By Chelsea Cruz
When the anime adaptation of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba hit the scene, it took fans by storm with its heart-wrenching tale of hope and family, with a backdrop of beautiful animation, gory battles and memorable characters.
And yes, we love Tanjiro, Nezuko and the rest of the Demon Slayer crew, but this series has also excelled at delivering us some truly awesome bad guys, from one-off demons to the series’ overarching villains.
With so many to keep track of, let’s break down each of the big ones from Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. Do you have a favorite?
During the Demon Slayer Corps’ Final Selection, a majority of potential slayers are defeated by the Hand Demon, a hideous multi-limb monstrosity who has consumed dozens.
With his Blood Demon Art abilities, he can regenerate and extend his limbs to great lengths, using this power to exclusively devour the students of Sakonji Urokodaki. He’s not interested in those trained by others.
After claiming the lives of Sabito and Makomo, the Hand Demon meets his end at the hand of Tanjiro, who slashes through him with a First Form Water Breathing attack.
After being accepted into the Demon Slayer Corps, Tanjiro is sent to a small town for his first mission—solve a batch of kidnappings. The Swamp Demon reveal themselves to be the one responsible for the crimes, showing off trinkets of their victims to Tanjiro.
Not only can the Swamp Demon split into multiples, but they can also conjure swamp-like dimensions to escape to or use as a mode of travel during battle. Additionally, they’re very afraid of Muzan Kibutsuji (who you’ll meet down below), and are unable to even speak his name. They meet their end at the hand of Tanjiro, who decapitates them.
Otherwise known as the Temari Demon, Susamaru is sent by Muzan to kill and bring back the head of Tanjiro. She’s an aspiring member of the Twelve Kizuki, specialized demons who live to serve Muzan.
Susamaru, like the Hand Demon, can grow her limbs when needed, and her Blood Demon Art allows her to conjure head-crushing temari balls. Unlike her counterpart, Yahaba, she’s more carefree and enthusiastic compared to his serious and strategic tone.
Susamaru met her end in Asakusa, when Tamayo got her to say Muzan’s name, causing her body to crush itself.
Partnered with Susamaru, Yahaba aspired to be part of Muzan’s Twelve Kizuki, but hadn’t yet made the cut.
Yahaba’s Blood Demon Art is both powerful on its own and is capable of greatly assisting Susamaru’s, as it can force the temari she launches to fire rapidly. Yahaba meets his end when Yushiro and Tanjiro work together to anticipate each of his moves and decapitate him, though not without one heck of a final fight.
A former member of the Twelve Kizuki, Kyogai once held the position of Lower Rank 6, but has since crossed out his Kizuki mark.
Kyogai’s power consists of six drums attached to his muscular physique that allow him to rotate rooms, teleport himself or other people, and produce slash attacks, all of which he used to take over a mansion.
However, Kyogai didn’t stand a chance against Tanjiro and Inosuke, who decapitated him, but not before revealing his admiration of the two prior to his demise.
Rui and the Spider Family
Led by Rui, the Spider Family plague and terrorize Mount Natagumo.
Lower Rank 5 of the Twelve Kizuki, Rui was once a sickly boy-turned-demon by Muzan (almost there!). He has the power to weave threads that control others, cut like steel and turn people into demons. Rui chases the dream of the perfect family after he destroys his own.
His spider “family” consists of a mother, father, brother and sister, but there have been many others in the past. Tanjiro runs into the mother demon, who is controlling Demon Slayers like puppets via strings. After Tanjiro defeats her he and Inosuke fight the father demon, but his power is so great that it almost kills Inosuke—when Giyu shows up and dices the father.
Zenitsu faces the brother demon, who has the power to convert others into terrifying little spiders, alone, taking him down with his Thunderclap attack.
This leads up to the jealous rage Rui develops after witnessing a true family bond between Tanjiro and Nezuko. In his anger, he decapitates his sister and orders her to kill the remaining humans. Eventually, Shinobu catches her off guard, taking her down with a swarm of butterflies.
Rui then decides that he wants Nezuko to be his new sister, but Tanjiro protests. Unable to break through Rui’s strong exterior, Tanjiro develops a new type of breathing, while Nezuko unlocks her own special ability. The two take down Rui together, or so they thought. The killing blow is delivered when Giyu shows up and cuts right through Rui, still pleading for the perfect family.
The main antagonist of the series, Muzan Kibutsuji, is an all-powerful demon who leads the Twelve Kizuki. His powers include demon conversion, shape-shifting and blood empowerment, which is what makes his Twelve Kizuki more powerful than most demons.
Not much is known about the demon, though he is elusive and makes his appearance known only via henchmen. It is implied that he is the demon that massacred the Kamado family and turned Nezuko into a demon, and he particularly has it out for Tanjiro, the Demon Slayer with hanafuda earrings.
During their brief first meeting, Muzan senses Tanjiro through a crowd of people, and instead of striking him, Muzan turns a random human into a demon, sending the city into a commotion.
As the season progresses, we see the capabilities of Muzan’s manipulation as he can easily convince demons and humans to join him. He treats them poorly because he knows they are powerless, and they wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for his powers of conversion.
We can only guess what evils he’s cooking up for the Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba crew next.