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From left to right: Inosuke Hashibira, Zenitsu Agatsuma, Nezuko Kamado and Tanjiro Kamado.

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba (Japanese: 鬼滅の刃, Hepburn: Kimetsu no Yaiba, lit. "Blade of Demon Destruction") is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Koyoharu Gotouge. It was serialized in Shueisha's Weekly Shōnen Jump from February 2016 to May 2020, with its 205 chapters collected in 23 tankōbon volumes. It's also had a 26-episode TV series by Studio Ufotable in 2019 (covering until the first part of chapter 54), a sequel film from 2020 (which covers from the rest of chapter 54 to chapter 69, and also is by Ufotable), two video games, some light-novels and spin-offs, etc.; even more, a second anime season began in October 2021.

The story begins in the Japan of the Taishou era and follows a teenaged charcoal maker/vendor named Tanjiro Kamado and his younger sister Nezuko, who are the sole survivors of their family. Their father Tanjurou died of illness last year, whereas their mother Kie and their younger siblings (Takeo, Shigeru, Hanako and Rokuta) were slain by demons; Tanjiro survived because he wasn't there when this happened, but Nezuko's survival comes from her having been turned into a demon when the killer's blood fell on wounds that should've been fatal.

As poor Tanjiro is assessing the horrible blow dealt to the family, a young man from the Kisatsutai aka Demon Slayer Corps named Giyu Tomioka arrives and tries to strike Nezuko down since she's a demon girl and not a human anymore. But when Tanjiro is still determined to protect Nezuko no many times Giyu insists that she's beyond salvation AND Giyu sees that Nezuko retains enough humanity to be willing to protect Tanjiro as well, he temporarily incapacitates Nezuko rather than slaying her and tells Tanjiro to visit his master, Sakonji Urokodaki, who can give him the training he needs to join the Corps. From then on, Tanjiro becomes a member of the Corps alongside Nezuko and his new companions, two boys around their ages named Inosuke Hashibira and Zenitsu Agatsuma; he's completely determined to both slay as many demons as it's needed and to find out how he can heal Nezuko and make her human again...

Tropes used in Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba include:

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  • Abusive Parents:
    • The father of Sanemi and Genya Shinazugawa, Kyougo, was an abusive drunkard who beat their mother Shizu, his sons and their younger siblings. He was eventually killed by a guy he had a fight with in the streets, and the two boys weren't happy but didn't mind that much either. However, when Sanemi nearly dies in the Final Battle, Kyougo's spirit (who's in Hell) has a rough Pet the Dog (and probably atonement-induced) moment via all but forcing Sanemi's soul back into his body because it's not Sanemi's time to die yet, urging him to keep on living.
    • Kyoujuro and Senjurou Rengoku's dad, Shinjuro Rengoku, started more or less okay, but at some point, he snapped over a certain revelation about the Breathing Styles and the death of his Ill Girl wife Ruka, becoming a mix of this and Troubled Abuser. He doesn't recover until after the death of Kyoujuro in battle.
    • Inosuke Hashibira's father was this to him and also abused his wife/Inosuke's mom, Kotoha. He and his mother, who did nothing to stop him, were slain by the demon Doma around the time he took Kotoha and baby Inosuke under his wing.
    • Kanao Tsuyuri initially grew up in a very destitute household where her parents abused her and her siblings to incredible degrees, beating and drowning them if the kids did anything they didn't approve of. According to her, some of her brothers did die due to the abuse, which is why she became an Empty Shell until the Kochou sisters took her in.
    • Subverted with Rui's parents. They were about to kill him... as a Mercy Kill after he became a demon and started eating humans. Thry were also willing to kill themselves as an atonement, and Rui's mother's Famous Last Words were an apology to him for not giving him a strong body.
    • It's implied that the older man who the young man who'd become the demon Kyogai kills right as he awakens as a demon is either his father or a critic. In any way, the person was incredibly unpleasant and subjected the guy to a cruel "The Reason You Suck" Speech about how anything he does is useless and stupid, and how he's a good for nothing before he's sliced to pieces.
  • Alas, Poor Villain:
    • The first example is from the Final Selection arc: The infamous Arm Demon that took a bloody Revenge by Proxy against Tanjiro's master Urokodaki (who got him locked in the mount where the Final selection took place) is finally slain by Tanjiro, and in his last moments recalls his forgotten past as a shy child demon who completely broke over awakening as such and eating his beloved older brother. Tanjiro cannot know that but realises that the dying demon is keepoing its hand extended as if asking for someone to hold it, as as the boy does, the demon tears up and dissolves away.
    • Susamaru from the Asakusa arc was tricked by Tamayo on spilling info about Muzan... and a fatal Geas that Muzan puts on her kills her with lots of Body Horror. Tamayo is clearly unhappy over this and cannot bring herself to watch, and Tanjiro is horrified to the core and can only have words of sadness and compassion towards the dying demon. And when her Famous Last Words turn out to be a child-like request for her temari bal, Tanjiro places it near her torn off arm and watches as her corpse dissolves.
    • In the Natagumo Mountain arc, the Spider Demon Mother was the most sympathetic member of the Spider Demon family, as a young demon girl tricked and then forced by the Arc Villain Rui to serve as such, and who'd be harshly tortured whenever she slipped out of the role. Realising that Tanjiro can free her from her torment, after a short fight she all but surrenders to him so she can die and be released, and Tanjiro uses a Mercy Kill-like technique so she won't die in pain.
      • Rui himself, believe it or not. Once a little Ill Boy who took Muzan's Deal with the Devil to heal, he killed his parents when they tried to kill him for it, but thouyght that they did it out of hate instead of the Mercy Kill-like Murder-Suicide they intended. He only understood it as Tanjiro's Big Brother Mentor Giyu killed him, and in his last words he called out to his parents, whom he missed deeply. Their souls appeared in front of him, apologizing for everything and willing to go to Hell with him; they're last seen in an embrace.
    • Arguably, four of the Lower Ranks of the Twelve Kizuki: Rokuro, Wakuraba, Mukago and Kamanue. While hardly sympathetic as a whole (they are. after all, among the Big Bad Muzan's henchmen), but all one actually sees of them is how they're all but pissing in their pants as Muzan summons them. . . only for him to kill them in very sadistic ways no matter what they do or say.
    • The most tragic Twelve Kizukis (Ume aka Daki, Gyutaro, Hakuji aka Akaza, and Michikatsu aka Kokushibo) get this as well. The defeated Gyutaro gets ready to go to Hell, then Daki refuses the chance to go to Heaven (apparently coming from Gyutaro making the Deal with the Devil rather than her) because she doesn't want to leave her brother alone, and they end up going to Hell together; Akaza remembers his life as Hakuji and deeply regrets all of his actions as he dies, then the soul of his girlfriend Koyuki comes greet him and she willingly goes to Hell with him; and Kokushibo dies realising and lamenting how all of his actions amounted to nothing, especially his desire to be more like Yoriichi.
  • All-Loving Hero: Oh, Tanjiro... He fits so much here; he often shows compassion for demons if he sees or senses that they've had Dark and Troubled Pasts. (To be fair, many of them do)
  • Animal Motifs: Boars, for Inosuke. Justified: he was raised by one of them after the death of his Hot Mom.
    • Butterflies, for Shinobu. Also, for her late sister Kanae, and for her adoptive sister Kanao.
  • Barrier Maiden: One way to see Nezuko, as not only she can replace flesh eating with sleep, but she eventually develps the ability to walk and live into sunlight - unlike the rest of the demons. This makes her a prime target for Muzan.
    • To a smaller degree, the marechi - normal humans whose blood, for one or another reason, is seen by demons as Supernaturally Delicious and Nutritious (apparently, killing and eating one single marechi equals to doing the same to 100 humans) and therefore are prime targets. Tanjiro and Zenitsu must rescue a marechi boy named Kiyoshi in their first joint mission, and later Sanemi Shinazugawa is revealed to be one too.
  • Beautiful All Along: Inosuke, as seen above, uses a hollowed boar's head as a mask and head protector. When he does not wear it, however, he looks... extremely pretty. Tanjiro and Zenitsu even get brief Stupid Sexy Flanders moments when they see him!
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted more than once, like in Tanjiro and Nezuko's brutal fight with Daki and Mitsuri being horribly scarred and mutilated during the last battle with Muzan.
  • Big Bad: Muzan Kibutsuji, the progenitor and leader of demons.
  • Big Good: Kagaya Ubuyashiki, as the leader of the Demon Slayer Corps.
    • Dr. Tamayo, as a demon who's allied with humans and opposes Muzan.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Tanjiro, Tanjiro, Tanjiro... oh, and did someone say TANJIRO? Extremely justified, considering his and Nezuko's other siblings (from pre-teen to toddler age) were horribly slain.
  • Big Brother Mentor: Giyu and later Kyoujuro, both members of the Hashira, fill this role for Tanjiro in their own ways. Too bad Kyoujuro ends up slapped with the Sacrificial Lion role.
    • Another Hashira, Gyomei, is this to the Kochou sisters and later on to Genya.
  • Big Fancy House: The case where Tanjiro and Nezuko properly meet Zenitsu (and at the end, Inosuke) takes place in an abandoned mansion that used to be this, until its master became a demon. Now it's dark, creepy, and with quite the case of Bizarrchitecture
    • Kagaya Ubuyashiki, the leader of the Demon Slayer Corps, lives in a lovely Japanese mansion.
    • The sort-of hospital for the Demon Slayers, the Butterfly Mansion / Estate, is pretty much a Japanese castle. It's also owned by one of the Hashira, Shinobu Kochou, who lives there alongside her apprentice Kanao Tsuyuri and the nurses of the estate itself.
  • The Blacksmith: A whole Hidden Elf Village of these is allied with the Demon Corps.
  • Blood Magic: The Blood Demon Arts spells.
  • Brainwashing for the Greater Good: As Tanjiro trains hard to pass the Final Selection and join the Demon Slayer Corps, Nezuko sleeps deeply so she won't need to feast on humans. In the meantime, Sakonji uses this trope via talking to the sleeping Nezuko as he watches over her and telling her to see humans as her family and protect them from the enemy aka demons. Tanjiro is understandably unnerved when he finds out, but it more or less works in the end.
  • Bunny Ears Lawyer: On one hand, the Hashira are the top fighters of the Corps. On the other, with the exception of Shinobu and maybe Gyomei (and they're not without their issues), they can be... very eccentric. i.e., Mitsuri is pretty ditzy, Giyu has No Social Skills, etc.
  • Cool Big Sis: Shinobu is this to Kanao, her apprentice and prospect successor, and eventually to Tanjiro. Her Dead Older Sister Kanae was this to the two of them.
  • Deader Than Dead: Muzan's final fate after Tanjiro manages to fend off his attempt to merge with him. His soul is devoured by the darkness as he screams that he doesn't want to end up being forgotten, ensuring that he will never come back.
  • Deal with the Devil: Muzan seems to be quite fond of showing up in front of people who are at the lowest points of their entire lives and prey on their despair to make them demons and then his followers; i.e., that's what happened between him and Tamayo, Akaza and Rui.
    • As someone who once was a cult leader and now is among the most powerful Twelve Kizuki, Doma is seen doing this as well. It's how he recruited Ume/Daki and Gyutarou.
    • The most powerful Kizuki, Kokushibo, subverts this via forcefeeding Muzan's blood to his prospect sires. He got to Kaigaku like this and almost to his descendant Muichirou
    • Tamayo subverts it: she's a demon and she can transform people into demons, but NOT to make them follow her. In fact, she'd only do it after she's asked the other person several times if he/she is willing to be transformed and after explaining the downsides of being a demon. The only person known to have been turned by her is her assistant Yuushiro, and he was an Ill Boy right at Death's door.
  • Find the Cure: Tanjiro's goal is to save Nezuko via turning her back into a human.
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: Even when Tanjiro is an All-Loving Hero who feels sorry for sufficiently Anti-Villainous demons, he does acknowledge this trope as well.
  • Fusion Dance: Muzan, in a last-ditch attempt to prevent his impending death, tries to do this with Tanjiro.
  • Geas: Muzan places one on each demon: they can't ever give away info about him, ESPECIALLY his name, lest they'll be subjected to a Cruel and Unusual Death right on the spot. The Swamp Demon from Tanjiro's first official mission absolutely freaks out when Tanjiro attempts to pressure him into telling him about Muzan, whereas Susamaru from the Asakusa arc is tricked by Tamayo into mentioning Muzan's last name and ends up subjected to a lethal dose of Body Horror.
  • Girl in a Box: Given quite the spin: Tanjiro carries Nezuko (who can shrink herself as part of her newfound demon powers) inside a special wooden box that he carries like a backpack during the day. With good reason: that way Nezuko can sleep and keep her energy levels up, which keeps her from needing to feast on humans.
  • Handicapped Badass: Gyomei Himejima lost his sight as a child, but is the physically strongest of the Hashira.
  • Healthcare Motivation: Hakuji, the boy who'd become Akaza, was a thief to support himself and his Ill Boy father. Then, his father committed suicide so he wouldn't have to resort to theft.
  • Horror Hunger: Demons sustain themselves by killing and eating humans, so almost EVERY human who's been made into a demon by Muzan Kibutsuji goes through this as soon as they're turned. ie., when Nezuko was turned rather than killed she attacked Tanjiro and could barely get a hold on herself, then Muzan turned a random Asakusa man solely to get Tanjiro off his back and he attacked his wife so he had to be restained by Tanjiro before Tamayo stepped in to help, and the aforementioned Tamayo's biggest regret EVER is that she lost it and killed / ate her husband and children as soon as Muzan demonized her.
  • Ill Boy: Kagaya Ubuyashiki, the Demon Corps leader, is a Non-Action Guy because he's been hit by an Hereditary Curse that left him blind, completely deformed his face, and is slowly and painfully killing him. And as the series goes on, his health gets worse and worse. . .
    • Yuushiro was one, before Tamayo made him a demon to save him.
    • A certain Arc Villain (Rui) was this while alive. Then, Muzan paid him a visit. . .
    • A teenage boy who shows up in the Mugen train arc and movie has tuberculosis and is already at the fatal stage. Enmu, the Lower Rank 1 of the Twelve Kizuki and a member of the Big Bad Duumvirate (alongside the Upper Rank 3 Akaza), uses him and several others as his pawns against the Demon Slayers, promising to use his powers so they'd be in happy dreams and forget their cruel lives. Fortunately, he and the others more or less snap out of it.
    • Hakuji aka Akaza's father, too. And as said above, he committed an Heroic Suicide in an attempt to keep Hakuji from resorting to a life of crime for him.
    • The most plot-important ill dude here is. . . Muzan. Yes, MUZAN. As a human he almost died in his mother's womb and then right after birth, his illness was supposed to kill him before he turned 20, and then a kind-hearted doctor tried to heal him but the medicine he made for him was what made him become a demon. . .
  • Ill Girl: Tamayo was this as a human. And not unlike Rui, Muzan paid her a "visit" and shit went down for her and her family VERY soon. . .
  • Imperial Japan: The action takes place in the Taishou Era, which went from 1912 to 1926. It seems to be specifically set between 1912 and 1915.
  • Kissing Cousins: One of Tengen's three wives, Makio, is also his distant cousin.
    • In the epilogue, a boy who's a descendant of Tanjiro and Kanao (Kanata Kamado) is implied to be dating a girl who's a descendant of Nezuko and Zenitsu (Touko Agatsuma), meaning they're distantly related. . .
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Kagaya Ubuyashiki went into an Arranged Marriage with one condition: that his bride-to-be, who's supposed to be his wife and The Caretaker to him, actually liked him. Fortunately, he and Amane Himorogi did hit it off, and they're Happily Married with five kids.
  • Promoted to Love Interest: The Ship Tease between Giyu and Shinobu is mostly from the anime, some anime-based merch and the Tomioka Giyuu Gaiden manga than the manga itself.
  • Promotion to Parent: Tanjiro took up the "man of the family" role one year before the story started, due to his father Tanjurou's death of illness; Nezuko helped him and their mother Kie as much as she could by taking care of their younger siblings, especially the toddler-aged Rokuta. And then everyone in the family, save for Tanjiro and Nezuko, were killed, so Tanjiro must finish raising himself AND Nezuko (whose mind has regressed to that of a little girl after being turned into a demon) while fighting all kinds of demons.
    • The Twelve Kizuki's Upper Rank 6, Gyutarou and Ume/Daki, were the children of a very abusive woman, so at some point a young Gyutarou ran off with his little sister...
    • Sanemi "Wind Hashira" Shinazugawa did what he could to help his mother Shizu and his siblings, including his brother Genya, after the death of the abusive family patriarch, Kyougo. (And Genya ios seen helping him out at work). And then Shizu was turned into a demon, and not unlike in Tanjiro's case, everything went South for him and Genya aka the two survivors...
    • It's strongly implied that Giyu "Water Hashira" Tomioka was raised by his older sister Tsutako, or at very least she had a big part on his raising. And then she gave her life to save him from demons.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Several demons display behavior like this:
  • Rags to Riches: Tanjiro's friend Kanao was from a very poor and very abusive family that sold her as a slave. Two young women purchased her to free her, then took her as their sister: they turned out to be Kanae and Shinobu Kochou, members of the Demon Slaying Corps and quite well-off thanks to their inheritance and their hard work in the Corps.
    • By the time the end hits, a side story states that after Kiriya Ubuyashiki disbanded the Demon Slayer Corps due to the defeat of the Big Bad and destruction of all demons (save for their ally Yushirou, who lives solely because he was sired by their other demon ally Tamayo), he gave Tanjiro and Nezuko a large sum of money as an act of good will. It's never said how much, but it is known that the siblings (who started the series as the eldest children of a poor family of charcoal merchants) didn't have to work or worry about their livelihood for the rest of their lives.
  • Seppuku: Tanjiro is told by his Parental Substitute Sakonji that Nezuko hasn't been exterminated solely because she hasn't eaten humans... but if she ever starts doing it, Tanjiro will have to kill her himself and then commit seppuku.
    • Sakonji and Giyu join the promise when Tanjiro is under trial for sheltering Nezuko, swearing to kill themselves alongside Tanjiro if Nezuko eats a human. Thankfully, they never need to do it AND the mere fact that they promised this convinces Kagaya, the Demon Corps leader, to take the Kamados in.
    • Much later, one of Tanjiro's True Companions (Zenitsu) is absolutely horrified when he finds out that his master and adoptive grandfather Jigoro had to kill himself like this when one of his disciples (Kaigaku) went rogue. Even worse, the man did not have a kaishakunnin, meaning his death was extremely painful. Zenitsu later gets the chance to face Kaigaku, who's become one of the Twelve Kizuki, and naturally is determined to make him pay for it.
  • Shonen Demographic: One of the most successful shonen manga in the last decade, indeed.
  • Shipper on Deck: Surprisingly, Gyomei Himejima (of all people) is revealed to be one in the second databook. He was especially fond of shipping his fellows Hashira between them: he was an Iguro/Mitsuri fanboy, believed Sanemi liked his "younger sister" Kanae, and liked the idea of his other "little sister" Shinobu being friends and maybe more with Giyu.
  • Snow Means Death: The Downer Beginning happens in a snowy winter morning. Tanjiro returns home to find his whole family save Nezuko horribly dead in their home, and as he tries to carry her on his back to get her medical attention, he finds out that she survived solely because she was turned into a demon...
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Iguro "Serpent Hashira" Obanai and Mitsuri "Love Hashira" Kanrouji can be seen as this rather easily. Obanai was very in love with an apparently oblivious Mitsuri... and they were both mortally injured in the last battle against Muzan, with him finally spitting out his feelings and her having a Love Epiphany about him. So they mutually confess as they die together, hoping they'll be able to love one another in their next lives. And they do.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Tanjiro Kamado looks like a younger version of his and Nezuko's late father Tanjurou, while pre-demonization!Nezuko looks like their also late mother Kie. Their late little siblings (Takeo, Hanako, Shigeru and Rokuta) also resemble their parents and all have the same pale skin/reddish eyes combo; as a plus, Takeo looked like a pre-teen Tanjiro. And Tanjuro (and the siblings, to a degree) also resemble the family ancestor, Sumiyoshi. (As a plus, Nezuko also looks like Sumiyoshi's wife Suyako and their daughter Sumire.)
    • Inosuke Hashibira's Dude Looks Like a Lady actual looks are explained by his extreme resemblance to his Missing Mom, Kotoha.
    • The Flame Hashira, Kyoujurou Rengoku, looks like a younger version of his Alcoholic Parent Shinjurou and also heavily resembles his younger brother Senjurou.
    • Subverted by the Spider Demon Family: several of them look alike (especially the Mother and the Daughter), but that's because their leader (Rui, the "Youngest Son") modified their looks via making them drink his blood. Flashbacks show that said Mother and Sister did NOT resemble one another until they joined in. But later it's revealed that Rui, when he was an Ill Boy human, heavily resembled his also human father.
    • When human, Kokushibo aka Michikatsu Tsugikuni heavily resembled his younger brother, Yoriichi.
  • Stepford Smiler: Shinobu... HOLY SHIT, Shinobu.
  • Super Senses:
    • Tanjiro: Smell
    • Zenitsu: Hearing
    • Kanao: Eyesight
  • Textile Work Is Feminine: A flashback has Nezuko sewing her kimonos as she tells Tanjiro to not buy her new clothes yet, and instead buy more food for their family.
  • Thanatos Gambit: Shinobu's life goal was to defeat Doma, the killer of her older sister Kanae, but as the physically weakest of the Hashira she knew that she might not have the chance. But she also knew about Doma's Monster Misogyny that led him to kill and eat ladies. . . So, throughout a whole year, under Dr. Tamayo's watch she slowly and carefully consumed a high quantity of wisteria-based poison: since wisteria plants were very poisonous to demons, Shinobu hoped that if Doma did kill her and eat her corpse, he'd ingest enough wisteria to either be killed or be weakened enough to end up slain. And that's what happened: Shinobu was defeated, killed and consumed by Doma, but the poison within her body brought him down and he was soon defeated by Kanao (who, as Shinobu's adoptive sister and apprentice, wanted to avenge her and Kanae) and Inosuke (whose mother Kotoha was also a victim of Doma)
  • Tragic Monster: Several of the demons that the cast fight turn out to be this.
  • Twenty Bear Asses: Nezuko was turned into a demon very early in the series, and Tanjiro made it one of his life's goal to Find the Cure. The veteran demon slayer Giyu said from the get go that there might not be a cure, and if there is, then only demons would know the answer; his and Tanjiro's master, Sakonji, share similar beliefs but is less harsh. Tanjiro finds a doctor, Tamayo (a demon herself) who wants to make the cure, but can't yet. But she said she could if given both some of Nezuko's blood (a demon that has been one for about 2 years and still hasn't eaten a human is basically unheard of, and the girl went farther than that and straight up hasn't eaten anything after turning, spending her time sleeping instead), and the blood of multiple powerful demons. In principle he could get the blood without killing them, but it's not like they are going to give it up freely and they are man-eating monsters he is supposed to kill anyways, as by this point Tanjiro is an official member of the demon hunting organization known as the Demon Slayer Corps. Seriously, Nezuko aside, eating people is how demons level up, so they need to go. Tamayo did not give him a finite quota either; the blood she asked for was more for the research needed to figure out how to make the elixir than the actual ingredients of the elixir. Presumably she could make one eventually without the blood, but the time it would take to finish the research in that case would likely go well past a human lifetime. . . Eventually, Tamayo does manage to make the medicine; while it doesn't exactly cure Nezuko, she's nevertheless saved.
  • Yamato Nadeshiko: Kie Kamado. Her daughter Nezuko was in her way to be one... then demon shit happened.
    • Tamayo, the demon doctor allied with the Demon Slayer Corps, is pretty much the perfect one.
    • Shinobu Kochou seems to be one at first sight, but she's actually a Stepford Smiler who hides severe rage issues and swears by the Creepy Good trope.
    • Kagaya's wife, Amane Ubuyashiki (née Himorogi) is very much a white-haired version of this.
    • Ruka Rengoku, Kyoujuro's Missing Mom, was this when she lived.