The third season of Demon Slayer, which covers the Swordsmith Village story arc, is full of surprises. When Hantengu and Gyokko attacked one night, Tanjiro and his Hashira comrades hurried to defend the town, which meant unleashing some unexpected, and even horrific, talents and skills, especially on the side of Genya Shinazugawa.

While Mitsuri and Muichiro can use advanced breathing techniques to focus and gather demonic powers, Genya cannot, thus he relies on Buddhist chants to focus and gain demonic powers. In later episodes, Genya even bared his demon-like fangs and chomped down on Hantengu's tree-like appendages, revealing his real nature as a half-other who consumes his foes to gain their power.


Genya Shinazugawa & The Half-Other Trope

Demon Slayer's Genya Takes the Half-Other Trope to Gruesome New Heights_0

As the Swordsmith Village story arc has demonstrated, Genya Shinazugawa, the demon slayer, is almost a half-other, despite the fact that he did not physically become a demon like Nezuko Kamado. Genya just imitates demons and can even heal like them using advanced but uncommon procedures, therefore making him a half-other demon killer. To live in conflict, he combines human cunning with superhuman demonic might, and so far, it's working, even though the results are surprising and brutal in the eyes of protagonist Tanjiro Kamado.

The half-other anime trope describes any character, usually a protagonist, who has elements of another species or power system in them. Such characters are either born with their monster half or acquire those powers later, and in nearly all cases, the character will struggle to reconcile their two clashing halves. Shonen protagonists Naruto Uzumaki and Ichigo Kurosaki are both like that, as is Ken Kaneki in Tokyo Ghoul, and even Yuji Itadori in Jujutsu Kaisen. These half-other powers can be a huge boon in combat, but also a liability, with those powers driving the hero into berserker mode and harming their allies.

So far in Demon Slayer, there are no true half-others because Muzan Kibutsuji's blood always transforms humans into full-fledged demons, and there are no indications that demon slayers can employ actual blood demon techniques. Still, some characters, such as Kokushibo with his demon slayer origins, and Genya Shinazugawa, who can imitate demons and even consume their flesh to increase his power as a functioning half-other, blur the boundary. The trick is for Genya to remember that he is a human being fighting for other people, and that he has idealistic allies like Tanjiro Kamado and Mitsuri Kanroji to keep him in check just in case.


Genya's Half-Other Powers Reflect His Desperation

Demon Slayer's Genya Takes the Half-Other Trope to Gruesome New Heights_1

Genya Shinazugawa's half-other combat style is not a reflection of his hotheaded, Katsuki Bakugo-esque personality; it's a symptom of how desperate the Demon Slayer Corps is. Even with the nine Hashira around and Kagaya Ubuyashiki's leadership, the Demon Slayer Corps is always struggling against Muzan's supernatural hordes—especially the Upper Moons—and the demon slayers can't spare any weapon in this fight. Even with breathing techniques and Nichirin swords, the demon slayers cannot keep up with demons' superhuman strength, endurance, and abilities, so resourceful thinking is a must. Genya Shinazugawa embodies this more than any other demon slayer, especially since he cannot use typical breathing styles.

Genya was the first demon slayer seen using a firearm, more specifically a double-barred shotgun, to fight. That was both a bold and desperate move, and Genya followed it up with his half-other powers that shocked Tanjiro Kamado during the Hantengu fight's early phase. Now Genya has taken it to the next level by cannibalizing Hantengu's flesh, consuming demon flesh so he can enhance his own demon-style powers, including regeneration.

That too may seem like a desperate move, but that's just how the underdog Demon Slayer Corps operates, and Genya won't hesitate to act accordingly. Tokyo Ghoul fans may be reminded of the half-other Ken Kaneki eating other ghouls to gain his kakuja kagune and power up, but Ken nearly lost himself to those dark powers. If Genya Shinazugawa isn't careful, he may end up the same way, which would prove that his resourceful half-other powers aren't worth it after all—even if it's to protect the precious Swordsmith Village.