When one decides to talk about Demon Slayer, one usually talks about the demon slayers themselves or the demons. And while the series has offered us a variety of other intriguing characters, we will talk about one specific Demon Slayer – Gen’ya Shinazugawa, Sanemi’s brother – in this particular article. Gen’ya is a very interesting character because of his unlikable personality and how it reflects on his relationship with the Demon Slayer Corps in general. He also has a very specific set of powers and abilities. The recent episodes of Demon Slayer showed us a version of Gen’ya with demonic teeth and a demonic visage, which raises the question – is Gen’ya a Demon? This article is going to give you an answer to that question.
Gen’ya Shinazugawa is not a Demon in Demon Slayer, even though he can temporarily take on demonic traits. Namely, Gen’ya has a specific ability that allows him to temporarily turn into a Demon after consuming demonic flesh directly; in that state, he gains a significant power boost and changes his appearance, but he does not succumb to his demonic urges and remains rational. His mentor, Gyōmei Himejima, stated that Gen’ya was not the first Demon Slayer with that ability he had encountered.
Having said this, many questions related to Gen’ya Shinazugawa and his powers and abilities in the Demon Slayer franchise still have to be answered and explained. The rest of this article will further explain all of those details as we will dig deeper into the essence of his powers and abilities in the Demon Slayer manga and anime. This article might contain some spoilers, so we just wanted to give you a heads-up before you start reading.
We know that Gen’ya is not a Demon because of his past
Now, one of the recent episodes of Demon Slayer showed us Gen’ya’s fight against Aizetsu, one of Hantengu’s Demons. Gen’ya initially shoots off Aizetsu’s head, but the Demon takes his spear and slashes Gen’ya with it, wounding him mortally. Aizetsu then comments on how he is going to die because of the injuries sustained.
But then, something strange happens. Namely, Gen’ya ignores Aizetsu and starts reciting a chant, which is revealed as the Amida Sūtra. The chant helped Gen’ya survive, as it is tied to Gen’ya’s Repetitive Action technique, which we have already written about. Aizetsu recognizes the chant and, after Sekido’s orders, proceeds to kill Gen’ya, but he manages to dodge it and attacks Aizetsu with his sword from behind. Gen’ya aims for Aizetsu’s head but fails to hit him as he is blasted by Sekido’s thunder and incapacitated for a while; still, he manages to hit Sekido with a bullet.
Aizetsu then hits him with the shaft of his spear and knocks him into a wall. Gen’ya would continue using his chant and would soon get up, stating that he was going to kill Sekido with a fanged, demonic smile visible on his face. Gen’ya would later be seen in full Demonic form, with dark eyes and fangs, which scared Tanjirō when he first saw him. But Gen’ya is not a Demon, we can assure you at this point, and we know that because we know his past.
Namely, Gen’ya was born into a family of seven children, with a hard-working mother and a despised, abusive father; their father was hated in their village as well and was, at one point, killed by an unknown person, after which the family lived in peace for a while. But, one night, their mother, who was never late, did not return, and Sanemi, the oldest sibling, went to look for her.
While he was away, a loud bang was heard on the house door, where Geny’a remained with the other siblings. When they heard the bang, his younger siblings ran towards the door, hoping it was their mother, but they were struck down and killed by a dark figure who also injured Gen’ya. Before the figure could finish the job, Sanemi tackled her.
Gathering his strength, Gen’ya went to find a doctor but found Sanemi with a knife above their mother’s corpse. He accused his brother of being a murderer, creating a rift between them that lasted until the final battle against Kokushibo when Gen’ya died. Gen’ya did not know at the time that their mother was turned into a Demon and that Sanemi had to kill her; when he found out the truth, he tried to apologize to Sanemi, but he would not listen. That is why Gen’ya decided to become a Demon Slayer.
During his training, he discovered that he could consume demonic flesh and temporarily turn into a Demon, an ability that his mentor, Gyōmei Himejima, the Stone Hashira, described as being rare but not unique. And this confirms that Gen’ya is not a Demon but rather that he has a unique ability, and we are about to explain it to you in the next section.
Gen’ya has a rare and powerful ability
As far as Gen’ya is concerned, we have to state here that he is a very peculiar character in terms of his fighting skills and abilities. Namely, every major member of the Corps has been shown to use one or more Breathing Styles. He might not be an experienced master or a Hashira, but each Demon Slayer can use one Breathing Style. Gen’ya Shinazugawa is an exception, as he is a character who does not have his own Breathing Style, as he was simply unable to master any, despite working with Gyōmei at one point. What he does have is a special ability to turn into a Demon for a short period of time.
As stated, Gen’ya can momentarily take on demonic traits by eating a demon’s living flesh. He might get regeneration and physical strength equivalent to one depending on his strength. Gen’ya is temporarily able to defeat Aizetsu in this form. After devouring the wood that Zohakuten had produced, Gen’ya was strong and swift enough to toss three trees at once.
Gen’ya’s demonization to its fullest was shown in his conflict with Kokushibo since he could only be put to death by being beheaded. Gen’ya’s demonic talents were strengthened by consuming Kokushibō’s hair, as evidenced by the fact that he could quickly rejoin his severed body and even listen in on Muzan Kibutsuji’s telepathic dialogue.
Later, the entire scope of Gen’ya’s heightened demonic talents are revealed, proving that even after having his head cleanly cut in half and being bifurcated, he was still alive and awake and had the power to use his Demon Blood Art. In addition, Gen’ya has demonstrated the capacity to separate his cells and combine them with his weapons.
At least two Upper Ranks (Hantengu and, later, Kokushibo) had their flesh and cells consumed by Gen’ya, who reportedly created his personal Blood Demon Art. Gen’ya’s Blood Power was intended to combat and harm other demons, the same as Nezuko’s. Gen’ya’s special technique combines his demon-turned cells with his solar steel balls and weapon, allowing him to easily control the direction and speed of the bullets as they are fired.
This was demonstrated when his bullets easily navigated around Kokushibo’s sword and sank right into his body. While inside the designated target, the bullets can instantly develop into a massive tree that resembles the higher rank four Zohakuten form tree animals before entangling and wrapping around the target to render it paralyzed. Gen’ya could modify his inserted flesh balls even further by making them penetrate his target’s body and absorb demon blood, stopping them from using their own Blood Demon Art.
An important thing to note before we finish, aside from the fact that we have explained how Gen’ya’s demonization works, is that Gen’ya never gives in to his demonic urges. He retains his regular perception, and while he is stronger and fiercer, he is not a Demon and knows his enemies from his allies, which is a fact that is definitely worth mentioning.