When we first meet him he’s a little pathetic. We find him begging a woman to marry him because she showed him the smallest act of kindness. He’s overly dramatic and is very much a coward. His one saving grace is that he is aware of his flaws… or is it?
As I got to know the character more I realised he is only aware of his flaws. He isn’t aware of many of the amazing things he can do or his redeeming qualities and that’s a shame. It’s holding him back.
So what are his strengths?
First of all he is loyal. Tanjirou told him that the box he was carrying was more important to him than his life. So when Inosuke scents a demon and endeavours to attack and kill it Zen’itsu protects the box with his life. At first I thought he was just protecting the box because he knew Tanjirou valued it more than his life and that alone was moving enough. But then to realise that he knew it was a demon from the beginning and yet still decided to follow Tanjirou and still decided to defend the box and its contents… that was admirable.
It showed what a good judge of character Zen’itsu is and how loyal he is and true to his word he is.
Next he is a good friend. Through all the trials that they go through in season one Zen’itsu does not abandon them no matter how much he really (really) wants to. If he truly wanted to leave them behind he could have at many points but he never truly does.
He is shown to care about their wellbeing and to enjoy travelling with them. In some cases as shown in the last episode he is their link to the fast modernising world. He helps them navigate things like trains which Tanjirou and Inosuke had never seen before.
He is strong. Even though he doesn’t believe it he is actually very strong. If he was weak that act of bravery he does when he’s asleep would get him nowhere. He’d stand up to fight asleep and he would be killed immediately.
However whenever he stands to fight whilst asleep he succeeds because he does have the skill to be a great warrior and a great slayer. All that training he did with his master did pay off in the end.
He is a genuine and a loving person. A moment that was very touching for me was when he declared his love for his master and that’s why he called him Grandpa and not Master.
He is such a genuine kid who is capable of deep and pure love. Yes, he goes overboard with women and declaring his love and devotion to them but even that comes from him misplacing his loyalty and capacity to love.
It hasn’t been expanded upon in the anime but it is mentioned that the reason he’s even still pursuing being a slayer is because of his master.
So as you can see he has more good qualities than bad qualities ones but does he see that? Does he recognise his own power?
He does not. He hates himself and thinks of himself as weak. He doesn’t trust in his own abilities and so honestly believes he will die when facing a demon. And this is his worst flaw.
If he believed in himself, if he had high self-esteem he would be a great demon slayer. He would also value himself more and not throw himself at women who honestly couldn’t care less for him.
However it is easier said than done. When you have low self-esteem building your esteem takes a lot of effort and self-love. He would need the equivalent of Lizzo in the Demon Slayer world to show him he is not as bad as he thinks he is. Perhaps Tanjirou is his Lizzo… I don’t know. But with the movie coming out and season two of Demon Slayer I am hoping that we anime watchers will see his growth and how he battles and overcomes his low self-esteem.
I know the manga is finished already so manga readers as you already know how his story plays out do not spoil it for those of us who have only watched the anime.