We’ve finally started to get moving on the highly anticipated next arc in the Demon Slayer anime! Kimetsu no Yaiba: Yuukaku-hen (Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba - Entertainment District Arc) has our main trio Tanjiro, Zenitsu, and Inosuke tagging along with yet another Hashira! This time around, they’re with the flashy and ostentatious Sound Hashira, Uzui Tengen. Let’s dive into how the Entertainment District Arc is shaping up, now that we’re a few episodes in!
The first episode of the new arc is set directly after the death of the Flame Hashira, Rengoku Kyojuurou, spirits are low. This episode is a double-length episode, so it covers noticeably more content than most other episodes. In this one, Tanjiro has the unfortunate but honorable duty of delivering Rengoku’s final message to his family. He has a good conversation with Senjuro, Rengoku’s younger brother, but things go awry when Tanjiro gets into an argument with Kyojuro’s father, the former Flame Hashira! When the dust settles, Senjuro eventually imparts his brother’s final message to their dad in an emotional intro to the new arc, and entrusts Tanjiro with the continuation of his brother’s legacy, relinquishing an age-old history of Flame Hashira in his family. Senjuro tries to help Tanjiro understand more about the lineage of Flame Hashira in his family, but the record was found ripped apart most likely by Rengoku Shinjuro.
Four months after Rengoku’s death, the gang spends their time training and completing missions, which has greatly improved their abilities. One day after completing a mission, Tanjiro heads back to the Butterfly Mansion to find two of Kocho Shinobu’s attendants, Aoi and Naho, are being kidnapped! The Sound Hashira Uzui Tengen is a brash, abrasive, and probably chauvinistic man with a penchant for being… unreasonable. Uzui “needs” young girls for an important mission in the sultry world of the Entertainment District! However, Tanjiro, Inosuke, and Zenitsu all decide to go in the girls’ stead, but not without having to go the extra mile to diffuse the situation.
Tengen reveals that he, a former ninja, is married to three kunoichi (ninja who is female) who have infiltrated various brothels in the area to investigate a series of suicides and disappearances that they suspect to be a result of demonic activity. However, Tengen hasn’t heard from any of his wives in a while when they had been extremely communicative before, so he plans to get Tanjiro, Zenitsu, and Inosuke to glam up and investigate the brothels from the inside.
The setup for their inclusion in Tengen’s mission is rather… strange. It’s impactful in that we are just as confused and grossed out by Tengen’s actions as Tanjiro was in that moment, and Tengen’s “playful” slap of Kanae’s bum felt like something out of much older Shounen titles.
Perhaps there was supposed to be humor about that entire situation, but it failed to really produce a humorous, quirky, and outrageous Hashira introduction like what we had with Rengoku. Tengen is loud and obnoxious, which is an interesting contrast to his former life as a ninja. This is something he had in common with Rengoku, but there was something purer about Rengoku’s loud, flashy personality.
The Entertainment District is, in the words of Tengen, a place that “shines brightly at night.” Courtesans working at the various brothels in the area are women who, through various circumstances, find themselves working in exchange for food, shelter, and clothing. At his home in the Entertainment District, Tengen tells the three young demon slayers that he has three wives who are missing in action. Suma was an Oiran at Tokito House, while Makio infiltrated Ogimoto House and Hinatsuru went to Kyogoku House. He plans to use Tanjiro, Zenitsu, and Inosuke to infiltrate the three different brothels to find out what happened because he couldn’t find any traces of them when he tried going in as a patron.
Earlier we mentioned that Tanjiro’s visit to the Rengoku household devolved into an argument with the former Flame Hashira and Kyojuurou’s father. Tanjiro was incensed at the older man for brazenly badmouthing Kyojuurou’s memory and argued in defense, but what really got Rengoku Sr going was the sight of Tanjiro’s rising sun earrings—the mark of a practitioner of a never-before mentioned Breathing Art: Sun Breathing.
Tanjiro and the audience are thrown for a loop as Rengoku Sr reveals that Sun Breathing is the primordial Breathing Art; the true blueprint of all the other Breathing Arts. This creates an interesting foray into something that’s actually been quite confusing about Tanjiro’s actual elemental affinity. We have to segue into subtextual elements, specifically, Demon Slayer nomenclature. We’ll have to get back to this topic another time; however, it’s clear that there’s something present in Tanjiro’s family line or something that places him in the world of the Demon Slayers long before any of us are even aware of it.
Tanjiro is able to blend into his role as Sumiko-chan of Tokito House, but he almost messes when he blatantly asks Koinatsu Oiran if Suma’s disappearance could really be chalked up to what rumours were saying: she deserted her role as Oiran. He covers up his mistake with some terrible lying, but gets through it with some vital information about Suma’s “forgotten diary” which supports the claims that she decided to desert.
Inosuke tries to piece together clues from a conversation in Ogimoto House but can’t come up with any leads. He can feel something writhing somewhere underneath Ogimoto House and his suspicions are heightened when he checks Makio’s room to find it in tatters. Episode 3, titled “What Are You?” begins with a monochromatic montage of what appears to be an Oiran being confronted by some unknown person. Later, we come to realize that the situation is a flashback to the confrontation we eventually see later that episode between the Ogimoto House owner, Omitsu and the Oiran, Warabihime. Omitsu confronts her for her horrible treatment of the other courtesans, saying that their frequent injury, suicide, desertion or disappearance is a direct result of Warabihime’s bullying.
In Kyogoku House, Zenitsu stands out almost immediately for his ability to play the koto or shamisen, but he elicits a negative kind of attention when he hears a young girl crying in the middle of a room in tatters. The girl has bruises on her face and the cause makes itself known: the resident Oiran of Kyogoku House… no, a demon! Zenitsu stands up to her because she was hurting the little girl, incurring her wrath upon himself as well. When unconscious, Zenitsu’s combat potential awakens, and this fact is what gives away his true identity to the worst possible entity there.
A former Shinobi and the current Sound Hashira, Tengen’s entire character hinges on being the most flamboyant wherever he goes. As a result of his flashiness, Tengen stands out everywhere and therefore, ironically, he can’t be relied upon in stealth or undercover missions like the one to rescue his three wives. He has an inflated sense of self-importance, referring to himself as “The Great Tengen (Tengen-sama)” and even calling himself the God of Flamboyance.
He is a resident of the Entertainment District, a denizen of the night well versed in the social scene after dark. He is also good-looking and uses this and an apparent charisma to manipulate and charm his way into vital information. However, Inosuke with his animal-like instincts, and Zenitsu’s ability to pick out sounds the way Tanjiro does smells.
The Missing Uzuis
Uzui Suma, Makio, and Hinatsuru are Tengen’s three kunoichi wives who are missing in action after infiltrating Tokito, Ogimoto, and Hinatsuru Houses, three brothels in the Entertainment District that have had a lot of strange and ominous activity occur. This includes various deaths ruled as suicides and disappearances.
Kibutsuji Muzan’s Upper Sixth-Ranked demon, Daki is an Oiran rank hostess at a local brothel, and thus commands a great deal of respect amongst locals, patrons snd lower-ranked hostesses. She is the demon behind various disappearances and apparent suicides in the area, as she drops victims like the owner of the brothel she works at from great heights, allowing people to come to their own conclusions as to how or why. She shows great respect to Muzan like all the other demons we’ve seen thus far, and she is complimented by him which gives her great joy. She is also vicious and cruel, as we see in her treatment of a little girl at the brothel and her subsequent beat down of Zenitsu after his intervention. Daki also realizes from her short altercation with Zenitsu that he is an agent from the Demon Slayer corps, so his cover is blown. One thing we know about Daki is that she’ll erase a witness to cover her tracks without a shred of mercy!
The first two episodes were heavy on reflection and setting up the next part of the story, but episode 1 gave us a small time skip, and some additional lore in the form of an incredibly important confusion: Sun Breathing and its mysterious connection to Tanjiro and Rengoku Shinjuro’s animosity towards such a connection. Episode 2 gave us more on Tengen Uzui as a character and laid out the mission at hand, and episode 3 got the ball truly rolling as far as the enemy for this season is concerned. Things got truly exciting in episode 3 and hopefully, the series has come into its stride following the incredibly emotional end to the Mugen Train Arc. The new arc also means a fresh opening and ending theme and this time, they’re both by Aimer! So, what do you think of Kimetsu no Yaiba: Yuukaku-hen (Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba - Entertainment District Arc) so far? Drop a comment below and tell us your thoughts!