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The Lowest-Rated Episode Of Demon Slayer Isn't What You Think

Anime series "Demon Slayer" recently skyrocketed in the cultural zeitgeist in a way seldom precedented by prior animated series, Japanese or not, thanks to the success of the film titled in full, "Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train." When the movie was first released in Japan, it broke a box office record previously held by Hayao Miyazaki's Oscar-winning "Spirited Away" before going on to become the most successful release in Japanese film history (via The Hollywood Reporter). Domestically, "Mugen Train" had the best-ever opening weekend for a non-English language film, breaking a record previously held by "Hero," starring accomplished martial artist Jet Li, which was released in 2004.

Some of the success of "Mugen Train" can likely be attributed to the fact that not only is its story canonical, but it's required viewing for fans of "Demon Slayer." The first season of "Demon Slayer" ends with a preview for "Mugen Train," and Season 2 of the anime series will pick up where the film left off.

According to data gathered by Parrot Analytics, interest in the "Demon Slayer" TV series is currently around nine times that of the average TV show in the United States. In short, the "Demon Slayer" anime, having likely received a bump in viewership in conjunction with the release of the movie, is extremely popular not just in Japan but domestically as well. While interest in "Demon Slayer" is high, however, fans have singled out one particular episode as the low point of its 26-episode run.

Introducing Zenitsu

Based on scores aggregated by IMDb, the 11th episode of "Demon Slayer," titled "Tsuzumi Mansion," is the lowest-rated episode of the anime thus far, with a 7.7/10 based on 1,363 user scores. "Tsuzumi Mansion" is the only episode of "Demon Slayer" with an overall rating lower than an 8.0.

Plot-wise, "Tsuzumi Mansion" is the first installment of a four-episode story arc in which series protagonist Tanjiro is tasked with stopping a demon who has taken over a mansion, from which the episode gets its title. On the way to his destination, Tanjiro meets Zenitsu Agatsuma, a new member of the Demon Slayer corps just like Tanjiro.

Based on IMDb user reviews, Zenitsu's introduction appears to be the primary cause for the dip in rating. User odie_rd2, for example, described Zenitsu as "unbearably annoying within the first couple minutes of his time in this episode." Meanwhile, user pmckenzie-478-934694 reported that "this episode had me strongly considering stopping the show. Absolutely annoying and unfunny."

Zenitsu is, notably, characterized by a dual personality. On the surface, he appears cowardly and is often overtaken by shallow attraction to various women. However, he can sometimes tap into a latent combat persona, during which time he becomes stoic and powerful. Episode 17, "You Must Master a Single Thing," similarly features a significant amount of screen time for Zenitsu but foregrounds his combat capabilities over the personality so many IMDb users found grating. Its aggregate user rating on IMDb, by contrast, is a 9.2.

As "Demon Slayer" continues into its second season, then, fan enjoyment of scenes featuring Zenitsu may be contingent on focusing on his battle proficiency rather than his personality outside of combat.