Sobriquet would be an Upper Kizuki if geeking about animanga was a Blood Demon Art.
The Best Characters From the Demon Slayer Manga
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is a manga series about a boy who seeks revenge on Michael Jackson. The boy meets a kid who looks like Katsuki Bakugo and another kid who acts like Katsuki Bakugo, and the three of them (along with the boy’s narcoleptic sister) go on a family-friendly killing spree. Along the way, they meet a ketchup-and-mustard-themed man (with a little too much ketchup towards the end), a basketball demon, and a sorority-girl demon, among others. They learn many valuable life lessons.
In actuality, Demon Slayer tells the story of Tanjiro Kamado, a boy who lost everything but doesn’t let that stop him from doing what is right and saving what he can. Many complex characters support him on his journey while also undertaking journeys of their own. Their stories tell of determination, loss, family, or simple badassery. Each major character stands out but still flows with the overall narrative.
In short, Demon Slayer has some of the best-written characters in animanga, and I’m going to inform you on which are the best of the best. These top 10 characters are my personal favorites, so some you may not agree with. Hopefully, I’ll help you understand why I adore all of these 10 so much.
Before we begin, I warn all anime-only fans to stop reading—unless you’re one of the sickos who enjoy spoilers, in which case, go ahead.
10. Kanao Tsuyuri
Kanao is born into an extremely abusive family, to the point where her brothers are killed and she has to rid herself of emotions in order to bear it. Eventually, she’s sold into slavery, where she’s bought by the Flower Hashira Kanae Kocho and the future Insect Hashira Shinobu Kocho. The two treat her kindly, but Kanao is still without any feelings, and so she is given a coin to make decisions.
Kanae is killed by the second-highest Kizuki, Doma, and Kanao is unable to cry at her funeral. Tanjiro, like typical beam-of-sunlight Tanjiro, gets her to open up and express herself after flipping her coin to decide that she’ll never flip her coin again. After Shinobu is killed by Doma, Kanao avenges her, pitying Doma for being emotionless. Finally, she cries. Kanao goes on to marry Tanjiro after saving him from demonism.
Why She Makes My List
So, uh, yeah, pretty sad backstory. She rises very beautifully into a character who accepts the good and the bad of life instead of shutting herself off. If you don’t feel anything, than you aren’t any better than the demons. Woah, shivers.
It’s also worth mentioning that the person she kills to save Tanjiro is none other than the man, the myth, the legend: Muzan Kibutsuji. To be fair, his death is a long process that can be attributed to a lot of people, but she’s technically the one who finished him. A girl with a story like that who also offed Kibutsuji easily deserves a spot on this list. It’s crazy that she’s only at 10, but we have some really good ones to cover.
Far before the Taishō period in which Demon Slayer takes place, Hakuji is a serial thief and menace to society. All of his crimes, however, are to support his sickly father, who kills himself so as to lessen the burden, leaving Hakuji feeling lost. He is taken in by a master of Soryu (a style of hand-to-hand combat). There, he finds purpose again in learning Soryu and marrying his master’s daughter, Koyuki. They are very cute together and live happily ever after.
Wrong. Koyuki and her father are killed by her father’s rivals, and Hakuji goes on a vengeful murder binge. Kibutsuji meets him and turns him into a demon, Akaza, and for hundreds of years he commits horrific acts (including one of the most atrocious killings in the series), forgetting who he once was. On the climactic night of the story, Hakuji regains his memories while kicking the butts of Tanjiro and Giyu Tomioka. He decides to make himself decay, finally reuniting with all of the people he lost.
Why He Makes My List
For starters, Akaza is absolutely overpowered. He could have survived getting his head cut off with a Nichirin Sword, a feat only Kibutsuji has accomplished (not including demons with several heads). His hand-to-hand combat compared to other demons that use weapons and advanced Blood Demon Arts puts him high on the badassery scale.
When you take a character like that, an overpowered menace, and add a heart-wrenching backstory that makes him out to be a sweetheart, there’s something for everyone. Quite literally, there’s nothing else to be added that could make him a better character, minus a bigger role in the story overall. You can love him as Hakuji or you can love him as Akaza. Every manga reader should appreciate this character.
In order to save him from a deadly illness, Yushiro is turned into a demon by Tamayo, one of the few demons who resists Kibutsuji. The two of them spend their years caring for humans, particularly those involved in demon attacks, and working alongside certain Demon Slayers. Yushiro doesn’t really care that much about doing the right thing, but he loves Tamayo, and she wants to take down Kibutsuji, so he does too.
In the final battle, Tamayo forces Yushiro to abandon her and protect the Demon Slayer Corps. He does so, saving countless lives, but losing the one person he cares about most. The last of his kind, he is said to still be alive in the present, and he spends his days painting Lady Tamayo.
Why He Makes My List
I liked Yushiro in his first appearance in the Asakusa fight, as he seemed grumpy but good-hearted and his simping made me laugh. Even so, he isn’t a good enough character to make this list until you consider his role in the final battle. He saves Zenitsu from certain death. He takes over the Upper Four with ease and controls the entire Infinity Castle. He heals the Hashira and company of Kibutsuji’s poison in the climax. All this while he knows the woman he adores is dying.
It’s tragic but profound that he saves the world and achieves peace and immortality, but he can’t hold onto the only thing he really cares about. Yushiro is witty and mighty, but his lack of a happily-ever-after ending is what makes him unique and well written.
7. Shinobu Kocho
Shinobu and Kanae Kocho become Demon Slayers after their parents are murdered by demons, a common recruitment tactic for the Corps. Shinobu is the crabby one while her sister is saintly, but after Kanae’s dying words, Shinobu would try to be more friendly, transforming her into the best passive-aggressive character ever. As a medical genius, she takes care of the main squad whenever they get the crap kicked out of them, which adds to her likability.
In the battle in the Infinity Castle, Shinobu faces off against her sister’s killer, Doma, a demon about as likable as a dirty toilet seat. In a tragic and undignified end, Shinobu is enveloped by the sleazebag. Only later do we find out that this was her plan, and, for a year, she had been creating the perfect demon-killing poison within her own body. A weakened Doma is finished off by Shinobu’s adopted sister, Kanao, and our favorite angry midget finally has her revenge and rests in peace.
Why She Makes My List
Kocho is a funny little passive-aggressive woman who serves as a mother-figure to Tanjiro, Inosuke, Kanao and others. What’s not to like? My favorite part of her story is when she is willing to sacrifice her life and her decency in order to outsmart the person she hates the most in the world. Well, favorite isn’t the right word; it’s sad as hell. I just love how she made a complete fool of Doma from beyond the grave.
She’s a butt kicker who didn’t need some glorious heroic end; she just wanted her sister’s murderer dead, and she went to extreme measures to get there. Shinobu Kocho is a boss bitch.
6. Tengen Uzui
Tengen Uzui is born into a clan of shinobi, or ninja, with an ancestry of assassins who have no value for human life. His father’s harsh training results in the death of all but one of Uzui’s eight siblings, Uzui even being tricked into killing two of them. He’s forced to marry three women at a young age only to produce more shinobi. In the end, he can’t stand the immorality and runs away with his wives, whom he falls in love with despite the arranged marriage. He vows to protect human life to make up for his sins.
He becomes a Demon Slayer and rises to the rank of Hashira, developing a taste for flashiness and excitement. At the beginning of the Yoshiwara district mission, he comes off as egotistic to the Tanjibros. Periodically throughout the arc, he loses his attitude and focuses on protecting them and his wives. By the end, the cast can tell that he is a caring person who’s willing to die for them.
Nezuko burns Gyutaro’s poison out of him, giving him a new lease on life. He retires and lives happily with his ladies, still working alongside the Corps when they need him.
Why He Makes My List
Uzui is your textbook badass. The dude is awesome. He’s a ninja. He has a tragic past. He has three smokeshow wives. He fights an Upper Kizuki with one hand. He’s got luscious white locks. How do you not like someone that cool? He’s not even a-hole cool, he’s hero cool. He cares about people. What a hunk. In all seriousness, Uzui is a well-written character who comes off as showy and overconfident but is actually a compassionate person.
5. Genya Shinazugawa
If you like dismal backstories, than look no further than the Shinazugawa brothers. An abusive father leaves their family already in shambles, which gets far worse when their beloved mother becomes a demon and kills all of their siblings. Sanemi kills their mother, and Genya, at first, is horrified by his actions. This causes Sanemi to cut Genya out of his life, and he leaves to become the Wind Hashira.
Genya becomes a Demon Slayer in order to become close again to his brother. He can’t use Breathing Styles, so he masters Demonic Transformation, or the ability to eat demons and gain some of their powers. He develops from being Tanjiro’s rival to his friend. Sanemi rejects Genya when he tries to show him his accomplishments.
Later, the two of them and others (including Gyomei Himejima, whose character Genya would contribute to as the two were close) face off against the immensely terrifying Upper One, Kokushibo. Genya holds his ground, but suffers a fatal wound. In his dying moments, his brother tells him he only treated him harshly so he would stay away from the Demon Slayer Corps and this very fate. Genya dies, content that he could protect Sanemi.
Why He Makes My List
Genya and Sanemi are two of the biggest arses in the series, but they always have good intentions, which makes for a couple of amazing, complex characters. Personally, I feel they had the worst lives leading up to the series out of everyone, and that’s saying a lot. Between the two of them, I like Genya better, and that’s not a diss to Sanemi; Genya is just an extremely well planned-out character.
This is evident in his growth. He fails to protect his family, but in the end he manages to do just that. He views his brother as a murderer, but forgives him, realizing even before Sanemi that brotherly love comes before all else. He hates Tanjiro and shuts everyone out, before seeing that the people he knows are a lot like him. His development is one of Gotouge’s best accomplishments.
4. Zenitsu Agatsuma
Zenitsu is a cowardly, obnoxious simp, and yet he’s one of the best characters in all of Demon Slayer. He becomes a Slayer only to please former Rumble Hashira Jigoro Kuwajima, who payed off the debt Zenitsu found himself in thanks to girl troubles. To say he hates his job is an understatement.
Throughout the series, he complains bitterly and cannot calm down enough to fight effectively while conscious. However, we do see redeeming qualities in him, like defending random girls as well as people he cares about. Additionally, he has mastered Thunder Breathing First Form to the point where he can perform it exceptionally well while asleep, which is impressive.
In the Infinity Castle Arc, Zenitsu fights Upper Six Kaigaku Inadama, a fellow student of Kuwajima who chose to become a demon, leading to Kuwajima’s suicide. Zenitsu, having finally developed a new form of Thunder Breathing, defeats Kaigaku and defends the honor of “Gramps”. He does all of this (and later fights Kibutsuji) while fully conscious, showing how far he’s come.
Why He Makes My List
Zenitsu is beloved by the fan base, mostly thanks to the fact that he’s like us. He doesn’t coolly face powerful monsters like an action hero. He screams and pisses his pants like any normal person would. And yet, he still manages to kick butt in a shocking underdog way.
Seeing him go back and forth from crybaby to sleeping powerhouse is immensely entertaining. Throughout the main squad’s adventures, he’s sarcastic and hilarious. In the last battle, when he for once becomes dead serious (while conscious), it’s frightening and completely awesome.
Perhaps my hottest take on this list is a character who died before the story even began. Sabito becomes a student of former Water Hashira Sakonji Urokodaki after his family is slaughtered like we’ve seen countless times at this point. He befriends fellow-apprentice Tomioka, who’s not an easy guy to befriend, and the two of them undertake Final Selection together. While most participants of Final Selection just aim to survive for seven nights so they can pass, Sabito’s goal was to protect every single fellow entrant.
Amazingly, he succeeds, but he himself falls to the Hand Demon, who hunts Urokodaki’s students for revenge. Tomioka, a relatively untalented Demon Slayer, goes on to be the Water Hashira thanks to Sabito’s inspiration. Tanjiro, obviously one of the most powerful Demon Slayers of all time, is somewhat useless until Sabito, as a ghost, arrives to train him. Using his teachings, Tanjiro avenges Sabito, and the boy can finally rest in peace.
Why He Makes My List
The main reason I love Sabito so much is because he is the reason I started watching Demon Slayer. In their last duel, when Tanjiro finally defeats Sabito, and Sabito disappears and the boulder Tanjiro somehow had to cut lies there in two pieces, I was hooked. He was a ghost all along.
It sounds cliché, but it works quite nicely and no one sees it coming. It’s really quite tragic, and sets the tone that the rest of the story will follow. Not to mention, saving everyone in Final Selection?! That’s nuts. Sabito may have died early, but he’s legendary enough to make this list.
2. Muichiro Tokito
The Tokitos are descendants of Yoriichi Tsugikuni, creator of Breathing Styles, and so Muichiro has exceptional talent. Muichiro’s father falls off of a cliff while gathering herbs for his dying mother. For this reason, his twin brother, Yuichiro, employs a nice-guys-finish-last attitude. Muichiro, on the other hand, is bright, kind, and funny. Amane Ubayashiki often attempts to recruit them, but Yuichiro always shoots her down.
The twins are attacked by a demon, whom 11-year-old Muichiro takes down after his brother is fatally wounded. He loses his memories after the fight, creating a completely different personality in him. Now, he is more misty and uninterested in everything, and his demeanor is more hurtful like his brother’s was. After being saved by the Ubayashikis, he becomes the Mist Hashira in two months.
A couple of years later, in the Swordsmith Village Arc, Tokito experiences events that trigger old memories to resurface. It all finally comes back after he is saved by a boy he had been crappy to earlier. With his memories intact, he is full of the emotion he has been lacking for years. He unlocks the Demon Slayer Mark (the highest power level for a Slayer) and cuts down an Upper Kizuki like it’s nothing.
From that point on, he brightens everyone’s life, behaving like his father had always taught him. He goes on to courageously sacrifice himself in the fight against Kokushibo.
Why He Makes My List
Tokito is an absolute beast. People throughout the Demon Slayer universe gush over the strength and dedication it takes to become a Hashira, while this scrawny little MFer pulls it off as an 11-year-old amnesiac. He’s the first of the Taishō Hashira to manifest the Demon Slayer Mark, and the only one to kill an Upper Kizuki by himself. He’s kind, too, and he always has been. He just had to remember why.
Finally, I love Tokito because he makes me laugh, both as a misty idiot and a wisecracking little squirt. I’m not usually one to make a fool of myself and laugh out loud while reading manga, but Money Muichiro absolutely flaming Gyokko over and over again gets me every time. He’s the funniest character in the funniest action manga I’ve ever read. That, along with his other incredible traits, secures his spot at number two.
1. Inosuke Hashibira
Who else could be first but Boss Inosuke? His story begins with sorrow, including an abusive father and abandonment by his mother to save him from a demon’s clutches. He is found by boars and raised in the wild, learning how to speak through a few human interactions. He joins the Demon Slayer Corps purely for entertainment after learning about it from an unfortunate Demon Slayer that he jumped. He doesn’t really care about anything except testing his strength, until he meets the main cast.
He never admits it, but they change him, and we can see a shift in his priorities. After Kyojuro Rengoku’s death, Inosuke cries for maybe the first time in his life and gives Tanjiro surprisingly good advice about grief. In the Infinity Castle Arc (which is evidently when most of the supporting cast reaches their peak in development), Inosuke meets the demon who murdered his mom, and it turns out to be the same toilet-seat demon mentioned a few times above. He avenges his mother and Shinobu, a close mentor, in an emotional battle alongside Kanao.
While the final fight mostly focuses on Tanjiro and Kibutsuji, Inosuke has one of the next biggest roles. He actually manages to intimidate the thousand-year-old supervillain with his Inosuke-ness and a powerful speech about human life. He is devastated when Tanjiro (briefly) becomes a demon, showing how far he’s come from the days when he would pick fights with Gonpachiro Kamaboko.
Why He Makes My List
On the surface, Inosuke is a likable character because he is both funny and epic. Usually, a character is amusing at the expense of dignity (Zenitsu) or cool at the expense of comical likability (Tomioka). Inosuke has both sides, as he is a psycho annihilator of demons, but also an unintentionally hilarious dipstick.
Deeper than that, Inosuke has fantastic development. The big question about Inosuke’s character is whether or not he’s more animal or human. At the beginning, he’s a power-hungry creature. By the end, he understands what it means to lose significant people in one’s life. Gotouge teaches a profound lesson about the value of human life by having an animal that doesn’t believe in that value determine life’s worth himself, only to find that it is precious.
Everything I like about a character can be found in Inosuke, whether it be his writing, his humor, or just how entertaining he is. Inosuke may be not only the best character in Demon Slayer, but one of the best manga characters I’ve ever read.
Demon Slayer Has Some of the Best Heroes and Villains Ever
This list was tough. Not only did I have to leave out many more personal favorites (Obanai Iguro, Rengoku, and Hotaru Haganezuka), but I also left out many characters that are extremely significant to the plot (Tanjiro, Nezuko, and Tomioka). This just goes to show the vast array of unique and interesting characters the Demon Slayer universe contains.
There aren’t any right or wrong answers as to which characters are written the best, but I think it is an indisputable fact that Gotouge has created some of the best heroes and villains of the last decade. I, for one, am extremely excited for the upcoming seasons of the anime. As each of these characters grow, things are gonna get real flashy!