Demon Slayer Movie

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

The other weekend I blasted through Demon Slayer. In the past, I tried watching it, but it was gorier than the anime I usually enjoy. What made me decide to ultimately watch the season, is seeing clips of humorous scenes online, and growing curiosity. I gave it another chance for the moments of levity. I’m glad I did! Most of the cast is multi-dimensional, we see signs of growth for each of the main characters, and we even get insight into the experiences of the villains. Tanjirou is as pure-hearted as they come, he reminds me a lot of Deku from My Hero Academia, and he works diligently to become a demon slayer so he can keep innocent people safe, and work towards a cure for his sister’s condition. Along the way he meets an inspiring mentor, learns from past students, and overcomes a lot of trials in his journey to become stronger. Zenitsu and Inosuke round the cast out nicely, along with Tanjirou’s sister Nezoku. In addition to the humor of Demon Slayer, what drew me in was the depth of relationship Tanjirou has with his family, and the way the show displayed friendship and family in a non-traditional sense. The ways that people connected to one another, and how some relationships were supportive and nurturing, while others were detrimental, manipulative, and harmful. How friends can be the family we choose for ourselves, and the ways relationships change over time.

Recently, I watched the Violet Evergarden movie, and it was the first film I’d seen in the theater since the pandemic. I felt safe in that theater, it was very clean, and the patrons were very spaced out. However, the theater I saw Demon Slayer in was not that way. Unfortunately, when I bought my ticket online, there were only three other people who had bought tickets. And the day of the showing, most of the crowd came in during the previews! So I couldn’t adequately gauge the size of the group beforehand. Thankfully I was in a corner away from the bulk of the attendees, but I do not plan on returning to that particular theater anytime soon. It was not as clean as I would like, and I suspect they over sold tickets.

That aside, I enjoyed the movie. Some thoughts I had while viewing it;

-How funny that Inosuke ended up chasing his dream invader! I’m sure she was not expecting that. And up a mountain! Why was his subconscious such rough terrain?

-Inosuke has accepted Nezoku! Well as one of his minions at least.

-Even in his slumber, Zenitsu came to Nezoku’s aid! His dream invader also was not expecting his persistent inquiries about his trespassing. Or that his biggest qualm was that it wasn’t a lady!

-Tanjirou knows how much his family loves him, and that they would only speak kind and loving words. That, among other factors, like his Father’s advice, helped him keep his focus and helped him persevere. If the dreams were what the villain intended them to see, how did his Father’s sage advice sneak in there? Or perhaps, Enmu only planted aspects of their dream, and it was up to their subconscious to create what that entailed?

-What was the benefit to Enmu fusing his body with the train? I get that it’s a movie, but I’m not sure I see the benefit. Especially because his neck is where most people would’ve guessed.

-SO. MANY. TEARS. I cried so much, that my face mask got soaked.

If you are a fan of Demon Slayer, and enjoyed the series, definitely check out the movie! But, given the crowd I saw, you may want to wait for it to be released on streaming platforms, or on home video.

The Sentiments of Others: Fred Abberline And The Humanity of Ciel Phantomhive

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

Ciel Phantomhive, was focused on his mission to pay retribution to those responsible for the death of his parents. He even made a pact with a demon (Sebastian) to reach his goal. Despite making a deal with the devil, there is part of Ciel that remains very human. The desire for revenge has not made his heart completely cold. He shows warmth and patience towards Lizzie, his fiancée. He is forgiving towards his staff for their blundering ways. And Ciel does care about other people, although he tries to hide how big his heart truly is. If you haven’t seen Black Butler, it’s on Hulu. You may like it if you enjoy supernatural mysteries.

Ciel perseveres despite being betrayed by those closest to him. Being exposed at a young age, to the cruelty of others, Ciel is shocked by the warmth, integrity, and sincerity of Fred Abberline. Abberline is the Inspector from Scotland Yard, and he wants to make the world a better place. He joined law enforcement to make that dream a reality. He doesn’t have a big ego, he doesn’t lord his authority over others or to act superior, and he isn’t led astray by temptation. Abberline truly joined law enforcement for the right reasons. Ciel compares him to Noah and wonders what a person of that character is like, he’s an anomaly in Ciel’s world of greed and betrayal.

Ciel is the Queen’s Guard Dog. He helps with the tasks no one likes talking about and is diligent in his duties. Sebastian, the demon butler, helps him with these Underworld assignments. Abberline knows that Ciel is being used and would like to relieve him of his duties. If Abberline can make London, and the country, a safer place then the Queen won’t need Ciel to handle the unsavory and dangerous assignments. Abberline’s optimism seemed like naivety to Ciel, but the sincerity of his words, even for a moment, made Ciel believe if anyone could do it, it would be Abberline.

Being engaged, and knowing fatherhood is around the corner, has bolstered Abberline’s resolve to make London a safer place. He overcame a difficult childhood, he saw his parents killed, and was on his own at a young age, so in many ways Abberline relates to Ciel. He didn’t get to share in the experience of having a cult try to kill him, or living in a mansion, but he empathizes with other aspects of Ciel’s life. Wanting to do the right thing, and seeking justice, Abberline follows his intuition and releases Ciel from confinement (Ciel was restricted to a room while they were working on an investigation). Abberline and Ciel briefly join forces on the investigation regarding a murder and illegal drugs.

I know all the fans gush over Sebastian, and that personality might be fun for a tryst, but I’d much rather have a Fred Abberline. Those types were rare in Ciel’s day (1880s) but unfortunately they may be just as rare these days.

Abberline and Ciel both want to take down the bad guys, they just have very different ways of achieving that goal.

**SECOND SPOILER WARNING*** (IN CASE YOU DIDN’T SEE THE ONE EARLIER)

Since Abberline went through the trouble of telling us about his engagement and becoming a father, I started worrying something bad was going to happen to him.

Plus this ominous line:

So I did what anyone else might do, and googled Fred Abberline. What a delight to see that he was alive and well. I’ll continue watching.

What I failed to realize was…the anime did not follow the manga. And my queasy feeling was correct. As I thought, Abberline dies. He was on the receiving end of a sword stab meant for Ciel.

The heroic scene, where Fred Abberline saves Ciel Phantomhive was riddled with irony. I was disgusted with Sebastian as he was in no rush to prevent Abberline’s death. Sebastian is a demon and could’ve easily thwarted the attack. But his inaction, was a reminder that he is a demon, with no regard for human life. Sebastian ascertained quickly that Abberline would save Ciel, even at his own peril.

Meanwhile, Sebastian is staring off into the distance. What the hell Sebastian?!

The thing is, the thing which we know as the viewers, is Ciel doesn’t have a future. If he hadn’t asked for Sebastian’s help, he would’ve been murdered by the cult, and unable to seek justice for his parents. Ciel made a pact with the devil. He’s already given up his soul, and his future. Abberline’s sacrifice seems like it was in vain, but knowing his character, he would’ve given his life for Ciel regardless.

Ciel is incredibly angry with Sebastian for Abberline’s death. Sebastian points out that Ciel was unharmed. I suspect Sebatian didn’t care for Abberline. His sincerity and desire for peace, was in conflict with Ciel’s need for retribution. Sebastian probably found him a distraction to Ciel. Yet, I wonder why the anime decided to have this scene, which is different than the manga. Why create this heartbreaking scene? It changes the vibe between Ciel and Sebastian. I think it altered the way the viewers felt about Sebastian (or maybe just my feelings).

The following days, Ciel is depressed. Even the staff noticed his sorrow and try to cheer him up. They call Lizzie for assistance (which shows how worried they were, because she’s notorious for making them wear horrible outfits).

Ciel tries to make peace with the situation. Knowing Abberline left behind his fiancée, and unborn child, Ciel sends gifts and a letter. He had his servant Tanaka do this instead of Sebastian. Did Ciel blame Sebastian and not want his assistance? He makes him do everything. Would Sebatian think Ciel’s compassion was a weakness, so he wanted to conceal it? Perhaps he wanted to do something kind without judgement.

Did you watch this scene? What do you think of the letter Abberline’s fiancée, Maria, received from Ciel? What do you think it said? Did he describe her fiance’s bravery and heroism? Did Ciel talk about Abberline’s kindness and love for her and his child? Maybe Ciel left her his wealth? Ciel plans to die soon (Sebastian is supposed to take his soul once he achieves his plan for revenge), and he doesn’t have an heir, maybe he’s leaving it for her and the baby? Whatever words Ciel wrote, they touched Maria’s heart. Wherever Abberline’s spirit is, I know he felt appreciation and gratitude to Ciel for thinking of his family.

Having gone through all that, I hope Maria and her baby survived that firestorm that rained upon London. Not everyone survived the events that took place. Ciel is at death’s door (I’m going based off season one, before anyone raises their hand to say “well, actually…” lol). The servants are fighting Pluto, who is now breathing fire. There’s an angel who is acting less angelic than Sebastian, wrecking havoc around town. Ciel is injured and plunges into the water. Lizzie wonders about him and if he’s alright.

Sebastian pulls Ciel from the water, and later he wakes up in a boat. On the cusp of death, Ciel realizes he is inching towards the inevitable. As his cinematic reel plays around him (scenes from his life), he thinks about Lizzie, and wonders how his employees and Pluto are.

Then beautiful flickers of blue light catch Ciel’s eye.

When death comes, I wonder if we get to see the sentiments of others. If so, will it be beautiful blue lights? I think Ciel was surprised to see so many. He was loved and he had a big heart. I don’t know if I’ll have any blue lights, but it’s a wonderful thought.

Lizzie’s feelings for him made one final appearance, as the blue flower ring, that blew away in the wind made it’s way to Ciel.

Earlier in the season, Ciel met Prince Soma and Agni. Ciel’s words to the Prince were harsh, but he was trying to open up his eyes to the world around him. Sebastian and Agni entered a curry contest. Agni was impressed with Sebastian’s winning entry, curry buns. Wanting to help London recover, the Prince and Agni give free curry buns to those in need (recipe inspired by Sebastian). The boy in line reminds me of Ciel (he’s the same boy who gave Ciel and Abberline clues to Ash’s involvement with the crime). Ciel, and even Sebastian, were such positive influences on Prince Soma and Agni that they wanted to pay it forward. I’m sure their sentiments were among the blue lights Ciel saw upon his death. Perhaps Abberline was right when he said, “what changes the world is people’s faith that tomorrow will be better, that they can make it better.”