Demon Slayer Season 4 Episode 3 Review: Fully Recovered Tanjiro Joins the Hashira Training!!

Demon Slayer helps Tanjiro get his groove back as a cathartic reunion with Uzui helps him remember what he loves about being a Hashira.

Demon Slayer Season 4 Episode 3 Uzui Fights Hashira Trainees
Photo: Crunchyroll

This Demon Slayer review contains spoilers.

“It’s time to wake up that sluggish body of yours!”

Training arcs are commonplace in battle shonen anime and any series that’s repeatedly turned to this trope runs into the issue of how to make a new training arc feel fun and narratively compelling when it’s been done so many times before. This is an issue that’s endemic of the shonen genre as a whole, not just Demon Slayer, but it becomes a larger problem when the entire season has “Training Arc” in its title and is built upon this storytelling device.¬†

Demon Slayer has been dense in training arcs, and while they’re usually entertaining, there’s a struggle to top past heights without hitting diminishing returns that diminish the events. It’s a risky gambit that potentially feels superfluous to the larger battle that it’s setting up. Demon Slayer runs the risk of feeling cheap where its characters’ accomplishments are unearned when they just magically happen in the heat of the moment in the battlefield. 

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Alternatively, this material can feel slow and laborious when there’s too much time devoted to training instead of the actual battle. This leaves Demon Slayer fans hungry for results and that this Hashira training needs to showcase new abilities and breathing techniques that the characters master. That is not what happens in “Fully Recovered Tanjiro Joins the Hashira Training!!,” which is still very much a slow return that eases its characters back into action. But hey, Tanjiro is at least healed and ready to swing his sword until his joints ache, which is something to be grateful for

It should come as no surprise that “Fully Recovered Tanjiro Joins the Hashira Training!!” makes Tanjiro’s return to Hashira training the episode’s focus. “Fully Recovered Tanjiro Joins the Hashira Training!!” gets a lot of value out of Tanjiro reuniting with many old faces as he’s told how much he’s grown and that he now “has the face of a man” after his recent accomplishments.

Demon Slayer could play Tanjiro’s return to Hashira training in many different ways, but there’s currently endless wide-eyed excitement for his return to such a hard knock lifestyle. Tanjiro’s rampant enthusiasm and zest for training and self-improvement amidst a sea of exhaustion from his fellow peers is incredibly entertaining and a fun way to begin this story arc. Everyone looks for shortcuts to bring their strenuous training to a minimum, while Tanjiro relishes the opportunity to push his body past its limits and take advantage of this opportunity as much as possible. It’s adorable, but also a glowing reminder of why Tanjiro has become a prolific Demon Slayer and one of this decade’s most celebrated anime protagonists.

Beyond Tanjiro’s bottomless battle spirit, “Fully Recovered Tanjiro Joins the Hashira Training!!” really celebrates retired Hashira, Tengen Uzui, who last played a major role during Demon Slayer’s Entertainment District Arc. This is never a bad thing and Uzui — and his three wives — were standout characters during their debut season. Uzui may be retired in the Hashira department, but he still knows how to get blood from a stone. Uzui passionately trains the masses as the Demon Slayer Corps continues to pool their resources.

The episode’s highlight is easily when Uzui mock battles his trainees and demonstrates his incredible speed and strength. The end result here is that these trainees still lack power, but their determination to help their fellow Hashira is stronger than ever. They understand that they contribute to a greater, more heroic whole, which may seem pat, but it’s a Demon Slayer tenet that’s been around since the series’ start. Tanjiro may not technically be leading this army, but he emotionally and spiritually inspires them to be their best selves and follow suit. It’s a testament to Tanjiro’s naturally heroic qualities.

This episode’s focus on Tanjiro’s triumphs is a great way to spend some time. That being said, “Fully Recovered Tanjiro Joins the Hashira Training!!” feels too sparse and it would seriously benefit from a broader perspective that also showcases how Zenitsu and Inosuke are handling these exercises. Tanjiro’s restored excitement for all things Hashira is not enough and the episode feels padded and anemic by its end. Sharing the wealth between Demon Slayer’s cast would help a lot, especially in an episode that’s about teamwork and the power of the collective. Such a tight and limited perspective rings antithetical to the episode’s greater message.

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“Fully Recovered Tanjiro Joins the Hashira Training!!” is a Demon Slayer episode that’s disadvantaged by being mostly setup. A promising friendly Hashira showdown that’s suggested by Obanai Iguro, the Serpent Pillar, could have given this episode the extra impact that it lacks. However, this doesn’t even get to play out in this episode and Demon Slayer ultimately withholds this conflict for the future. “Fully Recovered Tanjiro Joins the Hashira Training!!” is an episode that bides its time and corroborates that this season currently lacks substance even though major conflicts lie ahead for the heroes.

“Fully Recovered Tanjiro Joins the Hashira Training!!” also teases some scares with the Hashira’s night patrol and the potential of an Upper Rank Demon attack. However, Demon Slayer doesn’t actually follow through on it and it’s played more for laughs that help diffuse the situation. The episode would hit harder and be more successful if some of these innocuous Demon Slayer Corps trainees were brutally executed and there’s a more tangible fear at hand — especially since it seems like it may be a while until there’s a full-fledged Demon battle — rather than just the looming threat of danger.

“Fully Recovered Tanjiro Joins the Hashira Training!!” is a quiet Demon Slayer episode that’s not unsuccessful, but it suffers from many of the same qualities that held back the season’s previous episode. This installment offers an effective look inward — to both Tanjiro and Uzui — as Tanjiro recommits himself to his craft before this season gets too serious. However, there’s nothing in this episode that the audience doesn’t already know and there’s really no reason why it couldn’t have been combined with the previous episode.

It’ll be easier to get a read on Demon Slayer’s Hashira Training Arc season when everything is said and done, but there’s currently not enough that’s in motion. Pacing could become a serious issue this season if the narrative doesn’t quickly change and Demon Slayer can’t just bank on the reputation of its brand alone to bring in audiences. The prospect of all-out Demon and Hashira warfare is infinitely appealing, but it doesn’t mean anything if it doesn’t become a reality and draws things out for too long. Tanjiro may have incredible energy and optimism, regardless of what happens, but audiences won’t.

Learn more about Den of Geek’s review process and why you can trust our recommendations¬†here.

Rating:

3 out of 5