The following contains spoilers for Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba Chapter 168, “Never Disappear” by Koyoharu Gotoge, available now in English via Viz Media.
There are a total of ten ranks within the Demon Slayer Corps, starting at Mizunoto and ending at Kinoe. The Hashira are the most powerful and best endowed in the Corps, ranking a level completely off the scale. To obtain this title, a Demon Slayer must reach Kinoe’s level, then defeat 50 demons or kill a member of the Twelve Kizuki.
two members of Murderer of demonsThe current nine Hashira achieved the title for very similar reasons. Both Insect Hashira, Shinobu Kocho, and Wind Hashira, Sanemi Shinazugawa, worked their way up to the highest and most respected position in the Demon Corps after losing their family to the demons.
Shinobu and Sanemi from Demon Slayer are fueled by hate
Both Wind and Insect Hashira are angry at the demons, but also at themselves. When Sanemi was a child, her mother became possessed by a demon and killed five of her siblings, prompting Hashira to kill her to save himself and her younger brother. Shinobu also lost his family to demons, both parents were killed at a young age, and then lost his older sister Kanae, the late Flower Hashira, in battle with a higher moon. The pair are justifiably angry at the demons for being responsible for their losses and were motivated to become stronger to avenge their family’s death.
However, the two Hashiras are also angry with themselves; Shinobu is furious that she wasn’t strong enough at the time to fight alongside her sister and save her life, while Sanemi is understandably upset that he had to kill her own mother in her own defense. Because of this, the two of them have worked tirelessly to reach Hashira’s level purely out of spite, anger, and revenge.
The insect Hashira internalizes his anger
The main difference between Shinobu and Sanemi is how they process their anger throughout Murderer of demons. Shinobu internalizes hers, successfully controlling it most of the time. He will occasionally have a demon-induced outburst of rage, but mostly Insect Hashira is a model mentor to younger demon hunters. However, internalizing all of his negative emotions towards demons has drawbacks for him.
Shinobu’s anger has festered within her all her life, and she hates that part of herself. In some cases, the reason Hashira would never be able to forgive and empathize with demons like Tanjiro Kamado does is because of the amount of unbridled anger within her. Because of this, Shinobu was never able to truly avenge her sister, as she had to learn to forgive demons in order to properly process Kanae’s death.
The wind Hashira externalizes his anger
On the other hand, Sanemi’s anger is constantly shown in Murderer of demons. He is obviously angry at the world and he wants everyone to know it, and this is shown when he met Nezuko Kamado. When she and Tanjiro met the nine Hashira, Sanemi showed an instant dislike for Tanjiro’s younger sister. Without even knowing her, Wind Hashira instantly despised and mocked her, trying everything to get her to attack him and show her companions that she was like other demons.
While Shinobu is liked by most, Sanemi is generally disliked by most people he meets. His externalized anger makes him grumpy, rude, and irritable, and he will take his anger out on anyone, not just demons. Sanemi’s unprocessed anger has even made him alienate his younger brother Genya, causing his brother to bear the brunt of his anger.
While both Hashira have similar backgrounds and motives for achieving their impressive rank, Sanemi and Shinobu have followed very different paths. Despite their similarities, the pair are unlikely to become friends, though they might help each other through their respective trauma. future arcs of Murderer of demons they can watch Wind and Insect Hashira avenge their families and learn how to process their anger in healthier ways, without hurting themselves or those around them.