Hantengu, one of the prime antagonists in Demon Slayer season 3, has a unique set of abilities and character traits. If we look at most demons, they're extremely arrogant and view human beings as a form of lower beings. Characters like Akaza, Rui, and Kokushibo are prime examples.
Hantengu, on the other hand, is always paranoid and scared. During the Upper Moon meeting, we could see him cower in fear when they're in Kokushibo's presence. But why is Hantengu scared all the time? This is a question that has not been answered explicitly by the mangaka. However, the Demon Slayer fanbase could learn more about this demon if we take a look at his backstory, which has been explored in the official first fan book.
Disclaimer: This article contains spoilers from the Demon Slayer fan book.
Demon Slayer: Taking a look at Hantengu's backstory
Before Hantengu turned into a demon, he was a mentally unstable human being who was constantly delusional. He clearly had mental disorders, which was proven by his outrageous claims.
He always committed crimes when he was a human. He stole from innocent people and even committed numerous murders. He would always try and deflect the blame and play the role of a victim whenever he was questioned by people.
Hantengu also married a couple of women. However, he killed all of his wives and kids because he felt that he was being mistreated. One fine day, he was caught by a high-ranked magistrate who sentenced him to death. Hantengu constantly lied and even blamed his hands for the heinous crimes, and not himself. He constantly lied, was paranoid, and wanted people to take pity on him.
Moments before his death, Kibutsuji Muzan also took pity on Hantengu and offered him the chance to become a demon. The latter, being the coward that he is, obliged, and took Muzan’s blood. Soon, he escaped from the prison and killed the magistrate who captured him in the first place.
There is an important reason for exploring Hantengu’s backstory. Every demon in Demon Slayer was once a human being. However, when they decided to become demons, their character traits remained the same. Akaza was someone who was blinded by vengeance and loved martial arts. This trait could be observed during the fight against Rengoku.
Daki and Gyutaro’s character traits were the same even when they were human beings. So why is Hantengu always scared? Hantengu constantly lied, cowered in fear, and was always paranoid because he committed heinous crimes, but wasn’t ready to face the consequences of his actions.
Therefore, the character traits that were seen in his human form remained the same even after his demon transformation. This is why Hantengu, in his base form, is always scared and constantly displays fear and paranoia.
More importantly, he developed Blood Demon Art that allowed him to create clones that represented strong emotions that he felt in his human life. This ability in the Demon Slayer series is proving to be quite the task as the demon hunters are giving their everything to safeguard the swordsmiths residing in the village.
Stay tuned for more Demon Slayer anime and manga news as 2023 progresses.