「いだ絆 彼は誰時 朝ぼらけ」 (Tsunaida Kizuna: Kawataredoki – Asaborake)
“A Connected Bond: Daybreak and First Light”
Kimetsu no Yaiba‘s Swordsmith arc finally comes to a close, and with that, a new myriad of doors open. While Nezuko accidentally retained her ability to talk and survive in the sun, Muzan sees this as his golden opportunity to redirect his attention towards eating Nezuko.
ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL
I feel like a complete tool for sobbing at this. I remember getting emotional about her regaining her ability to talk when I finished the manga a few years back, but I forgot that it happened this soon, so I was caught off-guard.
It goes back to why Kimetsu no Yaiba is as successful as it is despite having stretches of time where the story’s just kinda alright. People like to say it’s carried by the action, but I think what it gets right is pulling off its emotional beats reasonably well. It knows exactly what you should feel and how you should feel regarding its story beats to tell a safe yet effective hero’s story.
To me, it’s similar to why the original Star Wars trilogy or the original Harry Potter stories resonated with so many people. Through their influences, they scratch that inherent itch for a safe story very well by giving you reasons to feel emotionally attached to its characters and offer a wide array of harrowing obstacles that they may or may not be able to overcome.
There aren’t any morally gray spaces that are tackled, nor are there any points where you root against the heroes. Instead, you see them suffer as they run the gauntlet against demons who cast away their morality after a string of tragic events. They want you to be pumped up about the heroes beating the villains just as any safe story would, but much of it feels human in a way that has more heart than similar manga that gather more influence from popular power fantasy shonen.
When Nezuko survives a brush with death that Tanjiro thought would extinguish his sister’s flame, the music swells and everyone gathers together to celebrate Nezuko’s survival. We see Genya and Tokito go from furiously pushing away Tanjiro to feeling elated to see him and Nezuko thriving after a battle where the two of them had to confront their tragic pasts. Mitsuri’s empathy made it far easier for her to resonate with viewers, but her excitement over Nezuko’s revival is as infectious as it should be.
MUZAN’S BLOOD TRAIL
If there is a final impression to be had, it’s that this season and the upcoming training arc are still within the breather period needed to catch up to fleshing out the Hashira before Muzan rears his head. It’s not a particularly exciting season to write about because of how Gyokko and Hantengu don’t have the same, heart-rending backstories as previous demons have.
Instead, they serve to push Tanjiro, Genya, Tokito, and Mitsuri to their brink as they come to understand themselves from slaying them. The kindest thing you could say is that Hantengu was pushed to be a demon after Muzan noticed that he was unstable and never received any help during his lifetime that would’ve prevented him from killing and robbing people. But the reason they aren’t compelling winds up being because them being fodder makes it easy for them to be challenging enemies that no one would feel bad for seeing destroyed.
As time goes on, you also start to realize that Muzan is an idiot. Any of the times he’s been close to achieving immortality have been hampered because he’s either killing everyone who could make him a serum effectively or killing his own henchmen out of rage. His takeaway from Nezuko being immune from the sun is to drop everything entirely to hunt her down. This, of course, means scrapping all of his research altogether for the chance to devour Nezuko. We’ll definitely be elaborating on this more with the next season, but I’m just glad everything turned out decently with the Swordsmith arc.