Demon Slayer Breathing Techniques

Demon Slayer Breathing Techniques

Sun Breathing: The Original Technique

I want to start off this discussion with a disclaimer that all the information in this article is from up to the Entertainment District Arc Episode 6. If we learn more about the breathing techniques after that point, great. But that new information will not be reflected in this article.

And considering I Sun Breathing was officially revealed in the series after I planned to write this article, I think it’s safe to say more information will be revealed later on, as well. Originally, I was just going to write about the other breathing techniques.

But, in Episode 1 of the Entertainment District Arc, Shinjuro Rengoku reveals that Sun Breathing was the original breathing technique. Along with that, he stated that all the other breathing techniques are mere imitations of Sun Breathing.

The first(?) Sun Breathing user from the anime series Demon Slayer: Entertainment District Arc
The first(?) Sun Breathing user

That’s a huge piece of information that was dropped right at the start of the second season. It tells us that Sun Breathing is the pinnacle of breathing techniques since the others are all imperfect mimics of it.

However, it may also give us an insight into the battle between demons and Demon Slayers. Consider the following: Sunlight kills demons, and the first demon-slaying breathing technique is the Sun Breathing technique. Coincidence? Probably not. (Also demons are active at night and their top ranks are known as the Twelve Demon Moons.)

The question is whether the technique was named Sun Breathing because it kills demons just like the sun does or because it literally uses the power of the sun. At this point, either option could be the case. It’s still not clear if the breathing techniques actually manifest “magic” or if what we see is just a visual treatment.

Breathing Technique Relationship Chart

The reason I originally wanted to write about this topic was the breathing technique relationship chart we were given in the Mugen Train Arc. Rengoku, R.I.P., explains to Tanjirou how most of the breathing techniques are connected.

However, there are notably two techniques missing from the chart we’re shown. Naturally, Sun Breathing was left out because it wasn’t officially revealed yet. And, of course, Rengoku didn’t know about it.

The other technique that’s missing from the chart is Beast Breathing, the technique Inosuke uses. So, we don’t know where that fits in. But it’s also possible that it doesn’t actually have any relation to the other techniques.

I don’t remember how Inosuke learned that technique. But it’s possible it’s an original technique that was developed independently of the rest.

Breathing technique relationship chart from the anime series Demon Slayer: Mugen Train Arc
Breathing technique relationship chart

According to Rengoku, there are five core breathing techniques. These are Flame, Water, Wind, Stone, and Thunder. And as the core techniques, these would be the ones closest to Sun Breathing. If Sun Breathing is the first generation, these are second-generation techniques.

Beyond these five, there are also third-generation techniques. Love breathing branches off from Flame, Serpent and Flower branch off from Water, Mist branches of from Wind, and Sound branches off from Thunder. No known techniques branch off from Stone Breathing.

There’s also a singular fourth-generation technique we know about: Insect Breathing. According to the chart, Insect Breathing branches off from Flower Breathing. And, I kind of feel like that was mentioned in Shinobu’s backstory in the First Season.

As for where Beast Breathing fits in, my best guess would be as a branch of Water Breathing. All the Water Breathing derivatives have to do with living creatures. And last time I checked, “beast” refers to living creatures.

Is There a Breathing Technique Hierarchy?

When you consider that we know there’s an original breathing technique and a further three derivative generations (at least) of techniques, it seems like there’s a clear hierarchy. However, I don’t know if that’s actually the case.

Based on Shinjuro’s statements, we can assume that there’s a hierarchy when it comes to Sun Breathing compared to the other techniques. Sun Breathing appears to clearly be above the others. But we don’t really know how that affects anything yet. Is it easier to kill demons with Sun Breathing for some reason?

Beyond that, though, I feel like there’s not really a hierarchy. After all, just look at the breathing techniques used by the nine Hashira. Four of them are second-generation, four are third-generation, and one is fourth-generation. If the farther a technique is from Sun Breathing, the weaker it is, then there probably wouldn’t be an Insect Breathing Hashira.

The nine Hashira from the first season of the anime series Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
The nine Hashira from the first season of Demon Slayer

Now, with all that said, I can also make an argument for there being a breathing technique hierarchy. And this argument has two pieces of “evidence.”

First, Rengoku tells Tanjirou that throughout the ages, there has always been a Flame and Water Hashira (until his death). One could assume that there’s always been a Flame and Water Hashira simply because those are two of the stronger techniques. Naturally, users of those techniques are strong enough to become Hashira.

Second, the only Insect Breathing user we know is Shinobu, who uses a blade modified to deliver toxins. I believe the explanation we originally got for this was that Shinobu simply isn’t physically strong enough to decapitate demons, and so has to kill them this way instead.

But, what if the reason she’s not strong enough is that she’s using a fourth-generation breathing technique? That would mean Shinobu had to overcome a lot to become a Hashira.


Hopefully, we’ll find out where Beast Breathing falls within the technique chart soon. And, maybe there are additional techniques that haven’t yet been revealed. I’d like to see what a derivative of Stone Breathing would be.

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