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Is Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba: “Hinokami” The Pinnacle of its Genre?

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(Spoilers ahead for Episode 19 of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba.)

With anime aplenty available to be pumped into our eye holes, it’s tough to sift through the masses and unearth a gem. Well I’ll make it easier: watch Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba! Once in a blue moon something special raises the bar, and Episode 19 “Hinokami” does just that. For those new to the show, however, all aboard the context train.

Kimesu no Yaiba

Tanjiro Kamado resides in a cold but cosy mountain home with his family. One day he nips off to a nearby town, only to discover on return his family’s been massacred by a demon. Tanjiro’s world is turned upside down (not in a literal sense, that tsuzumi dude doesn’t appear for another ten episodes), and adding insult to injury, his sister Nezuko’s been turned into a demon. Whilst retaining her human form, she now craves flesh and evaporates in sunlight. Safe to say, T-dog’s having one of those days. Fortunately, Nezuko’s a one in a million demon that sees the benefits of abstinence from bloodthirsty murder. With her love for Tanjiro intact, they set off to cure Nezuko’s ‘demon-itis’.

One training arc later, and Tanjiro’s nifty at felling demons with a sword. And jumping to Episode 19 “Hinokami”, he’s battling his toughest opponent yet: Rui of the Twelve Moons. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba has crescendoed towards an inevitable encounter with said upper echelon of demons, from ex-Twelve Moon Kyogai, to Twelve Moon red herring Father, to real actual Twelve Moon Rui. He’s the big boss you don’t see coming, and the threat he poses is evident when he shatters Tanjiro’s sword to smitheries with his slice-y dice-y hecka hard webs. He’s a sadistic bastard, forming ‘family bonds’ on fear by torturing his next of kin. Can Tanjiro best someone so strong?

Kimetsu no Yaiba

Given Rui’s fixation on family bonds, seeing Nezuko hurl herself into harm’s way to protect Tanjiro from a slew of razor sharp webs captivates him. Witnessing Tanjiro and Nezuko’s legitimate family bond, Rui requests for her to be his sister instead, but spells out his intention to indoctrinate her into said kinship through torturous terror, highlighting his reluctance to renounce his forgery of fake bonds. The dynamic shifts, and Tanjiro has another reason to fight: for Nezuko!

Kimetsu no Yaiba Nezuko

The theme of family bonds is a cornerstone of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, but never has it felt more meaningful than here. From Tanjiro and Nezuko recollecting their childhood and parents’ wisdom, to them collaborating to best Rui; the spectacle sees music, narrative, and animation meld in impeccable harmony. It elicits tears for those invested, and that’s a lofty feat for what’s fundamentally an action sequence. It’s poetry in motion, and sheer art of the highest order, bolstered by eye popping visuals courtesy of Ufotable (turns out when they’re not potentially evading tax they’re driving animation quality through the roof).

If you’ve yet to see Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, do yourself a favour and watch from the start, as isolating this scene in a 360p YouTube video will nullify the narrative context (the weight of which contributes tremendously to the emotional impact). And if you have seen it, I only hope your neck isn’t sore from nodding in agreement whilst reading.

Kimetsu no Yaiba

To say it’s exciting to ponder where Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is heading is an understatement and a half. It’s one of the strongest series airing in 2019, and you’d be doing yourself a disservice, anime fan or not, to ignore it.

Watch Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba on Crunchyroll here.

I have spent my life in England finding entertainment in both video games and music. Whilst not indulging in the latter, I invest my time in playing all manner of video games, and as of 2017, writing about all manner of video games.Email: harrymorrisharrymorris@yahoo.com

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Nick

    August 13, 2019 at 8:23 am

    You didn’t answer the question in the title though. Is it the pinnacle of its genre? I think, yes. I’ve watched all many hundreds of anime over the years from she 10-28. Never can I remember feeling such a mature display of perfect story telling, art, music, and emotion tied together with a bow and gifted to us peasants ever before. Kimetsu went from my top 15-20 bee episode 18 to now contending for number 1. It made me rethink anime, plot, and character development like never before, and inspired my own creativity through its beauty.

    I don’t think any shonen can compete at this level and unless a big name company throws at a project to compete with this INTENTIONALLY, then I don’t know if we’ll ever see something this amazing again for a long time.

    • Harry Morris

      August 13, 2019 at 8:28 am

      The question’s for you to answer, otherwise the article would be titled ‘Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba: “Hinokami” is The Pinnacle of its Genre!’. 😉 And I agree it’s a fantastic show!

    • Shiritai

      August 13, 2019 at 3:57 pm

      But have you watched the Hunter x Hunter remake?

      • Harry Morris

        August 13, 2019 at 5:23 pm

        I have, and whilst I enjoy Hunter x Hunter, I wasn’t a fan of the disjointed pacing and the lack of focus on what I found to be the most interesting characters (Kurapika, and Hisoka’s absence from the Chimera Ant arc).

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