By Nick Valdez
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is fast approaching the end of its second season, and that also means that there’s still so much that needs to be seen before it’s all over. In fact as each new episode continues the fierce fight against the demonic Upper Six siblings, the series speeds towards the finale without having much time to breathe. It’s a pacing issue that the anime needs to fix heading in future seasons. Just take a look at the newest episode that added some brand new material to explore Tengen’s past and character, this shouldn’t be exclusive to the anime.
The overall speed of the anime is not an issue exclusive to the second season either. This was something felt in the debut season, but was helped by the fact that it was able to explore a much longer order of episodes. That further helped to develop an interest in the story overall, but that’s not something fans get to have with the second season. With only eleven weeks to adapt one arc from the series, the second season is just much less fulfilling by comparison. The fact that it speedruns through its developments on top of that is just the terrible icing.
Episode 9 of Demon Slayer: Entertainment District Arc shares an original scene that fleshes out Tengen as a character by further revealing how Tengen relates to his wives and familial past. This unfortunately isn’t the kind of attention he gets in Koyoharu Gotoge‘s original manga, and unfortunately doesn’t hit until the final few episodes of the season. The rest of his characterization and potential for fan attachment then comes through in smaller sparks between the action that hint at a different side of him.
It’s sort of the same issue we had with Kyojuro Rengoku as he was introduced to the series in a grand fashion, but ultimately doesn’t feel like anything more than a blank symbol for the others to compare themselves to. We didn’t get to learn about Rengoku until after his death, and at that point it doesn’t serve his development as a character and instead serves to better him as a function to move the story forward. As of this point, Tengen’s in danger of falling into that same pattern.
We’re learning about him way too late, and while all of these fights are flashy and fun it’s hard to truly care about Tengen’s well being since he just kind of took over the Rengoku slot in the same kind of formula seen in the Mugen Train movie (and first few episodes of the season). Then there’s all sorts of other small issues that snowball due to how fast everything moves. Because we have skipped so much of Tanjiro’s training in the first and second season, it’s hard to get a gauge of how much he’s developed.
He’s revealing new understandings of his Water Breathing, and while this is great in theory, it doesn’t hit as hard because we don’t really have base knowledge of his current use with it. We haven’t seem him acquire each of the forms, so when he uses one it’s not like we get to see him making use of a strategy, it’s just another move. The reason why Hinokami Kagura is so compelling is that we’re learning about it at the same time as Tanjiro, so as an audience understands what his limits of the technique are.
That’s why it’s so great seeing Tanjiro break through those limits. It’s how you get explosive moments such as the fight against Rui in the world famous Episode 19, but the rest of the project needs to support that explosion. To properly build these moments takes time, and it’s a time that the second season is just not afforded. There’s so much here that’s impressive, but it’s never going to get to have that mind blowing moment because there’s just no time. No matter what flashy thing happens in the final episodes, it hasn’t earned that extra emotional impact.
But what do you think? How do you feel about Demon Slayer’s second season? Is it missing something? Is it too fast? Is it just right? Let us know all of your thoughts about it in the comments! You can even reach out to me directly about all things animated and other cool stuff @Valdezology on Twitter!
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