Demon Slayer's meteoric rise within the anime fandom is the result of multiple interconnected factors. Although loosely defined as shonen, the story takes a significant detour from genre conventions. Demon Slayer is filled with an eclectic cast of characters, all of whom help shape this fascinating universe in their own special way.
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The narrative's power-scaling is particularly notable for its consistent tempo, with characters rarely undergoing the hyperbolic power-ups seen in other popular shonen examples. As such, sorting them by strength becomes a relatively easy task because characters only experience growth when it's relevant to the overarching storyline.
Updated on May 17, 2023 by Ajay Aravind: Koyoharu Gotouge's Demon Slayer is undoubtedly one of the most successful shonen anime series of the last decade. In addition to multiple movies, this franchise has grown to include spin-offs, video games, stage plays, and even light novels. Although the anime isn't close to ending yet, manga fans should already know who the strongest Demon Slayer characters are. For those who don't, we've revamped this list with some extra information.
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10 Kyojuro Rengoku
As the official Flame Hashira, Kyojuro Rengoku displays an enthusiastic desire to seek justice on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves. His base strength isn't off-the-charts impressive, but it's more than enough to handle the likes of Enmu, the strongest of the Lower Rank Kizuki.
In fact, even Upper Moon #3 Akaza is forced to acknowledge the Flame Hashira's incredible stamina and durability. Kyojuro is a master of the Flame Breathing style and is capable of using a variety of techniques to great effect. Unfortunately, he meets his demise during the Mugen Train arc.
9 Giyu Tomioka
Giyu Tomioka is a lone wolf, preferring to finish his battles without wasting his breath on his opponents. The Water Hashira first reveals the extent of his martial prowess against Rui, using a personal technique known as the Eleventh Form: Dead Calm. This devastating ability is apparently powerful enough to eviscerate the Lower Moons.
Several fights have proven Giyu's exceptional willpower, especially when he faces Muzan near the end of the story. The Water Hashira is more than capable of defeating the Upper Moons, but he requires Tanjiro's help to take Akaza down. That said, Giyu is nevertheless one of the strongest Demon Slayer characters.
8 Sanemi Shinazugawa
The Wind Hashira is a living tornado, initially displaying his mettle during a friendly match against Giyu Tomioka. Sanemi's abilities are nothing short of extraordinary, as shown when he wipes the floor with a horde of medium-level demons in the Infinity Castle arc.
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In fact, Kokushibo himself praises Sanemi's combat versatility, but with a small caveat — the Wind Hashira is sorely limited by his human form. Sanemi's most impressive feature, however, is his agility. His movements are so rapid that they're almost indistinguishable from teleportation. He's arguably on par with the strongest Hashira in Demon Slayer.
Akaza's greatest claim to fame in Demon Slayer is defeating Kyokuro Rengoku, not to mention all the other Hashira he has killed over the past century or so. His self-healing potential is awe-inspiring, given that he can regenerate his own decapitated head.
In fact, it is revealed that Akaza's combat perception was highly developed long before he became a demon. The #3 Upper Rank Demon relies as much on strategy as strength. He refuses to underestimate his opponents, making him a truly fearsome foe. Akaza is nothing less than one of the strongest characters in Demon Slayer.
Doma is one step above Akaza in number, but his power level is exponentially greater. He effortlessly crushes both Kanae Kocho and Shinobu Kocho, the previous and current Insect Hashira of the Demon Slayer Corps. Doma's highly intricate Blood Demon Art is the source of his strength.
His Muhyo: Suiren Bosatsu pays a twisted homage to the Bodhisattva concept. Doma wields his trademark Cryokinesis with near-perfect accuracy, employing a range of ice-based techniques for both offense and defense. This #2 Upper Moon might be overly arrogant, but there's no doubting his overpowered arsenal.
Gyomei is widely believed to be the most powerful Hashira alive, surpassing his comrades in terms of endurance, martial skills, and, more importantly, patience. Gyomei rarely attacks without evaluating all the outcomes available to him at any given time.
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His preferred fighting style, the Kusarigamajutsu, incorporates the traditional Kusarigama rather than the Nichirin blades used by other Demon Slayers. Further, Gyomei's Stone Breathing generates enough power to force demons as overwhelming as Kokushibo on the back foot. The Stone Hashira is the strongest character in the Demon Slayer Corps.
Kokushibo stands atop Muzan's macabre hierarchy and answers to none other than the Demon King himself. Having survived for hundreds of years, Kokushibo's combat prowess and battle wisdom have grown beyond the understanding of ordinary human beings. Even the Hashira tremble before his uncontrollable bloodlust.
Despite putting up a fierce fight, Kokushibo eventually squeezes every ounce of energy from Gyomei and Sanemi. In addition, the #1 Upper Moon's Crescent Moon Blades are practically impossible to evade. Kokushibo is easily one of the most powerful characters in Demon Slayer.
3 Tanjiro Kamado
Tanjiro's birth heralds a new era for humankind, although the boy is blissfully unaware of the fate that's about to befall him. He first tastes the bitterness of reality when his mother and siblings are massacred by an unknown assailant (later revealed to be Muzan).
Tanjiro is ridden with guilt and promises to earn Nezuko's forgiveness for his inability to protect her. His diamond-hard skull might be advantageous in certain situations, but he doesn't need to resort to headbutting after he unlocks the long-lost art of Sun Breathing. Despite his young age, Tanjiro can be considered the strongest Demon Slayer still alive in the story.
2 Yoriichi Tsugikuni
Yoriichi Tsugikuni deserves the honor of being the strongest Demon Slayer to ever exist. Unlike other great warriors, who may or may not acquire their Demon Slayer Marks later in life, Yoriichi was born with it. Furthermore, this character singlehandedly invented the original Sun Breathing Style.
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Yoriichi later blends it with his prodigious swordsmanship to create attacks that very few demons can avoid, let alone dodge, parry, or block. Much like Voldemort's innate fear of Dumbledore in Harry Potter, Muzan is terrified of Yoriichi because the latter is arguably the only person in the world capable of annihilating the Demon King.
1 Muzan Kibutsuji
Despite Yoriichi's inhuman strength, he was never a demon, which made him vulnerable to the passage of time. On the other hand, Muzan's eternal youth, immortality, and Biokinesis made him all but invincible. The scope of the Demon King's power includes a vast array of interwoven abilities and techniques, any of which can take down even the strongest Hashira.
If that's not overpowered enough, Muzan is capable of controlling and manipulating demon physiology with molecular precision. Taking on this villain in a one-on-one fight is a fool's errand. Concerted efforts from powerful individuals can potentially make a difference, but even the strongest Hashira in Demon Slayer can't compare to Muzan's power.
NEXT: Demon Slayer: Every Main Character's Age