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What Does It Really Mean If A Demon Slayer Has Marks On Their Face?

The anime series "Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba" started as a weekly manga released for Shōnen Jump magazine in 2016, and it's since been turned into an anime franchise with film and video game adaptations and has even been adapted for the stage and into art. If you need any more confirmation that the "Demon Slayer" hype is real, the sequel film "Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train" topped Hayao Miyazaki's "Spirited Away" in 2020 as Japan's biggest box office hit ever (via The Hollywood Reporter). 

"Demon Slayer" isn't your run-of-the-mill story about a boy living in rural Japan, and actually gets dark right from the start. The story follows Tanjiro Kamado and his sister Nezuko after he arrives home to find the rest of his family has been brutally murdered. He goes off on a mission to find a cure for Nezuko, who has been turned into a demon and accompanies him muzzled, then joins the Demon Slayer Corps in order to help rid the world of the very same dangerous demons that killed his family.

Throughout Tanjio and Nezuko's journey, they run into plenty of disturbing demons, which Tanjiro must use his growing strength as a Demon Slayer to defeat, and oftentimes leads to Nezuko jumping into battle to help. One thing you may not notice from these battles is Tanjiro's evolving mark on his face. It's not simply just a scar, and other Demon Slayers have been known to have similar marks as well. Read on to hear what it actually means if a Demon Slayer is marked, and fair warning, this may spoil the anime's upcoming story if you haven't seen it yet.

A mark on a Demon Slayer is actually a curse

Since Episode 1, Tanjiro is shown with a large scar on his forehead, but it serves a deeper purpose than just making him look cool. If you pay close enough attention, you can see the scar change shape throughout the series, so it's not just a mark that resulted from when Tanjiro saved his little brother from a falling hot kettle, as he believes. In fact, it's later referred to in the manga as the Demon Slayer Mark and only shows up on Demon Slayers who are destined to be exceptionally powerful and after they meet certain prerequisites, like a near-death experience. Demon Slayers with the Mark all practce Sun Breathing techniques as well, like Tanjiro.

The mark brings massive amounts of power and grants Tanjiro special abilities such as hyper perception and being able to slow a demon's healing powers. However the mark has some serious downsides. For one, the mark occasionally makes Tanjiro's heart rate dangerously high at 200 beats per minute and gives him a fever of 39 degrees Celsius/102.2 degrees Fahrenheit. Most notably though, is that the mark, in exchange for the increase in power, grants its Demon Slayer a shortened lifespan of just 25 years.

This doesn't necessarily mean that Tanjiro is cursed to die at 25 years old. Sometimes the curse doesn't always follow through, as shown by the case of Demon Slayer brothers Kokushibo and Yoriichi, who also bore the Mark. In their cases, Kokushibo became a demon with an immortal lifespan and Yoriichi died at 85 years old. As Tanjiro's story progresses in the anime series, his mark is sure to be an important aspect in his journey to become the most powerful Demon Slayer.