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Demon Slayer: Tanjiro's Powers Explained

Contains mild spoilers for "Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba"

Every anime worth its salt needs a powerful, personable hero — and thanks in large part to the franchise's full-length film "Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train," which just made movie history in the U.S., the most popular player on the scene is currently "Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba." As such, it's only natural that its protagonist stands head and shoulders above most. 

Tanjiro Kamado (voiced by Natsuki Hanae in the original, and by Zach Aguilar in the English dub) starts the series in a pretty bad place: an extremely powerful demon turns his sister Nezuko (Akari Kito and Abby Trott) into another demon and slaughters the rest of their family. After a chance encounter with a powerful demon slayer and the discovery that Nezuko still retains some of her humanity, Tanjiro sets out to become a demon slayer himself — and hopefully find a cure for his sister. 

This fairly basic quest of revenge, with hope soon expanding into a massive narrative about a fight between good and evil. Over the course of "Demon Slayer," Tanjiro acquires a vast array of powers that help him in his numerous battles. But what, exactly, can the young demon hunter do? Here are Tanjiro Kamado's powers explained. 

Tanjiro's Total Concentration Breathing gives him supernatural abilities

Tanjiro is no slouch to begin with, and at the very start of the anime series, he survives a confrontation with the powerful demon slayer Giyu Tomioka (voiced by Takahiro Sakurai and Johnny Yong Bosch), who attempts to kill his freshly demonized sister. Giyu is appropriately impressed with the young boy's grit, and directs Tanjiro to master Sakonji Urokodaki (Hochu Otsuka and Brook Chalmers), who agrees to prep the youngster for demon slayer training. 

Under Sakonji's arduous training, Tanjiro learns the first of his many fighting powers: a breathing style (more on those in a bit) known as Total Concentration Breathing. This gives Tanjiro speed, power, and resilience that far surpass ordinary human beings. It's an extremely important part of his power set because using his various combat breathing maneuvers is very draining and can leave him completely exhausted if he's not careful.  

Combined with Sakonji's other lessons, this baseline battle power essentially grants Tanjiro super-powers, and at the later stages of "Demon Slayer" Season 1, he's able to upgrade Total Concentration Breathing so much that he maintains it even during his sleep.

Tanjiro is an expert at the Water Breathing style

The titular slayers of "Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba" are regularly up against supernatural, incredibly powerful creatures. To have a fighting chance, they've devised a number of "breathing styles," of which Total Concentration Breathing is a part. These are systems of swordplay that allow demon slayers to enhance their strength and incorporate mystical, elemental-based abilities to their combat.   

Thanks to his association with the powerful Water Breathing experts Giyu and Sakonji, Tanjiro's initial breathing style is quite naturally the same. The fluid combat system of Water Breathing enables his attacks to flow like water and strike like a tsunami, and they're accompanied with a cool water effect to accentuate the point. Tanjiro rapidly develops into one of the most proficient users of the style, and as "Demon Slayer" progresses, he becomes so adept at it that he can even use its coveted 10th form, in which his attack resembles a huge, watery dragon. 

Tanjiro's Dance of the Fire God is a unique combat style

When water doesn't do the trick, it's time to deploy fire. During a particularly hard fight, Tanjiro has a flashback to his younger days, and realizes that when he was just a child, his father secretly taught him a super-powerful breathing style known as Dance of the Fire God. As a demon slayer, he's finally able to use this remarkably powerful family style.

As the style's name implies, the Dance of the Fire God is a fire-based style, so Tanjiro has access to both water and fire techniques. Season 1 of "Dragon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba" most prominently features the Dance of the Fire God in Tanjiro's fight against the spider demon Rui (voiced by Koki Uchiyama and Billy Kametz), who resists the most powerful technique in Tanjiro's Water Breathing arsenal, but struggles against the demon slayer's newfound abilities. 

Fans who have seen "Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train" — or are up to date with the manga — know just how powerful and visually impressive the Dance of the Fire God really is, and "Dragon Slayer" Season 2 will quite likely show us plenty more of the style. 

Tanjiro's head is a lethal weapon

Many demon hunters' combat styles rely heavily on bladed weapons, since the breathing styles they use are based on swordplay. The same applies to Tanjiro, but he doesn't necessarily need a sword to deliver a finishing blow. In fact, he's quite heavily armed even when he walks around without weapons of any kind because his body contains one. 

Tanjiro's skull has proven to be an extremely effective weapon in a pinch; it's so hard that a solid head-butt is fully capable of incapacitating an opponent without any ill effects to Tanjiro himself. When he and Nezuko fight against the Temple Demon (voiced by Hikaru Midorikawa and Ben Diskin) early on, Tanjiro has little experience of demon combat, but is still able to turn the tide of the battle with a few solid head-butts. 

Clearly realizing the might of his rock-hard head, Tanjiro later uses a head-butt as a non-lethal finishing move against the boar-masked Inosuke Mashibira (Yoshitsugu Matsuoka and Bryce Papenbrook). Though Inosuke is a pretty hard-headed guy himself, the impact is more than enough to take him down. Even more impressively, Tanjiro later uses the trick against the powerful Sanemi Shinazugawa (Tomokazu Seki and Kaiji Tang) — with his hands tied behind his back, no less. 

Tanjiro has a superhuman sense of smell

One of Tanjiro's most notable powers isn't exactly offensive, but it's super-handy nevertheless. As is par for the course with all demon slayers, Tanjiro's senses are all highly enhanced — but, as it turns out, one of them is pretty powerful to begin with. Even as a young trainee, Tanjiro demonstrates a sense of smell that's well above and beyond the norm, which allows his nose to work in way that gives him a sixth sense of sorts. 

Tanjiro's olfactory abilities are so advanced that he's able to use his nose to interpret his surroundings to a staggering degree. During his training with Sakonji, he demonstrates the ability to smell traps, and when he defeats the Hand Demon, he's able to actually smell its emotions. 

As Tanjiro's skills improve, his sense of smell also enhances from its already impressive default state. As a demon slayer, he's capable of tracking demons with his nose like a bloodhound, following their scent over vast distances and even anticipating their attacks with his sense of smell when they try to fight him.