With its unique sword techniques known as Breathing Styles, Kimsetsu no Yaiba has differentiated itself from other generic action anime.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba literally translates to “Demon Slayer: Demon-Slaying Blade,” indicating how integral swordsmanship is to the plot.
Set during the Taisho Period in Japan when it was littered with Demons, a blade and a hilt make up most interactions between them and the Demon Slayers in the anime.
However, the Demon Slayers don’t up and begin swinging swords – hoping one would deal the fatal blow. They train to push their boundaries and expand the potential humans are capable of, and to do so; they use Breath Style Techniques.
These techniques are quite ancient; however, as years go by, the circumstances and creativity of the slayers’ open doors for evolution.
What Are Breathing Style Techniques?
Breathing or Breath Style Techniques are swordsmanship techniques that are taught and practiced within the Demon Slayer Corps.
It helps them develop their strength to fight an equal or possibly superior Demon. These are used along with Nichirin Blades, with a few exceptions.
Breath Style Techniques are specific and concentrated breathing patterns that allow the practitioner to increase their lung capacity and the amount of oxygen in their blood.
This helps them reach a high point of mental concentration and increase their physical abilities to match that of a Demon’s.
These techniques are quite helpful in slowing down poison within the system and clotting wounds faster – even those from severe injuries.
How Many Breathing Styles Are There? – Ranked According to Strength
There are fourteen Breathing Styles used by the Demon Slayers in Kimetsu no Yaiba. All of these are derived from the Breath of the Sun, which is the first Breath Style to have ever been created.
1Breath of Flames
Number of Forms – 9 Forms
Known Users – Kyojuro Rengoku, Shinjuro Rengoku
Branch Styles – Breath of Love
Breath of Flames is one of the six foundational Breath Styles derived from the Breath of the Sun. It has nine forms – each being deadlier than the former. A known user of this style is Kyojuro Rengoku of the Hashiras.
Breath of Flames branched into a personal Breath Style created by Mitsuri Kanorji, a Hashira, called the Breath of Love. The form consists of 6 styles that are based on sword-slashing.
2Breath of Water
Number of Forms – 11 Forms
Known Users – Giyu Tomioka, Sakonji Urokodaki, Tanjiro Kamado
Branch Styles – Breath of the Flower, Breath of the Serpent, Breath of Insects
Breath of Water is another foundational style that was primarily used by Sakonji Urokodaki.
The form initially consisted of 10 styles, with Urokodaki’s disciple Giyu Tomioka creating the 11th style for it later on. Tanjiro uses Breath of Water style as he was under Urokodaki’s tutelage.
Breath of Water is known as one of the most flexible Breathing Styles as it allows its user to use it in conjunction with other styles. It further branches down into:
- Breath of the Flower Style is derived from the Breath of Water. It can be estimated as per the manga that it consists of 7 forms. This style was practiced by Kanae Kochi and is currently used by Kanao Tsuyuri.
- Breath of the Serpent is the second branch under the Breath of Water. It is used by Obanai Iguro and focuses on the flexibility of the sword – twisting and bending the sword as a snake does. The total number of forms within this style is unknown, but it does go on till the fifth form.
- Breath of Insects is the final branch of Breath of Water (technically from Breath of Flower) and is practiced by Shinobu Kocho – a Hashira. This was created by Shinobu to compensate for her lack of physical strength – therefore, the form focuses on inflicting multiple wounds on their opponent and poisoning them with lethal Wisteria-based poisons. As of now, four attacks are known within the form.
3Breath of Thunder
Number of Forms – 7 Forms
Known Users – Zenitsu Agatsuma, Jigoro Kuwajima
Branch Styles – Breath of the Sound
Breath of the Thunder or the Breath of the Lightning is one of the five foundational styles under Breath of Sun. Its primary user is known to be Jigoro Kuwajima, who trained Zenitsu Agatsuma.
The form consists of 6 styles initially, but *spoiler alert for anime fans* Zenitsu created a seventh style in his battle against an Upper Moon Six.
Breath of the Thunder equips its user with extreme speed, thus making them capable of facing higher-level demons. This style further branches into Breath of the Sound.
Breath of the Sound is derived from Breath of Thunder. This is unique to Tengen Uzui, a Hashira, who uses it to read opponents’ movements and analyze them like sound through their rhythmic movements – allowing him to strike with dramatic effect.
4Breath of Wind
Number of Forms – 7 Forms
Known Users – Sanemi Shinazugawa
Branch Styles – Breath of the Mist, Breath of the Beast
Breath of Wind is derived from the Breath of the Sun and makes use of an enhanced sense of touch. There are seven known styles to it, and these are being used by Sanemi Shinazugawa – a Hashira.
Breath of Wind further branches into two styles:
- Breath of the Mist is derived from Breath of Wind and is put to use by Muichiro Tokito – a Hashira. The style initially consisted of 6 forms, with Muichiro creating its 7th form during his fight against an Upper Moon Demon.
- Breath of the Beast is another derivation of Breath of Wind practiced by Inosuke Hashibira. It enhances the sense of touch while using different techniques. The form has ten styles with an extra technique created by Inosuke himself.
5Breath of Stone
Number of Forms – 4 Forms
Known Users – Gyomei Himejima
Branch Styles – None
Breath of Stone is one of the six foundational branch styles under Breath of Sun. The known user of Breath of Stone is Gyomei Himejima, the most powerful Hashira. It has four known forms that give its user terrifying strength.
One of its forms, Volcanic Rock — Rapid Conquest technique, allowed Gyomei to fight a close match with the Upper Moon One demon Kokushibo’s Moon Breathing, even before activating the Flame Mark.
6Breath of the Moon
Number of Forms – 16 Forms
Known Users – Kokushibo (Michikatsu Tsugikuni)
Branch Styles – None
Breath of the Moon is a foundation style created by Michikatsu Tsugikuni (Kokushibo) that is derived from the Breath of the Sun.
After being turned into a Demon, Michikatsu took on the position of an Upper Rank 1 Demon under the alias of Kokushibo and became the first Demon to utilize breathing techniques.
Due to his identity as Yoriichi Tsugikuni’s twin brother and a Demon Slayer, Michikatsu had plenty of time and experience to develop Moon Breathing.
From a basic form that created chaotic blades, he developed it to the point where it now possesses 16 different forms and easily surpasses most other Breathing Styles.
7Breath of the Sun
Number of Forms – 12 Forms
Known Users – Tanjiro Kamado
Branch Styles – Every Breathing Style
The Breath of the Sun is the strongest Breathing Style in Demon Slayer and can be considered as the original or parent style for the rest.
It is an ancient and yet-to-be-seen swordsmanship style that was used by the first Demon Slayer. It later branched into Breath of Flames, Breath of Water, Breath of Wind, Breath of Stone, and Breath of Thunder and served as a foundation for many more.
The Breath of the Sun users were claimed to be extinct, but the existence of Hinokami Kagura (Dance of the Fire God) ensured its survival.
The breathing style and earrings were then secretly passed on from father to son in the Kamado family. Thus, the only known users of Breath of the Sun are Tanjuro Kamado and Tanjiro Kamado.
What Is Total Concentration Breathing?
There is a considerable disparity between the slayers – as noted by their ranks. The vast difference in abilities between the normal demon slayers and the elite, known as the Hashiras (Pillars), is quite evident.
What creates this vast difference is the Hashiras ability to master the Full Focus Breathing or the Total Concentration Breathing at all times.
What is Total Concentration Breathing, you ask?
Total Concentration Breathing is a state where the Demon Slayers inhale maximum amounts of oxygen through specific breathing patterns, which allow them to access the utmost capacity of their physical and mental strengths.
Usually, this state is entered by normal slayers to settle a fight – for a final attack. But that is where the difference in training and capacities is stark clear.
The Hashiras or the Pillars constantly maintain this state, known as Total Concentration: Constant, at all times – including while asleep.
Tanjiro’s fight against Rui and its after-effects revealed the intense training it would take to remain in such a state constantly.
Tanjiro claimed he could not stay in that state for more than 10 minutes. Therefore, with this, one can trace the difference in the capabilities of a Hashira and a normal Slayer.
Kanao has seemed to master the Total Concentration technique as it is said that she can cause a specially crafted gourd to explode just by blowing into it.
In comparison, Tanjiro struggled immensely to the last of his consciousness to defeat Rui – who was ultimately put to rest by Giyu Tomioka – a Hashira.
About Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Koyoharu Gotoge. Its publication in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump began in February 2016 with 19 collected tankōbon volumes released as of present.
In a world filled with demons and demon slayers, Kimetsu no Yaiba follows the lives of two siblings Tanjiro and Nezuko Kamado after— the murder of their family at the hands of a demon. Their hardship does not end there, as Nezuko’s life is spared only for her to live as a demon.
As the oldest sibling, Tanjiro vows to protect and cure his sister. The story traces the bond of this brother-sister or better yet, demon slayer and demon combo against the odds of an arch antagonist and the society.