Reviews Id 495773

Aug 7, 2023
Demon Slayer's been so good for so long, with some of the best fights in anime that you always wonder if they can keep it up. Is this the season where some flaws start to show? (Spoiler alert, yes) I'll assume you've seen the prequels for the purposes of this review.

Story: Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Swordsmith Village Arc starts us out with Tanjiro, who, after recovering fight his fight with Daki and Gyuutarou, finds that his sword is damaged and must be either repaired, or replaced. While recovering, series staples Zenitsu and Inosuke are sent off on separate missions. This means that Tanjirou must head out to the get his sword replaced with only Nezuko and himself. Thus, he heads to the Swordsmith Village, a location hidden away from prying eyes to meet up with any swordsmith willing to give him a new blade. It's here he meets up with the Love Hashira Mitsuri, the Mist Hashira Muichirou and the Wind Hashira's brother, Genya, in order to defend the village from more Upper Rank Demons. This season's foes are Upper Rank Five, Gyokko and Upper Rank Four, Hangengu, who have come seeking the destruction of the village under Lord Muzan's orders.

Demon Slayer has always been really good telling their stories - whether it's touching like Tanjiro's, or something a little more harsher like Daki and Gyuutarou's from last season. That remains the case here. Not only that, but with the new roster of characters for this season, we get some fresh stories as well. Sure, they all relate back to demons, but they're different enough to keep the content fresh. In addition, with the new setting in the Swordsmith Village, we get to see what a village filled with these types of workers looks like. I can see it being underwhelming to some, but I was pretty interested because swords are literally the lone tools that are used to slay these demons. We get to meet some very interesting characters and with the added twist that they hide their location very carefully just makes it that much cooler.

What brings this review down quite a bit is the series' serious problem with pacing. This is something Demon Slayer has had minor issues with in the past, but this season's pacing problems felt really egregious this time around. Big flashy fights are a staple to the series - just ask veteran watchers about the "episode that broke the internet" in season one. But fights are stretched out longer than ever before. So even though they're awesome in concept, they feel like a bit of a slog at times. Ratcheting up the pacing in all of these fights would have made a world of a difference. I compare these fights to those from Naruto, which are known for being amazing, but simply last far too long. The fights start off really well actually - with the Upper Rank Four fighting Tanjirou and company very early on. Anyone who wished for something to start off quicker than the Entertainment District got what they wanted and that fight here was amazing. But it really tails off about halfway through when it slows down far too much, and insert backstories - as good as they are - at awkward spots.

Even if stalled, the way this season ended was decent. There are some things that happen in the final episode that leave for some questions, or just needed more airtime in it's entirety. However, I'm pretty happy with where it ended. There was some minor chatter about hoping to see the series director be replaced, but I'd trust him to try and up the pacing, if asked. And I really hope that is addressed in the next series, as fights need to be shortened with quicker animations in order to keep the spirit of the series alive. (8/10)

Characters: Tanjirou and Nezuko return as our series protagonists, but as I mentioned before, Zenitsu and Inosuke are basically absent from the series for the entire time. I liked the idea at first because the assumption is that the series would take on a more serious tone, but it basically felt the same. The end result is that I hope they return next season. Tanjirou is the same as before, which is very resolute big brother for the Demon Nezuko. You always appreciate how humble he is, all while growing as a character during the length of the series. Nezuko also grows a little during the series and it does feel like her character will be more central to the plot moving forward. I'll be keen to see how they make that happen.

Mitsuri is a happy-go-lucky Hashiro who basically uses a whip as a weapon and is likely the strongest Hashira we've seen in act to date. She always puts on a brave face for others, especially now that she knows others depend on her. We got to see a glimpse of her both in action, and her past backstory, but I was hoping we'd see more of her moves than simply a different way to whip at the enemy. Muichiro has a horribly tragic backstory and I simply loved. Seeing him grow as a character was equally enjoyable, even if the pacing slowed down his fight sequences a little more than I would have liked. Genya's an odd one. He has a shorter sword, along with a pistol that blows everything up at medium range. But his personality is confusing and his powers don't make a ton of sense to me. They're awesome, but I feel like he might be included in future seasons and be welcomed.

Upper Rank Four had some light backstories like his fellow demons before him, but not anything terribly impressive. However, he is one to be feared because of the variety of powers he possesses. They feel kind of odd for a demon, but they're frightening, and at the end of the day, that's what matters most. Upper Rank Five had powers that held to a water theme, but because of his design, he was probably best suited for the slower pace of this season anyway.

We see plenty of citizens of the Swordsmith Village with varying personalities, none larger than Mr. Haganezuka. He is the swordsmith who created Tanjirou's first sword and he is both dedicated to his craft. He probably provides more comic relief than we really need, but he's a good add to the series. Kotetsu is the other citizen that gets amply screen time and when you take away the plotarmour, he's a fun character. So while we didn't see many standout side characters, there were enough that made this series enjoyable. (8/10)

Art: I shouldn't even need to say much here - ufotable are the kings of action sequences and this was obvious, once again. They don't hold back and even if the slower pacing messed with the series a little bit, the art didn't sour. (10/10)

Sound: Demon Slayer's OST remains strong, with a few tracks that I believe were new. Man on a Mission and Milet provide both the OP and ED, Kizuna no Kiseki and Koi Kogare respectively, and are both excellent additions to the series. Voiced cast all return from previous seasons. Kira Buckland (Mitsuri) and Griffin Burns (Muichirou) are predictably excellent! Zeno Robinson (Genya) was likely my favourite this time around - I can't imagine recording those lines. (9/10)

Overall: Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Swordsmith Village Arc was still a strong season, but I can't help but be slightly disappointed in the series pacing issues that stuck out more than usual. This series is far too strong to keep that up and I can't wait for the next season - Hashira Training Arc - when it comes out next year! (8/10)
Reviewer’s Rating: 8
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