An Open Letter to Ufotable

Dear ufotable,

I wanted to write this letter to you after watching episode 19 of Demon Slayer. I got to say, the final fight in the episode is one of the best animated scene I’ve seen in anime. Not only was the animation scene amazing but it really showed how strong the bond is between Tanjiro and Nezuko. Overall, it made my heart flutter and my spine tingle. It was also really great to hear Nezuko’s voice other than her grunts.

I’ve always respected your studio and all the talented individuals working for you. Sometimes, when looking at upcoming seasons, if I see that your studio is working on it, I’ll most likely be watching it, whether I watch until the end or just watch the first few episodes. My first encounter with your studio was back in 2007-2008 through a little show called Ninja Nonsense. Now, at the time, I had just gotten into anime and I was watching everything and anything I could get my hands on. To me, Ninja Nonsense was a quirky show that made me laugh and it fit with all the other comedy shows around that time. I didn’t care what studios were or cared who made what shows. It wasn’t until a few years ago when I really dove deep into anime that I learned the same studio who made Fate/Zero also made that weird show. 

Speaking of Fate/Zero, this was the show where I really recognized how great of a studio you were. I know now that you had Garden of Sinners and lots of video game openings already under your wings but for me, Fate/Zero was where I really saw your animation greatness. I guess anyone could argue that Fate/Zero has an AMAZING story and yes that’s true. But pair that great writing to your studio’s talent and you have one of the best anime of all time. Every time I watch a clip of Saber perform her Noble Phantasm, I get the chills. The reveal of her character, the music, the build up. It was perfect. 

You could imagine my and every anime fan’s response when we found out that you were going to be adapting Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works. It was like getting a brand new video game console for Christmas back in the 1990s. Once again, you exceeded everyone’s expectations. I never watched the original Fate/Stay Night so I didn’t have the same nostalgia that everyone else had. To me, Fate was always done by your studio. And as a Rin Tohsaka fan, I was only happy to see the better studio adapt her route. But overall, quality did not deteriorate during those 3 years.

I’m not going to talk about Heaven’s Feel much because I haven’t seen any of the movies. I’m waiting for all 3 movies to come before I binge it all.

Five years later, we get a show called Demon Slayer: the first manga adaptation since Ninja Nonsense. I knew nothing about the manga and the mangaka only had one shots under her name prior to Demon Slayer. But I saw your studio was working on it. So I had to watch it. And I was immediately hooked. I gotta give it to the author. Despite the story being so simple, it’s her characters that really make it compelling. The bond between the siblings are just so strong that you can feel it. Tanjiro lost everything and he’s holding on to the last remaining relative he has left despite her being a demon now. Nezuko continues to show empathy towards humans and even helps her brother even if she doesn’t fully understand why. The two supporting characters, Zenitsu and Inosukie, are a great comedy relief but their characters have so much depth to them. And even the demon of the week. Each demon they have come across has a tragic backstory that makes you feel sorry for them.

But let’s talk about your work as a studio, ufotable. Five years have passed, and the quality of your work has continued to impress me. First was the style you went with when a demon slayer uses their breathing technique. I remember first watching the opening and seeing the thick lining and vibrant colors used during their attack. I thought that was the coolest thing ever. It enhanced what was portrayed in the manga without losing the integrity of what the author wanted. Second, is the choreography of fights. The most memorable fight for me wasn’t episode 19 but episode 13 with the Tsuzumi demon and the rotating room. The choreography to portray the room spinning while Tanjiro is phenomenal and as the audience, I was able to keep track of where he is. 

I do want to talk about episode 19 because it’s gotten so much attention. The best thing about this episode is that it is a turning point in the anime in a short amount of time seamlessly:

1. We see Tanjiro’s new fire ability

2. The earring Tanjiro wears was previously worn by his dad and the main antagonist, Kibutsuji, recognized it. 

3. We see Nezuko use her demon blood art and hear her voice for the first time since episode 1

4. The scene really showed how strong the bond is between Tanjiro and Nezuko.

5. Vibrant colors and lighting to really show off the new fire ability

6. Beautiful music to match the scene

This episode was beautifully done, from a visual and emotional standpoint. I don’t know if it’s true, but I heard that the scene made the author cry tears of joy! That’s something you should be proud of.

Ufotable, I’m always impressed by your adaptations. Even the video games ones you made between 2015-2017. Thank you for providing the anime fans all over the world with your amazing talent. I’m excited to see the rest of Demon Slayer as well as future shows you plan to work on!

Sincerely,

Sheena

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