「育手・鱗滝左近次」 (Iku-shu Urokodaki Sakonji)
“Trainer Sakonji Urokodaki”
I’d like to think I know Tanjirou’s character relatively well, even after a single episode. His character holds strong values which include respect towards others and fairness without any discrimination. We saw that when he first entered the village below his home mountain and we’re seeing it again right now when, no matter how much he’s already lost, he’s obstinately paying for a torn up basket. Even though he has nothing left, he still acts from a place of utter kindness, something I (and Urokodaki Sakonji) imagine will act as his Achilles heel.
I love how the episode was constructed. The first half was about meeting his sensei Urokodaki Sakonji (Ootsuka Houchuu), and the second half about proving himself good enough to become his pupil. It was a good setup although I did have a quick moment thinking: “Did I miss something? How is this sibling pair qualified enough to take part in an impromptu battle within the first five minutes of the episode?”
Understandably, the battle gave us a good preview of how Tanjirou and Nezuko will work together as they progress. He’ll have to work hard to form abilities strong enough to protect them, and she’ll have to work even harder to keep her animalistic instincts at bay as she learns to cope with her new nature.
That said, the whole scene is full of blood, intrigue, world building, character development and a kick-ass fighting sequence. I’m five seconds into the confrontation between Tanjirou and the territorial man-eater demon and I’ve already taken over a dozen screenshots. None of the ones I’ve chosen do this fighting scene justice. It needs to be watched. On top of that, my entire body is gripped by the thought that Nezuko is going to devour the remains of the people the previous demon was feasting on and leave her brother, now struggling, to die. Let’s not forget that the OST as well as the soundscape (Nezuko’s breath, the candle going out, etc.) had a huge part to play in establishing the heavy tone.
I would never have guessed that the demon’s head would grow a pair of arms, but what was really impressive was that clever callback to the opening scene with the basket-man. Tanjirou defends himself by smashing his head hard against the demon’s, which sends the villain flying. The demon, in turn, talks about this boy having a really ‘hard head‘. Clever, see? I imagine this will be a recurring gag.
I’m not so sure how the relationship between Urokodaki and Tanjirou will play out but it’s looking positive. It’s reminding me of the famous Yoda-Luke scene especially with the misty forest and vanishing teachers. I doubt Tanjirou will be staying with him for long but he’s bound to learn a thing or two to help him manipulate his sense of smell. Turns out Urokodaki has the same quality but has trained himself to smell out ‘empathy’ too.
As for the episode in and of itself, the animation quality didn’t falter, something I’m very happy about. I think even if the plot loses me, the animation will keep guiding me back like a moth to a flame. And, we finally get to see the ED, another hit featuring LiSA. I definitely thought the artwork was stunning and based on some of the shots, the few jokes from this episode, and a unique epilogue, it looks like the tone of the show will be a delicate balance between heavier and lighter moods. I’m a little unsure about how that’ll pan out but I’m looking forward to it.
ED: (From the Edge) by (FictionJunction feat LiSA)