Demon Slayer’s ‘Entertainment District Arc’ season picks up a few months after the events from ‘Mugen Train’. The first episode is deceptively entertaining, setting ground for the story to unfold in Tokyo’s Yoshiwara, home to the city’s pleasure industry.
Plot Overview – The three young demon-slayers Tanjiro, Zenitsu, and Inosuke are led by the flamboyant Hashira (a high ranking slayer) Tengen Uzui to the entertainment district to sniff out demons hiding in the brothels. The three boys go undercover dressed as girls into different brothels to help find Tengen’s partners and also uncover monsters passing off as courtesans.
The first few episodes are engrossing, with the boys trying their best to pass off as demure girls, while being on their toes to fight off malignant spirits. Some of it was pretty hilarious. The makers do a great job of explaining how things work in the pleasure district, giving viewers a quick lesson on the different ranks of courtesans and the inner workings of brothels. A lot of the details in this episode is inspired by the real Yoshiwara, which used to be a licensed red-light district, and continues to be home to establishments that deal in the sex-trade.
Just like the previous season, team Ufotable (the studio) does a fantastic job with the animation, conjuring up a fascinating historical slice of Yoshiwara, complete with all sorts of courtesans, colorful night processions, traditional painting and some rhythmic periodic music playing in the background now and then. There isn’t much to complain about in the art department, however some more variations in secondary character faces would’ve been nice.
Just like Mugen Train, the primary trio & Tengen have to fight one high-ranking demon called Daki, who is just as ruthless and formidable as older villains. The first confrontation comes in episode 4 and the face-off between the slayers and Daki goes on till the end of the show and was a little too prolonged. While there are some fun action sequences, it wasn’t as thrilling as the battle in Mugen Train. For a 11-episode season, some of us were hoping there would be more demons and twists in the tale. An intriguing cameo of the demon-leader Kibutsuji in a new form in the first episode is never followed up, so that was another let-down. Nezuko’s character see some growth, quite literally, but like expected – she gets to come on screen only during dire circumstances.
The biggest problem with ‘Entertainment District Arc’ is that the characters OVER-EXPLAIN & overthink everything. Instead of going by the classic rule of ‘show, don’t tell’, we get an overload of unnecessary narration, even though the scenes are self-explanatory. For example, if Tanjiro gets injured in a scene and his fingers start to bleed, Tanjiro will have an internal dialogue on the lines of = “Oh no, the demon injured me, I have hurt my fingers, my fingers are bleeding and it hurts a lot, this is not good, I need to stop my fingers from bleeding and worry about fighting the demon”. It’s like they are narrating the episodes for 8-year-old kids, but funnily, the series has a 16+ rating.
For fans, ‘Demon Slayer’ continues to be a good distraction, but the writers really need to up their game with the villains and fight sequences. This should have been a 5 episode long affair. It’s a 6.5/10 from me.
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