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The 14 Most Powerful Demon Slayer Characters Ranked

"Demon Slayer" is one of the series spearheading the renaissance of action anime. It was propelled into the public eye with the film "Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba — The Movie: Mugen Train," which swept the box office internationally and broke the record for the highest-grossing anime feature of all time. The anime returned for its 2nd season by readapting the feature film and following up with the Entertainment District Arc, a storyline from the manga. The arc sees newly introduced Hashiras (the highest level of the Demon Slayer Corps) and Upper Rank demons (the inner circle of the anime's primary antagonist) clash in the vibrant nightlife of Japan's Taishō period

The series is a piece of historical fantasy set in a transitional era, where demons, electricity, and traveling swordsmen all represent a clash between traditionalism and modernity. It's a world where humans can perform extraordinary acts of swordsmanship by harnessing their breathing, and demons can control massive trains and trap riders into eternal slumber with little effort.

However, "Demon Slayer” treats those bouts of impossible feats as more than just a generic anime trope, like when a character screams for multiple episodes to power up or continuously spams special moves. The show instead looks at a person's (or demon's) desires, work ethic, and overall personality in conjunction with their physical potential when considering the question of their strength. With that framework, it's easy to spot the six strongest surviving characters. While there are no explicit spoilers in the rankings below, it might be safer to browse this list after having caught up with the latest events.

14. Shinobu Kocho

In the Natagumo Mountain Arc, Shinobu proves her might and mastery over poisons, easily dispatching a series of demons that have previously given multiple corps members a difficult time. Shinobu's techniques are not as flashy as Giyu or Tanjiros' but are meticulous and deadly. Her attacks are sometimes so subtle that a demon may not realize they've been affected until it's too late.

Shinobu masks this ruthless efficiency with a calm and friendly demeanor, but she doesn't let the mask get in the way of taking out her enemies. She has a deep hatred of demons in any shape, as evidenced by her keenness to torture one of the Spider demons, as well as the desire to kill Nezuko even with various Demon Slayers advocating for the demon girl. Shinobu's true power and limits have yet to be seen, and as the series moves further and further into the upper tier of demons, we'll hopefully get to see the full breadth of Shinobu's abilities.

13. Kyojuro Rengoku

We meet Kyojuro Rengoku in Episode 21, but we get to know him better in the "Mugen Train" film. His declarative speech and enthusiasm are off-putting for our heroes, accustomed to the solemnity of life as Demon Slayers. However, his zen-like way of viewing the world and his genuinely-felt desire to protect others is where much of Rengoku's strength comes from. As fans will know, we didn't get to spend much time with this bright-eyed Slayer due to his untimely demise, but his spirit remains a highlight of the series. During his time with the group, he relished his life alongside his responsibilities, and that's what made him great.

As signified by his shocking, flamelike head of hair, Rengoku practices the Fire Breathing Style. Even after his father no longer taught him, Rengoku maintained a strict training regimen, fueled by his desire to be of good use in the world. Mighty though he was, Rengoku's greatest asset was always his clarity of purpose. When in combat against Akaza, the demon offered to turn him into one of them, but Rengoku refused. Akaza admitted that his opponent was getting close to achieving the coveted Selfless State, admiring him even as they fought to the death. Sadly, although Rengjoku comes close to defeating Akaza, he perishes in this battle, depriving fans of one of the franchise's best characters while also setting a seriously high bar for battles to come.

12. Nezuko Kamado

Of the two siblings, Nezuko edges a little stronger when it comes to defeating other demons thanks to a variety of demon-induced powers like flame blood, body morphing, and tunnel vision. In the first season of the anime, Nezuko's exploration of her powers comes in handy during various situations and conflicts. Her Blood Demon Art involves igniting a special flame that can only burn demons and demon materials, like the webs of the Spider Family, while not harming humans. This Blood Demon Art is bolstered by Nezuko's massive physical strength, demonstrated early on when she is able to use a single kick to decapitate a demon foe. That brute force pairs well with Nezuko's ability to shift her height and size, increasing or decreasing her overall strength based on the enemy at hand.

As shown in the Mugen Train Arc, many of the other entities' Blood Demon Arts, including that of the Upper Ranks, have little or no effect on her. While Tanjiro and his fellow Demon Slayers are drawn into a deep sleep due to the demon Enmu's spell, Nezuko is able to remain awake and plays a pivotal role in helping the others wake up later on in the arc. That combination of demon-targeting attacks and stronger resistance to Blood Demon Arts puts Nezuko at a larger advantage against demons when compared to most standard members of the Demon Slayer Corps.

11. Giyu Tomioka

Giyu, the catalyst for Tanjiro and Nezuko joining up with the Demon Slayer Corps, is quite possibly the strongest Demon Slayer that's been seen in the series. In both the Final Selection Arc and the Natagumo Mountain Arc, Giyu never loses his cool and makes easy work of any demon in front of him. Contrast him with Rengoku: Giyu is able to handle the Spider Family demon with no effort, while Rengoku is pushed to his limit in the fight with Akaza. While the circumstances are different, it's clear that Giyu's mastery of his sword technique is nearly flawless, and he has a command of his emotions that Rengoku never displays. Giyu is the perfect benchmark of what Tanjiro could possibly achieve if he continues to work on and master his Water Breathing style, along with addressing his anxiety and doubts. 

Beyond this, it is Giyu's willingness to take a chance on Tanjiro and Nezuko, even after years of being worn down as a Demon Slayer, that shows his true strength and compassion. In light of his demonstrated skills, it would seemingly be simple for Giyu to decapitate Nezuko and either incapacitate or kill Tanjiro in their earliest interaction. Instead, he offers a moment of compassion and gives them both a chance, showing restraint that many of the other Demon Slayers seem to lack. The combination of his Breathing Technique, his swordsmanship, and his compassion makes Giyu the strongest Demon Slayer the audience has seen so far. It'll be hard for any Hashira to match his effortless fighting style and merciful frame of mind.

10. Tanjiro Kamado

While Tanjiro is the series protagonist and has a desire to get stronger to protect and cure his sister Nezuko, at his current level, he's a capable but inexperienced fighter. Tanjiro has seen his fair share of fights with fairly powerful demons, including some of the Lower Rank demons of Muzan's inner circle in the Natagumo Mountain Arc. Tanjiro does prevail against the Spider Family of demons, but it comes at the price of heavy injuries to himself and his teammates. This is compounded by Tanjiro's low level of experience and over-reliance on instinct. Tanjiro's lack of skill and knowledge is highlighted whenever he shares screen time with Giyu, the man who brought him into the world of demon-slaying. Giyu, who fights with a similar Water Breathing style, takes no injuries in the fight and defeats multiple demons with minimal effort. 

Building on Tanjiro's inexperience in the Natagumo Mountain Arc, the Mugen Train Arc contrasts those shortcomings with just how much mental fortitude and drive he has. Tanjiro proves he is so sure of himself and his desire to help others that he is willing to kill himself a seemingly infinite amount of times to break out of an imposed dream state, attempting over and over to decapitate himself so that he can return to the real world. Again, Tanjiro's cost for defeating the demon is massive bodily harm and over-exhaustion from his strongest sword technique. It's made clear in the Mugen Train Arc that Tanjiro is still human and not an experienced Demon Slayer, as his attacks leave him useless, unlike any of the other battle-hardened Hashira. 

9. Obanai Iguro

If this were a best-dressed list, chances are that our pal Obanai Iguro would be close to the top, but even ranking on strength, this deceptively slight young man has serious staying power. Mostly blind in one eye, Iguro works with his pet snake Kaburamaru to accurately gauge situations. His acute attention to detail can become a weapon if he's not careful as he's often derided his fellow Demon Slayers for not fighting as well as he thinks they should.

Despite this ruthlessness, there is a tender heart deep down in Iguro, even if it's not always easy to see it. To be fair, his harsh overview of others is a reflection of the strict standards he holds himself to, which can be a great thing in a fight. Even among the Slayers, Iguro has surprising tenacity.

Iguro's stellar sense of style reflects his trailblazing attitude. As the creator of the Serpent Breathing Style, he is also its master, relying on Kaburamaru and incorporating the highly intelligent snake into his attacks. The unique bond between the two deeply informs his fighting style, as does his own unpredictable nature. Leaning into twisting attacks that rely on feints and sleight of hand to disorient opponents while maintaining a truly stunning level of aggression, Iguro is capable of decimating several different enemies with a single move. Like most of his fellow Demon Slayers, he sports the Nichirin katana, but it's hard to deny that Kaburamaru is his greatest asset.

8. Muichiro Tokito

Alongside his brother Yuichiro, Muichiro Tokito is a direct descendant of the demonic Kokushibo, although that has done very little to sway his sense of fury toward the demons. A bit of a space cadet and not easy to connect with on an emotional level, Tokito yet still remains one of the most dedicated members of the Hashira. Despite his people skills leaving something to be desired, there is a distinct lack of maliciousness in his behavior that allows Tanjiro to catch occasional glimpses of the fractured soul beneath the self-centered, unemotional demeanor. As with many of the Slayers, as we learn more about the horrible things that drove him to this life, his personal quirks become more akin to deeply relatable trauma responses than intentionally harmful behavior.

As a fighter, Tokito is able to harness all of his detachment to excellent effect in a battle. Considered to be a bit of a prodigy, he is a master of the Mist Breathing Style, with his personally aloof nature lending itself to several top-notch attacks. His sometimes disengaged demeanor lends to his extrasensory perception, as we realize that sometimes he's simply focusing more on the atmospheric world than he is on interacting with the people around him.

Even his baggy clothes serve to obscure his furious attacks, creating a fascinating mix between elusiveness and in-your-face aggression. For instance, his Obscuring Clouds attack relies on alternating the speed and tempo of the attack to confuse the other fighters, making him one of the most intriguing combatants in the series.

7. Sanemi Shinazugawa

While Sanemi Shinazugawa's erratic behavior and off-putting demeanor might make him a bit of a wild card to work with, he's shockingly focused in battle. Having accomplished incredible feats well before he became one of the Hashira, the loss of his partner Masachika Kumeno nevertheless appears to have broken him on some level. Despite his abrasive attitude, he is in many ways just trying to protect others from the horrible fate he's seen visited on those close to him. An odd duck in general, Shinazugawa has Marechi blood, a highly rare blood type that makes demons ravenous. This is a surprising asset as it tends to distract them, leaving them open to being defeated, although it can be a bit of a double-edged sword.

Shinazugawa practices the Wind Breathing Style, which allows him to dance and float as if on air, often hopping between trees and rooftops rather than traveling by foot. His strength of will is incredible even among the Hashira, and in some cases, he can actually control his muscles so well he can even keep his wounds closed during battle. Although he has a Nichirin sword, he is a master swordsman able to fluently switch between any number of weapons when needed. Indeed, if his great weakness is his unpredictability, then his great strength is his versatility, and it's this that makes him an invaluable part of the group despite his rough edges.

6. Akaza

Akaza was the surprise enemy of the Mugen Train Arc, coming in quickly and providing a challenge to Tanjiro, his newly introduced mentor Rengoku, and the rest of the group. Moving past the dream-inducing powers of Enmu, Akaza is an example of raw physical strength and martial prowess. Between inhuman force, rapid regeneration, and the benefit of extended life to refine his martial arts, Akaza is the best example of dedication propelling a person's strength beyond just physical power levels. He is a dark reflection of what makes the Hashira and the laser-focused Demon Slayers so dangerous. 

Everything that makes Tanjiro a compelling protagonist, from his self-destructive tenacity to his dedication to his mission of eradicating demons, is twisted in Akaza's characterization. The demon is a martial artist who essentially sold his soul so that he could continue to fight for all eternity, and he only regards the strong as worthy of becoming demons. Akaza's fortitude to continue on in a fight after taking massive damage, from having his hand bisected by a sword swing to being speared through the chest by a katana, shows his singular focus on the thrill of the fight. That concentration makes him easily one of the strongest characters seen so far, and makes the case for him being an Upper Rank demon.

5. Doma

Even among demons, Doma is uniquely upsetting, with his deeply sinister vibes starting well before Muzan transformed him into the demon that would soon achieve Upper Rank 2nd in Twelve Kizuki. Due to his ethereal beauty and stunning rainbow-colored eyes, Doma's parents believed him destined to become a religious figure, and raised him as a cult leader who rapidly grew to power.

His parents subsequently died very messy deaths as a result of their toxic relationship, but Doma was not only outwardly unphased, he was mildly disgusted by the mess rather than feeling anything for them as people. Even as a demon, he has retained power over his cult, and they are a constant source of not just power but also food as he feasts on them both literally and metaphorically.

More powerful than even the dread Akaza, Doma uses the art of Tessenjutsu, wielding deadly war fans to cut down anyone that stands against him. His Demon Blood Art allows him to master ice, forming it into inventive killing tools. Yet, above all, the thing that makes Doma so fearsome is his unsettling lack of feeling, which is off-putting even to Muzan. Despite his seemingly jovial and caring demeanor, underneath he's absolutely cold. Developing the ability to manipulate others by performing the role of a kind person at an early age to mask his lack of humanity, this is a demon who was already a monster well before his transformation.

4. Gyomei Himejima

Gyomei Himejima is so much on par with Kokushibo that it could be a tie between them, as we saw him very much hold his own against the demon in a fight in the manga. Physically looming and very strong, Himejima is known for his sensitivity, as well as his deep dedication to prayer. Though his presence is intimidating, his sense of determination and honor is his greatest source of strength.

Some underestimate him due to his blindness, but this is a huge mistake, as he has acute hearing that allows him to operate perhaps even better than before. Similarly, while some might view the fact that he regularly weeps over seemingly small things as a weakness, it is in fact this deep sense of decency that makes him the strongest Hashira, as well as a fan favorite for audiences.

As the master of Stone Breathing, Himejima is all but unshakable in battle. Forgoing the traditional Nichirin sword, he instead wields a sort of Kusarigama, with moves like the Arc of Justice leaning into a relentless flailing attack that grinds opponents to a standstill in record time. He is the most powerful among the Hashira, becoming the Stone Breather in only a couple of months. Still, as manga fans know, this is easily one of the franchise's most tragic characters, which makes his pious dedication to his beliefs and his desire to protect all the more admirable, if occasionally heartbreaking.

3. Kokushibo

Among demons, Tsugikuni's elder twin, Kokushibo, is right behind Muzan in the power ranking. But like Muzan, he was unable to defeat his brother fairly in a fight despite his apparent upper hand. Kokushibo is uniquely terrifying due to his history as one of the Demon Slayers, once fighting alongside his brother before ultimately succumbing to the dark side due to his fear of death.

Over centuries, he's only become a bigger threat than ever, with his mastery of flesh manipulation making him easily one of the most physically intimidating (and outright creepy) demons. Indeed, even just his aura gives off a strong enough vibe that it's been known to make otherwise strong fighters lose their will and their nerve, sometimes ending battles before they even begin.

As the right-hand man of Muzan, Kokushibo has served him loyally for many years, holding rank as the Upper One of the Twelve Kizuki and defeating many challengers to this position. With time, he learned to hone the Moon Breathing Style to the point that he could merge it with his Blood Demon Art, developing the Moon Cresent Blades. Likewise, he is able to shape his Nichirin blade into the deadly Flesh Katana. As scary as he is, Kokushibo is still a somewhat tragic character, undermined and eventually defeated in the manga, knowing that he could never quite live up to his brother's heroism and strength. 

2. Muzan Kibutsuji

It's obvious that Muzan is unmatched in the current hierarchy of the "Demon Slayer" demonic mythos. Not only is Muzan the big bad of the series and the progenitor of all demons, but they have shown in brief appearances massive reserves of raw power and the ability to strike fear into the hearts of strong demons and Demon Slayers alike. Muzan's sheer charisma and intimidation are only increased exponentially by acting from the body of a young child. The demon has survived by jumping from body to body, making the choice to use unassuming appearances to prolong their life and continue dominating their subservient demons.

At the start of the Entertainment District Arc, all Muzan has to do is move their finger to put extraordinary physical and psychological pressure on Akaza, to the point where the lesser demon begins to bleed from the sheer force of Muzan's will. From this demonstration alone, there is no doubt that Muzan is the most powerful demon, and the series' choice to sparingly show their lurking reserve of force in its 1st season only deepens the audience's understanding of that strength. But like the others on this list, Muzan's might is more than just raw power. It lies in their conviction and desire to bypass death, which Muzan has built upon to make themselves the strongest character in the series.

1. Yoriichi Tsugikuni

Even the mildest Demon Slayer packs a pretty powerful punch, but Yoriichi Tsugikuni, who lived several centuries years ago, is still regarded as the strongest to ever walk the earth. The twin brother of the terrifying Kokushibo and the inventor of the Breathing Styles that give the Demon Slayers their edge, Tsugikuni remains a legend many years after his death. Born with the Demon Slayer mark on his forehead, he was very nearly killed by his father, who believed the mark was a curse, but was saved by his mother. As a child, Tsugikuni was considered to be weak and nonresponsive, with even his close relatives finding him mysterious and difficult to understand. After his mother passed away, he left home and eventually married a woman named Uta.

Tragically, Uta and their child is killed by a demon while Tsugikuni is out doing a good deed, and that's when he begins his training as a Demon Slayer. While the demon Muzan strikes fear into the hearts of just about everyone, Tsugikuni is able to quite literally see right through him and understand his unique weakness. The fight between them is epic, but Muzan ultimately grows terrified and splits his body into hundreds of pieces, with Tsugikuni somehow managing to kill most of them before Muzan escapes.

Although long deceased, even the memory of Tsugikuni disturbs Muzan as he works double time to eliminate Tanjiro, whose mastery of the Sun Breathing Style reminds him of the threat Tsugikuni posed. While Tsugikuni has appeared only briefly in the anime, the third season has introduced the animated doll Yoriichi Type Zero, a trainer based on his fighting style.