Demon Slayer Season 2: Zenitsu Discovers Feminism And Daki Still Can't Get Ahead

We can always count on "Demon Slayer" for a detailed backstory, and episode 8 of the anime's Entertainment District Arc doesn't disappoint in that regard, though I admit I found the prolonged conversation between the demons and demon slayers to be a bit exasperating.

During the various verbal exchanges that take place in "Gathering," we learn more about the experiences that shaped Tengen, and it's no surprise that there's an overall decent and noble guy beneath his flashy, muscular, polyamorous exterior. We also get a touching moment of growth and maturity with Zenitsu, yet another non-fatal Daki beheading, and the ultra timely arrival of one of Tengen's wives.

Zenitsu Says 'Women's Rights'

It looks like the part-time sleepy swordsman and full-time horny boy has grown a lot over the course of the Entertainment District Arc. Not only has Zenitsu managed to overcome his anxiety long enough to be useful while he's still awake — though he still shines most when he's sleeping — but he also seems to have learned that women are people deserving of respect and humanity as opposed to objects who exist for him to creep on. This is a very far cry from his unsettling incel behavior in season 1, and I appreciate the time set aside to depict positive character development — even if it means we had to break the streak of the back-to-back action-packed episodes to do it.

In addition to explaining basic feminism to Daki, Zenitsu also tries to instill some life lessons about stopping cycles of misfortune and abuse by not inflicting our negative personal experiences onto others. Unmoved, Daki — who has only just reattached her head for a second time — counters Zenitsu's heroic speech with a villainous monologue of her own, waxing poetic about her warped ideas of justice. After pointing out all the ways in which women and girls are indeed objectified and treated as property in the Yoshiwara district, she says "The horrible things done to us ... the things that made us suffer ... we do them back to others and collect on those debts." Sounds like a pretty poor way to get ahead in the world, but okay, girl.

Impending Empathy for Daki and Gyutaro

It's increasingly obvious that Daki's experiences as an Oiran and whatever she endured prior to becoming a demon have molded her into a cruel, vengeful demon with a "eat or be eaten" attitude. Gyutaro's creepy admissions of jealousy and hints at having a life filled with want and suffering further hint at a very sad backstory for the siblings who share their Upper Six title.

It just wouldn't be "Demon Slayer" if we didn't get full insight into whatever f***ed up things the demons endured before their demise, and it seems like Daki and her brother, the world's most envious praying mantis, are not long for this world. Since the episode ended on a cliffhanger, it's safe to assume we'll go on a feels-trip featuring the human lives of the demonic duo before they perish. I like that "Demon Slayer" is always eager to show us how monsters are created; more often than not, they are victims of circumstance who weren't strong enough to overcome their own suffering in a positive or healthy way. Does this excuse the evil they inflict on others? Absolutely not, but it's always interesting to know how seemingly ordinary people can become so twisted and cruel. There's nearly always a reason to explain why someone absolutely sucks, but it doesn't mean they're going to be spared from the consequences of their actions.

Too Much Talking

I love a good bit of exposition, and I don't mind the somewhat unrealistic trope of heroes and villains engaging in pre-fight conversations about how each party feels they will come out victorious in the end, but this episode was a bit much. There are several minutes of dialogue exchanged between Tengen, the main trio, and the sinister siblings. I get that it's sometimes necessary to work in ways for characters to explain things for the sake of filling in the audience, but their conversations felt like it lasted an eternity. Sure, we got to learn more about Tengen, how to kill Daki and Gyutaro (simultaneous, double-beheading), and just how much of a massive hater Gyutaro is, but I felt like the delivery of this information was unnecessarily lengthy. It's not that it wasn't interesting, and maybe I'm just a slut for action, but there was way too much demon talking and not enough demon slaying.

When the action finally kicks off, it seems like our heroes are barely managing to stay alive. Tengen and Inosuke have their hands full with Gyutaro while Zenitsu and Inosuke can't even get close enough to Daki for her to take any sort of damage. Things are looking pretty grim when Hinatsuru, the previously-poisoned wife that Tengen told to leave out of concern for her safety back in episode 5, shows up to provide tide-turning assistance with wisteria-laced kunai. As we learned in season 1, wisteria is harmful to demons, so Gyutaro finds himself immobilized and unable to regenerate his limbs once the kunai deliver the "poison" to his impossibly lanky physique — I wonder if he sleeps in a corset to maintain his nightmarishly tiny waist?

There are still three episodes left of Demon Slayer's Entertainment District Arc, so there's plenty of time left to get in some more action and find out whether or not Gyutaro is such a creepy jerk as the result of forced waist-training or something much worse.