Demon Slayer Season 3: Spectacle vs. Story
Demon Slayer, both as a manga and an anime, has garnered immense popularity. However, as the third season unfolds, it is facing a critical challenge – prioritizing visual spectacle over a compelling story.
The initial season of Demon Slayer made effective choices in expanding upon the manga’s narrative, creating epic and significant moments out of small scenes. The highlight was undoubtedly episode 19, which captivated audiences worldwide with its vibrant colors, stunning action sequences, and emotionally charged soundtrack. Unfortunately, the third season falls into the trap of trying to recreate these extraordinary moments repeatedly, thus making the anime feel repetitive and tedious.
After an initial lengthy episode that introduces a new setting and separates the protagonist, Tanjiro, from his friends, the remainder of the season revolves around an over-extended fight. While the visuals, especially the unique weaponry and powerful attacks, are impressive, the impact diminishes as the fight drags on without significant progression. The majority of the season focuses on this prolonged battle between Upper Four and Upper Five, with occasional interruptions for repetitive flashbacks of new side characters. This formulaic approach detracts from the essence that makes Demon Slayer special – its ability to swiftly move on to new developments.
Despite the emphasis on craftsmanship and artistry in the narrative, this theme gets overshadowed by the excessive number of repetitive fight scenes. The season attempts to explore the idea of demons creating enduring art as a means of transcending mortality, exemplified by a particular demon’s obsession with immortalizing their work. Similarly, the swordsmiths of the village, particularly Haganezuka, prioritize their craft over personal safety. However, these intriguing concepts become secondary to the drawn-out battles.
The introduction of new characters, such as Genya, Muichiro Tokito, and Mitsuri Kanroji, brings refreshing dynamics and tragic backstories. Their unique weapons and abilities add to the overall appeal. Yet, their flashbacks, clumsily inserted amidst never-ending fights, feel more like distractions than seamless components of the story.
Furthermore, the anime undermines its momentum by explicitly explaining obvious details to the audience, robbing the viewer of engaging in the plot. Tanjiro, as a character, shines in moments of tranquility and compassion amidst a world of intense warriors, providing some much-needed comic relief. Disappointingly, this essence of Tanjiro gets diluted during fight scenes, failing to capture his kindness authentically. While Tanjiro initially stood out for his empathy towards the demons, it becomes evident that the show relies more on rhetoric than action. Although Tanjiro may shed a tear for his adversaries, his actions ultimately revolve solely around beheading them.
Demon Slayer’s third season faces the challenge of balancing its visually stunning spectacle with a compelling narrative. While the anime continues to showcase excellent animation and effects, it risks losing the simplicity and effectiveness that initially made it appealing. To maintain its uniqueness, Demon Slayer must avoid getting trapped in a cycle of prolonged fights without significant progression, and instead, focus on swiftly moving forward with its story.