If I were to ask you, what the definition of kindness is to you, what would your answer be? Would it be to hold the door open for others as they pass through, to spare some change to help out your local homeless person by a meal for the night, or to smile at every person you meet, knowing that they could be going through hardships in their lives? Kindness is a trait that’s fundamental to tugging on people’s heartstrings and making us connect with different people or even forms of media.
Setting the example right off the bat, I’ll tell you to waste no time in showing you that Shonen could use a little bit of a Kinder twist. As opposed to most Shonen, instead of using an insatiable appetite for strength, the main protagonist of Demon Slayer’s main trait allows him to surpass his limits and defeat all those who seek to harm his dear sister, Nezuko.
And this doesn’t just stop with Tanjiro; after defeating Rui, you were introduced to yet another kind Demon Slayer, and while we haven’t seen her in action yet, we will very soon. I, of course, am talking about the one and only Love Hashira, Mitsuri Kanroji.
Our first glimpse into Mitsuri’s character, similar to many of the other Hashira, is in Episode 22 of Season One after the Natagumo Mountain Arc. Rarely weighing in on Tanjito’s situation, we see Mitsuri simply admiring the people around her, remarking how cool people are, or even, in the case of Sanemi, how his scars are even more beautiful than the last time she saw him.
On the surface, you could take this as filling the traditional anime female role that we’ve seen time and time again. Like I have discussed on this channel before in my Nezuko blog, the role of the female character can be a point of contention and is oftentimes divisive in the Shonen environment.
Either the female role is too loud, too annoying, and overall not as impactful as their male counterparts, and I think you might be inclined to get that very same impression about Mitsuri. However, it’s not until arcs later that we see the glory of this pink-haired Hashira fully shine.
To learn more about her character and how she steps out of the stereotypical light that her introduction casts on her, enter the Swordsmith Village Arc where Mitsuri is on full display, I mean quite literally. What I find amazing about this character is, although she’s so nice and kind to all others, she really takes no crap when it comes to Demons.
We don’t know it at the time, but the theme with Mitsuri’s character is how she essentially compensates or is the opposite of what she may appear to look or act like on the surface, like how she has an incredibly flexible body and insane muscles despite looking frail, feminine, and weak.
This is where we’re introduced to her beginnings. While not as tragic, I would say, as the other Hashira’s beginnings, Mitsuri’s was definitely not all sunshine and rainbows. Having been rejected from her marriage for being too strong and eating too much, I mean, hey, to the person who rejected Mitsuri, you’re a coward.
But Mitsuri was known to all around her village as the Eightfold Woman, since her muscle density was eight times greater than the average person. Heartbroken and saddened by this rejection, Mitsuri felt the need to fit in with those around her by hiding her pink and green hair, not demonstrating her signs of strength, and not eating, even until her head began to spin.
The point of her joining the Demon Slayer Corps was for her to find a husband stronger than her so she wouldn’t get rejected in the same way again. In a way, however, I believe there’s also more that she’s searching for than just a husband. In kind of a nuanced way, it’s a husband that will make her feel cared for, feel admired, and most importantly, feel like herself.
Due to her sad past, Mitsuri doesn’t feel like she can love herself and is seeking validation from others. You might have the impression that this comes off as selfish or egotistical on her end, but in this case, I would have to challenge you on that. While she’s incredibly welcoming and warm to everyone that she meets, she, in a way, expects that back because I don’t think that it’s wrong to be valued for the genuine and true person that you are.
I believe that Mitsuri joined the Demon Slayer Corps because, similar to the strongest Hashira, Gyome Himejima, it gives her an opportunity to use what others call gross and not natural as something that allows her to be accepted into a group and use her god-given abilities to their fullest potential.
A lot of the trauma that Mitsuri had gone through even shows in her character two years after her faithful rejection. During high stakes fights, she constantly tells herself that she’s useless and isn’t much help to the other Demon Slayers, despite that not being the case. No matter how loved and cared for Mitsuri feels or claims herself to be with the Slayer Corps, she’s always fighting against those feelings of rejection and not being enough.
This pairs extremely well with another fellow Hashira, and if you couldn’t guess it, it’s none other than the Snake Pillar, Obanai. Both of these deeply flawed but relatable characters share the common theme of love in their backstories, character arcs, and even with each other. But essentially, their outlook on the topic is flipped. Let’s take a closer look at their relationship to show you exactly what I mean.
It’s evident that Obanai and Mitsuri have a more intimate bond between them than the other Hashira. In essence, the dynamic of their relationship is essentially that Mitsuri perceives herself as an unlovable person, while Obanai thinks he’s not deserving of love at all by not being enough for the standards of the family he was born into. While set up as love interests, they couldn’t be more opposite when it comes to how they display themselves on the outside.
Mitsuri generally hides all of her negativity and toxicity below the surface, replacing it with positivity and radiance, while Obanai is a blatantly cold character, hiding some deep emotional feelings below his cold exterior. But one thing is undoubtable: they are both unhappy in the bodies they were born into and wish that life played out for them differently, truly believing that nobody would love them for just being, well, them.
For me, Mitsuri’s character taught me that no matter what happens in your life, whatever brings you down or what other people say to you, you should always strive to just be yourself because there’s someone out there who will always accept you for you, just like Obanai accepts Mitsuri in all her quirky glory.
If you enjoyed this blog, consider liking, subscribing, commenting your thoughts. Also, if you’re enjoying this Demon Slayer content and want to see more character analysis, I’d recommend you check my latest blog out on Gyome Himejima. And until next time, stay curious, anime fam. Peace.
That’s me, Andreea Blaga, author of the blog anime-everything.com. I work as a content creator in the US. I am also passionate about Japanese Anime.