At first, Nezuko is deemed more powerful than Tanjiro because, as a demon, she possesses innate abilities that demon slayers must work hard to acquire. However, as the Demon Slayer series unfolds, Tanjiro eventually surpasses her strength. Curious why? If you want to spoil yourself with how Tanjiro became stronger than Nezuko, you’ll have to keep reading to find out!
Unwavering Resolve Arc
In season 1, episode 1, Nezuko almost killed off Tanjiro if he wasn’t saved by Giyu. While Tanjiro was carrying Nezuko on his back on his way to the town to find a doctor, Nezuko suddenly started growling and became restless, causing them to fall to the cliff of the mountain.
Thankfully, the thick stack of snow, which served as foam, saved them when they fell to the ground.
Immediately, after coming to his senses after the shock of falling, Tanjiro worriedly approached Nezuko to offer her piggyback to the town, which was at that time unaware of the true condition of his sister. Just as Tanjiro was about to touch Nezuko, Nezuko suddenly attacked and attempted to bite Tanjiro, causing them to fall to the ground. Only because of the ax that Tanjjiro was carrying was he able to defend himself against Nezuko’s attack. While defending himself, Tanjiro realized that Nezuko had become a man-eating demon, just like Mr. Saburo had told him.
In addition to the sharp fangs and claws and bizarre eyes that Nezuko possessed when she turned into a demon, Nezuko was also able to make her body become bigger as she continued to try to bite Tanjiro. In the episode, it became clear that Nezuko, transformed into a demon by the demon lord Muzan Kibutsuji, possessed greater strength than Tanjiro, who, as a normal human, was inherently weaker.
However, as the story progresses, we see Tanjiro work hard to become a demon slayer to stop the reign of demons and to find the cure to turn Nezuko back into a normal being. He became highly skilled at using a Nichirin sword and honed his technique through extensive training with the help of the former Water Hashira, Sakonji Urokodaki.
Furthermore, Tanjiro was also able to attain greater feats with his sword skills with the help of Tsutako Tamioka and Sabito, who were the ones who trained him in order to cut the big boulder of rock, which was the last part of the training in order to join the selection of demon slayers.
With all of the lessons that Tanjiro has learned, he has become capable of executing fast and powerful strikes against his enemies. Tanjiro has also learned to master the water-breathing technique, which allows him to enhance his physical abilities and become a more effective fighter.
In episodes 6 and 7 of the anime, Tanjiro was able to display his skills in water breathing when he fought the demon in the Northwestern town who was responsible for the cases of missing young women. We saw him use several water-breathing techniques, such as Eighth Form: Waterfall Basin, Second Form: Water Wheel, and Sixth Form: Whirlpool, to defeat the demon who can turn the ground and walls into swamps.
Moreover, in episodes 8, 9, and 10 of the anime, we saw the Temari demon, Susumaru, and the Arrow demon, Yahaba, attack the hideout of Lady Tamayo and Yushiro as per the order of the Demon Lord himself, Muzan Kibutsuji, to eliminate Tanjiro, as the Hanafuda earrings reminded him of the man who almost killed him in the past.
In the episodes, Tanjiro, all by himself, managed to defeat a Yahaba who was capable of using blood demon art, which allows him to project arrows and pull anyone who comes into contact in the arrow’s direction. We witnessed almost all of the 12 forms of the water-breathing technique that Tanjiro used to attack, defend, and defeat the arrow demon.
In Nezuko’s case, she displayed amazing strength without eating any humans, the only known source of strength for all demons. Just by sleeping, Nezuko was able to become stronger. In her battle against the Susumaru, she was able to kick the temari ball used by the demon in order to protect Lady Tamayo and Yushiro, as she thinks of them as her family. Nezuko was not able to defeat Susumaru but bought enough time for Lady Tamayo to cast her hypnotic spell, which she used to defeat the Temari demon.
In the 19th episode of the anime, Tanjiro managed to survive an encounter with a Lower Moon demon, demonstrating remarkable abilities despite the power disparity between him and Lower Moon Demon Five, Rui. Even with a broken sword, Tanjiro nearly severed Rui’s neck. In a brief span of time, he employed “Hinokami Kagura,” or sun breathing – reputed to be the first and original breathing technique for vanquishing demons.
Regarding Nezuko, her impressive performance in the battle against the lower moon involved her Blood Demon Art: Exploding Blood, which allows her blood to incinerate demons and neutralize their blood demon techniques. Nezuko’s blood demon art played a crucial role in aiding Tanjiro during the final moments of the confrontation with Lower Moon Five, Rui.
Entertainment District Arc
As time passes, Tanjiro and Nezuko both reach greater heights as they continue to confront strong demon opponents. Their skills in battle were highly emphasized in this arc. Also, we can use it as a comparison of their strengths. If you are yet to watch season 2 of Demon Slayer, be reminded that spoilers are ahead.
In this arc, Sound Hashira, Tengen Uzui, joins forces with Tanjiro, Nezuko, Zenitsu, and Inosuke on a mission to eliminate an Upper Moon demon inhabiting the Entertainment District. Their primary objective is to infiltrate the district, determine the demon’s location and identity, and put an end to its centuries-long practice of murdering Oirans in the area.
In episode 4, season 2, Tanjiro finally confronted the Upper Moon Six, Daki, as he caught her in the act of consuming another person in her obi. Aside from trapping people inside the obi, Tanjiro learned that the long and soft fabrics of the demon were also used as Daki’s main weapon.
At the beginning of their fight, Tanjiro was hesitant and conflicted during his first encounter with an upper-ranking demon. However, he eventually mustered the courage and determination to face Daki. In episode 6, Tanjiro entered total concentration mode, allowing him to perform the sun breathing technique for a more extended period compared to his battle with the Lower Rank Demon. While in this state, his swordsmanship and speed were significantly enhanced. Tanjiro nearly succeeded in severing Daki’s neck but was thwarted by running out of breath.
In the same episode, we also see Nezuko undergo a transformation into her pure demon form, characterized by a larger body, a single horn on the right side of her forehead, and vine-like markings appearing on her skin. When Tanjiro lost consciousness, Nezuko stepped up to confront Daki. During their fight, Nezuko displayed abilities comparable to those of an upper-ranking demon, including instant regeneration, which surpassed even that of Upper-Rank Demon Six, Daki.
Demonstrating her strength, Nezuko managed to halt Daki’s obi attack even with her limbs severed and connected only by blood. This feat implies that Nezuko could counter assaults powerful enough to destroy entire houses.
Regarding speed, Nezuko was able to simultaneously strike Daki and propel her through houses. Additionally, Nezuko’s Blood Demon Art had grown more potent. This was evident from the burn marks left on Daki’s face and body by Nezuko’s blood. Moreover, it impacted Daki’s regenerative abilities, preventing her from instantly healing her wounds while Nezuko continued her onslaught.
Once Tanjiro regained consciousness, he prevented Nezuko from attacking and devouring a human. He sang a song from their mother to put Nezuko to sleep, calming her down and stopping her from harming the person. Subsequently, Tanjiro teamed up with the Sound Hashira to fight Upper-Rank Demon Six, Gyutaro. During the battle, Tanjiro demonstrated ingenuity by combining water breathing and sun breathing to create a more stable technique against Gyutaro.
In episode 10, Tanjiro unconsciously managed to unlock and use the demon slayer mark, which grants the user more power. The demon slayer Mark assisted in decapitating Gyutaro. In the end, they managed to defeat the Upper-Rank Six demon siblings by cutting their heads at the same time.
Nezuko vs. Tanjiro
If we were to compare Nezuko and Tanjiro’s strength based on the first two seasons mentioned above of Demon Slayer, they would likely have a closely matched battle. While Nezuko’s inherent physical abilities are more impressive, given that she is a demon and possesses superhuman strength, speed, and the ability to regenerate limbs, Tanjiro is not to be underestimated due to his specialized training and techniques.
Tanjiro possesses a unique advantage when it comes to facing demons. Despite being a mere mortal with no special abilities, he received rigorous training from a former Hashira, mastering breathing techniques that are capable of ending a demon’s long-lived life. The mastery of both water and sun-breathing techniques enables Tanjiro to execute swift and powerful sword attacks, making him a formidable adversary. Let’s not forget that the power of the sun breathing technique, in particular, strikes fear in the heart of even the Demon Lord himself, Muzan.
Through his battles against demons, Tanjiro has accumulated vast experience, enhancing his overall critical thinking skills and decision-making. He meticulously calculates every move he makes, acutely aware that one wrong move could cost him his life. This, combined with his intelligence and consciousness of his actions, gives him an edge over his sister Nezuko, who often relies on her instincts during fights.
In summary, Tanjiro’s prospects of winning a hypothetical battle against Nezuko appear favorable since, despite demons possessing greater strength than humans, they are susceptible to sunlight, a weakness that Tanjiro could exploit. Furthermore, if our main protagonists were able to vanquish Muzan in the finale of Demon Slayer, we can conclude that Tanjiro can defeat Nezuko. However, it’s important to note that this comparison is only based on the events of the first and second season of the anime.