Demon Slayer Season 2 Is In Full Swing, And That Means More Crying, Slashing, And Booty-Smacking

Season 2 of "Demon Slayer" is finally in full swing with the premiere of the episode "Sound Hashira Tengen Uzui." Because the season technically began with seven episodes that just rehashed the events of the "Demon Slayer: Mugen Train" movie, this episode is technically episode eight of season 2. However, this episode marks the beginning of the much anticipated Entertainment District Arc, meaning it's also an episode 1. If you find that a little confusing, well, welcome to the wonderful world of anime. Let's dive in.

The beginning of the episode is pretty depressing as it deals with the aftermath of Rengoku's death and how it impacts his family and the Demon Slayer Corps, but in true "Demon Slayer" fashion, the heavier subject matter is balanced with moments of levity ranging from cute to absurd. Also in line with the show's reputation is the fact that the animation and art style continues to be gorgeous, while the music is always perfectly composed and placed to maximize emotional impact. Speaking of music, this arc comes with a new opening theme, and it slaps. So we know the episode looks and sounds amazing, but how's the plot?

The Impact of Rengoku's Death

The episode opens with tragic and heroic demise of beloved Flame Hashira Rengoku at the hands of the power-obsessed demon Akaza, much to the anguish and sorrow of everyone present. Thankfully, Inosuke cuts through the sadness with his hysterical shouting and calls for Tanjiro and Zenitsu to stop crying — despite the fact that he was literally crying so hard that even his boar head mask was spilling massive tears.

We then get to see how Tanjiro, Inosuke, and Zenitsu deal with the loss of Rengoku, who had already become something of an older brother to the trio in the short time they got to know him during the events of the Mugen Train Arc. Each of the young demon slayers resolves to keep fighting and growing stronger, which is what the great Rengoku would have wanted. Zenitsu in particular seems the most affected, as we get a surprisingly pleasant moment of introspection where he speaks, among other things, about the futility of inaction saying, "There's no point in cowering forever." He also displays a considerable amount of emotional intelligence, reflecting on the emotional states of his strong-willed comrades, drawing on their strength to increase his own. It was a welcome change from his usual displays of cowardice and horny desperation, so much so that it actually made me dislike Zenitsu a little less.

Although it was definitely one of the most heartbreaking moments in "Demon Slayer" thus far, I think Rengoku's death was necessary. Before you get out your pitchforks, let me explain. Rengoku was so endlessly earnest, heroic, and pure that he would have become stale and potentially annoying if he continued further in the series. He was literally perfect, and while that's great, perfect can get boring. There's nowhere for a perfect character to go except to the grave or the dark side because there's nothing new for them to learn. Seeing Rengoku become a villain (as Akaza wanted) would have been too out of character to make sense, and seeing him give up and become a defeated shell of himself would have been clichéd and upsetting. The best way to stay true to the character as he was written was for him to go down in a blaze of glory. He was ultimately destined to be a sacrificial lamb, and he was a damn good one. His death is serving as a powerful catalyst for the growth and motivation of our remaining characters; I mean, just look at the way it has already started to change Zenitsu for the better. Up until this episode, Zenitsu was 100% my least favorite character due to his incessant cowardice and borderline creepy thirst for Nezuko, but things have changed. Someone even more insufferable has stepped up to take his place.

Rengoku's Dad (Sucks) and Younger Brother

Dethroning Zenitsu as the worst character in "Demon Slayer" is none other than Rengoku's father, Shinjuro. I do possess some empathy for the father of the fallen Flame Hashira, but I also have little patience for abusive bastards. Bad parents make me angry, and Shinjuro sucks ass through a boba straw. He's a bitter alcoholic who is unreasonably cold and cruel to everyone around him, including his remaining son (Senjuro) and Tanjiro, who stopped by to deliver Rengoku's last words and find out more about the mysterious dance his father used to perform, known as the "Hinokami Kagura" (dance of the fire god). Upon Tanjiro's arrival, Shinjuro begins to disparage his recently deceased son. He then attacks Tanjiro and strikes Senjuro in the process. Tanjiro, justifiably, responds by throwing hands — or his forehead, technically — with the belligerent old man while young Senjuro looks on, terrified and weeping. We do eventually see Shinjuro privately take a break from shotgunning sake long enough break down and cry over the loss of Rengoku, so I guess he has a heart somewhere after all. I still don't like him.

Despite his best efforts to be violently unhelpful, Shinjuro does end up inadvertently giving Tanjiro some new information about the Hinokami Kagura, revealing that the dance is actually a legendary breathing style known as "sun breathing," from which all other breathing styles are derived. This confuses Tanjiro, who remarks that, to his knowledge, his family has never been involved in demon slaying before. How could his father possibly have known about demon slayer breathing techniques, let alone the first and most powerful technique of all?

For his part, the meek Senjuro is ultimately grateful for Tanjiro's chaotic visit. He decides he's going to do his best to be helpful to others, starting with finding more information about sun breathing, which will involve defying his father to some degree. It appears as though Tanjiro's courage has given him the strength to begin standing up to his father.

Muzan Kibutsuji and Akaza

While everyone else is mourning the loss of Rengoku, big bad Muzan Kibutsuji has decided to disguise himself as a sick little boy, forgoing his usual Michael Jackson impersonator swag. Ever the smooth criminal, he manages to be adopted by a family that is unaware of his true identity as a powerful, centuries-old demon. Akaza shows up at Muzan's new home only to be berated and violently punished by Muzan for not being able to locate a "blue spider lily" or take out more than a single demon slayer during his Mugen Train mission. What is the significance of the blue spider lily, and why would Muzan send one of his most powerful henchmen to locate it?

Tengen Uzui: Professional Demon Slayer and Casual Ass-Slapper

The episode ends with Tanjiro rescuing Naho and Aoi from Tengen Uzui, the Sound Hashira of the Demon Slayer Corps, who was attempting to kidnap the girls for a mission in the Red-Light District, ignoring their cries and protests in the process. Tanjiro, volunteers himself (with Nezuko in tow), Inosuke, and Zenitsu to go on the mission in place of the unwilling girls. Tengen agrees to take them on, carelessly dropping Naho from his arms and releasing Aoi from his muscular grip — but not before slapping her on the ass. What a charmer. He then informs Tanjiro and the gang that their mission will take place in the Entertainment District... Also known as the Red-Light District. Yes, that kind. 

I'm hoping we'll see another side of Tengen, because right now he's just a cocky jock stereotype. Sure, we can argue that he acts as a foil to the respectful, humble, and kind Rengoku, who had agreed to take on the boys as apprentices before his unexpected demise, but to what end? Does this stark contrast in mentors serve a purpose? Is there more to Tengen than muscles and misogyny? We'll find out in the coming weeks, as new episodes of "Demon Slayer: Entertainment Distract Arc" premiere every Sunday on Hulu, Funimation, and Crunchyroll.