Nin-nin! Over a year after season two’s spectacular Entertainment District battle, we’re back for more demon-slaying action from the Taisho era. Season three of Demon Slayer kicks off the Swordsmith Village Arc with an hour-long premiere that begins with an increasingly ill Kagaya Ubuyashiki ecstatic to discover that for the first time in 100 years, an Upper Rank has been killed.
The deaths of Daki and Gyutaro, dual holders of Upper Rank Six, cause a stir as Muzan summons Upper Rank demons for a meeting. This eye-popping, physics-defying extended look at the maze-like netherworld is a pure flex from production studio Ufotable, who instantly re-establish Demon Slayer’s status as the most visually striking anime on-air. This masterpiece of a sequence introduces us to the highest ranking Twelve Kizuki: Akaza (#3), Gyokko (#5), Hantengu (#4), Doma (#2), and Kokushibo (#1), alongside Biwa Woman Nakime, mistress of Muzan’s palace.
From the infantile hands growing out of Gyokko’s misshapen head, to Hantengu whose crouching skeletal body can only be described as despair made flesh – these Upper Ranks are beautifully grotesque. Besides their jaw-dropping looks and power, we also learn more about the Kizuki’s internal politics: particularly, Akaza’s seething resentment of his superiors. Recent failures have upset Muzan, who demands they refocus on destroying the Ubuyashiki family and finding the Blue Spider Lily.
Flash to a dream, where an unnamed Demon Slayer with hanafuda earrings is brought tea by someone who looks like an older version of Tanjiro, down to our protagonist’s signature black-checkered kimono (an ancestor, perhaps?). The man thanks the Demon Slayer for saving his family and offers to preserve his name, seeing as the Demon Slayer has no heir. With tears in his eyes, Tanjiro awakens – apparently from a two-month coma due to his grievous injuries.
A week later, Tanjiro is still rehabilitating when he reads a stack of angry letters from Haganezuka, who refuses to craft a replacement for Tanjiro’s broken sword, citing his careless use. Though dismayed, Tanjiro is informed that he may journey to Swordsmith Village, where the Demon Slayer Corps swordsmiths reside. After a circuitous route guided by different Kakushi and Kasugai crows, a blindfolded, ear-plugged, and nose-plugged Tanjiro finally arrives at the idyllic settlement.
With Haganezuka currently MIA, Tanjiro is invited to stay in the village. He encounters and has a hearty dinner with Love Hashira Mitsuri. She praises Tanjiro for defeating an Upper Rank, stating he’s leveled up thanks to the fight experience – equivalent to a decade of regular demon slaying. Before leaving, Mitsuri informs Tanjiro of a special weapon hidden in the village which might boost his abilities.
The following morning, Tanjiro searches for the weapon in the woods when he stumbles upon an argument between a swordsmith and Mist Hashira Muichiro. As he wonders what the quarrel could be about, he notices a mysterious Demon Slayer standing alongside the squabbling figures… the same man from his dream.
- Unlike the deeply tragic motivations of other Demon Slayers, Mitsuri Kanroji reveals that she joined the Corps because she’s seeking a husband who is stronger than her – namely a Hashira. In order to meet a Hashira, she became one herself.
- Genya, who Tanjiro meets in a hot spring, bears a striking resemblance to Wind Hashira Sanemi Shinazugawa. Tanjiro suspects that they’re brothers, but Sanemi has previously mentioned that he has no siblings. Are they estranged and related? Or is it something else?
- This episode fills us in on the roles of Kakushi (like Goto), who function as the clean-up crew and all-purpose attendants to the Demon Slayer Corps.
Demon Slayer is streaming now on Crunchyroll