Demon Slayer Season 2 Just Sent Its Entire Cast Undercover As Sex Workers (And It Was Good!)

Nothing says "heart-wrenching dark fantasy" quite like a lighthearted romp about the red-light district with three teenaged boys dressed in drag and sold to various brothels by their impossibly buff, polygamous mentor. That's what viewers got with the latest episode of "Demon Slayer" season 2, which has fully moved into the Entertainment District Arc. In "Infiltrating the Entertainment District," not only did we get to our first look at the dazzling Yoshiwara Red Light District, but we also got a surprisingly informative history lesson, plenty of humorous moments, and a reminder that for all it's artistic beauty and silliness, "Demon Slayer" is still ultimately a horror anime. Let's dive into the glittering world of Yoshiwara for ourselves and see what our heroes were up to.

Tengen The Teacher

In this episode, we see Tanjiro, Inosuke, and Zenitsu dress in terrible drag, complete with garish clown-like make-up, so that they can successfully infiltrate three separate brothels as potential sex workers in order to complete their latest mission. The mission is to gather intel on the status of Tengen's three hot ninja wives, who were also working undercover in the brothels in order to find out about the demon (or demons) that have been lurking in Yoshiwara. In my last review, I called Tengen a "cocky jock stereotype." While that's still an accurate descriptor, I have to confess that his cockiness is somewhat justifiable given how effortlessly charming he is — people fall over themselves to please him, with his muscles and his cool hair and his beautiful anime face. He also has three hot ninja wives that he clearly cares very deeply for. I'm not saying his obnoxious attitude is admirable, I'm just saying that I get it. 

Not only is Tengen hot, he's knowledgeable. Before they get into the meat of the mission, Tengen gives the boys the rundown on Yoshiwara (which was a real place, by the way), describing it as "awash in vanity of men and women" while describing the predicaments of the women therein. I found it interesting that, despite his treatment of Aoi and X in the last episode, he's not the raging misogynist I suspected him to be. When he's describing the sex workers of Yoshiwara, he does so in a manner that is matter-of-fact, but not without some level of respect. He describes how many of the women are there as a result of debt or poverty, and talks about the different "ranks" of adult entertainers there are, with "Oiran" being the highest. He describes women who have achieved Oiran status to be beautiful, intelligent, and masters of the arts. "A woman of distinction," he muses. I braced myself for some sort of diminishing, sexist comment, but none came. Instead, aside from calling himself a god and calling the boys "trash" in comparison, he's actually pretty personable this episode. 

Clearly, there's more to the flashy Sound Hashira than I thought. 

The Boys Become Babes

After their lesson on the social order and nature of Yoshiwara, Tengen gets to work selling the boys, now in their feminine disguises, to the brothels that his wives reside in.Tanjiro and Inosuke — disguised as their femme counterparts "Sumiko" and "Inoko," respectively — have no trouble at all being taken in. Tanjiro is the first to be sold, with the owner of the brothel admiring his obedience. Inosuke follows, with the owner admiring his natural beauty. Zenitsu, who makes for the ugliest of girl of them all, is the last to find an entertainment house to be taken in. Tengen even remarks to the house owner that he'd happily give "her" away for free as long as she'll take him off his hands. Of course, he's bitter about it, and he channels that bitterness into ... music? Sure, I guess.

Zenitsu Is Useless Again

Speaking of Zenitsu, this episode sees a return to the insufferable Zenitsu that I've come to know and deeply dislike. His whiny pissbaby antics in Yoshiwara made me feel like I was browsing an incel subreddit, so I didn't mind that Tengen chose to respond to his behavior with violence, which is sometimes the answer. While Tanjiro and Inosuke were shown to be focusing on the mission at hand, already gathering intel on Tengen's super cool undercover ninja wives, Zenitsu spent the episode being an angsty crybaby, screaming about how he can't believe Tengen is so handsome and has three beautiful wives, being annoyed with how Inosuke makes for a much more beautiful girl than he does, and suddenly developing a backbone for things that don't matter. 

It's amusing until it isn't. We don't see him progress in his mission at all; instead, we see him become obsessed with rising in the ranks of sex workers (a perfectly fine goal) and getting "revenge" on Tengen (a foolish endeavor). Neither of these goals is particularly helpful given that the whole reason the boys are disguised as gussied up working girls is to focus on their mission as members of the Demon Slayer Corps, and not to become Yoshiwara's Next Top Model. It seems that Zenitsu is unable to properly focus without someone else around to keep him grounded. That said, I actually really like the fact that our trio of protagonists has been split up because we get to see how each young demon slayer functions in a completely new environment on their first major mission since the tragic events of the Mugen Train Arc.

Tanjiro Sucks at Being Bad, and That's Good!

In addition to seeing Zenitsu completely lose all focus, we also see Tanjiro struggle with the inherently deceptive aspects of going undercover. Not unlike the late Rengoku, Tanjiro is almost so unbelievably wholesome that there's a risk of him becoming a boring, static character, and I say that as a proud fan of the hardheaded do-gooder. Interestingly, his commitment to goodness actually becomes a potential hinderance in this episode, and I'm honestly happy to see it. Disguised as the earnest "Sumiko," Tanjiro realizes that he can't simply get information and answers with honestly and integrity. The people of Yoshiwara are guarded, and with good reason. To make any real progress with identifying the demonic threat and locating one of Tengen's wives, he has to lie...and he sucks at it. By his own admittance, he doesn't even have a good poker face; instead, he has...whatever facial expression he's making in the image directly above the paragraph.

It's the antithesis of a poker face, and not exactly ideal for covert missions with demons on the prowl. Will Tanjiro be able to overcome his own integrity in order to serve the greater good, or will it compromise the mission?

Inosuke vs Restraint

As long I'm identifying Achilles heels, if Tanjiro's weakness is his inability to be convincingly dishonest, and Zenitsu's weakness is being an obsessive incel, then Inosuke's would have to be controlling his feral nature. Inosuke is loud, impulsive, and quick to throw hands – that's what I love about him – but those aren't good qualities for an undercover mission as a dainty young courtesan. He's been instructed to keep quiet by Tengen, who told him that his voice is a dead giveaway because it's too "husky." Never mind the fact that women can have deep voices too, but I digress. Although he's clearly having some trouble trying not to run around screaming in his usual fashion, he's doing his best. The last we see of him, he's approaching the room of one of Tengen's wives. As it turns out, she's bound and bloody, being interrogated and held captive by an entity who is surely a demon. I don't know that he'll be able to maintain his cover if/when he happens upon the upsetting scene, which is made all the more horrific by the fact that the majority of the episode was so full of silliness and humor that you almost forget it's the same show in which a tormented pseudo-arachnid demon violently weaponized the corpses of children to fight their own comrades. Surprise! It's still "Demon Slayer" after all. 

The episode ends on a terrifying cliffhanger, and with cliffhangers come questions. Will our colorful band of heroes be able to win their own inner battles in order to complete the mission, or will someone blow their cover? Is one of the brothel owners a demon? (I kinda think so!) Will Zenitsu prove he has what it takes to become an Oiran and get his revenge on Tengen? We'll have to find out next Sunday.