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Cards on the table: I really did not like the first episode of this new season of Demon Slayer. It’s a bloated, over-edited mess of the show’s worst tendencies, including its propensity to give over absurd amounts of screen time to side characters we barely know and will likely never especially care about, not to mention all of the damned screamings. I get it, though; this is an action-comedy anime primarily written for an audience of middle-school-aged boys, so I’m not expecting the series ever to become high art. With this many years in the game, however, I at least expect the show to try and be the best version of itself that it can be, which the premiere most certainly was not. I’d also appreciate it if the series respected its audience’s time a little more (Please, ufotable, I’m begging you to stop making these needlessly indulgent hour-long season premieres).
Thankfully, the season has already begun to pick up with its second episode, “Yoriichi Type Zero.” I won’t say that it was great, since Demon Slayer only ever begins to approach greatness when its story finally kicks into gear and focuses on the action and spectacle, but this was a perfectly serviceable and even occasionally entertaining exposition episode, which works just fine given all of the new characters and plot threads that the show still has to set up. Also, for anyone that gets tired of me harping on how much Zenitsu ruins every single scene of every episode he is in, both the Little Yellow Crotch Goblin and Inosuke are nowhere to be seen…for now, at least. It surely cannot be a coincidence that “Yoriichi Type Zero” is a comedy-focused episode of Demon Slayer that actually managed to make me laugh for the first time in ages, right?
It’s true, though. As Tanjiro sunk further and further into his endless goofy faces while dealing with Kotetsu’s loud antics and Tokito’s flagrant douchery, I was shocked at how often I found myself smiling at the episode’s jokes, which are no less goofy and juvenile than they were in show’s previous 46 episodes. I’m so used to the poor kid having to play the straight man to no fewer than two (and often more) ridiculous comedy relief characters, especially when one of them is literally a walking human incarnation of anti-laughter, The Plague of Un-joy himself. When Tanjiro is allowed to react to the craziness of the world around him with a little goofiness of his own, though, the whole affair becomes much more endearing. I’m not sure how much more that is, exactly, since I still found myself getting tired of Kotetsu the Clown Boy’s shtick, but still. I didn’t actively wish to lose my capacity for sight and hearing, either, so it’s still a net positive.
Did I mention that this episode has Tanjiro training with a badass six-armed mechanical doll thing? Because that badass six-armed mechanical doll-thing is pretty friggin’ sick, and it’s cool to watch it do badass six-armed doll-thing stuff. Tokito also has this shitty little crow companion that does the haughty rich-lady laugh that Nanami from Utena does, and she spends the whole episode calling out Tanjiro for being a dweeby little goof, so she’s probably the single best character in all of Demon Slayer, now. Sorry, I don’t make the rules; I merely enforce them. Rude Lady Crow is my new best friend, and I will give the episode an extra half-star for its rating because she is so delightful.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Swordsmith Village Arc is currently streaming on
James is a writer with many thoughts and feelings about anime and other pop culture, which can also be found on Twitter, his blog, and his podcast.