OP: 「紅蓮華」 (Gurenge) by (LiSA)
The premise has been swiftly laid out in this first banger episode.
It was no surprise to me how beautiful the opening scene was. I’m sure I’m not the only one to have recognized Ufotable’s subtle inclusion of CGI in the snow covered scenery. The cohesion between the soundscape and artistic direction hooked me right into the next scene where we’re introduced to main character Kamado Tanjirou (Hanae Natsuki) and his family. The family’s happy allure is established right away. As the eldest son, Tanjirou has a good rapport with each of his siblings as well as his mother. With his father out of the picture, he’s taken on the role of caretaker and provider. We find out that he’s resourceful and very well loved by the people of in the village below the mountain.
This whole sequence reeked of death to me. The soundtrack made it so chirpy I could feel the cringe swell from deep inside me. It was giving off the ‘it’s too good to be true’ vibe. Knowing where this was headed made it even more difficult to watch, especially after Tanjirou’s oh-too-happy narration where he says: “We don’t have an easy life, but we’re happy.”
I love watching anime with gore but when the blood and destruction involves a family that I happen to fall in love with within the first five minutes of an episode, it sucks. The only thing redeeming enough to truly appreciate the unfolding scenes, however, were Tanjirou’s deep wails and lustrous tears. The despair is so well expressed (as expected from Kaneki and 9S’s seiyuu), you can practically see his heart exposed on the ground ready to take the final blow, especially when he begs Tomioka Giyuu (Sakurai Takahiro) for his sister’s life. It’s so emotionally charged!
I’m looking forward to his personal growth. He’s not only smart but actually quite good with his hands. With a strong sense of smell as an asset, I assume he’ll have a somewhat smooth physical evolution as he trains to become a demon slayer. What I’m most looking forward to though is his psychological growth. His world has been turned upside down and it might take every ounce of strength he has for him to overcome what’s happened to him and his family. He’ll also have to learn how to deal with his sister Kamado Nezuko (Kito Akari) who has now been turned into a demon.
Honestly, even though I knew exactly what would unfold throughout the entire episode and there wasn’t much new information, it was so well built that I was pretty much on the edge of my seat the whole time.
As for what’s to come, this brother-sister duo has a long way to go. With what the OP is teasing, it looks like it’s just going to get more interesting as the series progresses. There’s a whole roster of characters waiting to be introduced and we still have a lot to learn about their world, so things are really just looking up from here.
If you can’t already tell, I just jumped neck deep into the Kool-Aid and it tastes good.