The storyline of Demon Slayer would never be complete without the Final Selection arc when Tanjiro Kamado had to prove his worth as a prospective member of the Demon Slayer Corps by going through the Final Selection itself. Of course, the dangerous part of the Final Selection was that Tanjiro had to go through a powerful demon responsible for taking the lives of many Water Breathing users. So, who did Tanjiro fight in the Final Selection?
Tanjiro Kamado fought the Hand Demon during the Final Selection. The Hand Demon is a massive demon with countless hands he gained after killing prospective Demon Slayers. This demon was captured by Sakonji Urokodaki years ago and was placed on Mount Fujikasane to serve as a test for the Final Selection.
It might be true that the Hand Demon was strong enough to defeat a lot of young prospective Demon Slayers, but it was in his fight with Tanjiro that he met his match as he finally found someone strong enough to defeat him. In that regard, Tanjiro proved his worth to the Demon Slayer Corps and his master by defeating the powerful Hand Demon.
The Hand Demon Explained
Demon Slayer’s storyline started with Tanjiro training with Sakonji Urokodaki after Giyu Tomioka recommended him as a prospective Demon Slayer. While training with Sakonji, Tanjiro met Sabito and Makomo, who were actually the ghosts of two of the students that trained under Urokodaki years ago. When Tanjiro finally proved that he was ready to become a Demon Slayer, he was sent off to the Final Selection, which is a selective process for those who are worthy enough to become members of the Demon Slayer Corps.
In the Final Selection, the individuals must go to Mount Fujikasane, where Wisteria flowers bloom every season, and survive there for seven nights without any outside aid. A person who survives there for seven nights, regardless of what they must do to survive, is considered worthy enough to join the Demon Slayer Corps.
The fact that the mountain is full of Wisteria flowers makes it the perfect place to trap demons, as they cannot escape the mountain due to these flowers. Demons are caught and placed on the mountain by existing Demon Slayers to act as tests for prospective Demon Slayers during the Final Selection. And since Wisteria is poisonous to demons, they have no choice but to stay on the mountain.
Most of the demons trapped on the mountain are quite weak, which means that they aren’t strong enough for those truly worthy of becoming Demon Slayers. However, one abnormally strong demon managed to stay alive for decades on that mountain due to its anger and hatred toward Sakonji. This was the same demon Tanjiro had to face in the Final Selection.
This demon was the Hand Demon, which has a long history with Sakonji. The Hand Demon has been around since the Keiō era but was captured by Sakonji Urokodaki years ago when he was still the Water Hashira. This demon was trapped on Mount Fujikasane as one of the obstacles prospective Demon Slayers may face during the Final Selection.
However, because the Hand Demon hated Sakonji so much for robbing him of his freedom, it grew strong while on the mountain. It specifically targeted potential Demon Slayers so that it could become stronger by eating them. He also claimed that he had killed a lot of Sakonji’s students in the past as a way for him to take revenge on the man that was responsible for trapping him on that mountain. It was the fact that he saw Tanjiro’s Water Breathing technique and his fox mask that made him recognize the young boy as one of Sakonji’s students.
How Did Tanjiro Defeat the Hand Demon?
During the encounter between Tanjiro and the Hand Demon, the demon explains how he was captured by Sakonji decades ago and how he has been there since the Keiō era. When he learned from Tanjiro that it was already the Taishō era, he only became angrier because he had been on that mountain for a long time already.
The Hand Demon told Tanjiro that he had eaten fifty people on that mountain. He also said that Tanjiro was the 14th apprentice of Sakonji’s that he had encountered during his incarceration there. The Hand Demon also said that he had eaten all of Sakonji’s previous students, except for Giyu Tomioka, who survived the wrath of this demon through the sacrifice of one of his fellow apprentices, Sabito.
During the encounter with Tanjiro, the Hand Demon said that two students stood out throughout his entire time on that mountain. The first was a boy with pink hair (Sabito), and the other was a girl with flower-patterned clothing (Makomo). Tanjiro recognized them as the ghosts of the friends he had met while training in his Water Breathing techniques. As such, Tanjiro was angered when he found out that Sabito and Makomo, as strong as they were, fell victim to this demon.
An enraged Tanjiro started attacking the Hand Demon by chopping many of the creature’s limbs. The demon, however, got a clean hit on Tanjiro and knocked him out unconscious for a while. But while the Hand Demon was able to nearly kill Tanjiro by stretching his limbs out for a fatal attack, the young boy was able to dodge his attacks at the last second to narrowly escape being the 14th Sakonji student killed by the Hand Demon.
Tanjiro severed the limbs that attacked him as he could dodge a surprise attack that the Hand Demon launched from beneath the ground. The Hand Demon tried to attack again, only for Tanjiro to use his solid head to counter it. When the Hand Demon realized he couldn’t defeat Tanjiro with his attacks, he focused more on defense by solidifying his limbs and wrapping them around his head. But Tanjiro used Water Breathing First Form: Water Surface Slash.
The attack severed the hands protecting the demon’s head, as the Hand Demon panicked due to the possibility that he would die soon at the hands of one of Sakonji’s students. This attack also ended up severing the Hand Demon’s head, as it was clear that he was about to die.
However, instead of Tanjiro looking at the demon with disdain and hatred for what he did to Sabito and Makomo, the young boy looked at him with tears in his eyes as he understood what kind of life the demon had to go through. The Hand Demon extended an arm out to Tanjiro as he crumbled into ash. The death of the Hand Demon made Tanjiro worthy to become a Demon Slayer as he also avenged the many different Water Breathing students that lost their lives to this powerful demon.