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The 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.

6. 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. 

5. 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.

4. 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.

3. 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.

2. 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.

1. 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.