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Episode 1 Review
This is the Taisho era (1912-1926) in Japan. The life of the good-hearted Tanjiro Kamado, who sells coals for a living, is changed in one swift move when his whole family is killed by demons. The only survivor is his younger sister Nezuko, but she has turned into a demon herself. To avenge their family who was killed by the demons and to turn Nezuko back to normal, the two of them set off on a journey.
I am not a big fan of shounen anime. I have seen scarce episodes of the most famous titles and I have always felt they were too shounen for their own good. Their protagonists are always loud, their powers are always too silly, and their power of friendship is… well… too Captain Planet. However, the first episode of Kimetsu no Yaiba felt different for many reasons. Let’s get the technical stuff out of the way because I am not a technical person. The animation was beautiful. The characters’ movement was fluid and the environments were drawn exquisitely. The snow felt so real I thought I could touch it. The music kept in line with the era and featured Japanese scales and instruments. And the voice acting was as shounen as it could be: restrained or loud, depending on the scene.
The plot is more typical but throws the tragedy in a novel way. The protagonist is not thrown into the story after the tragedy that will define his journey has already happened. We get to know his family and all his brothers and sisters who fall victim to a demon attack. The few minutes are not enough to get us invested in his sorrow, but at least his journey makes more sense now that we can put faces to the deceases. This is a journey we start (and hopefuly finish) along with the protagonist.
In other words, this is not just another Shonen Jump adaptation. If you like slice-and-dice anime, you better give this the 3-episode benefit of the doubt.
This is one of my most highly-anticipated anime of the season and the first episode did not disappoint! I’ve never read the manga so cannot rate it as an adaptation, but according to the official radio programme, the anime follows the dialogue of the manga very closely. The visuals for the first episode were as expected of Ufotable, but the biggest praise I have for this series has to be Natsuki Hanae as Tanjiro. Tanjiro’s scream as he faced his slaughtered family brought a lump to my throat. Most VAs may have simply screamed, but instead he let out this painful wail that was uncomfortable to listen to. It felt like true despair.
Hanae aside, the whole series has a mind-blowing cast, so VA fans should take note. I am very excited to see how the story will develop, and I’m especially looking forward to seeing the special technique glimpsed at in the opening sequence, which looks like woodblock paintings of water. It’s definitely something everybody should at least check out, no matter what their usual genre of choice may be.