What Does Tanjiro’s Black Sword Mean in Demon Slayer?

Demon Slayer gave us one of the most heartbreaking setups in anime. With the demons’ superior strength and rapid regenerative abilities, taking revenge for his family seemed like nothing more than a pipedream for the remaining Kamado.

That is until Tanjiro joined the Demon Slayer corps and received his fancy Nichirin sword. But don’t mistake them for a normal sword.

These blades synchronize with their wielder’s personality and character, depicted by their color. And Tanjiro got a black sword, goddammit!

It has been prophesized that Black sword users like Tanjiro die young, but it’s probably a bad idea to un-alive your main character. (except that he did die for a while, but I digress)

Black Swords in Demon Slayer are wielded by users of Sun Breathing or Hinokami Kagura. Since black absorbs the most light and the sun is the natural enemy of demons, black nichirin swords are perfect for demon slayers of the highest caliber, such as Tanjiro and Yoriichi.

SPOILERS AHEAD! This page contains spoilers from Demon Slayer (manga).

What Does Black Nichirin Sword Mean in Demon Slayer?

I am happy to tell you the prophecy is based on incomplete information.

Nichirin Swords in Demon Slayer
Tanjiro’s Nichirin Sword

Nichirin swords in Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba are forged from a unique ore that constantly absorbs sunlight. Due to its unique property, the Demon Slayer Corps uses the blades to slay demons.

So, a Black sword can absorb the Sun’s energy efficiently.

For the longest time, these swords were used by Hashira-level slayers who fought at the forefront of the battlefield against the Demons. Due to this, most of them died young, which gave birth to the myth that users of Black nichirin swords die early.

But that’s not all. Did you know Nichirin swords change color too?

Why Did Tanjiro’s Sword Turn Black?

Tanjiro’s sword turns black after coming in contact with his hand (and internal energy) due to his dormant knowledge of the strongest breathing style, Sun Breathing. Tanjiro knew this technique in the form of Hinokami Kagura (Dance of the Fire God) taught by daddy Kamado.

Tanjiro Kamado broke his sword against Rui
Tanjiro’s Nichirin Sword (Broken) | Source: Twitter

While not explicitly stated in the manga, Nichirin blades change color after analyzing the abilities and techniques of their wielder. Think of Breathing techniques as Nen (Hunter x Hunter) or Chakra (Naruto), and you’ll understand what I mean.

If we look at Zenitsu’s sword, it has a solid yellow band running down the length following his Thunder Breath style. Inosuke, on the other hand, practices the Beast’s Breath, and therefore, his sword takes on an indigo-grey color.

We can conclude that the user’s breathing style significantly impacts the sword’s color.

It is believed that once a Nichirin sword takes on a color, it never changes again. However, Tanjiro’s sword managed to get a temporary red color. How many surprises will this guy give us?

How Did Tanjiro Get a Red Sword?

After wielding a Nichirin sword, it takes on the color that most reflects its user’s traits and remains that way forever. However, in the manga’s later chapters, we see some swords wearing a crimson color on top of their original.

Kyojuro Rengoku with crimson red hot sword
Kyojuro Rengoku | Source: IMDb

Nichirin sword cannot change their color more than once. They only change colors when they are wielded by the owner for the first time. However, Demon Slayer swords have the property of acquiring a temporary color under specific circumstances.

Nichirin swords temporarily change their color to crimson red because of exposure to the intense heat that raises their temperature. These swords can hamper the regeneration of demons and, in some cases, burn them on a cellular level.

However, there have been only a few characters whose swords have changed colors, such as Tomioka and Sanemi.

During the fight against Muzan, when Sanemi forcefully clashed his sword with Giyu’s, their blade colors changed temporarily to red.

It is assumed that their swords turned red because Giyu had his Demon Slayer Mark, which allowed him to raise his body’s temperature and, in turn, that of his sword.

In essence, this isn’t even a color change. The sword just becomes so meltingly hot that we see bright red.

What Do Sword Other Colors Mean?

The Nichirin swords also go by another name, “color-changing swords.” This name is because these weapons take on a distinct color according to their owner’s traits when first used.

For example, Giyu Tomioka, the Pillar of Water of the Demon Slayer Corps, wields a blue-colored blade. His use of the Water Breath style and his fluid and calm personality make blue a perfect color for his sword.

In contrast to Giyu, Mitsuri Kanroji wields a pink Nichirin Blade that perfectly depicts her Breath of Love style and emotional and passionate personality.

Zenitsu in Mugen Train Arc
Zenitsu | Source: IMDb

Our main character, Tanjiro Kamado, wields a black Nichirin blade, and just like any other protagonist, his weapon is indeed special. As it turns out, black Nichirin swords are rare, and their symbolism is virtually unknown.

Keeping up with the tragic theme of the series, the only information available about the black sword is an omen that dictates that the wielders of this blade always die young. Is this a foreshadowing of Tanjiro’s death?

Manga readers definitely think so. Just like other users, Tanjiro indeed died young, even though it was only for a short while. Only the creator knows Whether this was a foreshadowing or a pure coincidence.

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 and ended in May 2020 with 23 collected tankōbon volumes.

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.


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