Behind every great anime is a great cast, and Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba is no exception. Noble, tragic, upstanding swordsman Tanjiro Kamado perfectly encapsulates what the protagonist of this series should be.
If that isn't compelling enough, Tanjiro was given one of the greatest supporting casts in the anime universe. The likes of his sister, who was turned into a demon Nezuko, the wild and impulsive Inosuke, and of course, poor Zenitsu Agatsuma.
When it comes to Demon Slayer, many fans have always argued about the best side character. Nezuko is, without a doubt, the best female character, yet who is the best male side character? Could it be Inosuke or perhaps Zenitsu?
Often when this question is asked, some overlook Zenitsu due to his cowardly behavior portrayed throughout Demon Slayer, however, that should not be the case. He brings great value to the show despite his flaws and shouldn't be underrated because of it.
Why Zenitsu is overlooked as a demon slayer
Zenitsu was first introduced to the Demon Slayer franchise as a battle companion to Tanjiro. However, he froze up at the first sight of trouble, showing exactly how cowardly he was. This set the tone for the way he would be viewed as a character by the Demon Slayer fandom, for the duration of the series.
Zenitsu did not become a demon slayer by choice, rather he was forced into the role. Not picking this lifestyle had a massive impact on his reactions to regular demon slayer duties. He often complains, panics about any and all duties, and even faints from the sheer terror of facing off against a demon.
When he is not unconscious, he tends to shout a lot which gets old fast. So much so, even the big-hearted, immensely kind protagonist Tanjiro has shown signs of losing his patience with Zenitsu.
Beyond that, he has been portrayed as a talentless womanizer, who forms a liking for Nezuko. Blossoming into an obsession, this behavior is not unlike that of Sakura and Sasuke. It’s no wonder it’s sometimes difficult for Zenitsu to get a second look in the Demon Slayer universe.
Zenitsu’s strengths that make him a great demon slayer
Even with his Sakura-like obsessive behavior and outstanding cowardice sprinkled with a bit of pervert, credit must be given where it is due. Zenitsu is a great fighter and possesses some great qualities that should not be glossed over. His personality, while initially off-putting, is quite refreshing.
He is unafraid to show emotions and displays a form of honesty that is always welcomed. He has proven himself to be unbelievably loyal, shown in Demon Slayer Episode 11, where he gave his word to protect the box containing Nezuko at all costs. He was even beaten within an inch of his life when he refused to step aside per Inosuke's instruction.
Beyond that, Zenitsu is a self-aware character in Demon Slayer who acknowledges his shortcomings. He knows there are things that hold him back, and if he does not change them, he will never be the person he wants to be. This recognition is exactly what he needs to know and to work on. Once that is done, he can transform into an even greater demon slayer.
Finally, Zenitsu is simply a beast when he has to be. Zenitsu’s fighting techniques are derived from the “Thunder Breathing” fighting style, taught to him by former Thunder Hashira, Jigoro Kuwajima.
Although he was not exactly the most conscientious student, he was definitely a skilled one. Regardless of his fighting style only having one form, the results speak for themselves as Zenitsu can slice up a demon before they even have a chance to blink.
Final thoughts on Zenitsu
As with regular people, Zenitsu comes with his good and his bad. His intelligence, personality, and fighting skills all come together to create a complex yet vaguely relatable character. Let's face it, anyone forced into the role of a demon slayer would most likely have a reaction similar to that of Zenitsu.
Mastering his fighting style and growing as a character with each episode is worth him getting more credit than before. His performance in the movie Demon Slayer: Kimestu No Yaiba: Kyodai no Kizuna demonstrates that he is one to watch. Whether he has to faint or cower away first before fighting, results don’t lie. The impressive outcomes all point towards Zenitsu being a force to be reckoned with.