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Second Impressions – Kimetsu no Yaiba: Mugen Ressha-Hen

So just to reiterate, I haven’t seen the movie version of Mugen Train, so I have no idea how it differs from what we’re seeing here.  I know (because it was mentioned in the comments) that last week’s premiere was “new”, but I’m assuming this one segues into the movie material in some form.  For me it doesn’t matter so much – the more retroactive the better really, as I have a sizable gap in my knowledge of events – but beyond that, this is all new to me.

Also, while I was walking on the Ginkakuji ometasando today, amongst the usual tourist trap shops (many of which sell Kimetsu junk) I saw a Kimetsu no Yaiba shop.  As in, that’s all it sold – Kimetsu swag.  That’s a hell of a thing, boy.

Now, as to this episode, this was fairly familiar to me in terms of vibe, as in much like the first season.  That’s good and bad of course, because it means Screechy and Boaris being insufferable, but the good news is that they didn’t have much of an impact in this ep one way or the other (long may it continue).  Flame Hashira Rengoku continues to be the dominant figure, and while the whole “Umai! thing is already starting to get annoying, I assume it’s going to be less prominent now that the arc’s big bad (the first one, anyway) has arrived.

In principle Rengoku is kind of a nice addition, because he’s really the first adult(ish) character connected to the association who’s done more than send the children off to be killed as quickly as possible.  He seems genuinely to want to mentor the trio, but one wonders (though I guess it’s given away in the omake) why he doesn’t have any apprentices.  He also seems pretty OP, which can be a problem in narrative terms, but OP in KnY just means you haven’t met the right demon yet.  And while Enmu (the aforementioned big bad) seems to be responsible for the (40) Mugen Train disappearances, as he’s a lower rank he’s probably not the right demon in that sense.

Enmu’s schtick as best I can tell is to put people to sleep, give them a nice dream, and then have them stop breathing and die.  I suppose there’s probably more to it than that, as on the face of it that’s pretty anti-climactic for a youkai.  He’s got a group of kids working as his lackeys (under his control, presumably), and the conductor himself is helping him in exchange for being put in a death dream to reunite with his family.  As for Tanjirou, when dreamland comes to him it takes him right where you’d expect it to – the old homestead, with his dead siblings and mother.

In terms of all that, this was very much a setup episode.  As usual there’s lots of really slick CGI, but in terms of action sequences it’s pretty minimal so far – just Rengoku beheading a couple of zaku with one swing (each).  That’s enough to impress the boys of course, but one assumes apprenticeship isn’t going to be that easy, and that Enmu will be considerably more problematic.  As for the dream thing, I could see where someone in Tanjirou’s position might be reluctant to wake up from that – but not Tanjirou himself.


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