Anime Journal - Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Episode 4




This is a continuing journal of the great anime series Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. Produced by Ufotable and released in late 2019. I'm re-watching each episode, providing a synopsis, and adding my own observations. You can read the first episode coverage here. 

Episode 4 "Final Selection"

Tanjiro has been training to become a Demon Slayer for two years now. He has passed the test of slicing the boulder in half with the help of Subito and Makomo, strange youngers who help him train. His teacher, Urokodaki, tells him that he didn't think he could cut the boulder in half, but he is very proud Tanjiro. He cooks a feast for him that night and warns him that the strength of a demon is determined by how many humans he has eaten. Urokodaki gives him a fox mask that has a protection spell added.



Tanjiro sets out to Mt. Fujikasae where wisteria blooms all year round. He is the last to arrive. There are about two dozen young men and women who will be tested as well. Twin girls appear and talking simultaneously they explain that demons have been brought alive to the mountain, but cannot escape because they hate wisteria. Their challenge to survive 7 nights on the mountain. 



Tanjiro is very nervous when he first encounters two demons. He defeats them by calming himself down and concentrating. Later he sees two young swordsmen being stalked by a huge, hulking creature consisting of many hands and arms. After watching the hand demon consume one young man, he puts aside his fear and runs to help the other young man who is in the grip of the hand monster. 

The hand demon stops when he sees Tanjiro's mask. He was captured and brought alive to the forest a century ago buy Urokodaki and is furious he has been there for so long. He explains to Tanjiro that he has killed 50 people in total and 13 of Urokodaki's. He also tells him that he particularly enjoyed killing two young fighters and describes their appearance. Tanjiro recognizes them as Subito and Makomo and attacks the hand demon with vengeance. 




During the fight with the hand demon, there are intercut scenes with Subito and Makomo (who we now know are ghosts) who discuss whether Tanjiro can defeat the demon who killed them. Tanjiro concentrates and uses his water-breathing technique to outsmart the demon and cut off his head. 

Comments

This episode along with the next one completes the Tanjiro training sequence. It's remarkable how well the writers/director have condensed time and events over these four episodes. This episode finally shows how exceptional Tanjiro really is as a fighter and as a human being. After Tanjiro kills his first two demons who try to trick and argue over who is going to eat him first, Tanjiro prays for them and wishes them peace. 

This episode is important for showing that Tanjiro is a special person who overcomes his limits not just for himself but for others as well. This is made clear when the young man Tanjiro saves from the hand demon flees instead of trying to help Tanjiro. It's this moral sense in Tanjiro that combines with his hard work to make him an extraordinary Demon slayer. 

The fight scene with the hand demon is the first full-on fight scene of the anime series and it is amazing. Tanjiro has developed an ability to slow time (mentally) so he can see the thread that connects his sword with the opening on his demon opponent. This will feature prominently in future episodes. 

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June 15, 2020
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