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Kimetsu no Yaiba S4 – 2 [Water Hashira Giyu Tomioka’s Pain]

Welcome all, to episode 2 of the new season of Kimetsu no Yaiba! I got some pushback last week to my disappointment with the series premier, and that’s understandable. Maybe I was expecting a bit much from a double-length premier. So it brings me great joy to report that this week, this episode? Yaiba gave me almost everything I wanted. I’m happy. Let’s dive into why.

So what is it that I like so much about this Yaiba episode? Well simply put, the entire thing is laser focused on a single character and his relationship with Tanjiro, Giyu Tomioka. We haven’t gotten a lot from Giyu until now, despite him being the first Demon Slayer we ever meet way back in episode 1. He’s not very emotional, doesn’t talk about himself, doesn’t really engage with anyone. So spending an entire episode letting us into his head, exploring his feelings of survivors guilt and relating them to Tanjiro’s own in regards to Rengoku, was great. The only misstep I would say would be the comedy. Yaiba likes to end most of it’s big emotional moments with silly faces and one liners, which I feel usually ruins the tension and emotion of a scene. This weeks weren’t terrible, the soba eating contest worked, but it definitely wasn’t needed.

Diving into the details, we get to learn why exactly Giyu separates himself from the other Hashira, about this… Imposter syndrome lets call it, where he doesn’t believe he deserves to stand beside them. He doesn’t remove himself from their meetings because it isn’t worth is time, or because he thinks he’s better, but rather because he doesn’t believe he deserves to have a say in them at all. To him, he’s a fake in a position he never earned, who never even passed the basic test to become a rank-and-file Demon Slayer. In his eyes, even Tanjiro has been above him since he first passed the exam. As I mentioned above, this is a nice bit of survivors guilt, something that’s probably very common among the Demon Slayer corps. Hell, judging by Shinobu’s scene at the end of the episode, I imagine she has some of it too.

Getting back on track, it was nice seeing Sabito return and get more about who he really is, to learn how skilled he truly was and what Tanjiro’s victory at the exam really meant for Giyu. I mentioned this above as well, but I really liked how Yaiba took Giyu’s feelings around Sabito, this idea that Sabito was far more skilled and deserved to live more than he did because of what he could have contributed, and related it to Tanjiro’s feelings on Rengoku’s death, something he struggled with for quite a while. This made Tanjiro’s speech about living the life they saved to its fullest and ensuring it didn’t go to waste feel earned. Had he spouted this without experiencing a loss of his own, it would feel trite and unearned. But he has felt loss, and that makes Giyu and Tanjiro’s bonding session much more effective for it.

As for how these insecurities manifested, again, I think Yaiba did a good job. Of course he would be disappointed Tanjiro is developing his own style, his own form of breathing, because it means there’s no one to replace him as the Water Hashira, a role he still doesn’t feel he deserves. That hope dashed, he doesn’t have much reason to train Tanjiro at all, as he doesn’t see value in his own skills. This of course leads to Tanjiro chasing after him like an over-eager puppy, literally stalking him for a few days, everywhere from the bathroom to sleeping in his dojo uninvited. But hey, it was kinda funny, and Yaiba did a fine enough job presenting it as well-meaning instead of like… Zenitsu-levels of creepy. I’d have preferred Tanjiro just show up every morning, but hey, wasn’t terrible.

All in all this was a good episode of Kimetsu no Yaiba. I enjoyed spending time with Giyu, getting to know him and learning where his head is at. My hope is that the rest of the Hashira training sessions will do the same thing, using their individual days as excuses to explore who they are in preparation for the final battle. Yaiba already seems to be setting things up with Shinobu, which is again welcome, so it seems like it’s going down the list one by one. This still probably won’t be the most exciting of seasons, hard to turn a season-long training session into a hype action sequence, but it’s looking like it might be one of the denser ones narratively, a trade I’ll gladly accept. I have to admit, this episode is giving me some hope for the season I wasn’t expecting to have. I hope Yaiba keeps it up.

The post Kimetsu no Yaiba S4 – 2 [Water Hashira Giyu Tomioka’s Pain] appeared first on Star Crossed Anime.

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