Demon Slayer Season 4 Episode 7 Review: Stone Hashira Gyomei Himejima

The penultimate episode of Demons Slayer’s Hashira Training Arc immerses the audience in Gyomei Himejima’s heavy past.

A clash between Sanemi and Giyu in Demon Slayer season 4 episode 7.
Photo: Crunchyroll

This Demon Slayer review contains spoilers.

“No matter what anyone says, I will acknowledge you, Tanjiro Kamado.”

The final episodes of Demon Slayer’s Hashira Training Arc season have been incredibly interested in Gyomei Himejima, the Stone Hashira and the Demon Slayer Corps.’ strongest warrior. After an entire episode of Tanjiro essentially being ignored by this sage swordsman, “Stone Hashira Gyomei Himejima” quickly demonstrates just how proud Himejima is of Tanjiro. This pride is in regard to Tanjiro’s completion of his rigorous boulder training, but also his courageous performance in the Swordsmith Village. Tanjiro deserves this praise and he has accomplished remarkable feats. However, he — in perfect Tanjiro fashion — deflects this respect and instead demonstrates worry over the path that lies ahead for him. 

Tanjiro has always had someone looking over his shoulder or helping by his side. He’s concerned that these assists in his life are what are truly responsible for his victories. This fittingly reflects Tanjiro’s selflessness, but it’d be asinine for him to dismiss his direct contributions on the battlefield. Yes, others have helped him and it’s his commitment to his craft and diamond-hard determination that’s led him to success. On the cusp of unprecedented battle, “Stone Hashira Gyomei Himejima” revolves around Tanjiro mastering the most important lesson of them all — that he matters and that he can trust himself.

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Demon Slayer’s previous episode functioned as Gyomei Himejima’s introduction and made it seem like a duel with this Demon Slayer would be imminent. Tanjiro never clashes against Gyomei and “Stone Hashira Gyomei Himejima” retains the calmer, introspective structure that’s punctuated the rest of the season. Demon Slayer loves to trade in tragic backstories — for both Hashira and Demons alike — but the cross that Gyomei bears is particularly heavy. It might just be Demon Slayer’s harshest history, which is really saying something. Gyomei has developed a uniquely complicated relationship with children that stems from him helping raise orphans at the temple. He’s a character who truly longs for a family and “Stone Hashira Gyomei Himejima” doesn’t try to hide that Gyomei sees traces of his former student, Sayo, in Tanjiro.

Gyomei explains that one of his students sold out Gyomei and seven other kids in order to save himself. The fallout results in some of Demon Slayer’s most disturbing and vicious storytelling. “Stone Hashira Gyomei Himejima” really leans into Gyomei’s pain and disappointment over this “failure.” He’s still haunted over the raw sensation of using physical violence to solve a problem, even if it’s against a Demon. This massacre is brutal, but its aftermath is just as awful. Gyomei’s past dominates the episode and it doesn’t miss its mark. There are still some major unanswered questions here that Demon Slayer will hopefully get around to resolving before it’s over. 

Demon Slayer would be doing itself a major disservice if it doesn’t find the time to return to Gyomei’s traitorous student and explain what happened to him. It might come across as cliched or convenient, but revealing that this boy went on to become a Demon that Gyomei needs to execute would be dramatically sound. Gyomei needs to cathartically confront this trauma and put it to rest, once and for all. Not everything in life gets the luxury of receiving closure, yet this major aspect of Gyomei’s past deserves resolution.

Gyomei’s pain steers the episode’s narrative. However, “Stone Hashira Gyomei Himejima” creates some commendable tension from Zenitsu’s struggles to match Tanjiro and Inosuke’s accomplishments. These three Demon Slayers are all incredibly strong and confidently held their own against Upper Rank Demons, but they’re not all at the same skill level. This rewarding tension has been lost through most of Demon Slayer’s Hashira Training Arc season through its solo focus on Tanjiro. 

This dynamic gives “Stone Hashira Gyomei Himejima” a certain character-driven thrust that’s been absent this season and, if nothing else, this episode reminds the audience that it’s always better to have these three working together than apart. If major casualties are on the horizon than it’s even more important to get Tanjiro, Inosuke, and Zenitsu working together as much as possible before tragedy strikes.

There’s such palpable stress in Tanjiro and Zenitsu’s final interaction and Demon Slayer makes sure that this moment hits as hard as possible by holding some of its cards to its chest. It’s genuinely chilling to see a character that’s as loose and silly as Zenitsu act so starkly serious. A major crossroad lies ahead for Zenitsu that’s set to be one of the most compelling aspects of next week’s finale. The heroes have more than enough on their plates, but it definitely seems like some level of betrayal is afoot, which would truly be brutal and more devastating that any Demon attack. To that point, “Stone Hashira Gyomei Himejima” concludes on a haunting note where Muzan Kibutsuji and Nakime finally storm the Hashira’s headquarters. Muzan is concealed in ominous mist and other ethereal touches, yet Zenitsu’s out of character coldness is by far the episode’s most unsettling sequence.

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“Stone Hashira Gyomei Himejima” is easily one of the season’s strongest episodes — if not the strongest episode — but it’s still fairly relaxed in its storytelling and structure. There’s roughly seven extra minutes to this penultimate entry, but it still doesn’t feel as if it accomplishes any more than a standard episode from this season. 

This additional time likely contributed to Gyomei’s crushing flashback, which is by far the episode’s best sequence. However, a little time with Nezuko would go a long way. Nezuko has always been a passive presence in Demon Slayer, but it’s still wild that a season that’s so interested in her has barely given her any screen time. 

Nezuko will surely be essential to the next week’s finale. Her absence has still been one of the Hashira Training Arc season’s greatest missteps. This period of self-improvement and rehabilitation is the perfect time to dig deeper into Nezuko’s unique experience. Even a single scene where she laments the danger that she’s created for the Demon Slayer Corps would go far. 

“Stone Hashira Gyomei Himejima” likely isn’t the episode that audiences were expecting it to be, but this methodical and melancholy entry still properly sets up an exciting finale that’s sure to be an all-time classic Demon Slayer finish.

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4 out of 5