Demon Slayer Episode 21

Demon Slayer Episode 21

Against Corps Rules

This week’s episode of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba wasn’t exactly the most exciting. There was no major battle, we weren’t introduced to any new demons, and because of these things there was no over-the-top animation. However, it was still one of the better episodes of the series.

I think last week I said that was the conclusion of the spider clan arc, but it turns out that this week’s episode was the real end. The Spider Silk Demon’s story was wrapped up, and the shift into the final arc of the season began. Or at least what I assume will be the final arc — there are only five episodes left.

But the fact that this episode included the transition between two arcs is partially why it was so good. We got some new information to wrap up the spider clan arc, and we got some new information to introduce the next arc.

World building hasn’t exactly been one of the strong suits for this series thus far. In multiple of my previous episode reviews I mentioned how the way the world works seemed to be retconned with each new episode. But it feels like we’re now at a point where this will no longer be an issue.

The benefit of longer series is that over time they can tie together the differing facts which were laid out near the beginning of the story. Think of it like story maintenance to fill in plot holes.

Now that Demon Slayer’s world has been around long enough to be established, it can turn its attention to fixing the inconsistencies in it. Look at any other, often shounen, series which is, or will be, longer than four cours and you’ll see this same thing happening.

Rui – Spider Silk Demon

For a few episodes now we’ve known that the Spider Silk Demon’s name is Rui. I just haven’t been referring to him as such because, to be honest, I kept forgetting it. Me being bad with side character names is nothing new.

But Rui’s name isn’t what I wanted to discuss here. Instead, we’re shown his origin story. Or rather, we’re shown the origin story of the Spider Silk Demon. Rui was originally a sickly child who had to remain indoors — that is, until Kibutsuji Muzan paid his home a visit.

It’s unclear exactly why Kibutsuji chose to “save” Rui, but we can assume he saw that Rui had the potential to be a powerful demon. In this case, Kibutsuji doesn’t turn Rui into a demon by force, but rather offers him a deal. If he gives up his humanity, he can have a new lease on life.

Much to his parents’ dismay, Rui takes Kibutsuji up on this offer and becomes a demon. But, at least at first, he tries to live a normal life with his parents. However, it didn’t take long for his parents to try to kill Rui due to his need to consume humans to survive.

And this is the important part: Rui kills his parents, develops his fixation on family bonds, and seemingly awakens his Blood Demon Art. Could the stress of losing, or potentially losing in Nezuko’s case, a strong bond be the trigger for Blood Demon Arts?

Even with the Taiko Demon it could be argued that this was the case. The bond with his father was severed due to his disapproval of the Taiko Demon’s writing. It all seems to be coming together, finally.

Shinobu vs. Giyuu

While Rui’s backstory took up roughly the first 10 minutes of the episode, after that is where the shift to the next arc begins. I’ll just call this the Hashira arc, and exactly what the Hashira are is something I’ll get into later on.

But what we need to know for right now is that both Giyuu Tomioka and Shinobu Kochou are Hashira. This is a title within the demon slayer corp, but it’s not one of the 10 levels of demon slayers. In fact, we the levels of demon slayers haven’t really mattered at all since they were first introduced.

Sure, some of the no-name demon slayers who were in the spider demon forest referenced various levels, but other than that we no nothing about them. Is there a formal test one needs to take in order to go up a level? Can demon slayers be demoted? We don’t know.

Shinobu Kochou vs. Giyuu Tomioka from the anime series Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
Shinobu Kochou vs. Giyuu Tomioka

However, what we do know is that the demon slayer corps rules call for the annihilation of any and all demons — including Nezuko. While Shinobu is willing to uphold this rule, Giyuu takes a stance against her to defend both Tanjirou and Nezuko.

This leads to something I actually hope to see more of in the series, a demon slayer vs. demon slayer duel. Sure, this isn’t something which would probably happen often since the demon slayers are all members of the same group, but they do still have individual differences which could lead to conflict.

The demon slayers may not try to kill each other, but duels between them could still be used to decide the balance of power between factions within the organization.

Kanao Tsuyuri

It was either last week or the week before that I mentioned the girl with the butterfly hair clip from Final Selection was probably related to Shinobu in some way. I don’t think her name was actually revealed in the anime yet, but I’m telling you it’s Kanao Tsuyuri so I can refer to her by her name for this section.

Kanao does appear to be an apprentice of Shinobu, so perhaps we’ll see Tanjirou become Giyuu’s apprentice in the future. However, even if she use the Insect Breathing Technique like Shinobu, which I’m assuming she does, she’s not a carbon copy of Shinobu. She doesn’t have the same fighting style.

Shinobu makes up for her lack of strength with her specialized blade which delivers poison to those she cuts. Kanao doesn’t rely on such a roundabout tactic. She has the strength to decapitate demons, and is shown to be fairly physically strong otherwise as well.

Kanao also wields a pink Nichirin blade which has unknown properties. I’m not sure what color blades Shinobu and Giyuu are supposed to have, but I wouldn’t call either of theirs pink. And I’d just like to remind you that this is only the third colored blade we’ve seen. We still know very little about them.

However, like her mentor, Kanao is a member of a specialized group within the demon slayer corp. This group, led by Shinobu, serves as the clean-up crew after battles against demons have taken place. Most of the members aren’t swordsmen, and they instead serve as a medic corp.

Since she’s a member of the medic corp, and Shinobu is a pharmacist, I’m guessing Kanao’s pink blade has some sort of drug-like property.

Hashira

The Hashira are probably the top demon slayers in the demon slayer corp. I’m assuming they’re all members of the Kinoe rank — the top rank. However, I think they’re probably not the only ones who hold that rank. If they were, there would be no reason to have the separate title of Hashira.

As for what Hashira means, it simply translates to “pillar.” Essentially, these are the pillars of the demon slayers corp. They’re the strongest members who uphold everything the corps stands for. But all we really know about them for sure is that there are at least seven of them.

Giyuu and Shinobu have already been confirmed as members of the Hashira, and five other members are pictured with Shinobu in the image below. And I say there are “at least” seven members because since Giyuu wasn’t pictured with them perhaps there are others who also simply weren’t pictured.

The Hashira from the anime series Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
The Hashira

It’s also possible that there are only seven and Giyuu isn’t with them because he’s been imprisoned for defending a demon. My guess is that the Hashira are going to be the ones who determine Nezuko’s fate, with Shinobu arguing for her death and Giyuu arguing for her life.

Also, since there are so few Hashira, and the two we know the most about use different breathing techniques, it makes sense to me that they all have different specialties. There’s probably a Hashira for the Thunder Breathing and Beast Breathing techniques, along with three other techniques we don’t know yet.

Taking a look at the picture of them lined up, I think the central man will be the Thunder Hashira and the one on the far right will be the Beast Hashira. So let’s just make some guesses for the other three Hashira pictured.

My guesses are as follows: the man on the left is the Earth Hashira, the woman on the left (not Shinobu) is the Sky Hashira, and the woman on the right is the Plant Hashira. Also, now that I look at this cape, perhaps the main in the middle is actually the Fire Hashira and the man on the left is the Thunder Hashira.

Conclusion

What did you think about this week’s episode of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba? Did you like Rui’s origin story? Do you think Kanao is trying to steal Shinobu’s distinction as best girl? And what are your guesses for the techniques used by the Hashira pictured? Let me know in the comments.

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My review of the next episode is available here.

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