The seven remaining Hashira from Demon Slayer

Demon Slayer Season 4 Episode 1 Recap & Spoilers

After a year away, the fourth season of Demon Slayer has returned with a large double-length episode that’s wrapping up the last season and setting up the new one. Here’s exactly what happened in the first episode of Demon Slayer’s Hashira Training Arc “To Defeat Muzan Kibutsuji.”

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What Happened In Demon Slayer Season 4, Episode 1?

After coming off a season full of Demon Slayer’s worst tendencies, I was both optimistic and cautious about what a fourth season would bring. On one hand, this season is adapting one of the shortest arcs that doesn’t even last a single volume and will hopefully be a short season with little fluff. On the other hand, because the Hashira Training Arc is mostly set-up, I worried that the season could potentially be full of padding to try and flesh out what should only be three or four episodes into twice that.

The first scene of the season is an anime original sequence that only exists to pad out this double-length episode, but I was okay with it for the most part for two reasons. This sequence follows two of the Hashira we know little about, the Wind Hashira Sanemi Shinazugawa, and the Serpent Hashira Obanai Iguro. These characters got very little development in the manga, so having an extended sequence showcasing their fighting abilities does help to prove why they’re elite swordsmen in the Demon Slayer Corps. Add in some nicely animated action against some nameless demon grunts, and it meets an action quota that fans will be satisfied with.

The Aftermath of Swordsmith Village

We then cut back to Butterfly Manor where we get a debrief about what happened after the Swordsmith Village. Tanjiro is recovering and has a new sword, Muichiro and Mitsuru have healed, and Nezuko is acclimating to being in the sun again. There’re obviously people who are shocked by that, much like the returning Zenitsu, who people may have oddly missed after being gone for all of last season. The comic shtick he has with Nezuko was solid, though his scene with Tanjiro where all he did was complain and moan reminded me exactly why I didn’t mind his absence. Inosuke also makes an appearance, but it’s primarily to inform Tanjiro about the new training to prepare for the final arc.

Iguro the Serpent Hashira from Demon Slayer

Thanks to Nezuko “conquering the sun,” the Hashira speculate that Muzan will stop at nothing to capture her and discover how she was able to overcome the weakness to sunlight that he and all demons have. This meeting has all seven of the current Hashira begin to realize just how close the final battle is. The meeting was supposed to be led by Kagaya Ubuyashiki, but his wife Amane sadly relays the message that Kagaya is too weak to speak with the Hashira and his death is near. The Hashira are devastated but Gyomei, who has become the de facto leader of the Hashira, offers his condolences, before moving on to other matters.

Training to Defeat Muzan

One of the points discussed are the marks that appeared on Muichiro and Mitsuru during their fights against the demons at the Swordsmith Village. These marks are said to increase a person’s abilities exponentially but no one knows how to make them appear. Tanjiro has had these marks, but given his inability to really describe what happened to him other than feeling “POW,” the Demon Slayers didn’t learn much from him. When Amane asks Mitsuru, she gives a similar answer, though one with a lot more “ripple, ripple, ripple” and everyone staring at her like she’s an idiot.

Muichiro is more useful though, stating that he believes the marks appeared on him because he had a heartbeat over 200 BPM and a temperature of 102 degrees. Naturally, this would kill a person, but Muichiro speculates that if a person can overcome this physical limit, they can unlock the marks. There is a negative drawback to these marks, though that’s still a mystery for now. The Hashira all agree that they need to train to prepare for Muzan’s upcoming attack, not only to improve their skills and make the marks appear on them but also to prepare the entire corps.

The Demon Slayer corps undergo training

All of the Hashira agree to this training regimen, one proposed by Gyomei, except for the Water Hashira Giyu. Giyu has been aloof for almost the entirety of the series and while we don’t have an explanation for his coldness yet, he makes it clear that he wishes to train on his own and not involve himself with anyone else. With that in mind, and with the assistance of former Hashiras like Uzui, the regiment has been set. All members of the Demon Slayer Corps will train with each Hashira to improve their skills.

The last scene of the episode ends with a visit to Tamayo, the Demon physician who helped take care of Nezuko at the beginning of the series. One of Ubuyashiki’s crows reached out to her with a proposal; come to the Demon Slayer headquarters and work alongside the Insect Hashira, Shinobu Kocho, to develop a cure for Nezuko.

While there’s not a lot of bombast in “To Defeat Muzan Kibutsuji,” this is a nice reprieve from the events of last season. We now have a clear end goal for the season with an uncertainty of when it will happen. It could be at any point during the training and while there are some snags, it does create a nice little set-up for each episode. In theory, each episode could have Tanjiro learn from a new Hashira, maybe with some original anime content, all culminating in Muzan’s assault as we transition to the final arc. While I still have concerns about padding moving forward, it’s a welcome return to form that should right some of the missteps from Season 3.

And that’s what happened in Demon Slayer Season 4 Episode 1! Come back next week for a look at the next episode of the season!

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Jesse Lab
Jesse Lab is a freelance writer for The Escapist and has been a part of the site since 2019. He currently writes the Frame Jump column, where he looks at and analyzes major anime releases. He also writes for the film website Jesse has been a gamer since he first played Pokémon Snap on the N64 and will talk to you at any time about RPGs, platformers, horror, and action games. He can also never stop talking about the latest movies and anime, so never be afraid to ask him about recommendations on what's in theaters and what new anime is airing each season.