Demon Slayer: Swordsmith Village Arc (Season 3) | Summary & Review
Demon Slayer Season 3's Swordsmith Arc offers visual highs and character growth, though pacing and plot suffer. Discover the season's verdict here!
Demon Slayer is becoming an amazing Shonen powerhouse after its well received first movie: Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Movie: Mugen Train and the incredibly made second season. It can easily stand alongside the world renowned works such as Hunter x Hunter, Naruto, or Fullmetal Alchemist.
Let’s have a quick summary of what happened in the Swordsmith Village Arc and see if it lives up to the hype.
Demon Slayer: Swordsmith Village Arc (Season 3) | Summary
Tanjiro's Trials in the Swordsmith Village
In the aftermath of the decimated Entertainment District, a battered Tengen Uzui emerges, having lost an arm and making the decision to retire immediately. Alongside him are Zenitsu and Inosuke, both comatose, and Tanjiro, who also succumbs to a coma shortly thereafter. Upon discovering them, A Kakushi swiftly signaled his colleagues and arranged for their transfer to the Butterfly Mansion, ensuring they received the necessary and proper medical treatment.
In a rage, Muzan Kibutsuji summoned the remaining Upper Demon Moons to the Infinity Castle, and after expressing his rage at their failures, sent Gyokko and Hantengu to find and annihilate everyone at the Swordsmith Village. Back at the Butterfly Mansion, the demon slayer trio is already awake, and Zenitsu and Inosuke are sent on different missions, while Tanjiro focuses on rehab.
When Tanjiro's swordsmith, Hotaru Haganezuka, declines to forge Tanjiro a new sword, he is instructed to rendezvous with him at the Swordsmith Village for a face-to-face discussion. With Nezuko in tow, Tanjiro encounters the village chief, Tecchin. The chief assures Tanjiro that he'll retrieve Hotaru to forge the sword. Tanjiro discovers the village hot springs and subsequently came in contact with Mitsuri Kanroji, Muichiro Tokito, and Genya Shinazugawa.
From a distance, Tanjiro watched as Muichiro argued with a young villager, and caught a glimpse of the back view of a man who he remembers from his dreams. For meddling, the indifferent Hashira knocks him out despite Tanjiro trying to defend himself. Upon rising, young Kotetsu reveals that the "man" he glimpsed is a cutting-edge robotic training doll crafted by his ancestors, and fashioned after a legendary swordsman from centuries past.
Tanjiro vows to safeguard it, but Muichiro suddenly emerges, wreaking havoc to the doll after completing his intense training. Kotetsu eventually finds out that it still works and urges Tanjiro to train with it to surpass the cocky Muichiro. Training is tough for Tanjiro as Kotetsu withholds food and water from Tanjiro as punishment for failing to hit the doll.
When Tanjiro eventually passes out, he dreams of the afterlife and spots a strange stone in the Sanzu River. This stone helps him sniff out scents even quicker than the Opening Thread. He cleverly exploits this new ability, landing a mighty blow on the doll's head, causing it to shatter and unveil a hidden sword.
To Tanjiro and Kotetsu's dismay, the sword is tarnished. Hotaru appears, now buffed up from intense solo training, to craft a superior sword for Tanjiro. He then wrestled the old sword from Tanjiro and Kotetsu, with a promise to hone it. All the meanwhile, the two Demon Moons, Gyokko and Hantengu, have sneaked into the Swordsmith Village. Hantengu meets Nezuko, Tanjiro, and Muichiro (who swiftly beheads him).
Almost immediately, two new demons sprout from the dismembered remains. One of the demons, Karaku, blows Muichiro away with his windy uchiwa. The other new demon, Sekido, almost zaps Tanjiro with his electrifying khakkhara. Genya swiftly emerges, wielding a shotgun and a wakizashi, and appears to have slain the two demons. Rather than dying, the demons divided once more - now four in total. Urogi, one of the newly divided demons, unleashed a piercing scream at Tanjiro. Meanwhile, Nezuko valiantly protected Genya from Aizetsu, another one of the new demons, who brandished a deadly yari.
After being blown away, Muichiro encounters a demon fish and kills it. A moment of indecision helps him remember his past, and he later decides to follow Kotetsu and go protect Kozo and Hotaru. Tanjiro discovers that the four demons embody each of Hantengu’s emotions: joy, anger, pleasure, and sorrow. Genya showcases his ability to consume demons and use their abilities, while Nezuko joins in the fight against the emotions and even saves Tanjiro from being blown away. Fish demons swarm the village as Mitsuri rushes to save the swordsmiths.
On his way to get a new sword, Muichiro stumbles on Gyokko. Mitsuri arrives at the village and saves the village chief from certain death at the hands of a fish demon, and kills all the fish demons there. As Muichiro engages Gyokko in battle, the demon entraps him in a watery vase and watches and applauds as he gasps for breath. Nezuko ignites Tanjiro’s sword with her blood / Blood Demon Art, and he uses Hinokami Kagura to behead Sekido, Karaku, and Urogi.
Seeing as the beheaded demons refuse to die, Tanjiro and Genya head into the woods in search of Hantengu’s real body. They both try to behead Hantengu but their attempts were futile. Genya’s memories drift back to his turbulent childhood, and he remembers how a demon had turned his mother into a demon, and his elder brother, Sanemi, had killed her to save him. Back in the present, Tanjiro charges Hantengu to decapitate him.
Tanjiro attempts but fails at beheading Hantengu, while Sekido absorbs all the other emotions, and was reborn as Zohakuten; he shielded the tiny Hantengu in a wooden orb and kept him someplace safe.
At the same time, Gyokko breaks down a shed and sees Kozo, and Hotaru, intensely honing a sword and paying no attention to him. A slight misstep from Kotetsu helps him blow air into Muichiro’s entrapment, allowing him to free himself. A sudden memory appears which tells Muichiro that he and Tanjiro might be related.
With the poison from Gyokko’s needles coursing through his body, Muichiro recollects his tragic childhood, and how Amane Ubuyashiki recruited him into the Demon Slayer Corps after his brother’s death. He then saves Kotetsu and engages Gyokko in battle.
Muichiro insults Gyokko's art, sending him into a rage. He then transforms into a massive merman with a devastating touch using his Blood Demon Arts, his attacks enraged by insults and power. The lightning-fast Muichiro outwits Gyokko, then beheads him with the last attack. Gyokko falls, and Muichiro's markings vanish while the poison overpowers him. Kozo aids him, and Kotetsu shows Kyojuro Rengoku’s secret tsuba in his shirt, which had saved his life.
Tanjiro fights Zohakuten in a distant realm, suffering broken eardrums and a mutilated foot from the dragon's clone powers. Mitsuri saves him by beheading the wood dragon. She bravely pursues Zohakuten to save Nezuko and Genya.
Mitsuri fends off Zohakuten’s dragons, and moves in to behead him, but was blown away with his sonic sound beam. Undaunted, Mitsuri charges at Zohakuten again, strengthened by a mark on her body. Meanwhile, Nezuko, Tanjiro, and Genya chased after Hantengu.
Tanjiro catches Hantengu using a combination attack with a surprising use of Thunder Breathing with the addition of Hinokami Kagura. As Hatengu's neck is severed, he transforms into Urami, a bigger, fiercer version of himself, launching a relentless assault. Genya and Nezuko pounce on Urami, but he takes a tumble off a cliff. Urami hunts for humans to feast upon, but Tanjiro swiftly ends his reign of terror with a lethal strike, wielding a powerful ancient sword gifted by Muichiro.
As dawn draws near, he rushes to shield Nezuko from the sun. While burning, she kicks him off, and sends him flying in Urami’s direction, so he could finish Hantengu off and save the villagers he was trying to kill. After finally finishing off Hatengu, Tanjiro mourns the loss of his sister. The villagers he saved gestured to him to stop crying, and as he turns around, Tanjiro realizes that Nezuko didn’t burn - she is now resistant to the sun (and spoke!).
Finding this out, Muzan shows his desire to find and consume Nezuko to become resistant to the sun too; Lady Tamayo also sends a letter to Tanjiro. As Tanjiro departs the village, the swordsmiths joyously honor him for his heroic deeds.
Demon Slayer: Swordsmith Village Arc (Season 3) | Review
Animation And Visuals | 9/10
This is the most prominent element in the anime. Ufotable, the Japanese animation studio, will never risk failing in this area and is committed to expanding the boundaries of the medium. As opposed to the first season's fights, this season's quieter moments show substantial development over the first. There is an obvious improvement in the depth of the character designs, the intensity of the facial expressions, and the quality of the camerawork.
However, it cannot get a perfect grade due to the fact that we're three seasons into the show than an entirely new beginning. This season's climaxes failed to match the impact of the previous seasons, which hinders its score.
This is not the studio's fault; the source material did not allow for a grand climactic conclusion like in previous seasons. This was the first season in which you could feel the source material pulling the studio down, which is interesting considering how the opposite is usually the case when looking at shows like One Punch Man or Attack on Titan.
Storyline And Plot Development | 6/10
To be perfectly honest, Demon Slayer has never had a reputation for having the best story in Shonen, but it is glaringly evident that the third season has made the narrative even weaker than it was in the seasons before it. There is hardly any discernible forward movement in the plot over the entirety of the series. This season was simply a little bit too straightforward, in contrast to the other arcs and seasons, which at least had an interesting idea to explore or a puzzle to figure out before the actual major battle began.
The quality of the writing has also significantly declined, far more so than in the past. When you watch a Shonen, you don't expect it to make a significant impact on your life, but all of these drawn-out speeches about dying, being confident in oneself, and strength have reached a point where they are simply tedious and repetitious.
Additionally, even though the season’s name is Swordsmith Village Arc, most of the action takes place in an unknown forest. A more fitting name for the arc would be Some Random Forest Arc.
In addition to that, the pacing was not very good. This story arc seemed to move at a far slower pace than the one in the Entertainment District. The battle between certain characters seemed to carry on forever. Certain episodes almost give the impression that they may be fillers, and could be skipped.
Even if this season may not be particularly bad, it doesn't add anything new to the tried-and-true Shonen formula that fans of the genre have come to expect either. If this were the first season, there would have been no complaints about it at all; instead, after two seasons and two movies, it seems like the franchise is taking a step backward with this season / arc.
Character Development | 8/10
Inosuke and Zenitsu were absent from the plot for the duration of this season. This is a minor disappointment, but honestly, it’s not like they would have fit in quite as well here as they did in the previous season. The Love Hashira, Mitsuri, and the Mist Hashira, Muichiro, are the two new major characters that are presented in this season. It's strange because everything likable about Tokito is the exact opposite of everything that is appealing about Mitsuri.
Tokito has an interesting character arc in this season; although he started as somewhat of a jerk at the beginning of the season, he evolves for the better throughout the show, which pays off extremely well in the end. However, while taking into account his combat style and attributes, he has shown that he is, by a wide margin, the most uninteresting Hashira that we have seen so far. Mitsuri is the antithesis of that. She does not have much of an arc or a lengthy biography, but it is an absolute pleasure to see how she moves and battles. Every single one of her battle scenes was breathtaking and one of a kind.
Genya was the other new character introduced, and from comments about him, it appears many people did not like him. In all honesty, he was quite fascinating to listen to. It feels like we have more questions than answers about him after this arc, so one can only hope that we get to learn more about him in the coming seasons.
We also learn the history of another extremely significant individual, which was a highlight, but discussing it further would involve giving manga spoilers, so I will refrain from doing so.
Sound and Music | 9/10
The music is excellent as usual. Since the original Demon Slayer Opening was already fantastic, it would be fair to say that each subsequent one has been an improvement. The insane vitality of Man on a Mission is consistent. The audio track was excellent on its own. Full orchestra pieces, impressive turnarounds, and bizarro sound effects. Every cut from the blade, breath, each drop of blood is felt keenly by the audience.
Reception And Impact | 7/10
It’s rather hard to say one can watch this season and not compare it to previous seasons, and see it for how bland it has gotten. Instead of wondering if this season is entertaining, we should be wondering if Demon Slayer can live up to our expectations. The first season was the pinnacle of the anime, whereas the second seems to be going through the motions. The anime community and the Internet will be discussing this season for a very long time. But this season fell short of the high standards set by the first.
Final Score: 8/10
Is Demon Slayer Season 3 worth the hype?+
Demon Slayer continues to impress with its second season and the Swordsmith Village Arc. It showcases excellent animation, character development, and music, but some viewers found shortcomings in plot depth and pacing.
What is the Swordsmith Village Arc about?+
The Swordsmith Village Arc follows Tanjiro and Nezuko after the Entertainment District battle. They embark on a mission to protect the village of the Demon Slayer Corps swordsmiths, face new challenges, battle fierce demons, and make new friends.
How is the animation quality in the Swordsmith Village Arc?+
Animation remains a highlight, with Ufotable delivering impressive visuals. Character designs, expressions, and camerawork improve from the first season. However, some climactic moments in this arc might not match past seasons' impact.
Does the plot development of season 3 meet expectations?+
Plot development receives mixed feedback. Some find the narrative weaker, lacking significant forward movement, and straightforward compared to previous arcs. Drawn-out speeches and pacing issues have been noted, affecting story engagement.
How are the new characters introduced in this season?+
Season 3 introduces new characters like Mist Hashira Muichiro and Love Hashira Mitsuri. While Muichiro's character evolves throughout the arc, Mitsuri stands out with captivating battle scenes. Genya's introduction sparks curiosity about his background.
How is the music and sound quality of the Swordsmith Village Arc?+
The music remains strong and impactful, with the opening theme being particularly well-received. Sound effects and orchestral pieces enhance the viewing experience, immersing the audience in the world of Demon Slayer.
Is Demon Slayer season 3 bad?+
Demon Slayer Season 3 isn't necessarily bad, but it faces mixed reviews. Animation, character growth, and music impress, but pacing and plot development have received criticism compared to previous seasons.