By Koyoharu Gotouge
This week’s chapter focuses on the fight between Kaigaku and Zenitsu and delves into their pasts. Kaigaku lived in poverty during his youth, and even after being chosen as one of Shihan’s successors, he continued to be ostracized by those around him. Despite these hardships, his ideology drove to keep moving forward and become stronger. Kaigaku’s defeat at the hands of Kokushibo and offer to become a demon made him question the path he had set himself on and join the side that he had been trained to defeat. Kaigaku’s backstory is by no means unordinary for demons in the series, but it effectively explains why he would stray so far from his former path. Zenitsu’s opinion of Kaigaku also further deepens this conflict. While Kaigaku never viewed Zenitsu as being a worthy successor of the Thunder Breath, Zenitsu still respected how hard Kaigaku worked for his position. Zenitsu viewed himself as a disgrace of his master’s legacy due to his limited usage of Thunder Breathing, and admired that Kaigaku had the strength that he lacked. As the fight between Kaigaku and Zenitsu begins to escalate, Zenitsu retaliates with his self-made seventh form of Thunder Breathing, slicing off Kaigaku’s head in the process.
The majority of this chapter showcases a slew of actions panels, and Gotouge takes the opportunity to deliver some spectacular artwork. With both Kaigaku and Zenitsu being disciples of the Thunder Breath, their opposing sword slashes appropriately appear as black colored bolts of electricity, allowing them to distinctly appear from page to page. Gotouge’s best artwork this week is easily the two page spread of Zenitsu using his seventh form of Thunder Breathing. For the majority of the chapter, we see Zenitsu barely fending off Kaigaku’s onslaught of attacks, so seeing Zenitsu fight back with this huge thunder dragon strike leaves powerful impact on the reader. This is easily some of the best action that we’ve seen in Demon Slayer in a long while.
While Zenitsu has managed to decapitate Kaigaku, it seems like he might not be down for the count yet. Looking beyond this fight, there are still a number of enemies that the demon slayers need to overcome before they can finally face Muzan. That being said, if this chapter was any indication, the conflicts are bound to only get more intense from here on out.