Tanjiro and Nezuko are now reunited with Zenitsu and Inosuke, but before they go on to kick any kind of demon ass the group still has some considerable healing to get done. Shinobu continues to graciously allow everyone to get better within her comfortable headquarters, but the group quickly learns that there’s no gain without pain as they’re all pushed in considerable ways. During this period Tanjiro makes some important discoveries regarding his breathing techniques that will be a major game changer for the Demon Slayer, but not easy to pull of. As the gang’s wounds and bones heal, Shinobu also bares her soul and Tanjiro learns that he has more in common with the Hashira than he realized.
Tanjiro and company have been through a lot as of late and overcome some considerable challenges, both physically and mentally, the likes of which they’re still recovering from. With there only being a few episodes left in Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba’s season I’m sure that there are many people for Tanjiro to barrel on ahead and maybe at least make contact with a member of the 12 Demon Moon. “Rehabilitation Training,” if its title wasn’t enough of an indication, doesn’t go that route and instead spends some necessary time on these heroes mending their wounds.
Demon Slayer became a little lighter after the ultra-seriousness of Tanjiro and Nezuko’s trial before the Hashira, but this episode creates an even lighter atmosphere. These characters may feel broken and have much to do, but it’s by far the funniest episode to come around in a while. The majority of the comedy here stems from Zenitsu, whose crybaby routine usually makes for an easy laugh, but he seriously gets put through a gauntlet here with Shinobu’s three apprentices.
Since Zenitsu is in the most severe condition of the lot, he’s given a reprieve of sorts, but put through a very different kind of torture instead. Part of the fun here is that Zenitsu’s twisted horndog personality instantly sees his exposure to these helpers as pure bliss and he keeps turning the situation into something romantic and positive, all while pain mounts in everyone.
Shinobu’s trio of helpers are fantastic and they make for entertaining foils to the progressively erratic Zenitsu. He may technically be healing, but he seems to become more on edge as the episode goes on. These characters are a fun addition to the series and they help expand even further on Shinobu’s character, who continues to see development and become an ally to the team. Shinobu and one of her assistants, Kanao, also exhibit behavior towards Tanjiro that lands some big laughs and visual gags. As talented as Tanjiro is there’s some great humor that comes from out of how they’re just a lot better than him.
There are plenty of Zenitsu freak out moments and his rehabilitation along with Inosuke goes rather smoothly, even if they are getting pushed to their limits. However, Tanjiro really tries to go the next level here and prepare himself for what’s to come after he’s astounded by Kanao’s reflexes and abilities. The big revelation that Tanjiro learns here is that the Hashira are so capable because they’ve perfected their concentrated breathing techniques by essentially always doing them 24/7. They’re so strong because they’ve literally made it as natural as breathing. This is isn’t unlike when Goku and Gohan in Dragon Ball Z attempt to unlock a new level of Super Saiyan by staying in the form all the time and it’s an idea that makes sense for Tanjiro, but one that he’s a long ways away from achieving.
Tanjiro is presented with a simple goal as he attempts to refine his skills and although he doesn’t get there in this episode, it’s likely not far off. “Rehabilitation Training” handles this in a compelling way where it’s Tanjiro’s mounting frustration over how he can’t beat Kanao that pushes him to go further. Even in this state of recovery Tanjiro can’t stand to take a defeat and it’s a fun character beat that helps make him try harder and strive to know Kanao’s secret.
Throughout all of this healing and training, Shinobu once again demonstrates why she’s such an enjoyable character. The support that she provides is immeasurable, but a piece of her past is revealed where Shinobu used to have a sister, but her death is something that still fills Shinobu with anger. Shinobu’s pained past cleverly provides even more of an explanation for why she showed empathy towards Tanjiro before the Hashira. She’s lost a sister and doesn’t want Tanjiro to experience that same level of grief.
Demon Slayer gets a lot of respect for revealing this after the fact and not explicitly bringing up the Hashira trial along with it. It just allows the connection to linger as both Tanjiro and the audience understand why he and his sister were previously saved. Additionally, Shinobu’s sister shared the same compassion towards demons that Tanjiro does, so there’s even more of a connection between Tanjiro and Shinobu and her family. It’s unclear if Shinobu will stick around with Tanjiro and company or if they’ll continue to hop around and visit the other Hashira on their journies and learn more about them all in time too, but Shinobu’s chemistry with everyone is just so natural.
“Rehabilitation Training” is an unexpectedly light effort before the end of the season, but it’s still an enjoyable episode that earns its laughs and still manages to feature some progress for Tanjiro, even if it’s minimal. Moments like everyone’s respective training montages are fun animation showcases for Demon Slayer and while the art in this series is typically at its best when its bringing fight scenes to life, so many of the jokes in this entry are directly because of the art style and the absurdist visual decisions that are made. “Rehabilitation Training” is still Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba in recovery mode, but with two episodes left there’s just enough time for Tanjiro to improve his abilities and for the gang to move forward, stronger and more prepared than ever before.
Although Zenitsu still might be a little jumpy if somebody sneaks up on him.