The following contains spoilers for Demon Slayer Swordsmith Village Arc Episode 3, "A Sword From Over 300 Years Ago," now streaming on Crunchyroll and Netflix.

As a classic shonen action franchise, Demon Slayer powers its heroes up bit by bit. Protagonists like Tanjiro Kamado and his friends undergo tough training regimens and hone their techniques so they can be stronger, smarter and deadlier in combat, and Tanjiro has really upped his game with Hinokami Kagura. However, this power scaling feels rather abrupt.

Most other shonen action heroes will enhance and diversify their default fighting style, such as Naruto inventing new Rasengan techniques or Izuku Midoriya finding new uses for One For All. By contrast, Demon Slayer's Tanjiro has largely abandoned his Water Breathing style in real fights, and it makes his power scaling feel disjointed and even wasteful compared to what his shonen peers are doing.


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Why Tanjiro Rebooted His Fighting Style in Demon Slayer

Tanjiro uses the Hinokami Kagura against Daki in Demon Slayer

Tanjiro initially trained with Sakonji Urokodaki to become a demon slayer and learned the ways of Water Breathing, an elegant and flowing technique that the Hashira Giyu Tomioka also uses. This fighting style suited Tanjiro well; water can be soothing and nurturing but can also be powerful, like a tsunami or flash flood. Likewise, Tanjiro himself is gentle and nurturing as Nezuko's protective brother, and is flexible and easygoing unless provoked.

Tanjiro eventually started using Hinokami Kagura as well, a fiery fighting style that has roots in his own family, including his late father Tanjuro. This technique is exhausting to use but the sheer power is worth it, and it's only with Hinokami Kagura that Tanjiro can take on deadly Upper Moons like Daki. Hinokami Kagura is simply better than Water Breathing in most regards and has become Tanjiro's iconic fighting style in Demon Slayer. He hasn't completely given up the latter move, but Hinokami Kagura takes center stage in all his most important battles.

It's only natural that Tanjiro is using his strongest and most effective moves to win his fights, but it comes at the cost of his Water Breathing's symbolism. The shift was rather abrupt too, with Tanjiro discovering Hinokami Kagura during his battle against Rui and quickly making it his primary technique. It's rare for shonen heroes to totally reboot their fighting style like that, and it almost makes Tanjiro's Water Breathing training feel wasted. Hinokami Kagura is a replacement rather than an evolution, so this power scaling feels quite abrupt -- even if there are good in-universe reasons for him to do so.

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Tanjiro Can Create a Hybrid Fighting Style of Water and Fire

Tanjiro Kamado in Demon Slayer using his water breathing technique.

By this point in Demon Slayer, Tanjiro greatly favors Hinokami Kagura over Water Breathing. The former was his dominant technique against Daki, and it was the very first thing Tanjiro used when Hantengu showed up in the "Swordsmith Village" arc. Even if Hinokami Kagura is stronger, Tanjiro can and should continue using Water Breathing for practical reasons. It would also assure fans that Tanjiro's early training in the series remains relevant in Season 3.

Tanjiro is in a good position to combine his two fighting styles and blend their strengths, making him a demon slayer unlike any other. Many shonen side characters and villains have just one iconic technique or element, but heroes like Tanjiro, Naruto, and Izuku express their growth through innovation and creativity. If Naruto can put wind chakra in his Rasengan and Midoriya can invent Full Cowling and Shoot Style, then Tanjiro can develop a water/fire hybrid technique in Demon Slayer.

Such a hybrid style would combine Water Breathing's elegant, flowing motions with Hinokami Kagura's ferocious hitting power, making Tanjiro more effective in battle than ever. He could flow around the battlefield and weave his way through enemy attacks, then use Hinokami Kagura to deliver he final blow once he's in position. Water Breathing is elegant but doesn't hit particularly hard, while Hinokami Kagura is powerful but tiring as a blunt instrument. An intelligent hero like Tanjiro should find it easy to develop this hybrid style, and his challenging battle against Hantengu's multiple bodies is the perfect opportunity to test it out.

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