Even the most powerful heroes in the world of Demon Slayer have dark histories. Only the best of the best can survive in the Demon Slayer Corps. Some people do this by drawing strength from their misfortunes. In other circumstances, the fight to move forward with their life after tragedy is challenging.
Life in the Taisho era Japan is cruel to all characters, heroes and villains alike. The heroes, on the other hand, swear to make the world a safer place and to protect the innocent from demons. Many of the heroes who have grown to be known and loved by fans have experienced horrible trauma and loss.
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10. Inosuke Hashibira
Inosuke Hashibira's mother fled with her baby from his abusive father when he was a baby. Inosuke and his mother were taken in by a cult that was later revealed to be Doma's creation in order to draw in and eat humanity. When Inosuke's mother learnt the truth, she fled with her child, only to be pursued by the demon.
She tossed Inosuke off a cliff into a river in the hopes that he would live, trapped with no other options or escape. The newborn was discovered and nurtured on a mountainside by wild boars, never knowing human contact until he joined the Demon Slayer Corps as a teenager.
9. Genya Shinazugawa
Wind Hashira's younger brother, Sanemi, is Genya Shinazugawa. Genya blames Sanemi for their mother's death and develops a hatred towards his brother. Years later, Genya discovers his mother was a demon and decides to join the Demon Slayer Corps in order to make up with Sanemi.
Genya's animosity drives his actions, making him a bitter and unapproachable young man. He passes Final Selection with Tanjiro but is unable to use the Corps' standard breathing method. Genya, on the other hand, utilizes his own particular talent to ingest demon fragments, briefly inheriting their powers.
8. Tanjiro Kamado
Tanjiro Kamado and the immediate tragedy of losing his family to a demon attack are introduced in the first episode of Demon Slayer. Nezuko, his lone survivor, is converted into a demon before his very eyes. Tanjiro's attempt to transform Nezuko back into a human is the focus of the series.
Tanjiro goes on to experience many more close and devastating deaths, as if losing his entire family was not tragic enough. Tanjiro is one of the few characters still standing at the end of the series among his buddies and fellow demon slayers.
7. Kyojiro Rengoku
Hashira's Flame Kyojiro Rengoku is introduced as Tanjiro's group's joyful and friendly coach. Throughout the Mugen Train arc, audiences discover that Rengoku's late mother taught him to use his innate generosity and good heart to aid those less fortunate than himself.
Rengoku's father, Shinjuro (the previous Flame Hashira), fell into drinking and depression after his mother died. Shinjuro vented his fury on Rengoku through verbal assault, telling him he was useless and would never be a worthy Hashira. Rengoku dies without receiving closure from his father.
6. Giyu Tomioka
Giyu Tomioka, the Water Hashira, has been through a lot. When the audience first meets Tomioka, he poses a threat to the protagonist Tanjiro. However, viewers quickly discover that Tomioka hopes Tanjiro to succeed him as the Water Hashira.
After losing both his sister and best friend to demons, Tomioka lacks confidence in his own abilities and merit. As a reminder of his shortcomings, Tomioka's two-toned haori is sewn together from cloth that formerly belonged to his lost loved ones.
5. Sanemi Shinazugawa
Sanemi Shinazugawa, the Wind Hashira, is introduced as an unfeeling and unlikable character. Sanemi despises demons so much that he advocates for Tanjiro and Nezuko's execution and even stabbing Nezuko many times with his sword.
Sanemi's aversion to demons dates back to his boyhood. After his mother was transformed into a demon, she slaughtered all but one of Sanemi's siblings. Sanemi, as the oldest and strongest, was forced to utilize his abilities to murder his mother. Genya, his surviving brother, blamed Sanemi for their mother's death, producing a schism in their relationship.
4. Shinobu Kochu
Shinobu Kochu took over as Insect Hashira after her predecessor was murdered by Doma, the Upper Moon Two. Shinobu's sorrow is compounded by the fact that her beloved older sister, Kanae, was her predecessor.
Shinobu loses faith in demons and humans coexisting after Kanae is killed. She devoted her life to medicine, creating poisons capable of incapacitating and even killing demons. Shinobu meets the same fate as her sister when she finally gets her long-awaited chance to fight Doma. Despite losing her life, Shinobu's advances in poison allow her to pull Doma down with her.
3. Kanao Tsuyuri
Kanao is first introduced as a fellow demon slayer initiate during Final Selection. When Tanjiro meets her again, it is revealed that she lives and works at the Butterfly Mansion as Shinobu's mentee. Kanao never speaks and flips a coin in order to make decisions, and the reason why is heartbreaking.
Kanao was born into poverty, and when she was only a small child, she was sold off by her family. Kanao was regularly beaten and abused to the point where she disassociated in order to mentally protect herself from the pain. Kanao is rescued by Shinobu and her sister, Kanae. Though they gave her a safe home, Kanao was so traumatized that she could not take care of her basic needs.
2. Gyomei Himejima
Gyomei Himejima, the Stone Hashira, was dealt a sad hand from the start. Gyomei, who was born blind and orphaned, resided in a temple with a group of other abandoned youngsters. A monster stormed the temple one night and slaughtered everyone except Gyomei and one other orphan. People assumed Gyomei was the murderer since the demon's body melted in the sunshine.
Gyomei was falsely accused and spent years in prison until the head of the Demon Slayer Corps, Kagaya Ubuyashiki, saved him from execution for his purported crimes. Gyomei joins the Demon Slayer Corps after his discharge and becomes a Hashira in a matter of months.
1. Iguro Obanai
Serpent Hashira, Iguro Obanai, was born into a serpent-worshiping family. To appease the demon and sustain their way of life, the family would sacrifice newborn newborns to it. Obanai was the first boy born into his family in 370 years, so he was raised in a cage and treated with lavish meals to prepare him for sacrifice.
Obanai lived inside the cage in constant terror for twelve years, at which point the truth of his situation was revealed. Obanai managed to escape his imprisonment, but his entire clan was killed by the demon in the process of trying to recapture him. Obanai blamed himself for the death of his clan and joined the Demon Slayer Corps in order to risk his own life to save others.