With every new Demon Slayer arc, one thing is always guaranteed-- an epic showdown between a Hashira and an overpowered demon. The "Mugen Train" arc saw Rengoku take on Upper Moon 3, Tengen defeated an Upper Moon 6 in the Entertainment District, and back in the first season, Giyu helped Tanjiro defeat Rui. With each demon's demise, a new Breathing Style was introduced, but how does each technique vary?
Information from The Demon Slaying Corp's Info Book, by Mangaka Koyoharu Gotouge, confirms that each technique feels different when used. A section of the book called "Interview with the Demons from Hell: Voices from Beyond the Sanzu River," shows a demon slayer named Gotou interviewing numerous demons on how it felt being slain by a certain breathing style. Conversations with familiar demons revealed the differences between each technique.
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Demon Slayer’s Water Breathing Is Gentle, While Wind Breathing Hurts
Water Breathing was the first style to be addressed, with the demons slain by the technique unanimous in its effects. Being slain with this technique is a forgiving death, and while it still hurts, the pain is very bearable. The infamous Hand Demon who took the lives of many of Urokodaki's students in the entrance exams, including the friends of the Water Hashira, stated that he didn't hate being killed by the technique as it was very swift. This is fitting of Giyu's personality, as he is introverted and soft-spoken, coming across as a very gentle person.
This clearly contrasts with the abrasive and outspoken Sanemi Shinazugawa. Demons slain by the Wind Hashira not only commented on the pain of the breathing technique but also the personality of the wielder. His opponents stated this style was painful, and seemed almost like overkill. The hatred toward demons that Sanemi harbored was clear in how he attacked, resulting in a merciless approach and agonizing death.
Kanae and Shinobu Kocho’s Styles Only Appear Similar
The Kocho sisters are the respective users of Insect and Flower Breathing, two styles that are assumed to be quite similar. Though, in reality, Insect Breathing is far more brutal. Kanae, the late Flower Hashira, was very kind-natured, and this was reflected in the technique. Being slain by this style is soft and gentle, with one demon going as far as to say it felt like going to heaven. Others recalled a pleasant smell in their final moments. Kanae was even equated to being similar to a celestial maiden.
Shinobu, however, is fueled by rage and vengeance. After Kanae was killed by an Upper Moon, the Insect Hashira chose to take revenge in a very brutal way. Instead of killing demons with the typical Nichirin sword, Shinobu deals the final blow with a poison she made herself. As a result, Insect Breathing is one of the most painful ways to be slain. Eventually, the slayer avenged her sister by killing Doma, who stated in his interview that he forgave Shinobu because she was beautiful.
Stone and Serpent Breathing Are Both Impressive, but Painful
The Stone Hashira, Gyomei Himejima, looks the most terrifying of all the pillars. While he towers over his peers, he is the embodiment of a gentle giant. He is very sensitive and often cries in battle, which proves to be confusing to his opponents. When interviewed, demons including the Upper Moon 1 stated that the style was terrifying, making one demon wet himself. Others said they wanted to cry when faced with Stone Breathing but were too confused to do so after seeing Gyomei crying. Notably, the infamous Kokushibo compared the Hashira to the Benevolent Kings.
Like Stone Breathing, Obanai's Serpent Breathing was unexpected and impressive. Due to the snake-like nature of the technique, this Hashira is very flexible and moves in a slinky fashion. As a result, the demons interviewed stated that the serpent style was a strange way to be cut up, as Obanai's sword slithered through their wounds. While impressive, this technique is incredibly painful, with one demon wishing they had been killed by Flower Breathing instead. Supposedly, the Serpent Hashira's harsh words only made the death more painful.
Love Breathing is Romantic, and Sound Breathing is Respectable
The Love Hashira, Mitsuri, is the star of the current "Swordsmith Village" arc, so her technique is currently in the limelight. After training under Rengoku, the slayer developed Love Breathing, which is described by enemies as a bittersweet way to be slain. It made the hearts of demons flutter-- a thrilling feeling that made them feel as though they had fallen in love. Mitsuri's loving personality shines through her technique, as the interview revealed that she looked apologetic when dealing the final blow in battle. Thus, Love Breathing is undoubtedly one of the better styles to be killed by.
Like Mitsuri's style, Sound Breathing is also one of the more tolerable techniques. The Sound Hashira deals clean, swift, calm deaths, reflective of his previous Shinobi lifestyle. The familiar Daki and Gyutaro who shared the Upper Moon 6 title, commented more on Tengen's detailed movement than the pain of his technique. They stated he was a real ninja through and through and respected his approach, but still hated him for killing them.
Rengoku and Muichiro’s Personalities Were Most Memorable
Out of all the Hashira, there were two whose personalities attracted more attention than their Breathing Style. Rengoku is remembered as cool, and some demons raved that they knew their death wouldn't be bad if they were killed by the Flame Hashira. However, the Upper Moon 3 did have something to say about the technique. He only fought Rengoku and wasn't killed by the Hashira, but Azaka felt Flame Breathing was renewing, bringing clarity to his mind. Other demons agreed with the Upper Moon's statements.
Like Rengoku, Muichiro has a reputation that proceeds him. However, instead of being insanely enthusiastic, the Mist Hashira's rudeness is pungent. None of the demons interviewed mentioned the feeling of Mist Breathing, so whether it's actually painful is unknown. Instead, the demons called Muichiro a brat who made them cry and tore their self-esteem to shreds. As the youngest Hashira, he is surprisingly the nastiest to encounter. Others are abrasive and unkind to demons, but it seems the Wind Hashira slays his opponents with harsh words more than his breathing style.
Sun Breathing Is the Most Dangerous Breathing Technique
Sun Breathing has only claimed the lives of two demons but is recognized among the enemy as the most terrifying technique. This breathing style mimics the sun so, due to demon biology, it is extremely effective against the enemy. As such, the most notable demon interviewed was killed by the technique. Muzan, the King of Demons, bluntly stated that being slain by Sun Breathing is very unpleasant. Behind him, the Upper Moon 4 Hantengu is sobbing, explaining that the style is terrifyingly painful. After being cut by a user of this technique, a demon's wounds don't regenerate as they usually would, making this breathing style even more formidable.
Each Demon Slayer breathing style feels different when used, and it's clear that this relates to the personality of the user. Serpent, Wind, and Insect Breathing are painful due to the Hashira's internal hatred, whereas Flame, Love, Water, Sound, and Flower Breathing are far more tolerable due to the kind nature of these slayers. Sun Breathing will always be the most dangerous and powerful style, and Muzan was right to be terrified of Tanjiro's potential.