging and all) until they see something that to me as a parent was really scary: the two kids that they’d left under Nezuko’s protection had come in after them! They had head scratches from inside the box and were afraid.

Like, they’re not afraid of the house and the (now dead) bloody man that came flying out of it? Did this development make sense to you, Irina?

You know I thought (and still kind of think) that they’re not what they seem to be… I honestly was waiting for them to make a heel turn the entire time. I figured they were working with the demons to lure people into the house. We do know it’s the demon’s domain so he may not want to leave at all.

I’m not entirely convinced this isn’t what’s going on yet.

I was also surprised Tanjiro didn’t run straight back out to Nezuko (supposedly scratching at the door of her box?) Since when is he so relaxed about such things?

Very good questions… But now I’m worried about Nezuko! I hope they put the box where it’ll be in shade all day…

Tanjiro was closest to the little girl when the room started to shake. Just who are these kids, anyway? Capture from the Crunchyroll stream

Tanjiro was closest to the little girl when the house started to shake. Unsurprisingly, Zenitsu was terrified and ducked down. Surprisingly, his butt hit Tanjiro and knocked him, with the little girl, into the next room. It was at this point that we learned about yet another variety of demon power: the room changed around Tanjiro and the little girl. Several times, each change accompanied by the sound of a single tap on a tsuzumi. Irina, do you think it was teleportation? Space manipulation?

I’m thinking: pocket dimension? Pandimensional architecture that shifts at the demons will. I’m not sure how to feel about ever changing demon powers. I do like them but it’s sort of a writing trap. Every escalating power make it feel a bit demon of the week and risks getting ridiculous and falling apart at some point. I worry because I really like the show so far (this episode included).

Let’s hope they avoid that trap!

Regardless of the power’s nature, as Tanjiro’s trying to calm the little girl (who’s having just a terrible day, to be honest), he detects a looming scent, then the sound of heavy feet. At the end of the room, though the doorway, he sees a towering demon. At least three tsuzumi drums are embedded in its chest. It stops in the doorway gazing into the distance on Tanjiro’s right.

This was a pretty great classic horror homage. The apparently indifferent yet terrifying monster, the innocent victims unable to do anything other than wait for him to leave. The entire scene frozen in terror. I hadn’t seen this type of set up in a while and I really enjoyed it.

The scene switched back to the other pair. Of course, Zenitsu is freaking out now that Tanjiro can’t protect him. The little boy, though, is worried about his sister. In fact, he’s calling out for her, and the blonde demon slayer throws himself at the boy’s feed and begs him to be quiet. Here’s where we learn that children can have reassuringly high standards. In a disgusted voice, the boy asked, “All this constant yammering about dying… Aren’t you ashamed of yourself? Clinging onto a younger person… Don’t you feel pathetic?”

Sometimes, a kid can say something that gives me hope for the future!

Unfortunately, it seems that Zenitsu might have a second super power: Immunity from Shame. Instead of being chastised, he grabbed the boy’s hand (at least he was willing to take the boy with him) and ran for the door. Which wasn’t the front door anymore. It was just a door to another room. He tries door after door until he opens one to find a figure standing with his back to them. He had a boar’s head, and if I hadn’t seen him in the OP and ED, I would have mistaken him for a demon.

I think this character falls firmly in the “People I would not want to meet in a dark alley” category. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream

That’s pretty narrow-minded of me, isn’t it?

Well, this is a world where your survival depends on being able to make quick and decisive judgement calls. I don’t blame you for thinking the guy with a boar’s head may not be human. You know… because boar head. Also, all he’s done so far is rush people and attack. I probably would have thought the same thing.

The character bounds of the room brandishing two swords.

Two nichizin swords! Weren’t they interesting looking? They look downright vicious! I dig the design. I believe those swords would be able to rip through a demon!

Very, very cool!

Meanwhile, we return to Tanjiro, who asks the little girl to hide. The demon is going on about losing his prey (the man who had leapt from the second story?). He utterly ignored Tanjiro, even after the demon slayer announced himself. “I’m going to slay you now,” he says. Points for clarity, I guess! But the demon still didn’t acknowledge him. Even when Tanjiro lunges, the demon doesn’t react. It’s only when Tanjiro’s blow is about to land that the demon taps one of the drums on his chest. The room rotates, flinging Tanjiro out of the way.

That’s when Tanjiro picks up another scent. It’s not a demon scent; it’s one he didn’t recognize from before. The man bursts into the room, and Tanjiro sees that the man is wielding two Nichirin swords, which means he’s a demon slayer. It’s the same man that had scared Zenitsu. Before Tanjiro can say anything, the man (Inosuke Hashibira) issues his challenge to the demon and prepares to attack.

I’m just glad he’s on Tanjiro’s side! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream

Apparently, even a demon slayer can become ensnared if the demon is powerful enough and uses a devious enough trap!

And then the ED started.

AGAIN! I thought we were like 10 minutes in. The pacing of this show is fantastic. I haven’t seen such great pacing since Hunter x Hunter! That’s saying a whole lot!

I actually checked the time hoping they were going to have an extended scene after the ED! But no, it was an entire episode. Sigh.

I wouldn’t complain if the show dials back Zenitsu’s histrionics. Other than that, I really liked how Tanjiro tried to reassure the kids. I also like how he kept his cool in a rapidly developing situation. Irina, what was your overall impression of the episode?

Nezuko is alone… outside… during the day. This makes me very antsy. I can’t wait until the next episode they really left us in such an unresolved spot! Meanies.

And once again, the wait begins.

Reviews of the Other Episodes

5 thoughts on “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba Episode 11: The Monster’s House in the Woods

  1. The part when Tanjirou said “I’m going to slay you now,” is actually a gag that lost in the transition between medium. See, in the manga there a narrator that provide exposition and sometime comedy by detailing the character quirk in some moment. Tanjirou can’t ambush people, he too nice to do that. Since there no narrator, we don’t know that about him.

    Regarding Zenitsu, what if i tell you he the 2nd most popular character of the manga, only after Tanjirou and most of his fans are female? Now watching the early scene of Zenitsu after already deep into the manga, i come to appreciate Zenitsu character more. These early scene actually tell you more about Zenitsu, especially in his interaction with others but it really subtle and most people won’t notice it cause they are distracted by his annoying cry.

    1. “Since there no narrator, we don’t know that about him.”

      That’s an interesting detail! To me, the statement was funny by itself, because it seemed so naive! But know there was more to it helps round out the moment.

      “Regarding Zenitsu, what if i tell you he the 2nd most popular character of the manga, only after Tanjirou and most of his fans are female? ”

      That would tell me I need to be a little more patient! It also tells me Irina is on the right track with her perspective. I’m glad to know the character develops further — and honestly, it did help me to remember Asta.

      Thanks for sharing your perspective!

  2. I hope this coward thing of Zeniustu is used sparingly. One episode in and he’s already grating on my nerves. I’ve never cared for the coward anime archetype.

    1. “One episode in and he’s already grating on my nerves.”

      You and me both! Maybe between Tanjiro and Inosuke Hashibira, they can slap some sense into him!

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