All, Review

Kimetsu no Yaiba S2 – 14 [Transformation]

Welcome to another episode of Kimetsu no Yaiba everyone! This week Nezuko discovers the power of family, Uzui shows us why he is the God of Festivals and we meet the true villain of the arc. Sound fun? Good. Then without further ado lets dive in!

Starting off I need to, as usual, praise Yaiba for looking good this week. Not just in the animation this time, though the blood blades, lighting and 3D camera work all looked good. Rather I want to praise it for something a lot of anime seem to ignore: Shot composition. There were some really good ones this week! I’m talking stuff like Daki sitting passively behind Uzui, always in the background after his entrance. Or the framing of her brother as he appears out of her back and takes up the whole frame. Uzui and the way he is suspended in the air while dodging blades and tossing out bombs. Yaiba usually looks good in movement, that’s what its known for. But I’m glad to see these slower, wider, epic shots like what we saw with the spider family last season make a return. They are the truly memorable ones.

Getting into the episode itself Yaiba has finally shown its hand for this season. Where the Lower Six of the first season examined family as whole Yaiba now takes aim specifically at the sibling relationship. It does this by introducing Gyutaro, Daki’s brother, and contrasting them to Tanjiro and Nezuko. So far there aren’t many differences. Both seem to love their siblings a great deal, with Gyutaro fawning over and seeming to be legitimately concerned for Daki. Focusing on reassuring her first and dealing with Uzui second. Yaiba reinforces this via his design. Where Daki is beautiful and full, Gyutaro is emaciated and sickly. Almost like he’s giving everything to her, such as healing and control of their body most of the time, in lieu of himself. I think that’s all really cool! And I look forward to seeing how Yaiba differentiates them from Tanjiro and Nezuko, outside the murder.

Speaking of Tanjiro and Nezuko they had a sweet little interaction this week. The whole thing with the lullaby is a bit trite, I will admit. But these kinds of things are tropes for a reason. When done well, they just work. And Yaiba did a pretty good job with it here. The flashbacks to their family continue to pay dividends since their deaths were what kickstarted the entire series. The more we get to see them, the more we get reminded of what was lost, the more relevant they are, the more important the first episode becomes instead of just disappearing into history as a basic inciting incident. On top of that, Nezuko is just kind of a badass what with the flaming blood and floral patterns. Even Uzui agrees, calling her flashy! So the more we get to see her outside of that box the better.

And as for Tanjiro, he got some much needed justification! For what? Well for his power ups the last few weeks. Some of you might remember I had a tiny issue with Tanjiro’s power burst and seemingly being able to fight an Upper Six 1 on 1. Well this week reveals that he actually, well… didn’t. It’s unclear how strong Daki actually is. No doubt she’s above any of the Lower Moons, or most at least. But she clearly isn’t on the same level as her brother Gyutaro. Now if done poorly this kind of twist might irritate me, but I like it here. I like that it recontextualizes Tanjiro’s growth/power to something more believable and I like how it lets Uzui, a full Hashira, to show off and really earn his rank. Some might call it BS shounen one-upsmanship but I just call it a good time.

Finally we can’t not talk about Uzui, not with how much I’ve already mentioned him. This guy really knows how to make an entrance and he’s grown on me a lot since his initial introduction. Dude pops in, cuts off a demons head, kicks people out and then has a casual conversation with someone whose head is in their lap. He’s confidant but not overly so, showing for all his bluster he is still a professional who takes this seriously. On top of that he seems to know very well when its time for laughs and when to get serious. As far as characters go I thing Rengoku and his place in the story are better, but I enjoy watching Uzui in action more. I like them for different reasons if that makes sense, but I do still like them.

So yeah all in all, as late as this post is, that was a really good episode of Yaiba. Probably a quintessential one if I’m being honest. It has a hint of everything that makes Yaiba work, even if we don’t get them every episode. In the moment, situational, non-cringe comedy. Humanized and understandable villains, twisted by immortality and a web of personal abuse. And of course, balls to the wall action with some solid production. If Yaiba could manage this balance every episode, could clean up its characterization of Zenitsu, the occasional bad comedy and the worst of the Shounen tropes, it could be legitimately the best Shounen in a decade. Sadly I don’t see it doing that. So instead I’ll have to content myself with good episodes like this.

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