Demon Slayer has a knack for humanizing its characters, regardless of whether they are heroes or villains. The demons that Tanjiro fights are often shown to have tragic backstories, many of them embracing their deaths as salvation. The Drum Demon and the mother Spider Demon in season 1 were two such instances.
The Entertainment District arc of the anime showcased the demon slayers going up against the Upper Rank Six siblings and the season finale revealed their backstory along with a poignant scene with Gyutaro carrying Daki on his back as he walked towards space set ablaze with flames.
Gyutaro and Daki as a parallel to Tanjiro and Nezuko’s bond in Demon Slayer
Gyutaro and Daki’s past
The Upper Rank Six siblings play a major role in Demon Slayer not only as powerful antagonists but also for depicting the strength of the filial bond between Tanjiro and Nezuko. But to understand how the series does that, it is important to look back at their lives as humans.
Born in the Yoshiwara Entertainment district to the lowest class of s*x workers, Gyutaro was shunned not only by others but his own mother as well.
It was only after Daki, whose human name was Ume, was born that he found meaning in his survival, assigning himself as Ume’s protector and guardian. He considered her his pride and joy, and her beauty nullified the revulsion that people expressed in his appearance, at least superficially.
Demon Slayer season 2 episode 18 revealed that it was while trying to save his dying sister that he succumbed to his own injuries. It was the anger at the people’s cruelty towards the two siblings that motivated him to become cruel, both as a human and as a demon.
Even Gyutaro’s ability seemed to cater to Daki, healing her blistered skin where Nezuko’s demonic fire had burned her. The foreshadowing became clear when the flashback showed the horrifying punishment she was subjected to by being burnt alive.
The sibling parallels
Seeing his sister disintegrating in front of his eyes and seeing her in her human appearance in the afterlife reaffirmed to him that he regretted only one thing in his human and demon lives.
He wished that Ume could have had a better life, wondering if her fate would have been different if it was anyone else but him who raised her, teaching her to take what was hers before providing any kind of service.
This led him to try to push Daki away so that she may be absolved of her sins and not be tainted by his filth, since the only path for him was one that led towards hell. But Daki refused to let him go, reminding Gyutaro that he had promised to take care of her forever.
Gyutaro relents, walking towards the flames of hell carrying his sister on his back, away from the light.
This scene itself can be compared to Tanjiro carrying Nezuko in the box on his back. Gyutaro taunting Tanjiro for not being able to protect her and offering to turn him into a demon makes for a jarring realization. The latter and Demon Slayer fans and realize how easily the roles could have been reversed, with Tanjiro in Gyutaro’s place.
The Kamado siblings walked towards the light while The Upper Rank Six siblings walked towards darkness. This alluded to the aftermath of the fight. The Demon Slayer series has repeatedly portrayed that everyone is a product of their situation and no one is born truly evil.
Gyutaro appeared as a foil to Tanjiro in Demon Slayer, and the latter mourned their death and wondered if the siblings had made peace with each other in death.