One of the problems with the first season of Demon Slayer was the introduction of the Hashira. At that point, the show didn’t have much time left in its run, so we got nothing more than a brief first meeting with these characters. By which I mean we learned what they looked like and they displayed one-note personalities and annoying catch-phrases.
Now, a movie and a whole season later, we’ve gotten to know a few of them quite well. Rengoku quickly became a fan favorite character (and my favorite), Shinobu got some depth, and Tomioka, the one we’ve known the longest, got a little extra depth as well. And now, we’ve gotten to thoroughly know our latest Hashira: Tengen Uzui, the Sound Hashira.
And he’s… fine. He’s a good character. But he’s not an especially deep or memorable one.
Don’t get me wrong, he’s certainly cool! This dude doesn’t just demand your attention, he commands it! He is so large and flashy and flamboyant that it’s practically impossible to look away from him! Especially when he’s fighting; his sword style is absolutely amazing, presenting us with some of the most creative and jaw-dropping action choreography shounen anime has ever seen!
He’s also charming as hell.
Plus, he’s got a rad design. The dude isn’t just hot (I ain’t gay, but…), he’s covered from head to foot in jewelry, yet he somehow manages to make it look cool instead of tacky! Something about the way it moves, both in the manga and the anime, is just so damn cool! The dude is like a walking golden statue.
Which makes sense given his backstory.
The exact details of Tengen’s origins are vague. We know that he was a shinobi and he didn’t like that. We also know he had a brother who was like their father; abusive, cold, and obsessed with making babies because their family kept on dying. At some point, Tengen either left his family with his three wives in tow or his family died out completely. Either way, he ended up joining the Demon Slayer Corps. and becoming a Hashira.
It’s a perfectly fine backstory. But it doesn’t add a whole lot of depth to the character. We know why he’s so damn flashy and why he has such a strong sense of responsibility, particularly towards his wives. However, it doesn’t give him anything to truly overcome or grow from. There’s no arc to be had within that story.
You could argue that Tengen has an inferiority complex. Despite his flashy attire and his proclamation that he’s a god, he doesn’t seem to think all that highly of himself. He compares himself to his fellow Demon Slayers, particularly the other Hashira, viewing them as geniuses and chosen ones while he’s just a guy. These feelings could stem from some trauma from his days as a shinobi, living under his brother and father. Problem is: we don’t know. It’s too vague.
Again, I don’t think Tengen is a bad character. Not by any means. He may not have the most depth, but he still makes for a cool and entertaining hero. He may not have much substance, but he certainly has style. And what could be more Tengen Uzui than that?
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