Kimetsu no Yaiba Ep. 1: Onset shounen-itis

I don’t plan on covering this show, but it wouldn’t hurt to take a peek. And after said peek, I’m more certain than ever that I won’t cover the show. So our main character is Tanjirou, and he lives an idyllic life out in the wilderness with his family. His father is deceased by the start of the anime, so it’s just him, his mom, and his many siblings. I’m a horrible person, so right from the get-go, I’m thinking, “Ugh, way too many kids. We need to trim the fat.” Well, let’s just say I get my wish, but we’ll get to that in a second. For now, just take one last look at them. Appreciate what you have, ’cause life is fleeting. Like most anime protagonists, Tanjirou is a hard-working, loving brother. He lugs a huge basket full of charcoal into the city in order to make ends meet. Why does his family live so far away from the safety and comfort of a city? Probably because they’re poor. Probably because selling charcoal is their only trade, and you can’t find charcoal in the city. At this point, we also learn that our hero has a rather keen sense of smell. Someone broke your pot? Well, don’t you worry, ’cause our boy can take one sniff at the broken remnants and somehow determine that a cat was responsible. Odd, but whatever. We all need to be special, I guess.

When it comes time for Tanjirou to return home, it’s already getting dark. An old man tells the kid that it’s too dangerous to be out late at night. Why? ‘Cause that’s when the demons are the most active. So what’s stopping the demons from just entering your home and eating you? Nothing. Nothing really. Well… there are demon hunters. But even then, if you live out in the wilderness, it would probably take too long for a demon hunter to come to your rescue. So I dunno, I guess I’m torn. On the one hand, no one wants to abandon their home. And if you guys can only survive by transporting charcoal from the mountains, what can you do? You can’t just move into the city and become paupers. On the other hand, we’re talking about a woman and her mostly defenseless kids. Maybe Tanjirou can fend off a wild animal on his own or whatever, but certainly not a demon. So doesn’t it seem rather foolhardy to continue living up in the mountains? You’re almost begging to die. Sure enough, when Tanjirou wakes up the next day and heads back home, the stench of blood is thick in the air. This is why I don’t mind urbanization. Do you see demons in the city? Nah. Let’s just pave over all this nature and build high-rises everywhere.

The rest of the episode is pretty much what you expect it to be. Tanjirou’s family is dead except for Nezuko, one of his sisters. Unfortunately, she drew the short end of the stick; although she is still alive, she has become a demon. Apparently, it spreads by blood. Get demon blood inside you and you become a demon yourself. Also, sunlight hurts you, but if there are clouds out, you’re somehow A-OK? Um, that’s not how it works. Clouds don’t block all of the sunlight. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to see. Ah, whatever. What’s important is that Nezuko initially wants to eat Tanjirou, but after a long struggle, it appears that she still recognizes him. She still retains a bit of her original humanity. My problem with this scene is Tanjirou’s inner thoughts. His sister has him pinned down for over a minute. The entire time he’s lying there on the ground, he just drones on and on and on about how she should hang on, how he wishes he had been there for his family, yadda yadda yadda. It’s an anime storytelling convention that I just despise. Instead of using the visuals to convey your story, you literally just have the main character dump words on the audience. I haven’t been posting about Dororo recently, but I sure am glad that Hyakkimaru is mostly mute.

Eventually, a demon hunter shows up. Coulda used you a day earlier, buddy! But now that he’s here, he intends to finish off Nezuko. After all, just because she won’t bite Tanjirou today doesn’t mean she won’t bite him tomorrow! She’s also a potential threat to, well, everybody. Our hero naturally begs for his sister’s life. This is where all those signs of this show becoming a typical shounen battle anime starts to rear its head. The demon hunter berates Tanjirou for being weak. The kid tries to protect his sister by shielding her, but obviously, a merciless jerk would’ve just skewered both of them in one go. As a result, if Tanjirou really wants to protect Nezuko, he’s gonna have to be stronger, tougher, less soft-hearted, study the blade, blah blah blah. The demon hunter literally launches into a spiel about how the weak don’t deserve rights. Alright, calm down there, buddy. But jokes aside, he’s basically testing the kid. Tanjirou gets another chance to save his sister, so we see this bullshit about how the kid is actually super duper clever in a fight. He throws his hatchet up in the air, feints an attack on the demon hunter to get his guard down… ugh, I’m just exhausting myself trying to talk about this. Yeah, yeah, I get it. Tanjirou has the potential to be a great demon hunter.

The demon hunter ultimately relents when he sees Nezuko jump to her brother’s defense. Unfortunately, she can’t talk. All she does now is growl. Later, we’ll even see the poor girl wearing a gag like some sort of dog in training. But hey, even the demon hunter had an inner monologue, so maybe I should be thankful that the girl can no longer speak. Nevertheless, the fact that she still cares about her brother convinces the demon hunter to show her mercy. He then tells Tanjirou to go see so-and-so, and I just know exactly where this is going. The kid is going to pay a visit to the demon hunter’s master, and learn to become a demon hunter himself. We’re going to get ourselves a goddamn training arc, huh? He’s gonna study the blade! Hopefully, a sick-ass black blade like the demon hunter’s! Not only that, Tanjirou is going to make friends with a bunch of other aspiring demon hunters. Like a dopey male best friend who isn’t as strong as Tanjirou but boy howdy does he have heart! Meanwhile, Nezuko is standing there, grunting her days away. Tanjirou wants to find a cure for her condition, but god knows if we’ll ever see that. Maybe in the umpteenth arc, our hero’s wildest dreams will come to fruition. Maybe. But I don’t want to watch a shounen battle anime. Seriously, just look at these jabronis:

I don’t have the time and energy for this shit.

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