After a year-long hiatus, “Demon Slayer” has officially returned with the first episode of the Swordsmith Village Arc. The episode opens with the Demon Slayers Corps medical team finding Tanjiro and checks in with the crew in the aftermath of their battle with the upper sixth demon. The animation quality was supposedly going to be even better than previous seasons, and Ufotable, Inc. definitely delivered.
The opening credits and setting of the first scene in Muzan Kitbutsuji’s Infinity Castle was phenomenal. They featured the upper three Akaza moving throughout the alternate dimension; the 3D styling of the architecture surprisingly fit quite nicely with the show’s animated characters.
Since the last arc featured mainly the Demon Slayer Corps, the first half of the episode introduces the remaining demons of the upper ranks of the Twelve Kizuki, or the future mini-bosses of the show. We finally see the upper fifth, fourth, second and first for the first time.
The upper second made an appearance in the previous arc during a tragic flashback of the moments that lead up to the now slain upper six becoming a demon. The upper ranked demons all have pretty interesting personalities and unique character designs. Their relationship with each other matches what you would expect from a hierarchy based upon strength, with the top three fighting amongst themselves while the fourth and fifth cower.
As the season progresses, we’ll probably get more exposition on the circumstances that led to them becoming demons and becoming the direct subordinates to their master, the first demon, Muzan Kitbutsuji. When it comes to their relationship with Muzan, they either have a great admiration or fear. This is understandable since he murdered all but one of the lower ranks of his demons on a whim.
His intimidating disregard for life is contrasted with his childish tantrums, such as the one he threw over the upper ranks’ sloppy failures to destroy the Demon Slayer Corps. Muzan completely wrecked a scientific experiment he had been conducting. It was a cool, high definition animated sequence that felt like the studio was flexing their movie-level budget with realistic 3D cinematic shots. Hopefully, they still have enough left to make whatever crazy fights we’ll get to see later on in the season.
The second half of the premiere mainly focuses on Tanjiro and his recovery after the battle with the upper six demons, along with setting the precedent for this upcoming season. As mentioned earlier, Muzan wants the complete destruction of the Demon Slayer Corps — what better target than the Swordsmith Village, the place where the Corps creates its special demon-killing katanas?
Not only do we get a new important location in the series, but we also get more exposition about the first Demon Slayer and his ties to Tanjiro’s family through a dream sequence that raises more questions than answers and foreshadows things yet to come.
I found the scene pretty interesting yet confusing, as it seems to be that the creator of the Sun Breathing technique saved Tanjiro’s father and to repay his life debt, he passed down the breathing technique and the Hanafua earrings to Tanjiro. One detail that I noticed was that during the scene we see his sword as well, one that has been shown twice in past flashbacks.
After watching the final part of the episode, I believe that Tanjiro won’t just obtain any old nichiren sword, but the very first one. I can’t wait to see where the story goes and the action to come.
Featured image courtesy of @DemonSlayerUSA, Twitter