Look, I can’t be the only one who might pick a show solely based on a ship. Like, the prospect of an adorable Nezuko marrying a bumbling Zenitsu in Demon Slayer is what made me trucker on through the manga, despite all the heartache. Look, is it weird that I’m reading a Shounen manga for some scant mentions of romance? Maybe. But then again, I watched Naruto Shippuden for Sasuke Uchiha, only to start shipping him with Naruto Uzumaki so maybe don’t try to find logic here.
No but for real, it’s really sweet seeing how the main duo of Kimetsu No Yaiba, or Demon Slayer, do eventually end up finding happiness. Tanjiro Kamado ends up curing his sister, Nezuko Kamado, avenging his family and marrying Kanao Tsuyuri. So, it’s only fitting that his friend, Zenitsu Agatsuma, got his own happy ending. Nezuko does marry Zenitsu later on, but it wasn’t shown in the manga. However, the last thing we see is their descendants, with two children that share the Agatsuma’s surname and look suspiciously like Zenitsu and Nezuko.
But to be fair, I wish there was more build up for this relationship. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that a Shounen manga such as Demon Slayer probably has more important things to do than elaborate on the fluff between two characters but a little bit of growth doesn’t hurt. Despite both Nezuko and Zenitsu being travel companions, they barely interacted much. So, a little more exposure wouldn’t have hurt. But alas, what we see is what we get.
But how did we get here? Had there been signs all along? I mean, kind of. There wasn’t much time for outright courting and romance, but what little we see of Nezuko and Zenitsu has always been very heartfelt and soft. So today, let’s discuss why Nezuko and Zenitsu marry each other at the end and how it was a coupling in the making from the start, in another segment of Lore Analysis!
Nezuko And Zenitsu: Overcoming Fear?
With how Zenitsu is terrified of Demons, you’d think he’d steer clear of being near Nezuko. But oddly enough, he is very kind towards her. He doesn’t even think twice before protecting her against Inosuke Hashibara during their first encounter, even when he knew she was a Demon. Like, the boy was committed.
And he would actively show that commitment to Nezuko by proposing marriage to her, like, every chance he got. No joke. And let’s remember, Zenitsu is already kind of hopeless around women. So, this could’ve just been his misguided ‘womanizing’, leading to Nezuko disregarding his whims towards her. Which, yeah, I couldn’t blame her for that. Like, they are fighting for their lives here, Nezuko does not have the time for some yellow-bellied (get it?) coward.
Except, it becomes clear that Zenitsu isn’t being frivolous with his feelings for Nezuko. Like, he sobers up pretty quickly, becoming much less over-the-top and actively interacting with her. He tells her about the things she might’ve missed during their Rehabilitation Training, keeps her in the loop regarding Tanjiro, making sure she doesn’t feel excluded. He is so aware of Nezuko during their battles, focusing entirely on guarding her if she is in danger.
Though the sweetest moment was probably when Zenitsu promised to take her to a flower field. Little things like him sneakily letting her look at the goldfish without Shinobu Kocho’s permission, show how enamored he was by Nezuko’s humanity, despite her clearly Demonic nature. He was there during her most alienated time, when she was just stuck in a box with scratches and knocks to communicate. And Zenitsu made the effort to communicate back, connecting to her.
So, from Nezuko calling Zenitsu a ‘weird dandelion’, to his memory being one of the first she recalls as she comes back to humanity, it shows how their love is soft. In a way only young love could be. So naturally, she does end up accepting one of his many proposals and the two live happily ever after.
Why Shounen Can (And Should) Do Romance Well:
Look, I am well aware that a good Shounen does not need romance. Like, fully agree on that one. There are plenty of anime out there that don’t have a long-winded romance and their story doesn’t feel like it’s missing anything. And then there are manga like Chainsaw Man, where the romance ends up making things worse for the characters? I kid, but bear with me here. All in all, Shounen doesn’t need to cater to my love-lorn self.
But, it could do a better job when it does have romance involved. Like, I hate forced couplings in anime, just for the sake of it. I’ve often complained about what happened with Naruto Shippuden (When have I not?) with Naruto Uzumaki and Hinata Hyuuga, and how they needed an entire movie to make their sudden romance not feel out of left field. But that’s because there are gradual romances in the same series that end up working much better, like with Temari and Shikamaru Nara. Like, that was infinitely better done.
Same thing with Demon Slayer. Nezuko and Zenitsu aren’t the only romance in the manga. Tanjiro and Kanao Tsuyuri have their own thing going on, with a relationship that is built over time. There’s even a best friends-to-lovers subplot between Mitsuru Kanroji and Obanai Iguro. And the running theme between all these couples is how organic they feel, finding the time to develop the emotional bonds between the characters despite all the fast-paced violence.
So, if Demon Slayer could do it, what excuse do other Shounen manga have? All I’m saying is, there could be a little more thought put into how we view love and romance in the Shounen series. And no, it wouldn’t distract from what is going on in the main plot.
Just give me some good romance in Shounen that is canon, thank you!