10 ways Demon Slayer breaks shonen clichés

Demon Slayer stands out in the shonen genre, as it defies many of the worn-out clichés that fans have seen countless times. It has a simple premise of a young man seeking a cure for his sister, but the characters have a depth that makes the story very interesting.

Many of the cliches would never have worked in this series as they would conflict with the beliefs of the characters, as well as the lessons the story is trying to teach. The series is incredibly popular, and the fact that it avoids many of these cliches makes it even more timeless.

10 female characters are not weak

Sometimes the female characters in shonen are weak. Although they have powers of their own, they are usually damsels in distress who need to be saved by other characters. Neither of the hunters is really weak. Mitsuri Kanroji has physical strength that surpasses most men, allowing him to rip Muzan’s arm off with his bare hands. Kanao Tsuyuri was already almost as strong as a Hashira when Tanjiro met her and contributed to Doma’s defeat. Even Shinobu Kocho, despite being the physically weakest of the Hashira, was capable of creating deadly poisons, one of which was key to ensuring Muzan’s death.

9 the power of friendship is not trusted1637056173 53 10 ways Demon Slayer breaks shonen cliches.webp

The series does not emphasize the power of friendship. Tanjiro does forge significant bonds with other characters, but he has lost a great number of friends during his journey. Tanjiro also does not wait for his friends, and even leaves Zenitsu behind in his friend’s cowardly moments.

Her priority has been the preservation of human lives, and her journey centers on her desire to cure her sister of her demonization.

8 There is only one case of fanservice1637056173 514 10 ways Demon Slayer breaks shonen cliches.webp

Fanservice can often make a good story pause, and it can even break any kind of tension in an untimely way. There is only one fanservice scene in Demon Slayer, when Mitsuri is in the hot springs, but the manga does not dwell long on this scene, as it only serves to establish his presence in the town of Swordsmith. Fanservice is often used as a comic element in Shonen stories, but the series has countless hilarious moments without it.

7 Tanjiro has no hidden dark side1637056173 456 10 ways Demon Slayer breaks shonen cliches.webp

It is very common to see Shonen protagonists with a hidden dark side. To get out of otherwise hopeless situations, they unwittingly release a dark power to overwhelm their enemies. Tanjiro doesn’t have any kind of “inner demon”, which fits perfectly with his character arc. Tanjiro is supposed to represent the best of humanity, showing compassion and sympathy for both humans and demons.

6 The end is not just a confirmation of the ships1637056174 668 10 ways Demon Slayer breaks shonen cliches.webp

Fans have voiced their dissatisfaction with the endings of many great shonen titles. Quite a few series have chosen to end up confirming which characters got together, and even forcing some couples to be together despite the lack of chemistry or relationship development.

Demon Slayer does not do this. Instead, it shows the human characters in their next lives, living peacefully in a modern setting. After living such difficult lives before, they all deserve a happy ending.

5 There is no rivalry between Tanjiro and other characters1637056174 861 10 ways Demon Slayer breaks shonen cliches.webp

The protagonists of shonen usually have rivals, with whom they usually compete to become stronger. Tanjiro doesn’t have any because he doesn’t need them: his desire to heal his sister is more than enough to motivate him. Also, killing demons shouldn’t be a competition, as all hunters share a common goal of saving as many innocent lives as possible. Inosuke often tries to provoke him, but his attempts to start a fight bounce off Tanjiro. Also, since both Inosuke and Zenitsu are simple people, Tanjiro knows exactly what to say to appease them.

4 No tournament arc1637056174 793 10 ways Demon Slayer breaks shonen cliches.webp

A tournament arc fulfills a function similar to that of a rival: it motivates the protagonists to become stronger. This type of bow would feel completely out of place in the series, especially since all vampire hunters would better spend their time training or killing demons. It makes no sense that humans are fighting each other when they have to face a more dangerous and common enemy.

3 Tanjiro is not the strongest hunter1637056174 892 10 ways Demon Slayer breaks shonen cliches.webp

A shonen protagonist is often reputed to be one of the most oversized characters in the world. This can become so exaggerated that fans stop caring about their well-being, or even stop caring about the character in general. In addition, it takes very little time for the protagonist to reach that level. Tanjiro is not like that, as there are many other Hashira and demons that are stronger than him.

2 Death and injury are irreversible for human characters1637056175 158 10 ways Demon Slayer breaks shonen cliches.webp

There are no miracle revives for human characters. The series repeatedly reminds fans that humans are not like demons, as they cannot recover from all injuries, nor can they cheat death. Once a character dies, it is impossible for them to return. The wounds suffered by the characters in the final battle also don’t go away, and even Tanjiro has some wounds that he lives with for the rest of his life.

1 Villains don’t join heroes1637056175 211 10 ways Demon Slayer breaks shonen cliches.webp

Most of the demons Tanjiro fights are unable to redeem themselves. While it is customary for shonen villains to team up with heroes, it is impossible for demons to do so. Hunters are unable to forgive demons for eating innocent humans. Muzan also has strong control over the demons he creates, and any demons he dislikes in any way are subject to death, even when they are not around Muzan.