Let me tell you a story that exists deep within Mount Saguri, where a breath style is cultivated and fostered. A breath style that allows the user to bend and weave flexibly through hardships like an effortless flowing stream, a breath that shows the gentle compassion of a soothing river or the endless barrage of crashing waves, all stemming from a man who has experienced so much hardship, torment, and guilt in his life. Seeks to teach this to many aspiring demon slayers.
As I’m sure you’re all aware, this person is none other than Sakonji Urokodaki, the former mentor to Kiyutomioka and our main protagonist Tanjiro’s instructor. Being the first breath style that we see in Demon Slayer, let’s talk about this beautiful form of swordsmanship and talk about all things water breathing. So without further ado, we’re diving right into it, no pun intended.
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As mentioned in my previous breath style explained blogs, water breathing shares a spot alongside thunder, flame, moon, wind, and stone breathing as the original breath styles derived directly from the original breath of the sun breathing technique. As we know it in the story, the former water pillar Sakonji Urokodaki was the cultivator of this breathing style and had passed it along to many disciples throughout the years.
What we see of him as a youth, however, was that he took down a stray and lonely demon that would later be known as the hand demon. But unknown to Urokodaki himself, despite dealing with this demon, it would easily come to haunt him for years and years to come. After his time as a Hashida, Urokodaki would take on many disciples who would then proceed to the final selection exam. During his time as a teacher, he taught three students by the name of Giyu, Sabito, and Makamo. All three showed extreme promise, with Sabito standing out as the most talented of the trio.
When it came time to take the final selection exam to become demon slayers, it was to Urokodaki’s shock that only Giyu had returned. In fact, the hand demon that he had trapped within the wisteria prison used for the final selection was responsible for the death of 13 of Urokodaki’s apprentices. This hardened an already secluded and grumpy old man where he swore that he would never again send off a student only to be crushed when they ultimately do not return.
That is until a red-haired boy blessed with an indomitable will and the strength to fight for something greater than himself showed up at his doorstep. It was here that Tanjido was trained in this beautiful style and eventually met the spirits of the departed Sabito and Makamo when his training was at its toughest. By training with their spirits, Tanjido gained an overwhelming amount of strength and was able to cut the large boulder on top of Mount Sageti, a feat that had never been done before, even by the prodigious Sabito.
It was later revealed by Urokodaki that he had not believed that Tanjiro would ever have been able to break the stone, because he couldn’t bear seeing another young pupil be sent off to the final selection exam, which would almost always result in their death with his instructor’s blessing. Tanjiro arrives at the final selection with a special fox mask that was the staple of all of Urokodaki’s former students, and whether by fate or chance, Tanjiro stumbles upon the hand demon that had taken the lives of a former Water Pillar’s 13 disciples.
However, this story doesn’t end the way you’re expecting. Tanjiro ultimately strikes down the malicious demon with the first form of Water Breathing, being the only person in seemingly several decades to be strong enough to slice through the tough neck of the demon.
From here, Tanjiro sets off as a demon slayer, firmly abiding by many of the nuances of Water Breathing itself, by being a gentle, calm, and nurturing stream to those around him, as well as having the ferocity of thousands of crashing waves towards his opponents and all those who seek to harm those he cares about. So with the story of Water Breathing out of the way, what tools do our fellow Water Breathers have at their disposal? Well, that’s what we’re jumping into right now.
As mentioned in the beginning of the blog, Water Breathing is a technique utilized to accomplish the flexibility and adaptability of water throughout its various sort techniques. Alongside Wind, Stone, Flame, Thunder, and Moon Breathing, Water Breathing makes up the five original Breath Styles developed from the first Breath user in existence, the most powerful and respected demon slayer, Yorichi Tsuki Kuni.
Its users include our main protagonist, Tanjiro Kamado, the current Water Pillar, Giyu Tomiyoka, Sakonji Urokodaki, Makomo and Sabito Murata, and Ao Kanzaki, a helper at the Butterfly Mansion. Being our main protagonist’s Breath Style during the beginning of the story, we’re able to see firsthand the beauty and finesse behind its sword techniques, not to mention the animation by Ufotable is absolutely breathtaking.
Water Breathing has 10 unique forms that we see throughout the story. Water Breathing First Form: Water Surface Slash is a straight horizontal slash covering a wide surface area like a thin razor blade of water. We see Tanjiro use this to decapitate the formidable hand demon. Water Breathing Second Form: Waterwheel, the second form of Water Breathing, sees the user leap into the air and release a flowing circular attack.
Water Breathing Third Form: Flowing Dance, the third form of Water Breathing, is a graceful dance-like technique that sees its user flowing in a windy motion, slicing everything that’s in front of him or her. Water Breathing Fourth Form: Striking Tide is where the user makes multiple slashes while twisting their body, delivering multiple blows simultaneously. The Fifth Form of Water Breathing, Blessed Rain After the Drought, came out of nowhere for me and was a pleasant surprise seen in season one.
The fifth form is where the user changes their sword grip to decapitate their opponent with them feeling little to no pain. Water Breathing Sixth Form: Whirlpool, the sixth form of Water Breathing, is where the user twists their upper and lower body simultaneously, cutting anything that’s caught in its path. This effect is increased even further if the user is underwater. Water Breathing Seventh Form: Drop Ripple Thrust, the seventh form, is a fast and accurate stab capable of reducing the impact of a moving target.
And it’s also important to note that this is the fastest thrusting ability of all the water breathing techniques, according to Tanjido. Water Breathing Eighth Form: Waterfall Basin is a downward striking slash that is greatly increased as the user is falling downward. The Ninth Form, Splashing Water Flow Turbulent, is ideal for fighting in places without solid ground or any footholds.
The ninth form sees the user changing their footwork to minimize landing time and surface needed to maneuver, drastically increasing their movement speed and capability. Water Breathing Tenth Form: Constant Flux, arguably one of the physically strongest water breathing techniques, the user performs a continuous flowing attack that takes the shape of a water dragon, becoming stronger and stronger with each passing rotation.
This technique was even strong enough to cut the extremely powerful threads of Lower Moon 5 Rui. And lastly, we have the 11th and final form of Water Breathing, Dead Calm, which was created and only utilized by the current Water Hashida, Giu Tomiyoka. The user stops all body movement and enters a state of extreme calm, deflecting all incoming attacks with insanely fast sword slashes. It’s important to note that this has limits, however, as Akasa’s insanely fast attacks are capable of breaking through it.
All in all, Water Breathing, while not as physically strong as other breath styles, has arguably one of the most versatile move sets in the series and allows the user to take on and adapt to any obstacles that come their way. I would personally rank this breath style as roughly middle of the pack when it comes to the style’s overall hierarchy, but leave a comment on where you think Water Breathing sits and why. I’d love to hear your guys’ thoughts.
As always, thank you guys so much for reading and your support. 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.