Demon Slayer is a successful shonen anime series that can be considered one of the three new “greats” due to its heartfelt story, excellent animation, and universal appeal among anime fans. Front and center is Tanjiro Kamado himself, a compassionate and fearless shonen protagonist who is willing to take the fight to demons near and far.
A friendly rival of Demon Slayer is the successful series Jujutsu Kaisen, which could be considered a second member of the current “big three”. Its protagonist is Yuji Itadori, a junior jujutsu wizard who risks his life to destroy curses and protect humanity from its dark side. Both Tanjiro and Yuji are beloved shonen stars, and they can be directly compared in many respects.
10 SIMILAR: They are the heroes of good
Not all anime or manga heroes are good protagonists. Some are curmudgeonly antiheroes or even hooligans, like Ichigo Kurosaki from Bleach o Jotaro Kujo de JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure . Many protagonists of seinen are also antiheroes or villains to the limit, but this is not the case of Tanjiro and Yuji.
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Both boys are people of integrity and classic good heroes who don’t just save the day, but also feel good about saving lives and protecting the peace. Not only do they try to kill monsters, they want to protect the happiness and safety of others.
9 DIFFERENT: Yuji lives in a modern environment
Many shonen series are developed in present-day Japan to offer a familiar environment to their main audience. Yuji Itadori is a modern guy for modern viewers, and he’s perfectly comfortable with smartphones, high schools, and whatnot.
Tanjiro Kamado, on the other hand, is used to a rustic, old-fashioned lifestyle in the mountains of Japan from the early 20th century in the years leading up to World War I. For him, seeing light bulbs or steam trains is a big problem, but at least he knows what they are, unlike the savage Inosuke.
8 SIMILAR: They suffered personal losses from the start
Shonen protagonists often suffer personal losses at some point, often from family members. In fact, it is rare to see a shonen protagonist whose mother is alive and present in his everyday life, and Tanjiro Kamado knows what that is. At the beginning of Demon Slayer, he lost his entire family, except Nezuko, at the hands of Muzan Kibutsuji.
Yuji didn’t suffer that much, but he did lose his beloved grandfather, who was hospitalized in the first episode of Jujutsu Kaisen. Yuji was present when his grandfather spoke his last words, and for a time he was in a gloomy mood.
7 DIFFERENT: Tanjiro uses weapons
Tanjiro Kamado is a trained demon slayer, and that means he needs the right equipment for the job. Like all demon slayers, he carries a Nichirin sword, forged from sun-drenched mountain minerals to permanently eliminate demons with a single blow.
Tanjiro is always seen with his trademark black sword in hand, and it is his only tool for slaying the demons that stand in his way. Instead, Yuji Itadori is known for fighting bare-handed, and has probably never held a sword in his life.
6 SIMILAR: They have a protective ally
Many shonen characters need a powerful ally to bail them out when faced with a villain too strong for them alone. Many times, a shonen hero is fighting a desperate battle and nearly dies, only for a powerful ally to step in and save the day.
Tanjiro’s powerful ally is the Hashira of the Flame, Kyojuro Rengoku, the protagonist of the Mugen train story arc. Yuji Itadori’s powerful ally is the well-known Satoru Gojo, who seems unstoppable with his dominance ability. His eyes fear no enemy.
5 DIFFERENT: Yuji has an inner monster, Sukuna
Some anime heroes are known to have an “inner monster” that grants them strength in exchange for something, such as Naruto Uzumaki who has Kurama inside him, or Ichigo who invokes his inner Hollow, among other examples. Tanjiro doesn’t have that inner monster, but Yuji Itadori does.
At first, Yuji ate one of Sukuna’s twenty fingers, the ultimate curse, and now he has to face having his worst enemy inside his own body. The more fingers he eats, the stronger and harder to control Sukuna will be.
4 SIMILAR: They hunt supernatural monsters
Some anime series have a “monster hunter” element, being Bleach, D.Gray-Man and Tokyo Ghoul Some examples. Tanjiro Kamado is also a monster hunter, a professional demon slayer. In fact, this is how the franchise Demon Slayer got his name.
Something similar can be said of Yuji Itadori, who has been accepted into the Tokyo school for jujutsu wizards. A sorcerer’s job is to find and destroy curses to protect the innocent from those monsters, and Yuji will not hesitate to put himself in danger to do his job. He is able to walk the streets in search of curses to eliminate them, either alone or in a team.
3 DIFFERENT: Yuji can survive death
Very few anime protagonists can cheat death, although some manage to do so, such as Yuji Itadori. At the beginning of the series, Sukuna seized Yuji’s body and challenged Megumi Fushiguro to a fight, and Yuji objected. So, Sukuna took revenge by ripping Yuji’s heart out of his body.
Yuji was left for dead after that, and Yuji proved everyone wrong when Satoru Gojo took him to the Tokyo-Kyoto tournament at the last second. However, Tanjiro Kamado couldn’t do that. If he dies, he will stay that way. The same goes for all demon hunters.
2 SIMILAR: They are cooperative in battle
Anime heroes can be lone wolves, team-oriented fighters, or something in between. Some anime protagonists split the difference, where they are capable of fighting alone but also have the right attitude to engage in a team battle and support their allies at any cost.
Both Tanjiro and Yuji are like that, and they really shine when they have an ally to back them up. Tanjiro sometimes fights alongside his sister Nezuko, who employs kick-based attacks in battle. Tanjiro also collaborated closely with Inosuke to take down Enmu inthe movie Mugen Train. Yuji, meanwhile, formed a seamless team with tough Aoi Todo to face Hanami’s curse.
1 DIFFERENT: Tanjiro has a strong nose
Shonen heroes can have special powers or enhanced senses, and Tanjiro Kamado has one of them. Not only is he a swordsman, but he also has a very strong nose, and can easily track demons by their scent, just like a bloodhound. He often surprises people by his habit of crawling on the ground, smelling the scent of a demon. This is how it detects the right moment to strike in battle.
Yuji Itadori may have the Sukuna buff on his body, but he can’t easily sniff out curses like that, and when he’s tracking curses he often relies on older wizards like Kento Nanami to locate them. However, having a nose like Tanjiro’s would help Yuji a lot in saving more lives from curses.