Altruism is defined “selflessness or devotion to the welfare of others.” Simply put, altruism is putting your life in danger to protect people around you. This particular principle is depicted beautifully in Demon Slayer’s storyline.
Kamado Tanjiro, the main protagonist in Demon Slayer, holds quite an unusual personality. He is not your typical Shonen MC filled with aggression and hate. He is not fueled with an endless desire for revenge. This hardheaded slayer is above all that. Read it till the end to find out what makes this sun-breathing Hashira so special.
The Seed of Altruism in Tanjiro’s Life
Right from the beginning of the Demon Slayer story, Tanjiro is portrayed as a hardworking boy living in the mountains with his loving family. We see a boy who lives to earn for his loved ones and visits nearby towns. The townspeople not only trust him but also deeply care for him. This lays down the seed for Tanjiro’s character to be compassionate, loving, profoundly caring, and altruistic.
When he meets with the tragedy of losing his family to Muzan, the Demon Lord, Tanjiro has nothing but a demon Nezuko. From here, Tanjiro’s only goal is to turn Nezuko back into a human. Compared to other MCs, this water-breathing Hashira has no revenge plans or hatred in his heart. His only aim in life is to protect and cure his sister. Rather than grieving about his loss to demons, he remains optimistic.
In the Demon Slayer Corp Arc, Tanjiro does everything possible to pass the final exam. We see his exceptional determination when he slashes the boulder and aims to head towards a suicide mission.
At this point in the story, other protagonists might have thought of killing anyone coming their way. However, Tanjiro helps other boys and then kills the “Hand Demon“.
But we get to see a twist from there, Tanjiro sits down, holds the demon’s hand and prays for the decaying Hand Demon, so that he finds peace in his afterlife. He feels the hand demon’s pain and how his condition forced him to kill humans. Tanjiro feels empathetic towards him; something that we rarely get to witness in the Shonen genre.
Altruism Defines Tanjiro’s Ultimate Goal
Tanjiro’s goals are shaped with altruism as the core player. His goals revolve around turning his beloved sister into a human and protecting humans from demons. He wants to “protect” humans and not harm or kill the demons as a priority.
The tragedy Tanjiro went through could have impacted him negatively and turned him against monsters. Yet it remained one of his motivations to save others inflicted with a “demon blood-art ” curse. He acknowledges that all the demons were humans at some point in their lives and killing them without confronting them or understanding their side of the story is wrong.
“To dispel the regrets of those killed, to stop any more victims from appearing, I will relentlessly wield my blade against the demons and that’s a fact. But I will not trample on the pains of being a Demon. Nor on those who regret their actions. Because demons were humans… they were humans like me.”Kamado Tanjiro.
Peak Altruism in Demon Slayer’s Mugen Train Arc
Demon Slayer’s protagonist went one step further in the Mugen Train Arc when he was trapped under Enmu’s Demon Blood art and forced to experience a fabricated nightmare. He first enjoys his dream, and viewers get to understand the desires he has. However, the protagonist quickly realizes something is wrong and must escape this nightmare to save everyone.
However, we as an audience get to see something fierce that can trigger many traumas, especially for a younger audience. But on the other hand, Tanjiro’s character showcases his actual strength. His determination and hardheadedness to save everyone, even if it means killing himself. In this moment of realization, Tanjiro Kamado takes out his demon slayer sword and kills himself over and over again.
The Imperfectly Perfect Shonen MC (Tanjiro Kamado)
All these character traits are unique in any mainstream Shonen MC. Tanjiro’s upbringing, his determination to save others and his compassion that shines brighter than the sun is the evidence that sometimes heroism is not always brutal, aggressive, and partial. Sometimes the people who do terrible things need to be shown empathy and compassion. “Kindness” can win over “Cruelty“, and “Altruism” can take over “Selfishness“.
Tanjiro and the demons in the Demon Slayer showcase altruism and selfishness and are opposite to each other, and yet, in the end, the monsters can feel Tanjiro’s empathy in their last hours. With such warmness in his soul and a vast heart that forgives all, Tanjiro is a refreshing addition to the Shonen MC category.