When his entire family except for his sister Nezuko is killed by a demon, Tanjiro is determined to make up for failing to protect the rest of his family by putting his entire life into protecting and saving his sister (who only survived by being turned into a demon herself). To find a cure for her, he joins a secret demon killing organization and acquires some interesting allies in the hopes he can defeat the demon who killed his family.
Tanjiro Kamado was created by Koyoharu Gotoge as the protagonist of her serial, Kimetsu no Yaiba (鬼滅の刃), which first appeared in Weekly Shonen Jump #2350. Kimetsu continues to be serialized in the anthology manga magazine, though paperback collections are also released.
While generally, Jump serials are preceded by a one-shot (or multiple one-shots) where the protagonist and a few other characters can make their debut, Tanjiro was not one of the characters that carried over from the pilot one-shot and his counterpart doesn't resemble him too strongly, having a harsher personality and appearance.
Though Tanjiro simultaneously debuted in the English counterpart of Weekly Shonen Jump as part of their Jump Start program, the series was not picked up after the initial three chapters and his series is currently only published in Japanese, French (Les Rôdeurs de la Nuit) and Korean (Gwimyeorui Kallal). Over a year after it had been dropped, Viz licensed Kimetsu no Yaiba in Summer 2017 to publish translations but currently the first collection is not slated for release until Summer 2018.
Major Story Arcs
Death in the Family
When the story begins, the thirteen-year-old Tanjiro is already the main support his family relies on. His father having already died, he lives up in the mountains with his mother and his younger siblings: Nezuko (sister), Takeo (brother), Hanako (sister), Shigeru (brother) and Rokuta (brother). With the latter three being small children (who Nezuko and Takeo also helped care for), Tanjiro put it upon himself to go down the mountain in the snow to sell charcoal in an effort to bring back enough food for new year's.
Due to the weather being difficult, he has to go alone but when he gets to the town, it becomes clear he is well-regarded there too, with many townsfolk asking for his help with minor errands as he sells the charcoal. After the long day is done, he begins his return home but is stopped on his way up the mountain by a man who warns him that demons will be out at night and he should come in and stay the night to be safe. Tanjiro finds the warning a little absurd but decides to stay the night before returning to home.
But when he arrives home the next morning, he is horrified to find his entire family has been brutally massacred and in the shock of the moment, he finds only his sister Nezuko is still showing signs of life and putting her on his back begins racing down the mountain to get her medical aid. In his struggle to push his body beyond its limits, she awakes and catches him off-guard, causing the two to tumble down a small cliff into the snow.
It's at this point that Nezuko attacks him and he barely stops her from biting him with the shaft of the axe he was carrying, before realizing she is now a demon, but not the one that killed his family. Her strength begins to grow as her body changes and Tanjiro is overpowered but trying to speak to his sister, he begs her to fight against the infection.
At this point, a mysterious blade-wielding figure jumps out and attacks Nezuko but is stopped by Tanjiro quickly moving to protect her. A fight ensues in which the stranger continues trying to kill Nezuko while Tanjiro begs him to stop because she has not killed anyone and he will find a cure to turn her back into a human because she is all he has left. The pleading only makes the man angrier and he refuses to accept Nezuko can be cured or that Tanjiro is strong enough to make any promises he can protect others from her, including himself.
But as the man begins to stab Nezuko, Tanjiro throws a rock and picks up his axe to come in for an attack. He is easily knocked down as he charges but the axe he had thrown nearly hits his enemy in the face due to his charge diverting attention from the throw. In the confusion, Nezuko breaks free and runs to the unconscious Tanjiro on the ground, but instead of trying to eat him she stands in front of him as if to protect him from the stranger. This causes the stranger to conclude maybe she is different and he knocks her out too.
When Tanjiro awakes, he is lying in the snow next to Nezuko who now has a piece of bamboo in her mouth, which is tied around the back of her head. Seeing he has come to, the stranger tells Tanjiro to visit Urokodaki Sakonji and keep his sister out of the sun and then disappears. Tanjiro briefly returns home to bury his family and then takes Nezuko with him to meet Urokodaki.
Training with Urokodaki
To accommodate his sister while still traveling during the day, Tanjiro attempts to make a basket for her that he can carry on his back but early in their journey, they meet up with another demon who has just murdered and is in the process of eating a family. Tanjiro is easily overpowered until Nezuko steps to his defense and decapitates the demon with a kick. During the fight, they discover that demons can survive with body parts cut off and regenerate.
Though Tanjiro and Nezuko manage to beat the demon, as Tanjiro ultimately goes in for the kill with his knife, a masked figure stops him because the knife will not be enough to finish the job. The stranger is revealed to be Sakonji himself who already received a message from Tomioka to train Tanjiro. But in watching Tanjiro's compassion for the demon even as he must kill it, he doubts he can train him and Tanjiro's hesitation to deliver a brutal death to the demon results in it exploding in flames as the sun rises.
Urokodaki makes Tanjiro promise that if he were to let his sister kill an innocent, he would have to kill her and then himself. Tanjiro then proceeds to follow the old man to his home but finds himself exhausted just chasing after him. When they reach the mountain, Sakonji takes Nezuko with him to his home and leaves Tanjiro behind, saying that if he wants to be trained, he must first pass the test of making his way through the numerous traps on the foggy mountain where the air is thin and find Sakonji's house before the morning.
Tanjiro manages to make it, exhausted and injured, and the training begins. Sakonji reveals that there is an organization of demon hunters who fight to protect humanity and to enter their ranks, one must pass a 'final selection' test. But to even enter that test, Tanjiro must first prove himself to Sakonji. For a full year, Tanjiro trains, learning to become a swordsman, to avoid the traps as he descends the mountain every day and to control his breath and enhance his smell. During this time, Nezuko goes into a comatose state.
Then Sakonji announces he has nothing left to teach and brings Tanjiro to a spherical rock that is taller than him and says that if he can cut it in half, his training will be over. For another six months, his training continues but he is still not strong enough and begins to doubt himself when a masked boy with no scent appears on top of the rock and challenges him.
He seems determined to force Tanjiro to learn the breathing techniques Urokodaki taught him and in a one-on-one fight, he effortlessly beats Tanjiro, which in turn inspires Tanjiro to get stronger. Together, the boy Sahito and his companion Makomo continue to teach and train Tanjiro to become stronger, due to their respect for Urokodaki. This continues for another six months and in his final duel with Sahito, he finally manages to get the first strike and with that same swing, slices the rock and gets both Sahito and Makomo's final words of encouragement before they disappear.
Two years after their first meeting, Urokodaki decides to allow Tanjiro to go to the final selection, but admits he never expected the rock to be split and didn't want to send any more kids to their deaths and demands that Tanjiro return alive. Nezuko is left in his care as she remains in her coma and Tanjiro leaves for the final selection.
Becoming a Demon Hunter
Arriving at Fujikasaneyama, Tanjiro sees a lot of people have gathered for the test and the selection is explained as being a survival feat. On the mountain are trapped many demons that have been gathered, and after entering their domain, one must survive for seven days to pass the test. Upon entering the mountain, he quickly finds that he has indeed improved when he is able to defeat some demons with relative ease though his compassionate nature remains as he says a prayer for the demons he kills.
However, a new challenge quickly arises when he needs to protect others besides himself as a horrific demon covered in arms has already killed some test-takers and is attacking another. The demon quickly turns his attention to Tanjiro as has an intense hatred for Urokodaki who captured him nearly fifty years earlier and in that time has gotten his revenge by eating just as many children who attempted the selection (including thirteen apprentices of Urokodaki).
His sick desire to pick off Urokodaki's apprentices (recognizing the style of masks they carry for luck) enrages Tanjiro as the monster describes specifically how he killed Sahito and Makomo years earlier. Yet, after the fight is over and the demon is dying, Tanjiro does not give him a final look of anger but sadness and holds one of its hands as the demon slowly disintegrates.
Returning to the starting point at the end of the seven days, only four (including Tanjiro) of the twenty-or-so who entered are still alive (they are: a calm girl with a butterfly who never speaks, an angry boy and a terrified boy who seems shaken mentally by the ordeal, a fifth also passed the selection but didn't stick around). The boy that Tanjiro initially protected earlier did not survive.
For passing, Tanjiro is ranked at the lowest level of the organization and given a uniform, a crow that is used for communication and a chunk of a special metal alloy of his choice (suited to killing demons) that can then be shaped into a new blade.
On his weary return to Urokodaki, he realizes that in killing the eight demons that he did, he never thought to ask for a way to cure his sister. But his sadness turns to relief and joy when he finds Nezuko is finally awake and hugs him upon his return (her mouth still bound by the bamboo). After two weeks pass, a strange man named Haganeduka arrives, bringing with him the blade he fashioned for Tanjiro. The special blades change color based on their user, but instead of turning red as Haganeduka anticipates, it becomes a dark shade of black.
Almost immediately, a crow arrives and gives Tanjiro his first assignment, to find a demon that has been abducting girls in a nearby town.
Equipped with his new tools and a special box designed to carry Nezuko on his back, he takes on his first assignment and upon arriving in the town he quickly realizes the demon is able to use magic demon arts to split itself into multiple selves and disappear and reappear through shadowy portals it creates. During their first encounter, it also reveals that it has already eaten all the girls it abducted.
While Tanjiro struggles to keep up with the demon, Nezuko exits the box on his back to join the fight and allows him to take things more seriously as he enters the demons' portal to fight it one-on-one. After defeating the selves in that realm, he returns to fight the last form that was battling Nezuko and cuts off its arms before asking it to reveal information about Kibutsuji Muzan (the only demon that can turn humans to demons and the one who killed Tanjiro's family).
The demon freaks out at the thought of Muzan and Tanjiro is forced to kill it without getting his answer. Again, almost immediately, a crow arrives to give him his next mission, sending him to the city of Asakusa, Tokyo (it takes him a few days to travel there). When he arrives, he attempts to catch his breath with Nezuko but notices the same scent that was with his dead family and runs into the crowd to find the source which he knows must be Muzan.
What shocks him however, is to find and grab onto Muzan only to see he is with a human wife and child that don't seem to know why Tanjiro is so frantic. To evade the situation, Muzan moves faster than the human eye can see and cuts a wound on a passerby who becomes a demon and begins attacking his wife. Tanjiro immediately leaps to the aid of the woman and loses Muzan in the commotion as he has to hold down the demon victim. He shouts out a threat to Muzan in the crowd and the demon is startled when he recognizes Tanjiro's earrings from when a like-minded individual wore them.
A strange scent comes over the area as a demon approaches who is moved by Tanjiro's refusal to acknowledge the demon he is holding down as a monster rather than a person and reveals herself to be a doctor that is also trying to defeat Muzan. As Tanjiro goes back to get Nezuko, Tamayo leaves behind her assistant Yushiro to guide them to their base of operations, as it is hidden by cloaking spells.
When they arrive, Tamayo is treating the victims from the earlier incident and after introducing herself, Tanjiro asks if she knows of a way to cure Nezuko and she explains that she will help him find a way as long as he helps her collect the blood she needs for the research (that being the blood of his unique sister and the blood of the particularly powerful demons that Muzan has personally chosen).
As he agrees, they are attacked by two demons that Muzan had just given some of his blood and sent to kill them all.
Clearly stronger than previous demons Tanjiro has encountered, their first seemingly-effortless attack with a kemari ball destroys a large part of the building and blows Yushiro's head off. The attackers mention the Twelve Demon Moons (which are revealed to be the closest and most powerful servants of Muzan), though initially is unclear if they are part of that elite group or not.
It is only when Yushiro regenerates and gives Tanjiro his sight that Tanjiro is able to see the attacks that are being used against him and properly combat them. Entrusted by the others to deal with Yahaba, the other three work together to hold off Susamaru. Tanjiro is ultimately victorious by using Yahaba's own attack against him but is badly injured in the process. Determined to protect everyone else, he holds his blade in his teeth and drags himself along the ground towards them but before he arrives Susamaru is killed by the curse Muzan himself put upon her to never say his name.
In the aftermath, it is revealed that the two demons were not of the Moons (being too weak and lacking the symbol carved on their eyeball that displays their rank), though their available blood is collected and Tanjiro's anger at Muzan is strengthened at the fact his curse killed his own servant who so greatly admired him. Before their part ways, Tamayo offers to keep Nezuko with her and keep her out of the battlefield but while Tanjiro considers it, Nezuko resolutely grabs onto his hand and reaffirms Tanjiro's wish that they will never again be parted.
With that, Tanjiro leaves (Nezuko getting back in the box on his back as the night has passed) and heads toward the next mission he is given. He is soon interrupted on the road when he bumps into a familiar face, grovelling on the ground to a woman, begging her to marry him.
The boy, Agatsuma Zenitsu, was the erratic one from the final selection who seemed paranoid he was going to die and as Tanjiro watches the pitiful behavior, he is asked by Zenitsu's own messenger bird to stop the situation and Tanjiro jumps in, reprimanding Zenitsu and freeing the woman to leave (who it turns out was just a stranger who had checked if he was alright when passing him on the road).
Tanjiro initially looks down on Zenitsu for being so shameless and cowardly, but after listening to Zenitsu's crying about how he never wanted to be a demon hunter, he becomes compassionate enough to calm him down and take him along as a companion but asks that he stop causing such trouble. The two are then sent together to Tanjiro's mission and arrive at a house that smells of blood and something unknown.
They notice two cowering children who say a monster stole their big brother away in the night and they followed his blood trail to the house. Tanjiro tries his best to comfort the two and assure them he will go defeat the monster and rescue their brother. Suddenly, a badly bloodied body flies out of the house and Tanjiro rushes to the aid of the boy who seems relieved he finally got out of the house even knowing he's going to die anyway.
Quickly dying in Tanjiro's arms, the kids point out that he was not their brother and Tanjiro manages to coerce the still-pitiful Zenitsu into following him into the house, leaving Nezuko in her box to protect the kids (but telling no one what's inside it). But the kids follow them into the house and leave the box behind, causing Tanjiro to exclaim that box is more important to him than his own life. However, before he can resolve the situation, the house begins shaking. The layout of the house suddenly shifts and due to standing on opposite sides of a room's threshold at the time, Zenitsu and Tanjiro are separated, each with one of the kids in their care.
Suddenly, the demon master of the house (a former member of Twelve Demon Moons) walks by the room Tanjiro and Teruko have found themselves in and after asking Teruko to hide, Tanjiro boldly challenges the demon but gets nonchalantly swatted aside before a pig-headed swordsman bursts on the scene. The pig-head relentlessly keeps attacking the demon as the room continues spinning and in the process he steps on both Tanjiro and Teruko, kicking off them as if they are just obstacles.
When he steps on Teruko however, Tanjiro's anger flares up and he throws the swordsman to the side but to his surprise, the demon hunter is only incentivized by the challenge and turns his attacks toward Tanjiro. The crazed fighter seems intent on killing Tanjiro and the girl when suddenly the erratic demon master's magic shifts the house some more and Tanjiro and Teruko are separated from everyone again.
Tanjiro is ultimately very protective of Teruko, making sure she doesn't see the dead bodies of humans left lying in the house. As the house continues shifting, the two of them come across Teruko's older brother, Kiyoshi, frantically beating on one of the demon's spatial-shifting drums. As Tanjiro tends to the boy's wounds, he still tries to brighten the mood for the two kids and distract them from the horrors going on around them.
Kiyoshi's explanation of what happened to him allows Tanjiro to work the situation out and after giving the children a plan to keep them safe, he leaves to kill Kyogai. Kyogai himself appears just then and Tanjiro leaps at him, taking their fight to a separate part of the house as Kiyoshi shifts things again and though he manages to figure out the demon's attack patterns quite quickly, the wounds from his previous fight begin to become unbearable.
After getting lost in his negative thoughts, Tanjiro takes the role he often does for others and begins to cheer himself on to overcome the fight and faces the demon with renewed intensity. Through a combination of will and intelligence, he manages to overcome Kyogai and just before cutting off his head, he compliments the demon's power, ultimately gaining the acknowledgement he so desired in death.
Tanjiro collects some of his blood before Kyogai's body disappears and gives it to Tamayo's cat (normally invisible due to a spell) and then goes back to pick up Kiyoshi and Teruko so they can all escape the house. As they run outside, Tanjiro is shocked to see a bruised and bloodied Zenitsu clutching the box that contains Nezuko while the pig-headed swordsman, Inosuke, attacks him.
An angry Tanjiro interrupts the bullying and ends up in a heated duel with Inosuke over his despicable behavior. Fairly evenly matched (though Tanjiro was badly wounded), the fight comes to an end with a headbutt that causes Inosuke's pig-head mask to fall off and reveal his pretty-boy face. A battle of words begins until Inosuke loses consciousness (due to the strength of Tanjiro's head-butt).
When Inosuke awakes, ready to fight once again, Tanjiro manages to get him to help them bury the dead by implying Inosuke is too injured and tired to help, thus firing up Inosuke's desire to prove himself capable. And thus, Tanjiro leaves the kids to make their way home and now has two companions to baby-sit. But for the first time, rather than being directed to a mission, he is directed to a safe-house where the three can rest and heal before being sent out again, a time during which Tanjiro comes to respect them and accept their odd quirks.
The Twelve Demon Moons and The Demon Hunter Pillars
As soon as their injuries are considered healed, they are given an emergency summons to Natagumo Mountain. When they arrive, they witness an injured demon hunter get pulled screaming back into the forest and though Zenitsu is too scared to enter, Inosuke and Tanjiro go in together to save their comrade.
When they finally meet someone in the forest, he exclaims that they are a useless aid as they are far too weak to deal with the situation since the last batch of ten demon hunters sent all ended up killing each other, after being controlled by the strings of the demons in the forest. They too end up being attacked by the corpses and still-living demon hunters that are being used as puppets and resolve to find and kill the demon pulling the strings.
As Tanjiro comes across his first major demon opponent on the mountain, his continued empathy despite the horrid circumstances results in him granting her the most peaceful possible death and in return, she warns him with her final breath that one of the Twelve Demon Moons is on the mountain. After beheading her, he joins back up with Inosuke and tries to encourage him to go back due to injuries but is emphatically rebuffed.
Before any new plans can be made, a new demon foe crashes onto the scene in the form of the spider-headed patriarch of the demon family. Both Tanjiro and Inosuke quickly attack by swinging their blades into his flesh but are both surprised when his body proves so tough that their blades cannot cut cleanly through. In the chaos, Tanjiro cuts down a tree with his sword to crush the demon but after only being stunned, it picks up the tree and swings at Tanjiro.
Its strength is so great that the force sends Tanjiro flying high above the trees and out into the distance, but even as he is tossed aside, he shouts repeatedly to Inosuke to make sure that no matter what happens that he doesn't die until Tanjiro returns.
When Tanjiro lands and gets his bearings, he is startled by the sight of the demon Rui (who he had briefly seen earlier), brutally punishing a member of his family. An argument begins between the two over the bonds of family, with Rui saying what he's doing is between family and none of Tanjiro's concern and Tanjiro detecting that there is no love or respect between the demons and their "family" is a lie.
Tanjiro's unwavering claim angers Rui enough that he effortlessly dices up a stray demon hunter and an intense battle of ideals begins. Rui seems to toy with Tanjiro at first (wanting him to take back what he said) and before Tanjiro's blade can even reach the demon, it is cut cleanly in half when swinging through one of the demon's strings.
The strings continue to swirl around Tanjiro, making any attacks hopeless, even when Rui doesn't seem intent to kill. But just as the strings are about to close in completely on Tanjiro, Nezuko leaps out of the box and into the fray to protect her brother with her own body and she takes the damage from the attack.
Both Rui and his "sister" are surprised to realize that Nezuko is a demon but still protected her brother and Rui becomes intrigued and obsessed with having the sort of familial bond that the siblings have. Sending off his own "sister" to deal with the others on the mountain (after beheading her once in anger), Rui then makes Tanjiro an offer to give him Nezuko in return for his life but Tanjiro angrily asserts that she is not an object and will never be a part of Rui's "family".
As their anger towards each other grows in their heated exchange, Rui then calmly brushes aside the hair over his eye to reveal himself as one of the Twelve Demon Moons (up until that point Tanjiro believed it was the monster that had sent him flying). He then easily manages to grab Nezuko and evade Tanjiro's strikes but when Nezuko claws his face, he punishes her by stringing her up above the fight, leaving her heavily wounded and immobile as she seems to lose consciousness.
Tanjiro does his best to remain level-headed and continues his attacks with his broken blade, managing to cut through some defensive strings only for Rui to create even stronger ones and in that moment, Tanjiro's life flashes before his eyes.
He gains a new surge of momentum when he remembers the words of his father and strengthens his attack but charges forward through the strings with a swing that would result in both he and Rui beheading each other at the same time. In that same moment, the unconscious Nezuko hanging upside down from the strings above their heads is awoken by a vision and for the first time uses her own blood demon art which sets her blood on fire. This burns away the strings that would have killed Tanjiro and the blood drops that land on his sword ignite and allow him to decapitate the powerful demon.
Completely exhausted despite his victory, Tanjiro tries to get himself off the ground, to go back and help Inosuke (who he does not know has already been saved) and make sure Nezuko is okay. As he continues to try and stand and catch his breath, behind him, the headless body of Rui gets back up and gathers back his head, revealing he had already cut off his own head with his strings before the specialized metal of the demon-slaying blade could do it.
Now done playing with Tanjiro, Rui creates a cage of strings around his body but in a flash, they are undone when Tomioka arrives to save Tanjiro once again (being the same demon hunter who stepped in when Nezuko first transformed into a demon). Tomioka calmly credits Tanjiro for putting up a fight for so long but then with seemingly no struggle at all, he effortlessly undoes Rui's strings and cuts off his head one final time.
By this point, Tanjiro managed to crawl over to Nezuko and shield her with his body and this image of true familial bonds becomes the last thing Rui's disembodied head sees. His headless body stumbles in their direction and falls right next to Tanjiro who senses the sadness in the dying demon and reaches out his hand to hold him as the body turns to ash.
Tomioka then walks over to stand on the remaining clothes of the demon and gives Tanjiro a speech about how he should not feel sympathy for demons but Tanjiro rejects his ideals once again. Though Tanjiro believes in killing all demons who have killed innocent humans, he also believes in acknowledging their suffering, understanding that they were once humans too. While looking down into Tanjiro's steadfast gaze and glancing Nezuko, Tomioka suddenly realizes who he has just rescued and another lightning-fast demon hunter springs onto the scene.
Tomioka instinctively blocks her attack with his own sword and the two Demon Hunter Pillars have an odd verbal exchange. When it becomes clear the girl intends to kill Nezuko, Tomioka urges Tanjiro to find whatever strength he can to take his sister and run. Tanjiro does as he's told while Tomioka restrains Shinobu but even running with all the strength he has left, Tanjiro is effortlessly taken down by another female demon hunter, dressed similarly to Shinobu, who jumps down from the trees.
Knocked down with enough force that he is left unconscious on the ground, Kanao then proceeds to chase Nezuko with intent to kill before all the tensions are stopped in a moment when a messenger crow announces that Tanjiro (a boy with a scar on his forehead) and Nezuko (a demon girl biting on bamboo) are to be brought to headquarters so Tanjiro is restrained and carried off the mountain (Zenitsu and Inosuke had already been rescued and carried away to receive medical attention at another location).
When Tanjiro finally is awoken, he is lying face down in the dirt, with his hands tied behind his back, as all of the gathered Demon Hunter Pillars look down on him (they are the nine highest-ranked fighters in the demon-slaying organization). They are in the midst of discussing among themselves whether or not to kill Nezuko (and Tomioka) and ultimately, it is Shinobu who steps in to give Tanjiro some water and painkillers and asks him to share his story.
Though none of them seem remotely convinced by Tanjiro's claims that his sister is not a danger and can help him hunt other demons...it is only when the final pillar, Shinazugawa Sanemi, steps in that a fight ensues. He picks up the box containing Nezuko and stabs his sword through the entire box (and Nezuko) and as the blood begins dripping, Tanjiro is filled with a burst of anger and attacks Shinazugawa with a headbutt (managing to hit him and evade his sword while his own hands are still tied behind his back).
Managing to catch the Pillars by surprise with his attack, he is able to get Nezuko's box behind him and hold it as best as he can with his restraints still intact and lets out a loud proclamation that anyone who can't recognize the difference between a good and bad demon should quit being a Pillar. However, before Sanemi can counterattack and escalate the situation even further, their leader Oyakata's arrival is announced by his attendants and all attention turns to him.
Tanjiro is shocked by Oyakata's appearance (particularly his heavily scarred face) and forgets his fight for enough of an instant that Sanemi leaps at him and smashes his head into the dirt. This gives Tanjiro a perfect line of sight to see that all the strange and boisterous Pillars all in a line, bowing their heads in respect to the very warm and calm Oyakata who takes a seat in front of them.
Sanemi respectfully offers to explain the current incident caused by Tanjiro bringing a demon with him, to which Oyakata calmly replies that he had given approval for Tanjiro and Nezuko and hopes everyone else can be acccepting as well which brings a wave of shock over the Pillars and they all react with either indifference or disagreement though they try to remain respectful.
As a result, Oyakata has one of his attendants bring out a letter from the former pillar Sakonji (the one who had trained Tanjiro to first join the organization). The letter, which was unknown to Tanjiro, asks them to forgive him for carrying Nezuko with him and explains her unique condition and ends with a final promise that should Nezuko attack anyone, Sakonji, Tanjiro and Tomioka would cut open their stomachs in penance. As a silence falls over the Pillars, tears begin to flow from Tanjiro's eyes.
Oyakata then drops another shocking fact and tells the Pillars that Tanjiro has come into contact with Muzan (who none of the Pillars have ever seen) and claims that he believes that both Tanjiro and Nezuko are worth keeping hold of as he believes they are something Muzan cannot understand. Sanemi continues to be upset with the idea of letting a demon live and in an attempt to show Oyakata that he is wrong about Nezuko, he cuts his own arm and lets the blood drip onto Nezuko's box, much to the annoyance of Tanjiro.
Obanai quickly mentions that it won't work in the sunlight and Sanemi briefly apologies to Oyakata before picking up the box and rushing underneath Oyakata's roof where he tears open the box with his sword. Tanjiro angrily tries to get up and stop the assault on his sister but is instantly crushed by the strength of Obanai who holds him down so resolutely that Tanjiro can't even breathe.
In a panic state, Tanjiro watches the encounter as an angry Nezuko emerges from her box. Shinobu offers him some advice on his breathing to prevent his blood vessels popping (due to the pressure on his lungs) but Obanai does not loosen his hold. Tanjiro's breathless fit reaches its apex when Obanai is about to slam him down again but Tomioka steps in and grabs Obanai's arm, allowing Tanjiro to struggle to his feet and cry out to Nezuko, snapping her out of her rage and bringing back to her the memories of their family and her promises to not hurt humans.
Nezuko then turns her head away from the bleeding arm Sanemi had been trying to force upon her and Oyakata says this is the proof that she will not attack humans and then begins giving a personal message to Tanjiro. The voice of Oyakata creates an unplifting feeling that fills Tanjiro (as he now bows on his own before Oyakata) and tells him to defeat the Twelve Demon Moons so that he can prove to anyone who doubts him that Nezuko deserves to live.
Brimming with confidence, Tanjiro proclaims he and Nezuko will defeat Muzan themselves to which he is politely told (much to his embarrassment as the Pillars snicker behind him) that he should try to be able to defeat one of the Moons first. He also says all the Pillars have fought and bled to get where they are and should be respected (but that Obanai and Sanemi should not be so quick to bully). And with the situation resolved for now, he announces that is the end of the Tanjiro talk, and the beginning of their official Pillar meeting.
Recovery at The Butterfly Estate
Immediately Shinobu suggests that Tanjiro being taken to her estate to recover and as he looks up in surprise, her servants rush in to pick him up and whisk him away. Oyakata then begins the Pillar meeting when suddenly Tanjiro interrupts, clinging onto a post as the servants tug at him. He rants about still wanting to get even with Sanemi for what he did to Nezuko but he is quickly shut up by a stone thrown right in his face by Muichirou (who warns him not to interrupt their leader).
The two servants apologize profusely on the dazed Tanjiro's behalf and as they return to their mad dash with him in tow, Oyakata leaves one last parting word to Tanjiro, asking him to pass his regards on to Tamayo (the demon who was aiding Tanjiro in finding a cure for Nezuko). Tanjiro's surprise causes him to ask that the servants to stop but instead, the second begins beating him and saying that they will never forgive him for making the Pillars mad at them and repeatedly demanding he apologize.
After some time they arrive at the butterfly estate, still carrying a now exhausted Tanjiro but when nobody is there to greet them, they head to the garden where a young girl named Kanao stands silently alone, surrounded by butterflies. Though Tanjiro recognizes her from the exam on the mountain, he does not realize she was the one who took down him and Nezuko in the forest the night before. The servants explain she is a successor to the Pillars that they take care of and she is extremely talented.
But when they ask her if they can enter the estate, she simply stares at them silently with a smile on her face. An angry nurse appears out of nowhere and has them bring the injured Tanjiro into the building (where a whining Zenitsu and depressed Inosuke are already being treated). In a slight panic, Tanjiro begins to ask them questions, apologizing that he couldn't come back to help Inosuke and asking them if they are okay.
Nezuko is also brought to the estate (though she recovers by sleeping in her box). Since none of the trio handle their recovery well, Tanjiro tries to endure his own pain while also attempting to encourage the depressed Inosuke.
When Shinobu finally arrived, after the Pillar meeting had ended, she announces that the three will now have to endure training to help them recover. At first only Inosuke and Tanjiro are able to attend but when they return, they are so haggard and spent that they simply crawl into bed in a gloom, terrifying Zenitsu. When Zenitsu joins, it is revealed the training is done by Kanao and some of the nurses and involves being massaged, training their reflexes against Kanao and playing tag.
Zenitsu freaks out at the realization they've just been getting touched and played with by women and in his anger, he brings the other two outside to give them a frightening motivational speech but in doing so only motivates Inosuke (by angering him) and causing Tanjiro to look down on his misguided motivations. Though the other two seem to recover much faster than Tanjiro and are able to endure and seemingly thrive in the recovery training, the one area where they all fail is beating Kanao in a match of reflexes.
After five days of all three losing to her every time, Inosuke and Zenitsu give up and stop coming to training and only Tanjiro remains. Though he tries to apologize on their behalf, he is told there's no need to bother and he doesn't have to show up either. But he becomes determined to attend for all of their sake's but continues to be defeated for another ten days.
As he tries to think of the answer after another defeat, he is stopped by the three nurses from training who ask him if he's able to do his full focus breathing all day and night. He seems shocked at the idea it's even possible but is told Kanao and all the pillars can do it even though Tanjiro struggles with doing it even for short periods. These words give Tanjiro the answer he seeks and with a new energy, he begins to train his breathing.
Though the training is a struggle, the attendants return to give him more advice and encourage him to try blowing into specially hardened gourds until he can break them with his breath (saying that Kanao had to endure the same training). Tanjiro then trains himself to return his stamina to normal so he can even have a chance, taking fifteen days to even do that as he continues to work on his breathing.
While meditating on the roof one night, he is interrupted by Shinobu who notes he works so hard even though his comrades have completely given up and asks him if he feels lonely to which he replies that if he can do it, he can teach them so it'll be okay! He asks why she's brought him to her estate to which she reveals that she wanted to pass her dream onto him, to be able to get along with demons.
Tanjiro reveals he can sense her constant anger despite her smiling all the time and she replies that it comes from the fact her sister was slaughtered by demons and that whenever she is reminded of it, an anger wells up inside her (and likely the other Pillars have similar reasons for their anger toward Nezuko).
It turns out the empathy Tanjiro had for demons was also felt by Shinobu's sister who pitied them even as they killed her and Shinobu wishes to be like her sister, but finds it exhausting. So instead, she asks that Tanjiro do his best on her behalf as the thought of it gives her some relief and then she disappears again.
The next day, Tanjiro asks the three nurses who had been advising him to help him further with his breaths by beating him if he ever stops doing his full focus breaths in his sleep. They gladly accept and after ten more days, he is able to destroy the largest gourd with his by blowing into it and when he next has to train with Kanao, he finally finds he is able to keep up with her.
The training continues, though now Tanjiro has to help Inosuke and Zenitsu along (even when they seem more discouraged by his rapid growth rate than anything). Ultimately, Tanjiro was a terrible teacher and it was Shinobu who got the other two to learn the constant full focus breathing (in nine days). Then Haganeduka and his assistant arrive with the replacement blades for Inosuke and Tanjiro (who both had their's broken on the mountain). Upon his arrival, Haganeduka spends an hour chasing Tanjiro with a knife to kill him for breaking his sword (but after things calm down, they both get their new blades).
With their recovery completed, Shinobu does some final checks before Tanjiro and the others leave the estate (and on the way out, Tanjiro bumps into the fifth individual from the exam, the only one who seemed to physically grow a lot) but he is completely ignored when he tries to be positive. He thanks the head nurse and finally goes to give his final thanks to Kanao who just silently smiles back at him.
An awkward silence follows until she flips a coin and replies he doesn't need to thank her but returns his goodbye. With his excessive probing, he manages to get her to explain she uses the coin to figure out if she should talk to someone when not being instructed. Tanjiro gives it some thought and asks for her coin and then excitedly exclaims he will flip it to see if she should speak what's in her heart. Calling heads, he flips the coin way too high but as he scrambles to get it and reveal it in front of her, it turns out to be heads and he excitedly wishes her luck in listening to her heart and then hurries off. She shouts to stop him and ask why it was heads to which he replies it was chance, but had it been tails, he would have flipped it again until it was heads.
Thus with some final tearful farewells to the staff, Tanjiro and his group set out on their next adventure (and are immediately met with some giant mysterious creature).