Welcome to the collaboration review of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba episode 7, “Muzan Kibutsuji.” I’ll be in plain ordinary text this week and Irina from I Drink and Watch Anime will be in bold type. Before we get started, may I just say that it’s been quite awhile since any episode has gone so far from where I thought it would — and it was a completely delightful plunge? So far, with some cool exceptions, Demon Slayer has done more or less the expected very well. This episode? Well… Well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
BTW: There will be spoilers! Aren’t there always…
And where are my manners? Irina, any opening thoughts about this episode?
Hello, Crow’s wonderful readers. I will be bold this week. As for opening thoughts. I look forward to this show each week so I was thrilled right from the first second, seeing Nazuko kick some demon behind in a reprise of last week’s fight. Then I thought to myself, I can’t wait until those earings arrive. Patience is difficult!
In this episode, Tanjiro learns an important life lesson, applies his mountain-top training, gets overwhelmed and embarrassed by a thriving metropolis, ruins good udon, and… I’m dying to tell you, but I don’t want to spoil the surprise! I’m still reeling from it…
As we’ve come to expect, the episode picked right up where the last one ended. Tanjiro and Nezuko faced off against the demon that had split itself into three. The last we saw in the previous episode, Nezuko was bringing her foot down, attempting to crush one of the demon’s skulls (and truth be told, the demon’s horns had me worried for her heel!). But it vanished underground, and Tanjiro tried to figure out how best to attack them. He called Nezuko back to him as he considered his next move.
Irina, did you see how happily she started to come back to him? It was almost like she was skipping or something!
It was also a bit like she was a puppy… I didn’t mention it last week but don’t you think they are starting to present Nezuko more and more like a pet rather than a person? The crate, the mannerisms. She reminds me of an adorable little animal.
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t bad. It’s one more layer of interesting conflict. The story is, in fact, dehumanizing Nezuko but rather than doing so in a violent, terrifying way like the rest of the demons, they are going a more vulnerable and adorable route, but it is marking her as something different nonetheless.
We are not permitted to even for a second forget that Nezuko is simply not human anymore. It’s clever.
But how did you see it, Crow?
It was kind of heart-rending, almost as if she sometimes forgot she was a demon. As she tried to rejoin him, one of the demons came up out of the ground. Tanjiro panicked. His sister was too far away for him to cover her! But he need not have worried. She dove and rolled over the demon and continued on her course.
Nezuko is a lot more capable than Tanjiro’s instincts will let him accept. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
Tanjiro reflected that she was “not necessarily so weak that I have to protect her.” And so Tanjiro learned an important life lesson: When traveling with a powerful demon, there may be times when said demon has to fend for herself. And she’ll be just fine, given she’s a powerful demon and all.
Did you notice that Nezuko actually took on her first mission in this episode, Irina? When Tanjiro asked if she could keep the two civilians safe as he dove underground into their “swamp?”
I was a little confused. Well not really but don’t you think it would have been way more practical for Nezuko to dive in while Tanjiro protected the humans? For one, Tanjiro is slightly less likely to eat them and for two, Nezuko doesn’t need to breathe.
I understand that Tanjiro is still not the kind of guy to send his little sister into the dark unknown no matter how logical it may be but it would have been the smarter strategy.
Given how the fight played out, and given the basis of his powers, I think he made what seemed to him to be a tactical decision. But you bring up an interesting dilemma — one I think we’re going to see play out often!
One thing I did like about him offering the job to her: It emphasized she’s more than an ornament — maybe more than a pet demon — and that she has a will. Partially controlled with a hypnotic suggestion, maybe, but a will nonetheless.
Leaving one demon with Nezuko, Tanjiro dove into the demon’s territory. The two demons there thought they’d easily wipe him out. After all, it was almost like being under water, and it was their turf. What they didn’t know is that Tanjiro was able to put his mountain-top training to good use! He’d been so high up that there was very little air. Not only that, but the demons also didn’t know his skills were water-based. So when they came at him from two angles, they didn’t expect the sixth form of his attack: Whirlpool. The only downside? When it was done, he was more or less swimming in demon guts. Kinda eewww!
Tanjiro has some serious moves! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
What did you think of his under water moves, Irina?
The moves themselves were ok. I really like the blue wave imagery so I think I prefer his dry ground moves. The existence of the moves was a good touch though. First, it helped explain why Tanjiro dove in rather than Nezuko (I know I just contradicted myself but hey, good stories can do that, change your perceptions as they go along). Second, it really brings home Tanjiro’s superpower water element and that’s just fun.
Most importantly, it made me come up with an alternative title for the episode: Spin Cycle!
Maytag would be proud!
Before he surfaced, he found the purse that the demon had kept momentos in. A frightening sight awaited him when he got to land: The demon had managed to scratch Nezuko’s face and was about to crush her skull. Yelling “Hands off my sister,” Tanjiro removed the demon’s arms. In that moment, two things occured to me.
First, the demon was able to get close to Nezuko in spite of her strength and speed because her moves were one-note. She hadn’t received any training like Tanjiro had. They need to get that girl some training!
Second — and I’m sure you noticed this, Irina! — the demon was absolutely terrified when Tanjiro asked him about Muzan Kibutsuji. Terrified to the point that the very thought almost drove the demon into a frenzy.
Seeing the demon scared? That was unnerving! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
Irina, was that a cool way to extend Muzan’s mystique or what?
There’s something particularly unsettling about seeing a monster cower. It forces you to reframe your entire understanding of what’s going on. This particular demon was both powerful and rather creepy. As I said in the last episode, he was an effectively menacing antagonist (side note, is Neuko the only female demon we’ve seen?).
Yes, I think she is! Hmmm…
So seeing him reduced to a quivering mess is striking. And they did a great job animating fear. That was a visceral scene.
I couldn’t have said it better, it extended Muzan’s mystique all the way to legend.
The demon is so terrified that it regrows its arms and attacks Tanjiro. I think it knew what was about to happen — Tanjiro’s sword sliced it into so many pieces it couldn’t regenerate. Tanjiro’s first mission was over, and it was a success.
He tried to reassure the man who Nezuko had been protecting, but the man verbally lashed out in his grief and asked what a boy would know about such things. Tanjiro’s answering smile, filled with equal measures kindness and complete, utter understanding, silenced the man. He knew he had misspoke. Tanjiro handed him the purse and, saying he hoped the man would find something of his dead fiancee. The man broke down into tears and called his apology to Tanjiro, who waved as he walked away. That’s when the man saw Tanjiro’s hands.
“Those aren’t a boy’s hands,” he thought, and for some reason, that hit me hard. We know Tanjiro. We’ve seen him training, we saw his performance on demon mountain, and we just watched him complete his first mission. Given just how powerful he’s already become, it’s easy to forget that he’s still just a kid. The innocence of his childhood was stolen from him, and he’s doing the best he can.
Tanjiro might be “just a boy,” but yeah, he gets what the other man was going through. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
Irina, wasn’t that a beautiful moment?
I have to say, Tanjiro may be just a little too good to be true. Although they could just be embracing the golden boy shonen hero trope. Still, someone this kind and good, when he cracks it’s going to be terrifying.
It was just a little thing, you didn’t mention it earlier, but before that demon went into a panic he was unpleasantly taunting Tanjiro by describing all the pain he had brought to the village. Tanjiro quickly and without hesitation gave him a Glasgow smile at sword-point. It was a gratuitous move. He wasn’t trying to scare or kill the demon, it was an expression of annoyance and impatience. Rather bloodthirsty for our little Tanjiro, even if it was against a demon.
Good point — I liked how that scene proved Tanjiro has a breaking point. And as you said, if he goes off the deep end, it’s going to be terrifying.
Did you notice that Nezuko actually went to sleep the battlefield to start healing? They have got to find her an alternative source of energy!
I did, she was, as always, very cute. I didn’t think for a second she was dead…re-dead(?) over-dead(?).
Maybe we should ask the idols from Zombieland Saga for an opinion? I think they qualify as subject matter experts!
His Kasugai Crow gave him no time to rest. His next mission took him to a section of Tokyo, and it was funny to see how the bustle of the nightlife completely freaked him out! He played the perfect country kid seeing a big city for the first time. He and Nezuko made it to a park where the purchased some udon topped with grated yam. And I gotta say: it looked delicious. He started eating, Nezuko drowsing by his side, when a terrible, terrible smell hit him. Worse than terrible: it was familiar. He dropped the bowl of udon to the ground.
Dude, I know you’re freaked out, but did you have to drop the udon? It looked delicious! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
The scent was the demon who had murdered his family.
Irina, I almost felt like it was too early for him to find his nemesis — what did you think?
I’ll be straight with you, I was watching the episode around dinnertime and all I could think was oh no those udon looked so good…
Actually, let me take a step back for a second, that city was beautiful. The backgrounds, the crowded streets, the lights, even the music. I was psyched because of the setting alone. I really love the Demon Slayer big city, I hope we get to see more of them.
The city really was beautiful! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
Tanjiro ran through the crowded streets, pushing people aside until he found quarry. Tanjiro grabbed the man’s shoulder (and I still say he looks like Michael Jackson!) and saw the demon-red eyes as he turned. Tanjiro prepared to attack.
That’s when the little girl the demon was carrying asked, “Daddy? Who’s that?”
Wait. What? Daddy? No, no, no. He had to have bewitched her, right? She’s a late-night snack that he bewitched into thinking he’s her father. Right?
I say “wrong” because his wife came over to him and asked what was going on. She asked if he knew the strange boy from the country.
Muzan, the demon who destroyed Tanjiro’s entire family, was himself a family man.
Irina, is it just me, or is that just not what we were expecting?
I didn’t know what to expect at all and I have to admit, I really like this twist. A complex layered antagonist who just wants to live a simple life and is willing to commit atrocities to protect that wish. How conflicting.
I and a lot of other people have been rather tough on Demon Slayer for being very prototypical. However, this apparent turn of events (we’ve yet to see how it will play out in the long run) has to potential to explore some dilemmas we almost never see in these types of shows.
For a while, I’ve been wondering if demons can be rehabilitated. Not turned back into humans necessarily, but if Nezuko can find a way to exist in society, couldn’t others? Especially if they weren’t constantly being hunted down?
But I digress. Let’s go back to Kibutsuji.
This scene was almost more than Tanjiro could bear! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
Oh, oh, and did you catch how he answered when his wife asked if he knew Tanjiro? “No. Much to my consternation, I’ve never seen this child before.”
How chilling is that? Did Muzan know Tanjiro’s family and had targeted them? Was he looking for Tanjiro in particular? That doesn’t seem to make sense, but there’s something there!
There is. And boy was that voice actor impressive. One sentence and I’m already intimidated. I’m pretty sure he could simply ask me for directions and I would run in fear.
Where does the story go from here?
Well, we did just cause chaos in a crowded street. Also, the Demon Slayers are a secret organization. It’s one thing in the superstitious small towns when there’s only a traumatized young man at your side. If Tanjirou starts slaughtering demons left and right with that black sword in the middle of the big city streets, I have a feeling he might need to do some explaining at the local constabulary. Is he even allowed to reveal his affiliations?
Is this going to turn into a courtroom drama? (Hint: it’s not…)
Law and Order: Special Demon Slayer Unit.
Couple of random thoughts. First, the ED reminds me a lot of Kalafina in a very, very good way! Second, I think I figured out why the story had Nezuko sleeping so much: She’s so darned cute when she naps!
My random thought, that girl they “saved” form the demon in the last episode never woke up. Not once. She didn’t even stir or moan in her sleep. I don’t want to be a downer here, but…
But she’s as gone as Tanjiro’s chances of a normal, peaceful life with this family, isn’t she?
And now the wait for next week begins!
Reviews of the Other Episodes
- Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba Episode 01: Cruelty
- Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba Episode 02: Trainer Sakonji Urokodaki
- Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba Episode 03: Sabito and Makomo
- Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba Episode 04: Final Selection
- Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba Episode 05: My Own Steel
- Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba Episode 06: A Friend fo All Humans
- Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba Episode 07: Muzan Kibutsuji
- Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba Episode 08: The Smell of Enchanting Blood
- Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba Episode 09: Temari Demon and Arrow Demon
- Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba Episode 10: Together Forever
- Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba Episode 11: Tsuzumi Mansion
- Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba Episode 12: The Boar Bears Its Fangs, Zenitsu Sleeps