Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba’s Swordsmith Village Arc has been a wild ride from start to finish. Tanjiro Kamado (Natsuki Hanae) sets off with his sister Nezuko Kamado (Akari Kitō) to the titular Swordsmith Village in Demon Slayer Season 3 to obtain a new sword. He encounters several allies as well as new imposing threats along the way, with the whole story being told over the course of 11 episodes.
Demon Slayer Season 3 starts with a bang with an excellent opening episode that sets the stage for what is to come. Viewers are introduced to the Upper Five and Upper Four demons, both of whom play an important role in Tanjiro’s adventures. The opening credit visual sequence sets an incredibly high bar, with ufotable showing they are capable of upping the ante with a series already known for top-notch visuals.
Even the way Tanjiro is re-introduced is done quite well in the season opener, and it is thankfully the only part of the season where Inosuke Hashibira (Yoshitsugu Matsuoka) and Zenitsu Agatsuma (Hiro Shimono) make an appearance. Their limited appearances in the Swordsmith Village Arc marks a move away from the more over-the-top comedic moments of Demon Slayer, something the series desperately needed after it had started to grow tiresome.
Replacing Inosuke and Zenitsu as the main secondary characters in the Swordsmith Village Arc are Genya Shinazugawa (Nobuhiko Okamoto), the Mist Hashira Muichiro Tokito (Kengo Kawanishi), and the Love Hashira Mitsuri Kanroji (Kana Hanazawa). Not only are they a step up in terms of their fighting abilities, but they are noticeably less irritating as characters. They are also each given plenty of exposition to help establish their motives and develop their relationships with Tanjiro. I greatly appreciated that a character like Genya, who initially came across as a massive jerk, was fleshed out to the point that I was rooting for him relatively quickly. Character development is important, so it was vital that these side characters were fleshed out to make their actions matter more to viewers.
Unfortunately, that exposition often got in the way of what Demon Slayer Season 3 was trying to do. There were entire episodes devoted to flashbacks in the midst of very exciting battles, and it quickly took me out of the action and left me itching to get back to the fight. Often times it left characters in cliffhanger positions only to virtually ignore them for multiple episodes. The great pacing of episodes like the season finale made the midseason pacing even more frustrating since it was clear that ufotable knew how to nail the pacing when they really wanted to. I would have liked to have seen better pacing throughout instead of what felt like padding just to hit a certain episode count and runtimes.
Another reason that pacing started to get really frustrating was because of how incredible the fight sequences were. Some of the most beautiful animated sequences I have ever seen appear in the midst of the battle with Upper Four and the Emotional Demons he splits himself into. It was a battle that I was begging to see more of, and every second it was shown on screen had me on the edge of my seat. Upper Four was a truly threatening and intimidating enemy that posed quite the threat to Tanjiro and his fellow demon slayers, and I wanted as much of him on screen as humanly possible. What we got was good, it just would have been even better without the pacing issues.
Where I was really disappointed was with the Upper Five demon. Since Upper Five and Upper Four both went to the Swordsmith Village together, I was hoping they would be fighting together and both pose a threat to the demon slayers. Sadly, Upper Five was relegated to a side story with Muichiro and was incredibly underwhelming. The Upper Rank demons are supposed to be the best of the best, but Upper Five felt like a joke with how quickly Muichiro was able to defeat him. While Upper Four took everything that Tanjiro, Genya, and Mitsuri had, Upper Five paled in comparison.
The pacing struggles may have detracted from the midseason episodes, but they did pay off in the end during the final fight between Tanjiro and Upper Four. Tanjiro’s relationship with Nezuko took center stage at the end and was certainly impressive, but his allies contributed greatly to the ultimate victory and he couldn’t have done it without them. Learning more about them made me care significantly more about what they added to the fight, so seeing it all pay off, in the end, was really satisfying.
Demon Slayer Season 3 started off strong, faltered a bit in the middle, but ultimately ended on an emotional high that made it all worth it. There are some truly breathtaking moments presented by ufotable that make the epic battles and heartbreaking emotional moments hit exponentially harder. If the pacing had been tightened up throughout it would have been near perfect, but that does not stop it from being more than worth the ride.
Demon Slayer Season 3 is available now on Crunchyroll with English dub episodes release every Sunday in June.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Swordsmith Village Arc
Demon Slayer Season 3 started off strong, faltered a bit in the middle, but ultimately ended on an emotional high that made it all worth it. If the pacing had been tightened up throughout it would have been near perfect, but that does not stop it from being more than worth the ride.