Hear me out: Inosuke Hashibira and his origins in Demon Slayer share a lot in common with the Tale of Tarzan, and I don’t think I need to elaborate further. But I will, because he does happens to be one of the main characters of the series and, like, a surprisingly good friend of the protagonist. But more importantly, his character is just the weirdest twist on a traditional ‘himbo’ and I really want to dissect how he ends up working in the world of Demon Slayer.
Inosuke Hashibira is one of the supporting characters in Kimetsu No Yaiba, also known as Demon Slayer. He joined the Demon Slayer Corps after he became the fifth winner of the Final Selection test, leading him to team up with Tanjiro Kamado and Zenitsu Agatsuma. But his reasons were not very altruistic, considering he only learned about the existence of Demons when a Demon Slayer came up to his mountain, leading Inosuke to challenge him and win.
And that ‘stronger than anyone’ attitude is a huge part of Inosuke’s story, which is somehow one of the most tragic origin tales in all of Demon Slayer. I know that’s hard to tell with how loud and ridiculous Inosuke can be, but he’s had a pretty hard life. But it’s after experiencing the outside world with Tanjiro and Nezuko Kamado that Inosuke has grown as a human being, something he wouldn’t have a chance of doing if he was still at the mountain.
And his progression throughout the story has been the most straightforward. I know I called him a ‘himbo’ before but that’s really selling him short. For all the macho grandstanding, Inosuke is a complex character beyond his need to be the strongest person in the room. And that duality is what Demon Slayer excels in. So today, let’s take a closer look at what it means to be Inosuke Hashibira, and how he came to be who he is today. Let’s dive right into it!
|Character Name||Hashibira Inosuke|
|Affiliation||Demon Slayer Corps|
|Relevance||Main Supporting Character/Comedic Relief|
Who Is Inosuke Hashibira?
Inosuke Hasibara happens to be one of the Demon Slayers that were inducted into the Demon Slayer Corps around the same time as Tanjiro, Zenitsu and Nezuko. Because of this, he also became Tanjiro’s travel partner, being by his side as they went through missions together.
But that wasn’t where he intended to be, considering his strange origins. The whole boar thing isn’t just a bit. Inosuke did have human parents, once upon a time ago. But his father was an abusive man, so his mother ran away with Inosuke in tow, eventually landing herself in with the Paradise Faith Cult. And for a while, they were happy. Inosuke remembers how much his mother sang to him, how she took care of him.
But then his mother discovered how Doma, who brought her in, ate his worshippers and the two were on the run again. In her blind haste, Inosuke’s mother found herself at the literal edge of a cliff and realized there was no escaping this time. With Doma hot on their heels, she chose to sacrifice herself and threw Inosuke into the river, praying someone would find him. And then, she was devoured.
However, someone did end up finding baby Insouke. Or rather, something. A family of boars came upon the crying child and took him into their own pack. And so, for a while, Insouke was raised by said boars, more animal than human. However, he does end up getting discovered by a Demon Slayer, which leads him to the Demon Slayer Corps.
The Boar Head Isn’t The Only Iconic Thing Here:
Okay, so let’s talk about the elephant (Boar?) in the room here: Yes, Insouke does wear a boar’s decapitated head over his own. And yes, that boar head is literally his adoptive mother’s head, ala Marowak from Pokémon. So, clearly this feral boy has some stylistic choices.
But can you blame him? He was practically raised by a family of boars, and they don’t have the exact same conventions as humans. It’s probably why Inosuke refuses to be tied down by human tradition, ripping up his Demon Slayer Corps uniform to leave his torso bare. Below his very toned body, he fastens his baggy Hakama pants using a belt lined with deer fur. His legs themselves are covered with socks made of hide, and he forgoes shoes.
So, when you see him with those muscles and the boar head, you would think his facial features would be just as boorish. But actually, Insouke has one of the prettiest faces in all of Demon Slayer. His face is almost feminine in nature, with big sea foam green eyes that are lined with thick lashes and a small, delicate mouth. His jet-black hair is thick and lustrous, fading into a pretty blue at the tips.
The dichotomy here is real.
From Strong Lone Wolf To Trusting His Friends:
With the upbringing Inosuke Hashibira has had, it’s no wonder why he turned out the way he did. When we first meet him, he is barely coherent. Insouke wasn’t raised under human conventions, so he has no idea how to read or write. The boy can barely speak properly, often mispronouncing names or fumbling through sentences.
But the one thing he does understand is how to fight. Strength matters a lot to Inosuke, it’s basically his biggest trait for a while. He challenges anyone he feels worthy, and has an insane need to come out the victor. But that lands him and his party in many situations, because Inosuke often ends up underestimating their foes, leading to chaos. Even if he’s injured from a previous fight, Inosuke will goad others into fighting him, like he tried doing with Giyu Tomioka. It got so bad that the Water Hashira had to tie him up after Inosuke’s battle with the Spider Demon Father.
His rude and brash demeanor is a result of wanting to prove himself as the strongest in a room. His anger is vengeful, wanting to destroy those who hurt the people he cares about. And because of this, he is impulsive. But he also genuinely has no idea how humans work. He tries to get Tanjiro to challenge him constantly, only to be left confused with his gentle refusals. However, the more he tries, the more Tanjiro ends up impacting him positively.
As someone who was proud and wanted praise for it, Inosuke learns to be a little more affectionate to his allies. With Tanjiro and Zenitsu, he ends up becoming friends, leading him to becoming a little more generous. And while trusting his friends comes hard to him, Inosuke does start leaning on them more, becoming gracious with himself. He starts warming up to the other Demon Slayers, developing a sense of camaraderie that he never thought he would have.
When Insouke, who started out as a lone wolf obsessed with his own goals, mourns those Demon Slayers that had fallen attacking the King Of Demons, you can feel the change. He tells Muzan Kibitsuji he will atone for the sins he committed against them, or die trying, showing how close he had gotten to his fallen peers.
Monstrous Strength, Noble Intentions:
Make no mistake, Inosuke is a powerhouse. Like, his need to be the best wouldn’t exist if he wasn’t very, very good at what he does. He is pure instinct at some points, using his drive to not only become skilled with fighting techniques like swordsmanship, but also using his own experiences in shaping completely new styles of combat.
And all of this, without any formal training. The way this kid can adapt to his foe’s fighting styles is very reminiscent of a predator. Which, again, makes sense because he grew up with animals and has a similar sense of premonition when it comes to fighting. Inosuke’s senses are just as heightened, leading him to be at the apex of his strength. And let’s not forget his inhumane flexibility, letting him move through fights with both accuracy and contained strength.
But perhaps Inosuke’s most interesting aspect is the way he built up everything about his style from the ground up. He learned the Total Control Breathing technique without any guidance, and even created his own Breathing Style technique known as the Beast Breathing, using his knowledge of how he grew up. And with an experimental style, he easily held up his own against Upper Moon Rank demons such as Enmu, and even Doma.
One of the unknown benefits of being in the wild is poison resistance, which Inosuke Hashibira has. But it’s a double edged sword, because if poison doesn’t work on him, neither does most medicine. This does make Inosuke a liability when he gets injured, but his will to keep fighting sort of makes up for it. Because he is determined, when he gets down to it.
All in all, those muscles? They aren’t just for show. Inosuke is stronger than most, without any prior guidance.
Why Insouke’s Individuality Matters In Demon Slayer:
I like how Inosuke isn’t instant best friends with anyone in the series, at first anyways. Where everyone is so prim and proper, even when violence happens, Inosuke stands out. He is a literal wild card, even foregoing his allies’ opinions when it comes to fighting.
And while that impulsiveness can land him in hot water, he still manages to hold his own. He knows his power, and pushes himself to become better. While that might be through ways others might not agree with, like jumping headfirst with enemies you don’t know, he still tries. Even when he’s injured and bleeding, he still gives it his all.
And you don’t have to like him, at all. That’s his main appeal: Inosuke doesn’t care what anyone else thinks about him. They might scoff at his clothing, and the way he fights. But all Inosuke cares about is protecting those he cares about, and growing stronger to do so. He doesn’t need convention, because of how innovative his background makes him.
And I don’t know, to me that feels refreshing. It makes his growth over the course of the series more convincing. He isn’t simply rude, he’s just very bad at socializing. But he also takes great pride in who he is, despite the shortcomings that appear when communicating.
So, Inosuke Hasibara might not be the most contained individual, or be very likable either. But he is true to who he is, and that matters in a world filled with darkness.