In my last review I said that Episode 18 was my favorite episode of the series. It seems I spoke (or wrote) too soon. Episode 19 has left me speechless. The story, visuals, music, and voice acting all came together to create a masterpiece. I’m not kidding when I say I watched the last ten minutes of this episode five times! Let’s see what made this week so spectacular.
Japanese Original Episode Title : 火の神
Inosuke is in awe of Giyu’s strength and challenges him to a fight. Giyu is not one to muck around and ties Inosuke up to a tree so the poor boy can get some rest for his wounds. On the other side of the mountain, the strange butterfly slayer gets to work on healing Zenitsu. Once the episode confirms the safety of both boys, it then focuses on Tanjiro’s battle with Rui. Rui is about to slice and dice Tanjiro but Nezuko steps in at the last second. Her desire to protect her brother sparks something in Rui. He seeks the ‘perfect’ family and offers Tanjiro a deal. If Tanjiro will give Nezuko to him, so that Nezuko will be Rui’s sister, he’ll let Tanjiro go. Tanjiro, of course, tells him no and the fight resumes. Nezuko is strung up in the air, the threads cutting into her skin while Tanjiro is struggling to stay alive. Tanjiro uses the final form of his water sword technique and is able to cut the threads. But when he gets too close to Rui, Rui unleashes his demon art. The threads turn red and are stronger than ever before. Tanjiro can’t escape and his childhood flashes before his eyes. He remembers his father and a breathing technique that he taught. In unison, Nezuko unleashes her own demon art and Tanjiro his new fire breathing. The two siblings combine their strengths to defeat Rui.
Holding onto hope: I was very happy to hear the butterfly demon slayer acknowledge that Zenitsu’s perseverance through the breathing technique saved him. I’m sure that moment will remain with Zenitsu, and he’ll be able to keep fighting when things get tough. He knows the importance of never giving up! He did the old man proud!
Hog-tie: The beginning of the episode with Inosuke and Giyu was a much needed lighthearted moment. It showed how Inosuke is always keen to prove he’s the best, his admiration for those who are strong, and his lack of regard for his own health! I had to laugh when Giyu calmly and quickly tied Inosuke up with barely a word and just left him there. While Tanjiro may indulge Inosuke’s moods, Giyu is adorably serious.
Matching marks: This week’s episode was filled with sweet flashbacks of Tanjiro and Nezuko’s childhood, which included scenes with their father. I’ve always thought that the mark on Tanjiro’s forehead was a childhood injury but seeing the same mark of his father I’m wondering if it’s some kind of hereditary birth-mark. And more to that, if it represents something special.
Mother returns: I believe this is the second time we’ve seen Tanjiro and Nezuko’s family appear to encourage them in an almost ghostly form. Once again, it was an emotional moment between mother and daughter.
Blood Demon Art: We all knew Nezuko was strong, but the reveal of her blood demon art has taken her to the next level! As visually incredible as her attack was I was even more excited to hear her speak!! I hope next week Nezuko will be able to talk a bit more. I’m sure she has a lot to say to Tanjiro!
New ending: I’m not sure if the series will be keeping the new ending song and images, but it was a perfect way to end such an emotional episode about family. If anyone needs help finding it on YouTube, the song is called ‘The song of Komado Tanjiro’ by Go Shiina Ft. Nami Nakagawa.
Kagura: Kagura is a traditional form of dance to appease and entertain Shinto gods. Kagura has its origins from an old folktale where the sun goddess hid herself in a cave. The other gods, including the goddess of dawn, held a party near the cave where they all danced. The goddess eventually came out of the cave to see what the noise was and the sun came back to the earth. Kagura was initially only performed in the imperial court but soon spread out to villages where dances were dedicated to local gods. For more information on kagura and how to see the performance on a trip to Japan visit this page.
Last week’s episode of Demon Slayer looked at the individual bonds one can make. Specifically, how these bonds serve to support and enrich our lives. This week took a more holistic approach by looking at family bonds and the memories that stem from it. Just like last week, there’s a sharp contrast between Rui and Tanjiro’s ideas around family. Rui desperately wants a ‘true’ family, but his idea of family is dangerously idealistic, members who go above and beyond to ensure his happiness and fit into caricatures. He focuses on the ‘protective’ father, the ‘caring’ mother, and the ‘adoring’ siblings and the ties between each are forged by terror. The harsh colors around Rui and his thoughts are contrasted to the soft images of Tanjiro’s family. The scenes in the snow border on pastel, with Tanjiro’s close and loving family. No character has a real ‘role’, they just exist as they are. The colors only turn vivid and sharper when Tanjiro watches his father’s kagura performance, but even then it’s a warm scene. The animations are so fluid, and the music adds a whimsical feel that ultimately swells into an emotional cry. With Tanjiro carrying on his father’s will through the kagura and the earnings and Nezuko hearing her mother’s cry to save her brother, both prove the immense bonds within their family. While Tanjiro and Nezuko are their own persons, their families’ hopes, dreams, and love continue to echo through them.
A Bond that Can’t be Severed
Usually when I write my weekly reviews for Demon Slayer, the words come flying from my fingertips. I can’t wait to share my thoughts and theories on the episode. But this week, it feels like no matter what I write, how much I praise the episode, it doesn’t do it justice. This week’s episode was a masterpiece. It was one of the most beautifully crafted episodes I’ve seen, well, ever. I don’t have anymore words to write except a simple ‘incredible’.
NEXT TIME: Pretend Family
Remember to check back next week for my review of episode twenty. In the meantime, make sure to check out the rest of our Summer 2019 reviews. This series is also part of our weekly anime previews.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
Summer 2019 | Anime Info | Simulcast