This Demon Slayer review contains spoilers.
Demon Slayer Season 3 Episode 10
“You little girl…”
Tanjiro and his Demon Slayer cohorts haven’t lacked power or numbers this season. These warriors have surpassed their limits in more ways than one, but one trait that they’ve lacked as they launch their blows is the implicit power of love. Enter Mitsuri Kanroji, Demon Slayer‘s Love Hashira, who brings a very unique touch to combat. Kanroji’s feminine touch helps guide forward “Love Hashira Mitsuri Kanroji,” a productive but messy and bloated penultimate episode to the season.
Hantengu has proven himself as a formidable foe all season but in “Love Hashira Mitsuri Kanroji” he delivers a major injustice that’s far more devastating than any demonic blow: he calls Kanroji a bitch. If Kanroji wasn’t already properly motivated to destroy this monster, she certainly gains the appropriate killer instinct during her fight with Hantengu’s final form, Zohakuten. Epic blows are traded between Kanroji’s Love Breathing techniques and Zohakuten’s concentrated electrified dragon bursts, which explode into stunning displays of strength.
These explosions looked great during the finale of the previous episode and “Love Hashira Mitsuri Kanroji” delivers them with even greater electrified precision as Kanroji steps into the spotlight. Genya and Nezuko also show up for a second just to remind you that they still exist and deserve credit for this victory, too. It’s likely that next week’s finale will give every character a substantial role to play in this Upper Rank Demon’s takedown, but at the moment they’re helpless to rise above Kanroji’s protagonist power creep.
It’s been a minute since Kanroji was front and center, but Demon Slayer doesn’t waste any time before reminding audiences that she’s a steady source of fan service. There are some pretty gratuitous scenes where the Cleavage Love Hashira is more eye candy than she is a legitimate warrior. There’s also some really condescending dialogue about how Kanroji, a female, can be as strong as she is, which feels like an antiquated argument to be having three seasons in. All of this being said, Kanroji at least gets the last laugh through her steady evisceration of Zohakuten’s dragon tendrils. It certainly doesn’t seem like it’s a coincidence that it’s one of the few female Demon Slayers in the series who’s responsible for the destruction of this phallic tentacle attack. It’s Kanroji who does the heavy lifting here while Tanjiro quizzically screams over what to do.
This whole season of Demon Slayer has been one giant battle. “Love Hashira Mitsuri Kanroji” separates itself from previous installments with an especially grandiose quality that makes this fight feel more like the type of spectacle that’s seen in Dragon Ball Z or One Piece. Kanroji’s unique whip sword brings a real acrobatic quality to the combat where it feels like she’s in the air more than she’s on the ground. This season has slightly struggled to make each episode’s combat feel unique and “Love Hashira Mitsuri Kanroji” does make its mark, and not a moment too soon with the finale right around the corner. Kanroji and Zohakuten’s clash never stops looking incredible even if it does frow slightly repetitive as Kanroji slices through dragon heads like they’re butter while Zohakuten regenerates them ad infinitum.
There’s a lot to like in this episode, but it’s hard to not roll one’s eyes as soon as Kanroji’s fight dips into a fairly unnecessary flashback. Demon Slayer’s structure has become so predictably formulaic this season that at this point I wouldn’t be surprised if Tanjiro were to accidentally step on an ant and to then experience a five-minute flashback on this ant’s difficult past. Demon Slayer has clearly been padding this story, but less can be more, such as in this case with Kanroji (although she totally passes with black hair). And hey, Obanai Iguro and his snake are pretty damn cool! It’s a shame that they’re not involved in this battle!
“Love Hashira Mitsuri Kanroji” isn’t necessarily a bad episode of Demon Slayer, but it’s everything that you’d expect a Kanroji-centric episode against Zohakuten to be, for both better and for worse. “Love Hashira Mitsuri Kanroji” contains some of the most beautiful animation of the season. However, this has become Demon Slayer’s baseline where audiences expect to be visually dazzled and episodes still need to do more. The finale to Demon Slayer’s third season is imminent, and not a moment too soon, which will hopefully bring all of this together on a satisfying note rather than continuing to incrementally drag out progress. Demon Slayer’s production staff will be more hated than Muzan Kibutsuji himself if they somehow end this season with Upper Rank Demon Hantengu still at large.