Genya has just sunk her hungry fangs into Hantengu, drawing on the cannibalistic demon trope to survive an impossible fight.
The third season of Demon Slayer , which covers the Swordsmith Village story arc, is full of surprises. When Hantengu and Gyokko attacked one night, Tanjiro and his Hashira allies rushed to defend the village from their wrath, which meant unleashing unexpected, even horrific powers and abilities, mainly from Genya Shinazugawa.
While Mitsuri and Muichiro can use advanced breathing techniques, Genya can't use combat breathing, so he relies on Buddhist chanting to concentrate and acquire demonic powers. In more recent episodes, Genya has even revealed his demon-style fangs and bitten Hantengu's tree-like appendages, showing his true nature as a half-elf who eats his enemies to borrow their power.
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Genya Shinazugawa, the half-demon
As the Swordsmith Village story arc showed, Genya Shinazugawa, the demon slayer, is almost like a half-elf, although he hasn't literally become a demon like Nezuko Kamado . Genya simply imitates demons and can even heal like them with advanced but unusual techniques, making him functionally half-another demon slayer. He mixes human ingenuity with supernatural demonic strength to survive combat, and so far it's working, even if the results are shocking and horrifying to protagonist Tanjiro Kamado.
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The half-other anime trope describes any character, usually a protagonist, who contains elements of another species or power system. Such characters are born with their monster half or acquire these powers later, and in almost all cases, the character will have difficulty reconciling their two clashing halves. Shonen protagonists Naruto Uzumaki and Ichigo Kurosaki are both like this, as is Ken Kaneki in Tokyo Ghoul , and even Yuji Itadori in Jujutsu Kaisen . These half-other powers can be a huge boon in battle, but also a handicap, pushing the hero into berserker mode and injuring his allies.
So far in Demon Slayer , there are no real half-demons, since Muzan Kibutsuji's blood always turns humans into full-fledged demons, and there's no sign that demon slayers can use true blood demon arts. Yet some characters blur the line, like Kokushibo and his demon-slaying origins, and Genya Shinazugawa, who can mimic demons and even eat their flesh to further increase his power as a functional half-elf. The trick is for Genya not to lose himself in these dark powers and remember that he's a human being fighting for other people, but at least he has idealistic allies like Tanjiro Kamado and Mitsuri Kanroji to keep him in check, just in case.
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Genya's demon powers reflect her desperation
Genya Shinazugawa's half-assed fighting style isn't a reflection of his impetuous, Katsuki Bakugo-esque personality; it's a symptom of the Demon Slayer Corps' desperation. Even with the nine Hashira around and the leadership of Kagaya Ubuyashiki, the Demon Slayer Corps still struggles against the supernatural hordes of Muzan, especially the higher moons, and the Demon Slayers can spare no weapon in this fight. Even with breathing techniques and Nichirin swords, demon slayers can't keep up with the strength, endurance and superhuman abilities of demons, so ingenious thinking is essential. Genya Shinazugawa embodies this more than any other demon slayer, especially as he can't use typical breathing styles.
Genya was the first demon slayer to use a firearm, specifically a double-barrelled shotgun, in battle. It was both a bold and desperate move, and Genya followed it up with his half-other powers that shocked Tanjiro Kamado during the first phase of the fight against Hantengu . Now Genya has taken it to the next level by cannibalizing Hantengu's flesh, consuming demon flesh so that he can enhance his own demon-style powers, including regeneration.
This too may seem a desperate decision, but that's how the downtrodden Demon Slayer Corps works, and Genya won't hesitate to act accordingly. Fans of Tokyo Ghoul may recall that half-elf Ken Kaneki ate other ghouls to earn his kakuja kagune and power up, but Ken almost lost himself to these dark powers. If Genya Shinazugawa isn't careful, he could end up the same way, proving that his ingenious half-elf powers aren't worth it after all, even if it's to protect the precious Swordsmith Village.
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