Why did Tanjiro’s sword turn black? And what is the meaning behind the black Nichirin Blade?
If you have just finished watching Demon Slayer: Kimetso no Yaiba, one of the most memorable, and perplexing, scenes of the anime is when Tanjiro Kamado, the protagonist receives his second Nichirin Blade.
Need a recap?
Well, the blade turns black the first time Tanjiro unsheathes it, surprising him – as well swordsmiths Hotaru and Kozo – but it is not explicitly explained why.
If you paid attention, you will have noticed that many of the demon slayers, especially the Hashira, wield differently colored blades. The meaning behind most of them is obvious, like Rengoku’s red blade, which signifies him being the Flame Hashira.
But a black Nichirin Blade? What does that mean for Tanjiro? In this guide, we explain the real meaning behind Tanjiro’s black sword and put an end to the question once and for all.
So, without further ado, let’s dive in.
Nichirin Swords Explained
First off, let’s explain what the Nichirin Blades are and the purpose of the Nichirin Blades.
Nichirin Swords, also called Nichirin Blades, are unique and powerful demon-killing swords wielded by the Demon Slayers – formidable warriors with signature skills tasked with ridding the world of evil demons.
Before receiving a Nichirin Blade, each Demon Slayer candidate must pass the Final Selection, a series of trials that puts their abilities to the ultimate test. Once passed, a Nichirin Blade is presented to the Demon Slayer, which will immediately change color depending on who is holding it.
Nichirin Blades will turn a certain color that represents the specific Demon Slayer in terms of their personality, history, and breathing style (special ability).
As mentioned above, Rengoku Kyojuro, as the Flame Hashira, possesses a red Nichirin Blade. And for more examples of the different Nichirin Blade colors, we have provided a short list below.
- Zenitsu Agatsuma (Thunder Breathing) – yellow Nichirin Blade
- Inosuke Hashibira (Beast Breathing) – indigo-gray Nichirin Blade
- Giyu Tomokia (Water Breathing) – blue Nichirin Blade
- Mitsuri Kanroki (Love Breathing) – pink Nichirin Blade
- Sanemi Shinazugawa (Wind Breathing) – green Nichirin Blade
- Muichiro Tokito (Mist Breathing) – white Nichirin Blade
The Meaning Behind Tanjiro’s Black Blade
Most of the colored Nichirin Blades seen in Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba speak for themselves, matching both the owner’s personality and breathing style.
In episode 13 of the anime, however, Tanjiro Kamado receives his second Nichirin Blade and, immediately upon unsheathing it, the blade turns black.
Black is a rare and unique color for Nichirin Blades. And even Hotaru Haganezuka, the swordsmith who creates the Demon Slayers’ Nichirin Blades, commented that it is “unusual, not seen often”.
There have been many fan theories as to why Tanjiro’s blade turned black. These include the fact that Tanjiro used to work as a charcoal burner, as well as how Tanjiro is an orphan (black representing loneliness).
These are not incorrect theories, but to understand what Tanjiro’s black Nichirin Blade really means, we have to look at Tanjiro’s background and ancestral history – as that is where the answer lies.
So, make sure to keep reading.
Hinokami Kaguro (Sun Breathing)
Episode 19 of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba marked a turning point for Tanjiro Kamado.
Struggling to beat Rui, Lower Moon Five, with his blade broken and Nezuko prisoner to the demon’s threads, Tanjiro managed to harness Hinokami Kaguro – “Sun Breathing”, or Dance of the Fire God.
Using Sun Breathing, together with the help of Nezuko’s Blood Demon Art, Tanjiro overpowered Rui, beheading him.
It’s explained in the anime that Sun Breathing is one of the rarest breathing styles, and is widely considered to be the first-ever breathing style that led to the creation of all other breathing styles.
In fact, Sun Breathing is a breathing style only known by Tanjiro’s ancestors, who passed it down across generations. But, despite that, the first-ever Demon Slayer to officially use Sun Breathing is Yoriichi Tsugikuni, who is not a relation of Tanjiro.
Who Is Yoriichi Tsugikuni?
Yoriichi Tsugikuni was a legendary Demon Slayer who created Sun Breathing, the first-ever breathing style that led to all other breathing styles being created.
In the manga, Yoriichi Tsugikuni rescued one of Tanjiro’s ancestors, Sumiyoshi Kamado, eventually teaching him Sun Breathing and giving him his earrings – the Hanafuda earrings that Tanjiro can also be seen wearing throughout the anime.
In addition, Yoriichi Tsugikuni was known to wield a black Nichirin Blade.
Due to this, it is clear to see that there are a lot of similarities between Tanjiro Kamado, the main protagonist of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, and Yoriichi Tsugikuni, the legendary Demon Slayer.
Both Tanjiro and Yoriichi possess Sun Breathing, wear Hanafuda earrings, and wield a black Nichirin Blade. Tanjiro has also developed a Demon Slayer Mark that is similar to Yoriichi’s.
Is Tanjiro The Successor To Yoriichi?
There are plenty of obvious similarities between Tanjiro Kamado and Yoriichi Tsugikuni, and this is the reason why Tanjiro has a black Nichirin Blade.
It makes sense that, as the main protagonist of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Tanjiro is destined to become the successor to Yoriichi Tsugikuni, the most legendary Demon Slayer to have ever lived.
In fact, in the manga, Yoriichi Tsugikuni faced Muzan – the main antagonist and leader of all the demons – in a short battle, wounding Muzan before Muzan fled to regenerate himself.
So, since Tanjiro has the power of Sun Breathing, the same Demon Slayer Mark as Yoriichi, the Hanafuda earrings, and a black Nichirin Sword, it is safe to say that Tanjiro’s destiny is to finish what Yoriichi started and kill Muzan once and for all.
In short, the meaning behind Tanjiro’s black Nichirin Blade is that Tanjiro is the successor to Yoriichi Tsugikuni, a legendary Demon Slayer who created Sun Breathing, wielded a black Nichirin Blade, and almost killed Muzan.
The clear similarities shared between Tanjiro and Yoriichi support the idea that Tanjiro is destined to finish what Yoriichi started and kill Muzan, the powerful main antagonist of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba and the leader of all the demons.