Demon Slayer Episode 16

Demon Slayer Episode 16

Letting Someone Else Go First

I don’t think I would call this the best episode of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba to date — that’s probably still the episode with the Taiko demon fight and Zenitsu showing his true power. However, the Spider Demon from this week’s episode was definitely my favorite demon so far.

Not only does she have a great character design, but her motives are a lot more human than those of any demon we’ve seen before. Her goal isn’t to prove her worth to Kibutsuji, or to simply cause destruction and death, like many of the other demons previously encountered.

But I’ll discuss her at length later. Despite having probably the best antagonist so far, this episode still falls short in a number of ways. For example, it didn’t have the sakuga (good animation) of the aforementioned episode with the Taiko Demon.

Further, I would still prefer if this series didn’t try to mix in comedy. As shown by this episode, the story lines of the individual demons can be quite compelling and serious. It’s a shame that what could have been a great series with a more serious tone has to be watered down by the antics of the characters.

Zenitsu actively detracts from the anime 99% of the time he’s on screen due to his fear and obsession with girls. On the other hand Inosuke has gone from a character I thought would be cool to little more than an angry pet. He just yells all the time and gets oddly happy about being praised.

Useless Puppets

As we learned in the previous episode, the demon slayers who initially were sent to this mountain to slay the demons have all either been defeated or captured. Those captured are being controlled by the Spider Demon like puppets, and even the bodies of the dead are as well.

Inosuke has no qualms about fighting or even killing fellow demon slayers, but the same isn’t true for Tanjirou. In fact, he doesn’t even want to damage the bodies of his fallen comrades who are now being used against him. However, those being used don’t all share Tanjirou’s sentiment.

One captive demon slayer in particular begs for Tanjirou and Inosuke to kill him because of the pain he’s in. His broken bones are piercing his internal organs every time he’s forced to move, and he knows that even if he’s saved he’ll die at this rate anyway.

The Spider Demon reacting to her son's threats from the anime series Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
The Spider Demon reacting to her son’s threats

Even so, Tanjirou refuses to injure or kill his captive comrades. The problem is that he needs some way of stopping them from being controlled, which is easier said than done. Even if he knocks them out, their bodies will still be controlled.

Eventually he comes up with a plan which involves getting the puppets tangled up in the trees. If the strands of web which are controlling them can no longer be effectively used, then Tanjirou won’t have to worry about fighting his comrades.

However, there are two issues with this plan which Tanjirou didn’t consider. The first is that the webs could simply be cut and new webs reattached. This doesn’t come to pass though because of the second issue, the Spider Demon is desperate.

And like any desperate person who’s been backed into a corner, she snaps. Well to be more specific, she snaps the necks of all the useless puppets that got tangled in the trees.

A Battered Puppet Master

The fact that the Spider Demon snapped and killed all of the demon slayers under her control rather than untangling them was a great way to show her desperation. She’s clearly not thinking straight due to her fear. But what she fears isn’t Tanjirou and Inosuke; it’s another demon, the father of her children.

Her son, who we saw in the previous episode, threatens to tell his father if his mother isn’t able to finish off the demon slayers quickly. When she hears this, her reaction (pictured above) truly showed how much she feared him. And this got me thinking, who is the man in question?

The fear and desperation she shows is extreme, so could the father of her children be Kibutsuji himself? He’s the only character we’ve seen in this series so far whom the demons universally fear to this extent. However, it turns out that Kibutsuji is not the father.

Tanjirou killing the Spider Demon from the anime series Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
Tanjirou killing the Spider Demon

Instead, the Spider Demon’s husband is one of the Twelve Demon Moons, though this still isn’t why she fears him. Her fear is the result of something much more “human,” domestic violence. It’s unclear whether the violence started before or after the family was turned into demons, but the result is the same.

In the end, her fear and desperation drive her to her death. Yes, this caused her to make mistakes which would eventually lead to her death, but it also directly caused her death because she viewed death as a form of escape. She greats it with open arms because it means freedom from her husband.

Hers was also definitely the best demon death scene of the series so far. It may not have been as flashy as some of the others, but it had impact. And for me, impact is far more important than flashy visuals.

Conclusion

What did you think of this week’s episode of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba? Was the Spider Demon your favorite demon so far? And if not, which one was? Let me know in the comments. I really hope nobody chooses Kibutsuji as their favorite.

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My review of the next episode is available here.

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