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AKA: 鬼滅の刃 遊郭編
Genre: Shonen Action
Length: Television series, 11 episodes, 24 minutes each
Distributor: Currently licensed by Aniplex of America, available streaming on Crunchyroll.
Content Rating: R (Strong violence.)
Related Series: Demon Slayer Kimetsu no Yaiba (original series); Mugen Train (movie)
Also Recommended: Shiki; Ayakashi: Samurai Horror Tales, The Faraway Paladin
Notes: Based on manga by Koyoharu Gotouge, published by Shueisha (in English by VIZ Media)

Copyright: 2022 Koyoharu Gotouge/SHUEISHA, Aniplex, UFOtable
Rating:

Demon Slayer Kimetsu no Yaiba: Entertainment District Arc

Synopsis

Under the supervision of a new Hashira named Tengen Uzui, our heroes Tanjiro, Inosuke, and Zenitsu (and demon-lady-in-the-box Nezuko) are assigned to investigate suspicious disappearances in the Entertainment District, specifically its geisha houses.


Review

The third anime installment of the Demon Slayer franchise- a series again, this time- is definitely the LEAST so far, succumbing to this show's unique worst habits, plus cliches that it shares with other shonen shows.

It even STARTS badly, with an OP song that's annoying and, let's face it, just lazy- "DAH-duh-DAAAH-duh, DAH-duh-DAAAH-duh", seemingly ad infinitum.

Tengen Uzui is another Hashira that, like Rengoku in Mugen Train, is a cheerful egomaniac, though Uzui is quite a bit more muscular than Rengoku was. (If the next Hashira our gang is teamed up with is the one we see near the end, at least we'll be getting a very different personality type in the next installment.)

The plan here is to have Tanjiro, Inosuke, and Zenitsu infiltrate the geisha houses posing as apprentice geisha girls, a masquerade that only Inosuke really has the countenance for. Fans of Inosuke's face will love this installment- he ditches his boar's-head mask for quite a while. I'm beginning to suspect that the mask itself helps induce his berserker personality, for without it he can be surprisingly cautious and sensible; this was one of the relatively few developments in Entertainment District that pleased me. (Well, there WERE a couple more, but I'll get to those later.)

Zenitsu is once more mostly either in his whiny coward mode, OR in a semiconscious state in which he's a competent Slayer (even if he DOES have only one move.) We do see him, much too briefly, in a calm observer mode. But Entertainment District explodes the assumption I've been making, that hysterical blathering is a trait unique to Zenitsu; for Uzui, Inosuke AND Tanjiro do it here, too. With that, I realized that the show actually thinks hysterical blathering is amusing - a sentiment I'm inclined to dispute. Frankly, I prefer the droll quips of the demons to the over-the-top screeching of the humans.

As noted earlier, the show also shares some of the generic flaws of shonen shows. One I PARTICULARLY detest is the "restoration" of apparently completely defeated (and most likely dead) combatants via some gimmick, and Entertainment District manages to create some outrageous examples.

There's also the issue that I tend to find my interest start to wane during very long battles. The Mugen Train movie, at a total running time of 117 minutes (including setup and closure scenes), I felt didn't suffer so much from this, even with just one principal opponent (a second formidable opponent appeared near the end of it); but the total running time of the Entertainment District series (including extra-long episodes 1 and 11) is 292 minutes. And Entertainment District's chief battle stretches half the length of the series, with our heroes fighting just two demons simultaneously. It began to get a little tedious, and Tanjiro's perpetual self-recriminations about his own inadequacy didn't help.

To get back to this series' unique foibles, there's always been a tendency to provide the demons with schmaltzy backstories, in which we see them as victims of circumstance, though given their current behavior it was easy to dismiss the sentimentality and conclude that yes, these two really DO deserve each other.

In fairness, I WAS once again impressed with Nezuko's "performance"; maybe a character who can't utter a word has a dramatic advantage when the dialogue is often so cheesy. She de-crates herself around Episode 7, and, when it's demon versus demon(s), for once we can truly say that All Hell Breaks Loose.

There were a number of things in the show where I was not sure HOW I felt, because they were so...novel:

-Many of us recall being told to "play nice" by our moms; here it's Tanjiro giving that advice, under possibly the most bizarre circumstances EVER.

-Tanjiro's got an unusual battlefield "conveyance" toward the end; I wasn't sure whether to laugh uproariously, or be offended (or maybe be offended at MYSELF for WANTING to laugh uproariously.)

-Uzui has 3 wives, former kunoichi (female ninjas) we're told; despite this background, they're completely deferential to their "Master" Uzui (this was NOT an enlightened age.) One of these is as emotionally over-the-top as Zenitsu; if she divorced Uzui and married HIM, imagine the histrionics! (Or maybe that WOULDN'T be such a great idea...)

I'll stick with R rating I've been using for the other chapters of this saga; there's quite a bit of bloodshed here, including blinding and dismemberment.

Recommended Audience: I'll stick with R rating I've been using for the other chapters of this saga; there's quite a bit of bloodshed here, including blinding and dismemberment.



Version(s) Viewed: Digital stream on Crunchyroll, Japanese with English subs.
Review Status: Full (11/11)
Demon Slayer Kimetsu no Yaiba: Entertainment District Arc © 2022 Koyoharu Gotouge/SHUEISHA, Aniplex, UFOtable
 
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