There is something so different about Tanjiro Kamado when compared to other protagonists in the Shounen series. I mean, on the surface? It’s all the same. He is an optimistic young man who went through personal tragedies, only to come out stronger by the end of it. Like, we know the story, it’s kind of the blueprint at this point. But the tale of Demon Slayer makes Tanjiro Kamado stand out not because of his strength, but because of his kindness.
Tanjiro Kamado is the main protagonist of Kimetsu No Yaiba, also known as Demon Slayer. He was a normal kid, supporting his mother and siblings by working as a coal burner. That is, until his entire family was slaughtered by a Demon named Muzan Kibitsuji. The only survivor was his little sister, Nezuko Kamado, and that was on purpose. Because Muzan had turned her into a Demon. Unwilling to lose the only family he had left, Tanjiro and Nezuko embark on a journey to find a cure for Nezuko.
I mean, that sounds like a traditional Shounen manga, albeit a little dark. And so, you’d expect the main characters to reflect that darkness, yes? Like, of course they’d have something wrong with them. Maybe they’d enjoy hurting their enemies or find themselves breaking at some point. But that’s the impressive thing about Tanjiro, it’s how his empathy is unwavering even in the face of all his trauma. Demons and humans alike, he shows them respect even as they fight.
Which is why I wanted to take a deep dive into his character. You don’t often see kindness as the main personality trait for male characters, or even as their strength. Make no mistake, that doesn’t mean Tanjiro isn’t strong or capable of fighting against Demons. It’s impressive to see how he keeps his calm and doesn’t let his personal bias color his decisions. So today, let’s break Tanjiro Kamado’s character down in another segment of A (Not-So) Character Wiki!
|Character Name||Tanjiro Kamado|
|Affiliation||Demon Slayer Corps|
|Relevance||Main Protagonist/Shounen Hero|
|Occupation||Demon Slayer/Most Polite Man Alive|
Who Is Tanjiro Kamado?
Tanjiro Kamado is the central protagonist of Demon Slayer, the undeniable hero of the entire story. A veritable nobody like Tanjiro goes through one of the most painful experiences one could go through, where the only family he has left afterwards is also tainted. But that doesn’t mean he gives up. Even when his sister is a bloodthirsty monster, he sees the light in her and decides there is something worth salvaging.
And so, Tanjiro makes his way through, meeting many different people who direct him towards the Demon Slayer Corps. This is where we see Tanjiro start to come into his own, but also that the world of Demon Slaying isn’t kind. The Final Selection alone holds nothing back, with only five applicants coming out alive by the end of it. But Tanjiro also makes it through, alongside Nezuko, who becomes the first Demon to ever be enlisted in the Demon Slayer Corps.
In the fights going forward, we see a new side to Tanjiro. Even with the Temple Demon, Tanjiro showed a lot of promise as a natural born fighter. But he’s also open and honest, easily making friends with those he meets. And while he did join the Demon Slayer Corps in order to help Nezuko become a human again, he does take his missions with them seriously.
For A Shounen Protagonist, He’s Stylin’:
I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: Demon Slayer has its character design mastery down to a T. Like, it isn’t limited to the female characters either, with their brightly colored attires and intricate features. Tanjiro Kamado, for one, is also very unique looking and goes through many style variations throughout the course of the manga.
I mean, the most iconic look is obviously his black and green checkered haori. Like that cloak is his signature, since the Final Selection Arc. But he couples that up with the traditional Demon Slayer uniform, which is a black button shirt paired with dark chocho zuban pants and some truly amazing hanafuda earrings. Likee, the man knows how to accessorize.
His features in and of itself are also striking, just like with his sister, Nezuko. Jet black hair that has hints of burgundy compliment his fair skin and big maroon eyes, along with his nicely athletic body, make Tanjiro quite the looker. And then there is the development of his Demon Slayer Mark, which is in the shape of flames on his forehead, that shows just how special Tanjiro is.
Empathy Is Woven Into Tanjiro’s Being:
The first thing you need to know about Tanjiro Kamado is that the boy physically can not lie, so none of his emotions ever feel like exaggerations or caricatures. Like, he genuinely takes everything at face value. At times, that is funny, like when he actually thought Tengen Uzui was a God. Other times, it just shows how sincere Tanjiro is with other people, hearing them out without prejudice.
I know I keep bringing up how Tanjiro is kind and gentle, despite what has happened to him but that’s just who he is. Anger is such an easy emotion for him, when you think about it. And yes, he does have a lot of frustration inside of him about how things have gone. But never does it turn into outbursts or even violence. Even in his moments of cold anger, you can see the clarity he has about things such as morality.
And that’s because being a caring individual is simply who Tanjiro is. Even going after Muzan is a secondary thing to him, the first being keeping Nezuko safe and helping her get better. Even the Demons he comes across have his compassion, despite them being the very thing that tore his life apart. He fights them, and valiantly so, but there is never any cruelty in his actions.
Tanjiro Kamado’s ideology of killing those demons that shamelessly murder, but not belittling or mocking those that genuinely regret their actions, is so mature for a boy his age. Because in the end, that is what Tanjiro is: A child thrust into a world that would rather eat him alive. For him to show compassion in light of that, is simply astounding.
But So Is Being A Monster On The Battlefield:
Now, while Tanjiro might be kind, he isn’t an idiot. If he was a pushover, Tanjiro Kamado would’ve died before the story even started. No, Tanjiro is definitely a fighter worth his merit, a prodigy even. He takes swordsmanship as naturally as breathing, and was even gifted with naturally heightened senses. I mean, the guy outsmarted Giyu Tomioka without prior training. You know, one of the most powerful Demon Slayers out there.
In general, not only is Tanjiro gifted in the art of combat, but he has a quick wit as well. Which means he can deflect attacks and come up with strategies on the fly. His fast reflexes and quick thinking even managed to impress Sakonji Urokodaki, who was the former Water Hashira. It’s how Tanjiro gets started on mastering the Water Breathing Technique. So, no, Tanjiro Kamado is a very talented individual, even prior to entering the Demon Slayer Corps. But once his skills were polished off, there was no stopping his growth.
However, awakening his Demon Slayer Mark definitely gave him a push forward. It was during his fight with Gyutaro, who was an Upper Rank Demon under the King Of Demons. Awakening his Demon Slayer Mark, one similar to Yoriichi Tsugikini himself, meant a whole host of new abilities that he had no access to before. We saw a taste of it during his battle with Hantengu’s clones, when Tanjiro came up with the Sun Halo Dragon Head Dance technique.
However, his Marked State is limited in its longevity. He can’t sustain it for very long or it’ll exhaust his body completely. But it does make up for it in its power. The Bright Red Nichirin Sword and Transparent World abilities are two skills that are completely unique to Tanjiro and so, countering them is not easy. One was developed after Nezuko used her Blood Demon Art, and the other is a technique Tanjiro’s father passed onto him.
Agile, tactical and powerful, it’s no wonder that Muzan has slowly grown concerned over Tanjiro Kamado’s rise from poor little child to one of the most promising Demon Slayers in history.
Why A Gentle Shounen Protagonist Is So Interesting:
It’s not like gentleness is a trait exclusive to Tanjiro Kamado. But it’s never the forefront of any hero, especially male ones in Shounen. And I think one of the main reasons for that is the mangaka herself, who writes characters from a very female gaze. And that is why Tanjiro’s compassion is so center stage.
At no point is Tanjiro portrayed as being weak, or even having second thoughts about his ideology of being kinder to Demons that genuinely repent. It’s merely treated as a part of him, an undeniable truth that even in the darkest of places, Tanjiro will find a silver lining. His indomitable will is part of why he perseveres, and what gives him the strength to face unpredictable odds without fear.
I know that being a rebel or someone that challenges their surroundings is pretty on brand for Shounen characters, but Tanjiro stands out because of his polite nature and straight forwardness instead. He’s composed and bright, but never limited or emotionless. The balance he strikes is so interesting to see, because underneath it all? He’s still just a teenager who lost his entire family, save one.
And yet, Tanjiro Kamado tries to be as selfless and compassionate as he can be. Nothing tempts him away from the path he has created for himself and the moral high ground he takes. It’s amazing to see a character be so nuanced yet so clear with his actions. But hey, stellar character writing seems to be the norm for Demon Slayer!