This article contains spoilers for Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba season 1.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is one of the biggest anime series of the past few years and with a feature film and second season on the way that’s not likely to change anytime soon. The thrilling action anime series depicts the journey of Tanjiro Kamado, a budding Demon Slayer who’s recently become orphaned by monsters and had his sister transformed into one of their own kind.
There are no shortage of anime series where underdog protagonists with some variety of supernatural powers hunt deadly monsters, but the way in which Demon Slayer differentiates itself is through the powerful blades that the characters wield. These swords are often the last thing that demons will ever see, but there’s a lot more to understand about these weapons beyond the fact that they’re pretty darn sharp.
What Are The Swords Made From And What Is Their Purpose?
The blades that Tanjiro and his demon slaying friends wield all look very impressive and that’s because they’re not just ordinary blades that have had something special done to them. In fact, these “Nichirin Blades” are constructed through special circumstances right from the very first stage. Nichirin blades can only be forged from scarlet crimson ore and scarlet crimson iron sand, two rare minerals that can only be found in mountains with incredibly high altitudes that allow them to be consistently bathed in light year-round.
These conditions allow the ore to be infused with sunlight, which is the only significant weakness that demons face. It’s a rite of passage and part of a Demon Slayer’s training to acquire the ore that’s used to construct their weapon. Once forged, these Nichirin blade swords constantly absorb sunlight, which allows them to be essentially the only tool that’s practically able to kill demons. Nichirin blades are therefore the primary weapon of the Demon Slayer Corps and an essential tool.
Additionally, an even stronger version of this weapon, Crimson Red Nichirin blades, can be achieved by raising the sword’s temperature to extreme levels, striking two Nichirin blades together in the right manner, or the application of the right form of intense Blood Demon Art. A Crimson Red Nichirin sword is even more efficient because the heat allows demons to be destroyed on a molecular level, which means that amputations or wounds from this blade won’t heal like the standard kind.
Why Do The Swords Take On Different Colors?
Nichirin blades are also referred to as “Color Changing Swords” and the reason for this is that the blades adopt a distinct color when they’re first drawn by their Demon Slayer owner. Granted, this color transformation isn’t mandatory and the Demon Slayer needs to already be at a certain level of skill to trigger the process in the first place. This makes the act even more special and an easy marker for when a Demon Slayer begins to increase in strength.
In terms of the colorful transformation itself, it’s supposed to be emblematic of the personality, technique, and general energy that lies within each Demon Slayer. For instance, someone with a fiery and aggressive resolve would likely see their sword turn orange or red, whereas a Demon Slayer that’s full of love might receive a pink blade. These unique colors make the swords operate as an extension of the Demon Slayer and their values.
Another aspect of individuality that’s present with each sword is the unique handguard that protects the wielder from its blade. These handguards don’t possess any special powers and are more in the control of the sword’s owner, but they’re still a fun element that translates to the Demon Slayer equivalent of flair. Tanjiro’s handguard is a subtle black ring with a wheel aesthetic, but others like Shinobu and Mitsuri’s flower and clover-shaped handguards are much more creative and reflect their respective Hashira arts.
Are Any Colors More Important Than Others?
The only sword color that’s considered to be problematic, or at the least a mysterious and unlucky omen, is black. The reason that a black Nichirin blade has such an infamous reputation is that previous Demon Slayers with a black sword have all met premature deaths, which also means that not much is known about the blade itself.
Yoriichi Tsugikuni is the previous Demon Slayer that received this bad fate, but as luck would have it, Tanjiro also draws a black sword, which immediately puts a mark on his head and urgency to his mission. It’s unclear exactly why Tanjiro’s essence leads to a black blade, but it’s likely that it’s connected to his Sun breathing style, Dance of the Fire God, which is an equally rare technique.
It’s also worth mentioning that Zenitsu Agatsuma’s yellow blade is colored through a lightning motif that runs down the sword, rather than the solid color design that’s present with every other blade. This simply highlights that there are no absolutes here and that new discoveries behind Demon Slayer swords continue to happen.
Have All Of The Sword Colors Been Discovered?
As it stands, over a dozen different Nichirin blade colors have appeared or been referenced throughout Demon Slayer’s manga, but that’s far from all of the possible outcomes. In theory, there should be a largely infinite amount of varieties here as long as Demon Slayers present slightly unique attitudes. The series has already shown minor deviations in color such as gray versus indigo-gray, pink and light pink, or amber and yellow. However, considering that most of the major blade colors have been discovered, it will likely be some time or a significant situation when a new color does present itself.
What Does Each Sword Color Mean And Who Possesses Which?
There are ten major sword colors that have been explored in Demon Slayer, all of which have a pretty clear correlation to each pillar of the Demon Slayer Corps:
As initially stated, Tanjiro faces the double-edged sword territory that accompanies a black Nichirin blade. A black sword is considered to be a death sentence, but there’s also so little known about it that it’s likely that Tanjiro will redefine what a black blade means. There’s a lot of speculation over how a black sword connects with Tanjiro’s Sun breathing style since black is the color that has the greater capacity to absorb sunlight. There’s definitely more about the black sword to come in Demon Slayer’s future.
Zenitsu Agatsuma, a vital member in Tanjiro’s clique, possesses the yellow sword, which connects with his Breath of the Thunder style and the explosive, unpredictable nature that defines him. Zenitsu has already improved a lot since the start of the series and it’s possible that his blade and technique will only continue to mature and change.
The other major demon slaying member of Tanjiro’s party is Inosuke Hashibara, who’s definitely the most reckless and roughest around the edges of the group. Inosuke operates with two blades that are a cool indigo-grey in color, in response to Inosuke’s beastly nature. Breath of the Beast is certainly appropriate for Inosuke and it meshes with the sleek nature of indigo-grey.
Kyojuro Rengoku is an important member of the Demon Slayer Corps that plays a vital role in the upcoming Demon Slayer Corps movie, Mugen Train. Ryojuro represents the Fire breathing style and he has a gung-ho enthusiastic energy that makes a red sword make a lot of sense for the Flame Pillar. It’s exceptionally powerful and he has the ability to conjure a rain of fire through the immense energy that he channels into the weapon.
Kanae Kocho and her sister, Kanao, become important characters during Demon Slayer’s first season when they allow Tanjiro and company to recuperate. Collectively, the two Flower Pillar sisters have light pink blades and their Breath of Flowers technique gives them a serious advantage that compliments their excellent reflexes. It’s very fitting for these two.
Light pink correlates to the Flower Pillar Demon Slayer, but a richer shade of the color is reserved for the Corps’ Pillar of Love. Mitsuri Kanroji’s pink sword works together with her Love breathing style, which is full of emotion and empathy. It’s an impressive way to weaponize Mitsuri’s delicate and tender feelings through her weapon.
Blue is typically associated with water and Demon Slayer doesn’t mess with this formula when it comes to its Demon Slayer weaponry. The Water Pillar, Giyu Tomioka, controls a blue sword that’s just as powerful and uncontrollable as water itself. Every occasion when he brandishes the blade yields huge results.
A green Nichirin blade may seem like it’d be associated with jealousy or envy, but in Demon Slayer it’s representative of the wind, perhaps through a connection to nature. The wind can be volatile and destructive, which is also true about Sanemi Shinazugawa, the Wind Pillar, and one of the Demon Slayer Corps’ more unrepentant Hashira.
Gyomei Himejima is a Demon Slayer Corps member that hasn’t gotten much of a chance to shine outside of the manga at this point, but he wields one of the most creative Demon Slayer tools. Gyomei’s blade is grey, which makes sense since he’s the Corps’ Stone Pillar representative and stoic and relaxed in nature. However, rather than a conventional sword, Gyomei’s weapon is a hand ax with a dangerous spiked attachment. It certainly adds some variety to the swords and hopefully it will get more attention in the future.
The white blade belongs to Muichiro Tokito, the Demon Slayer Corps’ Mist Pillar who exercises the Breath of Mist breathing style. Muichiro operates like a blank slate who is completely empty of thoughts, which the white mist aesthetic compliments.
The first season of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is available to stream on Netflix, HBO Max, Funimation, Crunchyroll, and Hulu.