Pacing was one of the better things in the anime IMO. At least in that regard, I thought it followed the manga fairly well. Overall I don't think the anime is as bad as other people are making it out to be. And this is coming from someone who has read the manga and enjoyed it a lot.
And I definitely agree that it was better than Shigurui in the pacing department. But it would've been nice to see the same kind of animation we got in Shigurui.
But I still don't understand why they decided to introduce Habaki and Hyakurin this early on.