Demon Slayer: The anime that has captured the interest of many even non-shounen fans alike. One character that stands out and a cause of division among the fanbase is Zenitsu Agatsuma. Some declare him as the best boy, while others claim him to be the most annoying character in the history of anime. Although this is the case, there are many questions that his character has raised such as: Is Zenitsu strong? Why is he so scared? Why does he fall asleep before a fight? Today, I will answer these questions with explanations to support my case.
Read at your own peril for there will be minor spoilers from the manga.
Skip to the question that interests you
- Is Zenitsu strong?
- Why is Zenitsu so scared?
- Why does Zenitsu fall asleep during a fight?
- How many forms of the Breath of Thunder can Zenitsu use?
- Does Zenitsu know how strong he is?
- Is Zenitsu a pillar?
- Does Zenitsu’s character get better?
Is Zenitsu strong?
I find this a silly question. Hasn’t the anime made it any more obvious? Yes, Zenitsu is strong. That’s a fact. Is he the strongest or even pillar level? Now, that’s debatable. So how is Zenitsu strong?
He passed the Final Selection
To become a demon slayer, one must pass the final selection. It’s no easy feat as people make it out to be. During Zenitsu’s time, only 5 out of 20 participants survived, and that’s more than the average survival rate. To put things into perspective, people like Makomo and Sabito died during the selection. Giyu, the current water pillar who underwent the final selection with Sabito only survived because Sabito killed most of the demons except one: The Hand demon.
He was trained by a pillar
Zenitsu was trained by Jigoro Kuwajima: A former thunder breath pillar. If one of the most skilled demon slayers appoints you to be their successor that must be a testimony to their potential and strength. Not only that, but Jigoro never gave up on Zenitsu and continued to cultivate him even through his whining and attempts to run away.
He defeats an upper moon all by himself
Zenitsu defeats Kaigaku, his previous senior and fellow former successor of the thunder style. The outcome of this fight is debatable among fans, but I’ll try to put that to rest. First of all, for a pillar to take down an Upper Moon alone is already a rare achievement. It takes two to three hashira’s to take down an upper moon.
Many will argue that Kaigaku had little to no control over his powers because he had just received them. But what people are choosing to ignore is Kaigaku was another student acknowledged by the former thunder pillar. Kaigaku is also much more skilled than Zenitsu and is a master of five out of six thunder breath techniques.
Kaigaku walks into the fight with more skills than Zenitsu and having enhanced physical abilities from becoming a demon. Zenitsu still manages to one-shot Kaigaku while the latter with improved senses could not even see the attack. It proves that Zenitsu is no pushover.
Zenitsu creates a new thunder breathing form
If creating a new breathing form was an easy task, then I’m sure many would have accomplished it. A demon slayer needs to have total mastery on the essence of the breathing style they’re utilizing. Zenitsu is only able to use the first form of the thunder breath style, which is the base of the other five techniques. Although this is the case, Zenitsu is master of the fundamentals that make up the thunder breath style until he can perform different variations of the first form.
Without needing to master the other five techniques, Zenitsu creates a new thunder breath-form: The Flaming Thunder God. Other demon slayers who develop a new form of the breath style they’re using are all pillars. So, there must be a correlation between this to the strength of the demon slayer.
Zenitsu is arguably the fastest demon slayer
Strength and speed are two different things, but they’re closely related. The faster you are, then the less time your enemies will be able to react, which leaves them open to more attacks. It also means the chances of the attack landing is higher than if you were slower.
Every demon that has faced Zenitsu state the same thing: They couldn’t even see the attack which got them killed. It proves how insanely fast Zenitsu is, which is also due to the nature of the thunder breath style, which focuses on directing blood to the lower part of the body.
The only reason I can’t declare Zenitsu the fastest demon slayer is because I can’t determine who’s faster between Shinobu and Zenitsu. The author of the manga doesn’t reveal who is faster in the manga, but Doma who is rank Upper Moon 2 believed Shinobu to be the fastest demon slayer he had ever met. Doma never got the chance to face Zenitsu, so the question of who is faster will remain a mystery and up for debate. It’s safe to say they are both the fastest demon slayers compared to the rest.
Why is Zenitsu so scared?
There are several reasons as to why Zenitsu’s a coward. His cowardice isn’t the problem, but his constant whining and screaming are what’s causing division towards his character among the fans. I understand it can get over the top sometimes, but I’ll try to defend and justify his actions. Why? Because he’s my favourite character in the series.
1. He doesn’t believe in himself
One of the reasons Zenitsu acts like a coward is because he lacks confidence. Being a demon slayer where you have to put your life on the line every day is enough to make the strongest of us tremble in fear. Add this to the fact that Zenitsu doesn’t believe in his capabilities makes things far worse.
Zenitsu lost his parents at a young age. He isn’t familiar with familial love, and people didn’t hold him to any expectation. It’s the reason why he flirts with girls: to form a connection and replicate the love that he never had. Through his attempts, the girl he got engaged to cheated him in the end. The people around him also belittled him in all the ways they could. When this happens, a person loses trust as well as their confidence.
Zenitsu also serves as a reflection of ourselves. He whines about the things that he should be doing and is afraid that he can’t do it. We do this all the time. We complain when we have to study for an exam, go to the grocery store, or carry out any form of responsibility. In the end, we still end up doing it, and the same goes for Zenitsu. He may be annoying like us, but he follows through in the end.
2. He lacks the right motivations
In the anime, we see that Zenitsu gets fired up for the wrong reasons. He usually gets serious when there is a girl involved. It’s not a wrong motivation per se, but it isn’t appropriate in his line of work. An example of this would be when the trio was in the Butterfly Mansion and undergoing rehabilitation training. Zenitsu did quite well on his first try when he realized the butterfly girls were conducting the training. If he changes his mentality, Zenitsu wouldn’t be as scared when he faces the dangers in his life.
3. He serves as a comic relief
The reason his coward nature can be too excessive at times is that the author of the manga uses him as comic relief to the series. When things get a little dark, Zenitsu’s whining usually makes things a bit more lighthearted. It works to break the tension, but I’m not sure if it’s the best way to go about it. Anyway, that’s just my opinion. Millions of people love the show regardless of this.
Why does Zenitsu fall asleep during a fight?
I tried searching for a scientific answer to this question. According to Healthline, it’s a paradox of the flight or flight response caused by reflex syncope. When we are in a flight or fight situation, we release a hormone called epinephrine(adrenaline). It helps us to run away by activating our sympathetic nervous system. More blood will rush to our legs instead of our head, to prepare us for whichever action we choose to take: whether it be fight or flight. Someone prone to fainting might faint because there is less blood directed towards the head.
Zenitsu doesn’t faint because he’s scared. I believe it has more to do with the nature of the Breath of Thunder because of how it works by directing blood to the legs. Zenitsu’s anxiety before a battle triggers the fight or flight response which also induces the flow of blood to regions where fight or flight would be useful. Not much blood is left in his head which makes him fall unconscious.
Once Zenitsu overcomes his fear by getting changing his mentality, he stops falling asleep before a battle. It all starts when he discovers the death of his sensei and fully commits to avenge him. He defeats Kaigaku fully conscious not only because he has overcome his fear, but also to witness it firsthand or not it wouldn’t seem like he did it out of his own will.
How many forms of the Breath of Thunder can Zenitsu use?
In the anime, Zenitsu is only able to use one out of six Breath of Thunder forms. However, Zenitsu has complete mastery over the first form that he has developed multiple variations of it.
- First Form: Thunderclap and Flash
- Sixfold – (six dashes)
- Eightfold – (eight dashes)
- Godspeed – Faster and more dashes than eightfold
In the manga, Zenitsu creates a new form of the Breath of Thunder. One that is unique to the rest: Flaming Thunder God. The technique he used to take down Kaigaku in one shot. We can assume that it’s far more powerful than his other Thunder Breath forms.
Does Zenitsu know how strong he is?
In the anime, Zenitsu is not fully aware of how strong he is. It doesn’t help when he falls unconscious every time before a fight. During the battle with the spider demon, Zenitsu states that he had a dream where he was more powerful than anyone else. He wasn’t aware that he had just killed the spider demon. As time goes on, he starts to develop an awareness of his strength. By the time he defeats Kaigaku, Zenitsu is aware that he is strong and the pride and joy of his former sensei.
Is Zenitsu a pillar?
The answer is up for debate. I believe Zenitsu is at least pillar level. He defeats Upper Moon Six by himself even though Yushiro states that he would have lost had it been a year later where Kaigaku had more control over his powers. That statement is on the assumption that Zenitsu wouldn’t increase in strength in that time. At the pace where the three main characters are progressing, I’m sure Zenitsu would still be able to defeat Kaigaku in a year.
Zenitsu is also pillar level because he manages to cultivate a new technique in the Breath of Thunder. Only demon slayers of the pillar rank have done this and not many at that. A demon slayer needs complete mastery on the fundamentals of the breath they’re using to be able to foster a unique technique of their own.
Does Zenitsu’s character get better?
The answer is yes, but it will take time. For those that are only watching the anime, then all I ask of you is to be patient because it will take a few more seasons and movies before Zenitsu becomes less annoying. That is for those who find him annoying because I don’t.
Zenitsu stops whining after learning of his sensei’s death. He starts getting his priorities straight, and through this, he starts having more confidence in himself which makes him less afraid. He avenges his master by defeating Kaigaku and is the first time he fought consciously. His change starts from chapter 136 in the manga.
So those are all the answers to the questions that often come up regarding Zenitsu. I hope Senpai has made it all clear. If you have other questions or you don’t agree with some of my answers, then do leave a comment.
“Zenitsu, perfect it! It’s alright to cry or go off by yourself. Just don’t ever give up. Believe in yourself. You endured all that hellish training. You’ll be rewarded for that without question. Work to forge yourself like a tempered blade and become the most resilient of all! Focus on what you do best!”