In "Transformation" we learn that Zenitsu isn't the only one who thinks Tengen's flashiness and polygamy are grounds for getting his ass kicked. We also learn more about Nezuko's blood demon magic, Daki's personality, and some interesting parallels between heroes and enemies. It also features some horror visuals that have probably done irreparable damage to my psyche, and I couldn't be happier. Let's unpack everything the latest episode of "Demon Slayer" delivered.
The Roast Of Daki
While Daki still isn't dead, she's having such a terrible time getting her comeuppance that she'd probably be better off dying. After getting brutally curb stomped by a very frightening Nezuko — who is clearly taking joy in the carnage — Daki is then set ablaze by Nezuko's blood, which is apparently flammable and only harmful to other demons. Before Daki can recover, Tengen arrives to further embarrass the demonic diva by chopping her head off. As Daki sits bloodied and weeping, holding her own severed head in her hands, Tengen then delivers a blow to her ego, claiming that she can't possibly be an Upper Rank Six demon because she is clearly too weak and incompetent, so Daki has now been roasted twice, both physically and verbally. Damn.
In response, Daki throws a temper tantrum, which kind of makes me think she probably became a demon at an early age and never had a chance to mature. It makes a lot of sense when considering her self-centered, childlike antics throughout the season: the petty insults, the lack of planning and foresight, the way she discards human lives like they're little more than toys she's grown bored with. She has all the recklessness and unearned confidence of a mischievous child, and she even cries for help the same way a kid who scraped their knee might cry out for their mother to tend to the wound with kisses and a bandaid — except she isn't calling for her mom; she's requesting the aid of her creepy older brother, Gyutaro.
Gyutaro Is A Massive Hater
Gyutaro emerges directly out of Daki's body and tends to her wounds, then proceeds to take over the battle for her. It makes sense that Daki would have someone more powerful behind her; as I stated in my last review, she really hasn't proven to be as unstoppable as she fancies herself. Even Gyutaro comments on her lack of intelligence, and it is revealed that the two share their demonic existence as well as the Upper Rank Six title. Gyutaro states that he and Daki kind of share a body, but he's able to separate his form from hers.
In addition to looking like an emaciated nightmare creature and Warped Tour headliner, Gyutaro would absolutely be that one "friend" who is secretly jealous of you and wants to wear your skin. Seriously, the guy is the world's biggest hater. He introduces himself to Tengen by bitterly rattling off a list of compliments, admiring his blemish-free skin, physique, and presumed ability to attract women. Then, in a display of envy that puts Zenitsu's petty whining to shame, the demon becomes especially enraged upon finding out that Tengen has three wives.
It's not the fact that Tengen beheaded his sister, but the audacity of the sound hashira to be a handsome, polygamous son of bitch that really sets off Gyutaro. He proceeds to unleash a series of impressive attacks that force Tengen to act quickly in an effort to save himself and the innocent people nearby — definitely giving him more of a challenge than Daki did (or ever could).
Tanjiro The Brotherly Bard
Meanwhile, Tanjiro is struggling to gain control of Nezuko, who has gone absolutely feral in her new demon form. Having broken her bamboo mouth guard to reveal some very sharp fangs and apparent bloodlust, Nezuko is fighting a losing battle with her demon instincts, and Tanjiro is literally the only thing holding her back from going on a murderous rampage. This is the first time in the series that I've actually been afraid of Nezuko, and one of the few times where the reality of her situation is on full display. She's still Tanjiro's little sister, but she's no longer human, as evidenced by her appearance and her efforts to break free from Tanjiro's grasp so that she can also break her commitment to demonic veganism by chugging some human blood. Maybe if they'd let her out of the box sooner and more often, she'd have better self control, but I digress.
At Tengen's suggestion, Tanjiro sings her a lullaby from their old lives in an attempt to calm her down, and Nezuko eventually remembers her life as a human girl. Specifically, she recalls a memory of her mother singing the same song Tanjiro does, which causes her to break down crying before falling asleep and changing back to her significantly less terrifying little girl form. Tanjiro cried along with her, and then I cried too. His fear of having to keep Nezuko safe while also keeping everyone else safe from her was heavy, and I commend Tanjiro's voice actor for making it all feel so real — I don't speak Japanese and could have felt the pain and anguish in his voice even without the assistance of subtitles. Phenomenal.
Supernatural Sibling Rivalry
There are some obvious parallels between the two sets of siblings in this episode. Nezuko and Daki are both demons, and it's likely that they both became demons at a young age. Tanjiro and Gyutaro are both older brothers who are trying to protect their destructive younger sisters. Gyutaro and Daki are inferior, twisted mirror versions of Tanjiro and Nezuko in the sense that the latter duo exhibits humanity and selflessness, while the demon siblings embody cruelty and selfishness.
Since Nezuko and Daki have already spent over an episode beating the s*** out of each other, I'm guessing Tanjiro and Gyutaro will also go head to head sooner rather than later. Things obviously seem set up for such an event, and "Demon Slayer" tends to do a solid job of dropping obvious hints while still managing to keep things exciting and surprising. In addition to the not-so-subtle sibling subplot, Daki dropped some interesting hints about her past. When she was engulfed in Nezuko's demonic flames, she recalled a similar memory of burning and fire. Whether or not this was a memory from her human life or her demon life is unclear, but I'm looking forward to finding out.
This episode tossed "Demon Slayer" way over the "dark fantasy" line and into 100% horror territory. The body horror factor from the previous episode has been cranked up to the max, and it was so visually stunning and appalling I felt like I was reading a Junji Ito novel. The image of Nezuko's congealed blood holding her semi-severed limbs together is etched into my brain. Daki holding her own head in her lap was basically animated ero guro art, and the mix of the beautiful and horrific was perfect.
In other news, it looks like the main trio is finally reunited, as Zenitsu and Inosuke appear to lend a helping hand, providing a moment of levity just before the episode ends. Episode 7 of the Red-Light District Arc managed to pack a whole lot of action and feels into less than 25 minutes, and now we're forced to sit and wait until Sunday for our next dose of "Demon Slayer." If anime's current trend of outdoing itself with each new episode is any indication, it'll be well worth the wait.
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The post Demon Slayer Season 2: Nezuko Gets Her Head in the Game (and Daki Doesn't) appeared first on /Film.