The second half of Demon Slayer is far more traditional in that its one story arc, and then some “characters get stronger through training before the next story” episodes. It also has Episode 19, which may go down as one of the best animated and most satisfying moments in recent anime memory, and the next story in question has become the highest grossing anime movie ever, so… Yeah. Let’s take a look!
After healing up, Tanjiro, Zenitsu and Inosuke are sent on a join mission to Mount Natagumo, where they face their toughest opponents yet…
*spoilers appear from here on out!*
Tanjuro enjoys the sight of his new friends trying to kill each other.
Episode 14 resolves the misunderstandings between our lead trio and gets them back in fighting shape for their first real test at Mount Natagumo, where an actual (lower) ranked member of the Twelve Kizuki lay in wait with a group of other demons he’s personally transformed to serve as his new “family”. It goes without saying that Zenitsu chickens out and stays behind as Tanjuro and Inosuke run head-first into the dark forest. They first encounter the “Mother”, who is using spider threads to control other Demon Slayers to kill each other, leaving our “heroes” to stop their twisted bodies without harming them… until Mother kills them anyway. Eventually Tanjiro decapitates her, much to her relief as we soon find out that the head Demon, Rui, kept his “family” in line via harsh punishment, so death was more akin to a reward than anything else. Tanjiro and Inosuke then encounter the “Father”, who unlike the other members so far who were human looking, has a giant Spider head for a … well, head. Tanjiro is thrown away, leaving Inosuke to try and take down the monster alone.
At this point we see Zenitsu finding himself up against an opponent who has a spider body and a human head, and whose poison turns people into large spiders with creepy versions of their head still attached. Zenitsu is poisoned and finds out his cruel fate, so of course eventually panics and faints, leading to his subconscious self to go full-on “bad-ass” and kill the demon in a single, lightning charged strike. As Zenitsu controls his breath to try and stop the poison we see more of his relationship with his rather harsh, but nice in his own way, teacher and a fellow student who frankly hated him for being so cowardly and having only mastered one form of the lightning style. Two of the highest ranked Demon Slayers (a.k.a. “The Hashira”) arrive on the Mountain in Butterfly-themed Shinobu Kocho and Giyu Tomioka from the first episode. While Shinobu tends to the wounded, including Zenitsu, Tomioka arrives and easily dispatches Father and saves a wounded Inosuke, who hasn’t taken losing very well…
A scene from THAT battle. The one that made everyone stand up and take notice.
This is where he get to the main event, so to speak. Tanjiro, as out lead protagonist, comes across Rui himself, and after a brief chat over what it means to love a sibling (a.k.a. doing anything to help them rather than rule over them with the fear of death) they do battle, but Tanjiro is severely outmatched and even sees his sword cut in half. As Rui strings up the now released Nezuko and begins to torture her Tanjiro remembers his father’s fire dancing and incorporates it into his water breathing to dish out a new super attack, while at the same time Nezuko discovers her own “Demon Art” that causes her blood to explode, the combination of which is an amazing sequence set to an equally amazing soundtrack. Rui is seemingly decapitated, but it turns out his removed his own head moments before Tanjiro’s blade cut him, but he’s soon easily defeated by the arrival of Tomioka.
This leads to the last few episodes where Tanjiro is officially allowed to be the first ever Demon Slayer who travels with a Demon rather than killing it (something the majority of the Hashira, who we meet here, have an issue with) and then he, Zenitsu and Inosuke learn “Total Concentration Constant”, which will make them far more powerful for the next story arc. We also learn more about Shinobu Kocho and her personal Demon Slayers, which is all good fun. The series ends just as the next arc is about to begin…
The Hashira gather. Nothing beats a group of unique and powerful people introduced at once! Just ask Tite Kubo!
Nothing much! I will say that having a 26-episode season and then ending on the next arc about to begin, including all the training and villain set up, and then turning that arc into a paid movie is still a bit scummy in my head, though obviously given that film has gone on to become the highest grossing anime film of all time, I guess I’ll admit that they knew what they were doing…
Nezuko joins the battle, and I mean THE battle.
It’s safe to say that Episode 19 is where Demon Slayer went from a “good Shonen adaptation” to something truly special, and frankly it’s worth going out of your way to watch just that episode alone. The episodes before and after that do a perfectly good job developing the cast and establishing the world, and the final two or three episodes set up the film perfectly, so I can’t complain about this batch of 13 episodes at all, really… It’s a series that delivers on the hype its created, if you didn’t know that already…