In the third season of the Demon Slayer anime, Tanjiro and Nezuko Kamado ventured into the hidden swordsmith village, where they encountered the endearing Love Hashira, Mitsuri Kanroji. Being a caring and affectionate individual and a fellow demon slayer, Mitsuri quickly formed a strong connection with the Kamado siblings, providing them with unwavering support. However, the bond between Mitsuri and Nezuko held a particularly profound and unbreakable depth.
Interestingly, during the calm before the battle in Demon Slayer Season 3, Nezuko and Mitsuri exhibited a genuine sisterly camaraderie, which extended beyond mere comedic effect. Even as Mitsuri playfully tickled the "smol" Nezuko, their interactions resonated with a true sibling dynamic. The swift and heartfelt bond formed between Mitsuri and Nezuko as found family sisters tapped into the core themes of Demon Slayer. While there may be a tinge of tragedy associated with this newfound sisterly connection, ultimately it serves a greater purpose.
Nezuko Kamado Needed Mitsuri As Her First Big Sister
When Nezuko Kamado and Mitsuri Kanroji crossed paths at the inn in the swordsmith village, there were several compelling reasons for their immediate bond. Mitsuri, a beautiful and formidable warrior, effortlessly balanced her strength and femininity, making her an admirable role model for Nezuko. However, their connection ran deeper than merely being fellow female fighters. Both Nezuko and Mitsuri shared the experience of being eldest daughters in their respective families, understanding the responsibilities and expectations that come with being an older sibling. They both knew what it was like to have younger siblings who looked up to them.
Before the Kamado family fell victim to Muzan's hand, Nezuko had embraced her role as the eldest daughter, acting as a second mother figure to her younger siblings. Although Nezuko willingly took on this duty, it undoubtedly involved a significant amount of work. Deep down, she may have yearned for an older sister of her own to share the burden and support her in the same way. While she had Tanjiro as her older brother, they were only a year apart, and the dynamics between a big brother and a big sister differ. Nezuko longed for someone she could truly identify with—a guiding presence and an older sister figure. In the third season of Demon Slayer, that someone was Mitsuri Kanroji.
Nezuko saw herself reflected in Mitsuri, recognizing that they both fulfilled the role of nurturing and protecting their younger siblings within a warm and secure family environment. For once, Nezuko could reverse the roles and experience what it was like to have an older sister instead of being the older sister. She relished this opportunity greatly. Mitsuri, who understood the responsibilities of being an affectionate eldest daughter, gladly embraced this role, and Nezuko could finally revel in being a little sister, even adopting her adorable "smol" form to match. Although this sequence was brief in the Swordsmith Village arc, it held tremendous significance for Nezuko. The journey to the secluded village was undoubtedly worth it for her.
Nezuko Was Already Primed To Be A Little Sister To Mitsuri
Another plausible reason for Nezuko's quick connection with Mitsuri Kanroji is rooted in Nezuko's vulnerability and her need for older siblings to care for her. Nezuko is not only younger than Tanjiro and Mitsuri, but her transformation into a demon caused her to regress in certain aspects as she tried to suppress her insatiable hunger and aggression. Nezuko deliberately restrained her inner darkness by entering into a prolonged sleep and adopting her "smol" form, along with a childlike and innocent mindset. In doing so, Nezuko took a step back mentally and became a harmless young girl, further embodying the role of a little sister.
However, it is important to note that this regression does not render Nezuko completely helpless or devoid of wisdom and discernment. Nezuko has demonstrated her ability to grow stronger and larger when necessary, as exemplified in her confrontation with Daki in the entertainment district.
Nonetheless, Nezuko's intentional regression, both in mind and body, made her highly receptive to the role of a little sister who relies on the guidance and support of older siblings, whether they are biological or found within a chosen family. Nezuko has Tanjiro as her protective brother, and now she has Mitsuri as her sister as well. Mitsuri, who cherished her role as a big sister in her own family, proved to be the right person for Nezuko's needs, while other female characters like the secretly angry Shinobu Kocho or Tengen Uzui's three wives may not have fulfilled the gentle and nurturing characteristics that "smol" Nezuko, as someone repressed and childlike, required on a personal level.
While Nezuko may have admired those formidable female fighters, her particular circumstances called for the presence of a gentle and caring older sister, which Mitsuri aptly provided.
Family Is The Emotional Core Of Demon Slayer
Right from the beginning, the theme of family has been a powerful and emotionally resonant aspect of Demon Slayer. The tight bond between Tanjiro and Nezuko, who are the sole survivors of their family, serves as a prime example. Numerous other characters in Demon Slayer also evoke strong emotions through their own family stories. For instance, Kyojuro Rengoku carries a deep sense of indebtedness to his mother while striving to prove his jaded father wrong about the demon slayers. Shinobu Kocho seeks revenge after the death of her elder sister, Kanae, and even the rebellious Genya Shinazugawa experiences familial drama with his Hashira brother, Sanemi. With the consistent presence of familial themes, it is natural for Nezuko and Mitsuri to form a bond, not only because Nezuko requires a strong female role model but also because she needs a big sister within her found family.
Family often serves as a source of intense drama and pain in Demon Slayer, as seen with the tragic sibling duo Daki and Gyutaro, as well as Kyojuro's idealistic conflict with his father, Shinjuro. To counterbalance these elements, the third season of Demon Slayer highlights family as a source of stability, happiness, and security through the bond between Mitsuri and Nezuko as newfound sisters in their chosen family. Although the payoff for this connection was limited in Season 3, as Nezuko and Mitsuri fought their respective enemies separately during the battle, this wholesome sisterly bond may hold significance in the future. It is possible that Nezuko and Mitsuri will fight not only for duty or survival but also for each other. Furthermore, there may be room for Tanjiro to play a role within this "power of family" dynamic as the middle child.