Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – 07 – Taking the Plunge

Nezuko emerges from her box to viciously attack the tripartite demons, but when Tanjirou tells her to cease her attack, she dutifully returns to his side. He has her protect Kazumi and the young woman he rescued while he dives into the soupy bog where the demons dwell and devour.

While the demons are confident of their aquatic home-field advantage, the because Tanjirou trained in the thin air of the mountains and his attacks are water-based, he has no trouble executing a devastating whirlpool attack that chops the two demons into rustic chunks.

He returns to the surface just in time to stop the third and final demon from further harming Nezuko, who’d already received a nasty slash to the forehead. Before dispatching him, Tanjirou asks about Kibutsuji Muzan, but the demon start to smell strongly of fear—a fear so intense he literally can’t say anything about Kibutsuji.

While Tanjirou was able to defeat the demon and save one of the women, that woman wasn’t Kazumi’s fiancée. Tanjirou tries to comfort him by saying he must keep living despite life’s devastating blows. Kazumi lashes out in anger—how could a boy know what he’s feeling? But Tanjirou gently takes Kazumi’s hands in his and smiles a gentle smile, and Kazumi realizes Tanjirou knows all too well, and his hands aren’t those of a boy.

A Demon Slayer is always in high demand, so within moments of completing his first official assignment, his crow arrives with his second. He and Nezuko travel to Asakusa, Tokyo, and he is immediately overwhelmed by the densely packed humanity and the lights that make it as bright as midday.

Since this is the Taisho period, electricity is commonplace in the capital and there’s a vibrant streetcar network; we don’t see any cars buzzing around, but only because they’re still pretty rare. The huge city looks and sounds fantastic, and seems to pulsate with a modern energy Tanjirou has never before encountered.

Tanjirou is only one slurp into some therapeutic udon when he detects a scent that quickens his pulse and has him leaving the sleeping Nezuko at the stand. He dives into the crush of Tokyoites, following the very same evil scent that was present when his family was murdered, and it leads him to a fair-skinned man in a western black suit, a white hat, and reddish eyes.

This is it: this is Kibutsuji Muzan, the progenitor of all demons whom Tanjirou has been seeking. It’s almost too tidy that he’d locate someone so reluctant to be found he threatened other demons not to talk about him, but then again maybe he simply doesn’t consider Tanjirou a threat and would just as soon dispatch him.

As for Tanjirou, before he can unsheathe his sword, Kibutsuji makes a quarter-turn to reveal he’s holding a young human girl, his daughter. Soon, his wife appears, wondering who the boy in the checked coat is. To the mother and daughter, Kibutsuji is their husband and daddy. To Tanjirou, they’re his hostages. But that’s only the beginning: Kibutsuji quickly slashes a passing man without his wife or daughter noticing.

That man instantly transforms into a demon and bites his wife, starting a panic in the chaos of which Kibutsuji will no doubt slip away while Tanjirou tries to clean up the mess. Perhaps this was just a matter of Kibutsuji’s guard being down, in which case he won’t be so careless next time.

Deca-Dence – 04 – Changing the World That Is Yourself

Natsume happens to be thrust into her first battle by no fault of her own, but there’s no way she’s just going to stand around and watch. She borrows some tank gear and runs into the thick of it. Even when a Gadoll impales one of her fellow fighters and blood splatters everywhere, she heads towards the danger. Like a soldier. This is your place and time, a voice must be saying in her head. Don’t let it go to waste.

Natsume darts around the battlefield with aplomb, Taking every single stitch of training from Kaburagi and making full use of her brand-new arm cannon. She’s too busy to be afraid to die; she can die when the battle’s over; when her time is up, something she’s always known is something she can’t control, only maintain.

She really shows something out there, such that the other Tanker fighters and their illustrious leader Kurenai takes notice. When Natsume tells her she’s not technically “in” the Power because she’s a “bug”, Kurenai laughs off the self-deprication. If Natsume’s a bug, her two lieutenants are boogers.

Kurenai warmly welcomes Natsume to join the Power and her unit if she so wishes, and of course Natsume very much wishes, being sure to thank her boss, without whom she wouldn’t be there. Kaburagi, who is just trying to keep Pipe out of sight, gets accosted by Kurenai, who remembers “Kabu-san” when he was on the front lines and has a huge crush on him.

Natsume would seem to have joined the fight at an auspicious time, when the largest battle in Deca-Dence history is about to take place. Gear scouts have discovered the main Gadoll nest, and Kurenai’s Tanker squad is being given the toughest and most important job. They’re to defeat “Gadoll alpha”, a monster creating a cloud of fog across the nest. With the fog gone, the Gears will be able to easily mop up.

While touted in-game as the ultimate epic final battle that, when won, will finally enable humanity to live in peace, back at Solid Quake Kaburagi learns from a friend that the arc will result in a crushing defeat for Deca-Dence and massive losses. Those tragic developments will pave the way for the return of “legendary heroes” to save Deca-Dence in its hour of need.

One of those heroes is Kaburagi himself, who is being pulled out of his chip-collecting retirement as a result of rave reviews of his unplanned return to the battlefield back in the first episode. When Kaburagi told Natsume to “make sure not to die”, he was telling her to be careful. But now, if she participates in the battle she’ll die for sure. And since she’s human, she won’t come back.

Natsume meets Mindy, Mundy and Mendy, triplets who are, other than her, the youngest members of Kurenai’s unit. She makes a bad first impression when Mindy tries to shake Natsume’s artificial right hand and it accidentally transforms into a spear launcher.

Mindy is livid, warning Natsume that going into battle with a weapon you haven’t mastered is no different than begging for death (her siblings think she was too harsh.) Back in her neck of the woods, Natsume sees her friend Fei, who has decided to wash her hands of Natsume. Like Mindy, Fei sees Natsume’s disability as a disqualifying attribute. If she tries to be a soldier, she’ll just die.

Having had those encounters, you can imagine Natsume is decidedly not in the mood to have someone else tell her she can’t do what she wants to do, and is pleasantly surprised when Kaburagi knocks on her door for a change. She offers him milk (no doubt a rare delicacy), but he’s come to warn her not to join the battle tomorrow.

While we know full well Kaburagi is dissuading her for the right reason (she may well be ready, but the battle is literally rigged), Natsume assumes he’s once again joined the ranks of the naysayers. He can’t tell her the truth about why he knows, because that would be opening a whole other can of worms. So Kaburagi goes full “bad guy” and breaks her Tank. She may live to hate him, but she’ll live, and that’s what matters.

The spilled milk and oxyone pooling together on the floor was a really cool and effective symbol for the split worlds of Kaburagi and Natsume, as well as their oil-and-water difference of positions.

Natsume approaches Kurenai to tell her she’s sitting the battle out. Kurenai is understanding, but wants Natsume to be sure it’s what she wants. When asked why she fights, Kurenai states worthiness of Kaburagi  to be one reason, but also because living her days aimlessly in a cramped dirty metal box just isn’t for her.

As she skulks home, Natsume remembers feeling the same way as Kurenai, even as an adorable little kid. Her father would show her amazing sights of the outside world, and told her they’d be able to visit them when peace was achieved. She came to believe she’d be the hero to end the war, but after she lost her arm, and got told all the things she couldn’t do, that belief waned.

As Natsume tells Kurenai after changing her mind and declaring she’ll join them after all, she doesn’t like the way she is right now, and wants to change it. She wants to change into the fighter and the hero her younger self dreamed of being. She just needs to borrow some money to replace her tank! And then, of course, not die.

But hell, even if Natsume knew and believed everything Kaburagi knew—about cyborgs usurping humanity as the dominant species on earth, about how every aspect of her and every human’s life is manipulated by a corporation—she may well still decide to fight. This week’s episode made it clear this is her story, and her choice. And if she existed outside the system as a “bug” this long, not even Kabu-san knows how far she’s capable of defying that system.

Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi – 08

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That last scene in the aqueduct was just a tease; we actually had to wait until the end of this episode for the Posse of Disgruntled Mutants to escape from Goran Academy. The hitch in the plan turns out not to be any kind of security, which the school apparently lacks, but in the resolve of some of the posse’s members, which in turn causes Ai to waver.

She’s only been outside of her village a half-month (which actually sounds about right to us), after all. What does she really know of the world? Sorry, worlds…as her new friend Alice explains, there are two, the objective and subjective. While Ai isn’t sure how she’s going to save the world, he knows how he’s going to save his: by destroying it. How and why, he’s not kind enough to say, but such a position surely portends a rift in relations with Ai; we’re certain she doesn’t want to destroy anything. Maybe Alice is just being overly ominous?

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Anyway, as we said, the very large suspicious-looking gang does eventually escape from Goran, which by default makes this episode better than the last, but that wasn’t all we liked. Most of the gang are still flimsy caricatures, but they were less offensively vapid this time around, and were mostly in the background as our favorite of the bunch, Tanya, was the focus. She has a good, serviceable story: born blind, wished for sight, got the Reirigan instead. Her parents were fine with it, the village wasn’t.

Rather than cause her parents—her whole world, as Ai remarks—trouble and pain, Tanya chose to separate herself from that world. Ai’s wide-eyed optimism starts to overwhelm Tanya, but Ai’s zeal and persistence eventually wrests her from her self-imposed limbo, despite Ai not having any solid argument beyond “C’mon, it’ll be fine!” By piling into Yuri’s microbus (great timing!), Tanya and the others are choosing to believe they can make it in the world beyond Goran. If all else fails, they have a couple of skilled marksmen on their team.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

RDG: Red Data Girl – 04

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Prior to her first day of high school at Houjou Izumiko meets her roommate Mayura’s triplet brother Manatsu, as well as the first year class’s top student, Takayanagi Ichijou, who takes note of her long hair. On the first day. Izumiko decids to forgo her glasses, and as a result sees dark inhuman shadows among her classmates. One such shadow asks her tomeet him in the A/V clubroom after school.

When she goes there, Takayanagi ambushes her, believing she’s a demon. Sagara intervenes, destroying Takayanagi’s homonculus. Izumiko, Sagara and Mayura check out a support website classmates recommended to her; one made by Yakayanagi. Logging in causes the computer to explode, injuring Mayura. Later that night Manatsu and Sagara agree to go get back at Takayanagi. Manatsu and Mayura summon Masumi, their deceased triplet sister, to aid them.

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Izumiko is no longer in a small town isolated in the mountains, but attending a school populated in part (if not in full) by ‘people like her’ and Sagara; that is to say, humans who have supernatural talents. Her roommate decribes herself as a kind of monk like Sagara, and the class valedictorian is a potentially malevolent sorcerer who uses homonculi and takes an immediate interest in Izumiko. Sasami and Kamiomi would fit right in here, and the Kagami sisters could probably hold their own quite well.

Just as trimming her hair had a significant effect on her supernatural abilities, so to does not wearing glasses on her first day; her glasses are a charm that keep her from seeing “too much”. Because of this slight change, she’s able to find out about the nature of her new environment far sooner, and quickly learns that it’s essential to have friends around to protect her, and the more powerful the better.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Stray Observations:

  • To be honest, Takayanagi is a bit of a boring dick so far, but we liked the understated roll-out of the Souda triplets. We would ask why they’re being so nice to Izumiko. Perhaps they realize who and what she is and simply want to help.
  • This series has so far proven adept at nicely building up supernatural events. Sagara’s spirit bow and the exploding computer, for example.
  • After Wamiya turned out to be a real threat, Sagara is now far more willing to hear Izumiko out, and no longer dismisses her concerns out of hand. When Mayura suggests they’re “a pair” though, Izumiko demurs.
  • Izumiko’s a bit of a damsel in need of constant rescue at the moment, but we’re sure she’ll kick some ass once she gets settled.