WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Episode 22 of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, "Master of the Mansion," available now on Hulu, Crunchyroll and other anime streaming services.
The Demon Slayer Corps has been shrouded in mystery, with Kimetsu no Yaiba only giving glimpses at the organization to which protagonist Tanjiro Kamado belongs. However, the latest episode gives viewers a closer look at the Hashira (the strongest members of the Demon Slayer Corps) and their leader, an enigmatic man only called "Master" in the subtitles, although his subordinates actually say Oyakata-sama.
"Master of the Mansion" opens with a captured Tanjiro being introduced to the Hashira in the courtyard at Demon Slayer Headquarters following the events of the "Natagumo Mountain Arc" and his confrontation with the Twelve Kizuki demon Rui. The Hashira want to put Tanjiro on trial for protecting a demon (in this case his sister, Nezuko), as he's violated corps' rules in doing so. The sequence serves to introduce the various new Hashira, starting with Kyojuro Rengoku (Flame Hashira), who proposes executing Tanjiro without a trial. Tengen Uzui (Sound Hashira) agrees, promising "the most flamboyant blood spray you'll ever see." However, Mitsuri Kanroji (Love Hashira) has reservations about killing someone as "adorable" as Tanjiro. Gyomei Himejima (Stone Hashira) pities Tanjiro ever being born, while Muichiro Tokito (Mist Hashira) doesn't seem to be paying attention.
But they also have another problem: Giyu Tomioka (Water Hashira), who attempted to help Tanjiro escape in the previous episode. Iguro Obanai (Serpent Hashira) wants to see him in shackles and punished for breaking Demon Slayer Corps rules and fighting with Shinobu Kocho (Insect Hashira) to buy Tanjiro time. Tomioka responds to the accusations against him with silence, and Shinobu jumps in, saying they'll deal with him later. Instead, she wants to understand why Tanjiro -- a demon slayer -- would work with a demon.
Shinobu gives Tanjiro something for the injuries he sustained in the previous episode, and the young demon slayer explains Nezuko hasn't harmed any people and that he wants to find a way to cure her condition. Iguro and several other Hashira doubt what Tanjiro is saying, and Mitsuri says they should wait for their master before they make any decisions. However, Sanemi Shinazugawa (Wind Hashira) enters the courtyard with Nezuko's box, and stabs her through it with his blade. Tanjiro -- injured, swordless and bound -- rushes Sanemi, striking the Wind Hashira with a devastating headbutt that puts both demon slayers on the ground.
Sanemi gets up first and prepares to strike Tanjiro with his sword, but their master arrives, which puts an end to the confrontation, as all of the Hashira kneel and bow. The Demon Slayer Corps' master's name isn't given, and he's instead referred to just as Master/Oyakata-sama. He's aided by the two girls from the Final Selection, and it's quickly revealed that he suffers from some sort of ailment that's rendered him blind. Oyakata-sama reveals he sanctions Tanjiro travelling with Nezuko, and asks the Hashira to agree with his decision. However, Gyomei, Kyojuro, Iguro, Sanemi and Tengen protest. The rest are either fine with the decision, don't really care or remain silent.
Oyakata-sama requests his aides read a letter from Sakonji Urokodaki, who taught Tanjiro Water Breathing towards the start of the series. A former Hashira himself, Urokodaki explains that Nezuko doesn't attack humans and asks that she be allowed to accompany her brother. If she does attack a human, Urokodaki promises he and Tomioka -- whom he also taught -- will commit seppuku in penance. This doesn't sway all of the Hashira, who believe she could still attack people in the future. However, Oyakata-sama reveals they can't prove she will attack humans in the future and that there are multiple people willing to risk their lives for Nezuko, which is a compelling case.
Oyakata-sama then reveals the biggest reason he wants to keep Tanjiro and Nezuko alive: Muzan Kibutsuji, the progenitor of all demons. All of the Hashira are shocked to hear Tanjiro has met Kibutsuji, asking him questions about the most powerful of the demons. Oyakata-sama interrupts, explaining that they can't allow Kibutusuji to escape now that he's revealed himself. He also thinks Nezuko's ability to choose not to attack humans might be something Kibutsuji was unable to predict or account for.
Sanemi still disagrees, and slices his arm, spilling his blood in the garden in protest and saying he'll prove Nezuko is dangerous. He drips his blood on her box, waiting for her to burst out and attack. Although Nezuko is tempted by the blood, she resists. Sanemi then takes the box from the courtyard to inside Oyakata-sama's home and stabs her several more times before opening the box. Nezuko gets out and turns her understandable rage from having been stabbed several times without provocation towards Sanemi. The episode ends before revealing just what she'll do.
The dynamics between the Hashira and Oyakata-sama are particularly interesting as, although all of them remain kneeling in his presence, they seem free to disagree with his choices. Oyakata-sama's mysterious plan for taking on Kibutsuji now seems to rest on the hopes Nezuko doesn't attack Sanemi despite his provocations. If Nezuko can't resist what her demon nature calls her to do, she, Tomioka, Urokodaki and Tanjiro will all die.
New subtitled episodes of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba air Saturdays on Hulu, Crunchyroll and other anime streaming services.