Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – Ep. 1 (First Impressions)

You’ll have to pardon me if I come across as extremely resistant to Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. It’s undoubtedly one of the more anticipated anime this season but as soon as I see Ufotable’s name attached to anything, I ask what’s the catch is. For whatever reason, I don’t gravitate towards the shows this studio ends up animating. Fate/zero I really enjoyed but since then, I hated Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works and haven’t cared for everything else. Hell, it says something if God Eater of all things was their most admirable production in recent years. I’m well aware that an anime studio is normally there to bring the project to life but the track record still leaves me a little sour and I can’t help but fear the next project will just be history repeating itself. Still, I gave Demon Slayer a shot and you know what? It almost got me. Almost.

I’ll start with what I liked least so far: the dialogue. I swear, Ufotable keeps ending up animating the most talkative anime. Characterization is told not shown, the characters themselves spout philosophical ramblings like they’re trying to one up Socrates, and they say the most obvious shit out loud like I’m too stupid to take a hint. At least with Fate and Tales, they’re dense stories to begin with. What on Earth is Demon Slayer‘s excuse? It’s a shounen action series and a revenge plot. You know you’re trying too hard if, for example, one of your characters is directly stating that he dislikes the protagonist after lashing out at him which already infers his low opinion of him.

It only annoys me though because I actually think Demon Slayer has a good hook to its story. It’s the traditional shounen revenge plot but with a neat twist in that not everyone in the main character’s family dies. Tanjiro’s sister, Nezuko, is alive but has become a demon and though Tanjiro is told to end her suffering, he refuses and insists on finding a cure instead. It’s a naive mindset but a very human one with a lot of ethical complications that Tanjiro will have to deal with. And while not a fighter just yet, Tanjiro shows that he has the guts when push comes to shove as evidenced when he risks his life against a professional demon slayer in an effort to save Nezuko. He even earns the slayer’s respect and help in the process too. So in conclusion, this show has a refreshing approach to a tried and true concept. I just wish it could be more subtle and not beat me over the head with its pathos.

At least the visuals are gorgeous. That almost goes without saying with Ufotable anime but damn, what a feast for the eyes. The characters, the environments, the graphical effects — it all looks great. Even the CGI, which there is some to be found, fits in the frame without sticking out like a sore thumb. Honestly, I kind of had to go out of my way to notice any. This show has yet to show the supernatural powers the characters will wiled in action but if it’s anything like what the OP teased with its ukiyo-e inspired effects, I think we’re in for an even bigger visual feast.

Who knows, maybe I’ll let the clunky dialogue slide just this once. After all, I’ve done it before with some shows. Maybe the action will more than make up for it too. I’ll try to give this show the good old three episode rule but it wouldn’t surprise me if this ends up becoming yet another Ufotable anime I just don’t care for.

OP: “Gurenge” by LiSA


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5 thoughts on “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – Ep. 1 (First Impressions)

  1. Yeah, I swear most all of their shows would be 1000% better if characters would just shut up, once in a while. But this wasn’t bad at all, I’ll say. Just a bit grating at times. And the narration was bothersome.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Curse those lengthy monologues. That was my biggest criticism of Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works. It’s really annoying when they all stop mid-fight so that one character can ramble on about some nonsense for 5 minutes. This wasn’t as bad, but they could have cut it down.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ufotable is one of the best studios out there too in terms of animation quality so it’s a waste to see them resort to such a trick. I hope Demon Slayer won’t do that but if I had to guess realistically, it probably will.

      Liked by 1 person

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