When traditional 2D animation is combined with CGI in anime, it tends to raise eyebrows among fans. This was the case in the recent Demon Slayer episode, where a fight sequence heavily relied on CGI, even though the show is primarily 2D animated. Given the massive popularity of the series, fans had mixed opinions on the use of CGI in one of the most beloved anime series of all time.
In Episode 3 of Demon Slayer, the Swordsmith Village is attacked by demons who aim to eliminate the crucial swordsmiths, responsible for forging powerful swords to fight against demons. The Mist Hashira, Muichiro, is ambushed by an upper moon rank four demon and is thrown far away into the forest. Muichiro’s inner monologue reveals that his top priority is to save the village’s chief, the most important member of the village. While in the forest, Muichiro sees a child from the village fighting off a fish-like demon.
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Initially, the Mist Hashira chooses to ignore the child and instead focuses on saving the village’s most crucial members – those with skills and talent. However, he recalls Tanjiro’s words: “Whatever you do for others, comes around to help you as well in the end.” Muichiro decides to save the child, and during the fight between the village child and the fish demon, the use of CGI is significantly noticeable, sparking various reactions from fans.
Nevertheless, a group of Demon Slayer fans are expressing their dissatisfaction with Ufotable’s use of CGI in a particular scene, instead of opting for traditional 2D animation. While the rest of the episode was of excellent quality, this has led to further questioning by this group of fans as to why CGI was chosen.
Using CGI in a mostly 2D-animated series is often justified by situational scenes that feature many moving creatures on screen at once. On the other hand, large creatures with dynamic movements can be challenging to bring to life effectively in a 2D style.
Ufotable has previously used CGI animation in Demon Slayer, but it was much more subtle and blended in with 2D elements and backgrounds. For example, Tanjiro successfully navigating Urokodaki’s training mountain showed near-flawless use and blending of CGI animation with 2D elements. Additionally, Season 1 demon Susamaru’s temari balls and her partner Yahaba’s arrows were the product of CGI animation.
While those with negative opinions are making their voices heard, most fans seem pleased with the final product. Some are even pointing out worse uses of CGI in other anime series, such as the poorly rendered CGI monsters from KamiKatsu. Others are highlighting the exceptional 2D animation seen in the same episode, showcasing Ufotable’s incredible work thus far.