It’s not easy being a Demon Slayer. You’re constantly pitted against monsters that are effectively immortal to anything but the sun...and your special blade which is able to absorb solar energy. Even still, you’re required to operate on a level high enough to compete with beings that are faster and stronger than most humans could dream of being.
But how strong does that make them, really? For this list, we’re taking the lead protagonist from Demon Slayer and pitting him against characters from several other anime and seeing how he fares. Who’s he strong enough to walk over, and which characters would put him on his back?
10 CAN'T BEAT: HIKO SEIJUURO
Tanjiro could probably beat most of the characters in Rurouni Kenshin. Given how the Kenshin manga ends, he could even beat Kenshin himself by the end. But make no mistake—Tanjiro’s not actually generating the elements, which means he’s still basically a swordsman. A really Badass Normal, as they say.
Hiko Seijuuro is the one true successor to the Hiten Mitsurugi style, and his abilities supersede that of anyone else on the show. He was so powerful he kept out of most battles because he would have single-handedly turned them in his favor, and his speed and strength would be more than a match for Tanjiro.
9 CAN BEAT: MUGEN
Mugen wasn’t even the most powerful character in his own series. By the end of the show, both he and Jin went up against some swordsmen which they just barely survived against.
While Mugen’s got some speed and his unpredictability tends to throw off anyone that’s had proper training, there’s fast and then there’s I fight against demons fast, and those two really aren’t the same thing. Mugen’s unorthodox style throws Tanjiro off for a minute or two, and then that’s really about it for him.
8 CAN'T BEAT: TRUNKS
In a way, this is a toss-up. Of course that sounds insane, and if we’re talking in terms of an actual fight, obviously Tanjiro stands less than a zero chance against Trunks. One guy fights mildly annoying demons, the other fights people who can blow up planets using a fraction of their energy.
But it’s not as if Trunks is a particularly great swordsman. It’s more of a cool visual than anything, as he rarely ever uses it once things get serious, and when he does it gets destroyed. Tanjiro is a far better swordsman...but not in the same league as Trunks physically.
7 CAN BEAT: SANOSUKE SAGARA
The “bad guy” of Rurouni Kenshin, Sanosuke fancied himself a swordsman when we first saw him introduced. He walked around carrying a giant Zanbato for his opening arc, though Kenshin would break that sword before the arc was over.
Eventually, he switched to martial arts, mastering the Futae no Kiwami, a technique that allows its user to destroy anything they touch with a two-fold impact. That’s an impressive power, but none of it means anything to Tanjiro, who’s dealt with far more destructive demons than Sanosuke could imagine. This would be little more than a rematch of Sanosuke vs. Tanjiro—you can’t beat what you can’t hit.
6 CAN'T BEAT: ERZA SCARLET
The most well-known swordswoman out of Fairy Tail, Erza Scarlet’s pretty untouchable by anything that roams around in Demon Slayer. Even if Tanjiro can cause her some trouble, Erza’s ability to constantly Requip into new armor and gain new swords is far beyond anything Tanjiro is trained to deal with.
But worse yet, Erza’s ability to absorb damage is out of this world. She’s monstrous in terms of how much power she has, and Tanjiro’s blade would never be able to reach her neck given her armor.
5 CAN BEAT: SAITO HAJIME
Hajime’s goal to slay evil swiftly would definitely place him rather high in the rankings of Demon Slayers if they existed in the same universe. But while Hajime is able to keep up with Kenshin at the end of the first season, he wouldn’t stand a chance against Kenshin by the end of the second let alone the third. And Kenshin could barely keep up with Tanjiro, so that’s going to be the end of that.
In the end, Hajime’s best hope would be taking advantage of Tanjiro’s kind-heartedness, but even with that gullibleness, it wouldn’t prove enough to match well against Tanjiro’s reflexes and the versatility of the Breath of Water or power of the Breath of Fire styles.
4 CAN'T BEAT: ICHIGO KUROSAKI
To be honest, Demon Slayer’s world feels like what happens when the Soul Reapers aren’t doing their job. Someone should’ve been by to wipe out Muzan and his armies of demons ages ago, but nope.
In any case, Ichigo’s powers even early on rival some of what we’ve seen from the demons and demon slayers mid-way through the series. By the time we’re at the end of the series, there’s so many ridiculous powers that have been added on to Ichigo’s repertoire that Tanjiro would be lucky if he even saw Ichigo coming.
3 CAN BEAT: VICIOUS
The ultimate thorn in the side of the otherwise easygoing, unflappable protagonist of Cowboy Bebop, the mob boss known only as Vicious was for whatever reason a katana user. Even though his series took place in the far future, and he was the head of the Red Dragon crime syndicate and even a veteran of a space war, he was a pretty big fan of bladed weapons.
But that doesn’t mean he’d stand much of a chance against Tanjiro, someone who has to go up against beings with literal superhuman powers with nothing other than his katana and his wits. Dude would get wrecked in less time than it takes Tanjiro to finish off a Lower Demon Moon.
2 CAN'T BEAT: HIEI
It’s sad because this fight could actually happen. Unlike most on this list which would have no reason to occur, Tanjiro could probably smell the demonic power of Hiei.
And while he might believe Hiei wasn’t a bad guy if someone told him, Hiei wouldn’t be inclined to do so but rather egg him on. But by the end of Yu Yu Hakusho, Hiei is an S class demon with the kind of power he can’t even release at once without damaging the Earth. Nevermind Tanjiro, even his nemesis Muzan isn’t near the same league, so Tanjiro would quickly get washed by Hiei.
1 CAN BEAT: GOBLIN SLAYER
Goblin Slayer’s got the most experience of anyone on this side of the list dealing with the supernatural. But what he doesn’t have is the ability (or even the desire) to fight anyone or anything that doesn’t look like a goblin. This is someone who put all their ability points into a secret “beating goblin” column no one even noticed.
While this results in him being resourceful and he’s certainly taken down threats that could give Tanjiro pause, in the end he wouldn’t prove nearly fast enough to take Tanjiro out, let alone be capable of withstanding the attacks of someone much smarter and more powerful than what he’s used to.