Kindness: An Unusual Protagonist Trait – Demon Slayer – Kimetsu no Yaiba

Kamado Tanjiro may be one of the more unusual protagonists I have seen in a while. More than the run of the mill bad decision making and ignorant protagonists that knows literally nothing about anything, Tanjiro is perhaps one of the more refreshing ones to have come out in a show that is as big as Kimetsu no Yaiba. While we may get the occasional protagonist that is already a god tier power level, Tanjiro is not so overpowered as to make him boring. Some of his better attributes such as his ability to think in life and death scenarios were already demonstrated since the first episode. Tanjiro’s most defining attribute is kindness and its also his greatest strength.

Kindness is certainly an odd attribute to have when given the level of darkness and despair the show has already exhibited. Its easy to be kind when you are a plain vanilla family living in the woods helping your mom and siblings. Its another matter entirely when everything has been taken from you besides one sister who has been changed into the very thing that slaughtered your family. Tanjiro is in a position that no other known demon slayer is in. His sister is a demon, but is a demon who hasn’t killed anyone and therefore has her life spared by the demon slayers. Is Nezuko the only reason that Tanjiro can remain kind even in the cruel world around him? Tanjiro is not driven by hate, but he is driven by trying to find a remedy to turn his sister back into a human. Is Tanjiro’s kindness exploitable by demons? Can kindness really be a strength? Tanjiro puts his kindness to the test time and time again as he confronts demons.

Tanjiro’s kindness towards demons come from the fact that perhaps his sister is one of them. He knows his sister is still inside the demon. There have been moments where we have seen Nezuko’s will overcome her demonic nature. Tanjiro’s perspective of demons is unique in how he can see the human elements inside demons. He doesn’t see the demons as irredeemable. He firmly holds on to the belief that there is something inside demons making them human and forgivable. If it wasn’t for this unique perspective Tanjiro would have no reason to show mercy to demons. Consistently Tanjiro is merciful even in his killing of the demons. If Nezuko is killed or if she dies would Tanjiro be able to hold the same views about demons? I wonder if Tanjiro will continue to exhibit kindness going forward into the show.

If Tanjiro were to lose his kindness I don’t think I would find him any less interesting of a character. If anything his kindness lends enjoyment to the show that would otherwise be mostly a hack and slash. I feel it would be natural if Tanjiro were to become jaded and lose sight of what defines him. However time and time again Tanjiro is able to exhibit kindness in situations that are life and death. Tanjiro’s ability to overcome this jaded nature of the demon slaying business defines him as a character. Tanjiro’s kindness is proof that he isn’t a monster and further proves that needing a monster to kill another monster isn’t always a necessity.