「何度生まれ変わっても」 ( Nando Umarekawatte mo )
“No Matter How Many Lives”
Spoiler: they all live happily ever after. Except for Kagaya…Unless Nezuko can help?
This was a nicely wrapped up episode. Our demon slayers all survive, thank goodness. I don’t think I would have made it had another died. So Tengen will retire and live out his life as a regular civilian with his three wives. Tanjirou, Inosuke, Zenitsu are all alright. I say ‘alright’ because they escaped death by only an inch. And, the fact that the young team defeated the Upper Rank Six Demon is being interpreted by the leader of the Hashira, Kagaya, as a good omen of Muzan’s upcoming demise. A few notable things about the episode include Nezuko’s ‘new’ healing abilities, the Serpent Hashira Iguro Obanai showing up after the party, and Tanjirou successfully sending Upper Rank Demon blood to (Nao). Oh, and let’s not forget Kagaya casually mentioning that Muzan is the only individual to taint his family name.
But the main focus for this episode was not the survival of our demon slayers, rather, the story behind Gyutaro and Daki’s relationship. As their heads lay on the ground, minutes away from death claiming them, the siblings begin to curse at one another our of anger. But anger is only a surface reaction to a deeper emotion, one of fear and regret. Daki, who we find out was called Ume when she was human, is afraid of dying. She doesn’t want to disappear and relies on her brother’s strength to help her through this final stage of her life as a demon. An Gyutaro’s anger is founded in deep regret about his inability to give Ume (Daki) the life he believes she deserved.
Their story is sad, full of solemn and depressing tones. Gyutaro was born to a lowly prostitute who resided in the poorest part of the Entertainment District. As a young, very ugly child, he was abused, neglected, and tormented by fellow townsfolks. But when his beautiful sister was born, he was given purpose. He now could act as protector and use his built-up aggression to create a reputation for himself and his sister. Even with the new attitude, their circumstances didn’t change. Events led to his sister being burned alive barely clinging onto life and him being mauled by a samurai. It was the previous Upper Six demon who turned them. And so the story goes.
It’s curious how a story like that one gives us no choice but to think empathetically towards the two siblings. Their time tormenting and killing so many people, even destroying the Entertainment District, is momentarily put on hold as we are exposed to these demons’ vulnerabilities. They aren’t forgotten, no, but paused for a moment to give breadth to their story, their pain, the end of their reign.
Finally, I very much enjoyed this final episode. It wasn’t as dull as the last episodes of season one which created an unnecessary lull after a climactic high. This episode provided just the right balance. We learned of the fates of our favorite characters and were given an emotionally charged story that left us sympathetic to the very enemies we’ve been battling for weeks.
The thing about Demon Slayer is that when it showed up a few years ago, it made waves. I can’t put my finger exactly on what made it stand out in comparison to so many of its genre. It has the typical hero and his supporting characters. It has key mentors and the death of said mentors. A traumatic event is what spurs on the hero’s journey and various characters have seemingly innate abilities. There’s a damsel to save and an antihero made easy to hate. So, again. What does Demon Slayer offer that other shonen can’t?
I wish I had a clear answer but I think all of us only hold opinions at this point. The story is poignant, the pacing is long, the characters are at times a little ‘one-note’ yet hold depth enough to draw audiences in. But my favorite thing about this series is its artistic production. I should probably read the series finale review I wrote after the first season in the event that I’m repeating myself but if I am, isn’t that a great thing? It means that even two seasons into the series the quality has not faltered. The production behind the anime I love so much is keeping their standard high and that’s what I most appreciate.
The one downside I would include is potentially Tanjirou. I don’t say this lightly. I’m a fan of the character but I believe he’s lacking a little growth. When we first met him in season one he presented as very responsible, determined, dependable, and caring. Years into his training as a Demon Slayer and countless demon encounters later, Tanjirou is still very responsibly, determined, and caring. It’s as though we were given a character with no failings, no unfortunate habits or tendencies, no flaws. A flawless character means there’s not much to fix or try fixing. There is almost no weakness here with the exception of his sister being his Achilles heel. But his personality is seemingly flawless and it’s almost too pure/clean a character.
There might be a reason for this. Perhaps Tanjirou must be pure-hearted so he can find compassion even within all the death and destruction he’s witnessed. Maybe he needs to be level-headed because his companions are flawed and wear those quirky flaws front and centre. Perhaps, in all the chaos, he’s the voice of reason and peace we, as the audience, are meant to lean into. He’s the stability we’re all looking for when things get shaky.
The last thing I’ll mention as a ‘downside’ to Demon Slayer this season is that I saw a lot less of Nezuko than I would have wanted. I very much loved when she came to Tanjirou’s rescue but there’s still so much to explore with her character and this arc didn’t capitalize on that opportunity. Her growth, however, is extraordinary. She’s feeling more and more confident in her new body and is discovering new abilities and learning how to control them to help others. She’s slightly one-note as well but I can forgive this as her character is adorable. Her role, actually, is to play the adorable character that kicks ass when her instincts kick in. Actually, she reminds me a lot of Nyu from Elfen Lied.
Overall, the season was fantastic andDemon Slayer is meeting, even surpassing fan expectations. The focus was to defeat the Upper Sixth Kizuki Demon and get their blood in order to find a cure for Nezuko. Success and success! And we got to watch a beautifully produced show with some swanky animated battle sequences. What more can a girl ask for?
Watch out for next season: Kimetsu no Yaiba: Swordsmith Village Arc which, according to the promo art, will feature the Hashira of Love and Mist!