Even the elite Hashira don’t take their authority for granted and aren’t going to ever be defeated by Muzan’s upper Moons from tragic hubris or overconfidence.
Demon Slayer is one of the most popular shonen action anime with several familiar themes and elements to it that stem that originate from the “monster hunter” concept that it shares with Jujutsu Kaisenand Chainsaw Manto the concept of having a smaller elite group of villains and heroes. There are many ways that Demon Slayer‘s nine Hashira are reminiscent of Bleach‘s 13 Soul Reaper Captains or the top 10 pros in My Hero Academia However, there’s a significant distinction between these two.
The Hashira is by far the most powerful demon slayers in the corps They are glamorized and respected as the best chance humanity has against demons. The nine Hashira are the most elite of demon slayers and are humble and self-aware. Contrary to this, the Soul Reapers and professional heroes were accustomed to controlling their universes, and they paid a heavy price for it.
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Why does the Hashira Stay in the Shadows?
The nine Hashira regardless of whether or not their boss Kaguya Ubuyashiki encouraged it to have a humble and pragmatic mindset as their organization’s most feared warriors. They are proud and confident in their immense abilities and veteran status but compared to other anime elites, the Hashira are extremely humble. They are honest because they recognize that they are not the best in the constant battle against Muzan or the Moons of the Upper. They are not what they need.
Pride, complacency, and arrogance can only hurt the Hashira further as they are constant reminders of their fragility. The majority of demon slayers die young even the most talented and skilled ones, and this is evident in the fact that the corps is accepting young people like Tanjiro to its ranks. Demon slayers ultimately fall prey to demons even though they fight demons using their Nichirin swords. The Hashira are just more powerful prey. Kyojuro Rengoku for instance can easily dispatch ordinary demons but lost his life-fighting Akaza, while Tengen Uzui, the Ninja was wounded until he was forced to take early retirement when fighting Gyutaro. Obanai Iguro was not alarmed by the possibility of two gaps in the Hashiras’ ranks when Tengen defeated him.
The Hashira have struck a balance between self-confidence and humble awareness that they’re at almost the same risk of dying in battle as other demon slayers are, and all without falling to despair or fear. This is a feat of awe and it’s a testament to the Hashira’s’s constantly being aware of their own human frailty and low survival rate, while also inspiring Tanjiro’s squad with their incredible strength and prestige as shonen-style mentors. It’s easy for elite heroes to believe they are invincible and to get relaxed with victory and peace. But not the Hashira. If they don’t all get wiped out first then they’re in a great position to combat Muzan and his gang with an honest and realistic assessment of their strength and might provide them with the edge.
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The Soul Reapers & Pro Heroes paid the price for Hubris
Although the nine Hashiras might not be as strong as their Captain or My Hero Academia counterparts Their humility and vulnerability as mortals imply that they won’t take on fights they can’t beat. They don’t undervalue their enemies. The Soul Reapers of Bleach On their own, were extremely proud and cocky after having defeated the Quincy army several centuries ago, their Achilles ‘ heel.
Paradoxically, their greatest weakness was that they were unable to protect the peace they had worked so hard for. This is the primary reason for Wandenreich’s remarkable success in the Thousand Year Blood War anime. Now, only recently are Soul Reapers finally awakening from their stupor and undergoing shonen-style training. They paid the price for this lesson, sacrificing Yamamoto’s life, as well as a few other Captains.
The pro heroes in My Hero Academia faced a similar issue. The heroes of the pro team, unlike the humble Hashira, were too comfortable as the undisputed rulers of their universe and undervalued the number of Quirks, snarks, and determination of many criminals, outcasts, and other outcasts who resent and abused their heroes. This was the catalyst for the Paranormal Liberation Front to create a villain army that with Tomura Shigaraki as its leader could bring down hero society. The heroes of the professional world were unprepared due to their lack of exposure to a real challenge, and now numerous heroes have had themselves killed or even quit their jobs due to shame.
This wouldn’t happen in Demon Slayer’s world. The demon slayers, from the rookies to the Hashira are constantly reminded that they have to be Plus Ultra and do everything they can to stay alive and eliminate Japan of demon-kind.