Demon Slayer Went Full DBZ to End the Entertainment District Arc

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Season 2, Episode 17, "Never Give Up," now streaming on Funimation, Hulu and Crunchyroll.

The penultimate episode of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba's sophomore season brought the central conflict of the "Entertainment District" arc to a close. As Tanjiro Kamado and Tengen Uzui screamed their way to victory over Gyutaro, Zenitsu Agatsuma and Inosuke Hashibira had their own lung-shredding showdown with Daki. Demon Slayer's most dramatic battle yet had mass destruction, lots of screaming and even a hair-spiking powerup for its protagonist, making this episode, "Never Give Up," almost feel like an episode of Dragon Ball Z. The only thing missing was a narrator at the end of the episode saying, "Find out next time on Demon Slayer Z."

Yoshiwara, the titular city in the "Entertainment District" arc, has seen better days. A huge portion of (if not the entire) city was engulfed in flames for the final battle with Daki and Gyutaro, the demon siblings who share the title of Upper-Rank Six. Demon Slayer had never seen destruction on such a scale as Tanjiro scurried through the wreckage, trying to find a way to defeat Gyutaro. He would never have succeeded if Gyutaro hadn't fallen victim to the same curse that has been the demise of so many DBZ villains -- arrogance. Toying with Tanjiro instead of killing him was the beginning of the end for Gyutaro, as Tanjiro's final stand rallied his wounded comrades to action.

Tengen Uzui battles Gyutaro in Demon Slayer

In a sequence ripped straight from the most famous shonen anime of all time, Tengen Uzui powered up at the last second to begin a high-speed clash with Gyutaro. The two swordsmen pummeled each other across the battlefield, with one explosion after another leveling the buildings in their path. To the credit of Dragon Ball Z, its penchant for high-speed, screamy death matches works very well to convey the intensity of the battle and the effort put forth by the combatants, and this style appears to be what Demon Slayer has drawn its inspiration from for this fight.

Dragon Ball Z is famous for its heroes powering up when their backs are against the wall and then turning the tables, and Demon Slayer saw all four of its protagonists in this fight unveil a new power or ability. Tengen Uzui perfected his Musical Score Technique, allowing him to turn his enemy's movements into a song whose rhythm he can predict so that he can fight while avoiding injury. Zenitsu unleashed Thunderclap and Flash: Godlike Speed, which nearly decapitated Daki before she could react. Even Inosuke revealed another disgusting ability, having shifted his internal organs out of the way of Gyutaro's strike in the previous episode.

Gyutaro detonates his Blood Sickles in Demon Slayer

Tanjiro, on the other hand, appeared to have unlocked the Demon Slayer equivalent of Super Saiyan (Super Slayer?). His scar more than doubled in size, his pupils vanished and even his hair changed shade and spiked up. While it's not clear what happened to Tanjiro at this moment, although it was similar to his earlier fight with Daki, this new power he willed himself into let him cut through Gyutaro's neck like demon butter. As six characters screamed their heads off, Daki and Gyutaro were simultaneously decapitated in a DBZ-esque final boss fight. Even the final burst of Blood Sickles from Gyutaro's headless torso had big DBZ vibes as the massive explosion appeared to destroy what was left of Yoshiwara.

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba has done very well up to this point in establishing its own identity in the heavily saturated anime market. "Never Give Up" was so evocative of DBZ's trademark style that it was almost distracting. Dragon Ball Z is arguably the most famous anime ever, so Demon Slayer's apparent homage to the franchise during its greatest battle yet isn't necessarily a bad thing -- unless it becomes a habit. There's only one episode left in Season 2 -- a 45-minute double-episode -- and Demon Slayer seems likely to get back to its roots in the aftermath of the first death of an Upper-Rank in 100 years.

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