In just the first episode of Demon Slayer: Entertainment District Arc, this incredible anime already surpassed Avengers: Endgame in one respect. Maybe Marvel Studios should’ve hired Koyoharu Gotouge to handle Black Widow’s death. After all, it looks like they’re doing all right handling the death of a certain Hashira.

Demon Slayer: Entertainment District Arc key art.
Not included in this key art: all the tears.

Demon Slayer: Entertainment District Arc is the second season of the Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba anime series, which is itself based on the manga of the same name by Koyoharu Gotouge. Although, technically speaking, the second season started with the TV version of the Mugen Train anime film. That lasted for seven episodes, making this first episode of the Entertainment District Arc the eighth episode of the second season, but whatever.

Demon Slayer: Entertainment District Arc Ep. 1 is directed by Shin’ya Shimomura and Kei Tsunematsu, while Takashi Suhara did the storyboard. Haruo Sotozaki is the overall director of the anime series. The legendary Yuki Kajiura and Go Shiina did the music. Ufotable is the animation studio behind the anime. Finally, Aniplex of America licensed this anime for the US.

Demon Slayer: Entertainment District Arc Ep. 1 premiered on December 5, 2021 as part of a simulcast with Japan. You can watch it on either Funimation or Crunchyroll. The anime is only available in Japanese audio with English subtitles at the moment, so stay tuned for news of the English dub version. As of this writing too, this episode is only available for premium subscribers of either streaming service. If you want to watch for free, wait a week for December 12, 2021.

Warning: spoilers for Demon Slayer: Entertainment District Arc Ep. 1 below. If you want to watch the aftermath of the Mugen Train Arc for yourself, stop here, and come back once you’ve stopped bawling your eyes out.

Demon Slayer: Entertainment District Arc Ep. 1 ~ Plot Summary

Who needs dialogue when you can let the art and music speak for themselves?

Demon Slayer: Entertainment District Arc Ep. 1 actually starts us off with a quick recap of the end of the Mugen Train Arc. Simply put: the Upper Moon demon Akaza lands a fatal blow on the Flame Hashira: Kyojuro Rengoku. However, Kyojuro manages to trap Akaza long enough for the sun to nearly rise, forcing Akaza to retreat rather than continue the fight. Tanjiro even manages to impale Akaza with his thrown sword, but the demon escapes, and thus our heroes just get to quietly watch Kyojuro breathe his last.

The story then cuts to Tanjiro and co. recovering from their wounds. Or not. Tanjiro doesn’t wait for his wounds to fully heal before he sets out for the Rengoku residence to deliver their eldest son’s last words to them. Only, the father couldn’t care less about those last words, and nearly kills Tanjiro when he tries. Fortunately, the younger son does want to hear the last words from his older brother, and thanks Tanjiro with a book about the Sun Breathing technique that Tanjiro desperately wants to learn. Unfortunately, the Rengoku father had shredded the pages into illegibility, making it useless and forcing Tanjiro to look elsewhere for clues.

Tanjiro finally returns to the Butterfly Hashira’s mansion to heal and train, with the assistance of a very angry sword smith chasing him, of course. The training is interrupted by the Sound Hashira attempting to kidnap 2 of the medics for a field mission into the Entertainment District that he apparently needs women for. Tanjiro (and by extension Nezuko), Inosuke, and Zenitsu (sort of) volunteer to go to the girls’ place. And thus begins the Demon Slayer: Entertainment District Arc proper. We’ll just have to find out the nature of this mission in Ep. 2.

Demon Slayer: Entertainment District Arc Ep. 1 ~ The Good

It’s an older teaser, sir, but it checks out.

Man, does Demon Slayer: Entertainment District Arc Ep. 1 tug on your heartstrings. It’s basically a funeral episode for Kyojuro Rengoku without the funeral. The episode deals with the fallout of his death on his family and having to cope with that trauma. Like the kind of scene, Black Widow should’ve gotten in Avengers: Endgame, but didn’t because of reasons. It’s this attention to detail mixed with the onion ninjas that makes Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba great.

That and the absurd and ridiculously hilarious comedy mixed in with the tragedy. The anime reminds me of Fullmetal Alchemist in that regard. The ridiculous yet adorable comedy of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba gives you a well-needed breather from the drama and tragedy, especially due to how unexpected they are. You’d be hard-pressed to guess when the next moment of comedy will show up, and it’s that unexpectedness that contributes to it. Fullmetal Alchemist was like that, and it’s also why I love Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba so much.

Demon Slayer: Entertainment District Arc Ep. 1 ~ The Bad

Screenshot from "Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba" season 1, showing Tanjiro's shocked face at the sights of a city.
“How dare you insist that there’s something wrong with this episode?!”

I admit, as a devoted fan of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, it’s hard for me to find any faults with the series as a whole, including Demon Slayer: Entertainment District Arc Ep. 1. I guess if I had to pick something to nitpick, I’d complain about the Sound Hashira being a walking sexual harassment lawsuit waiting to happen. Given how outraged everyone else is at his behavior though, it’s not much of a problem. I daresay, it was very satisfying watching the other girls (who aren’t combating members of the Demon Slayer Corps, mind you) swarm the Sound Hashira like adorable little Pikmin swarming an enemy. Ah, good times.

Source: Funimation, Crunchyroll