Kimetsu No Yaiba, as the title suggests is a thrilling ancient story that takes place in the Edo period of Japan where the world is ensnared by the plight of demons and humans train hard to become demon slayers and help save humanity from the massacre that demons bring. The horrific revelation that demons are former humans who were either manipulated or chose to become demons after their deaths increase the viewer’s thrill and questions as the episode follows the protagonist, Kamado Tanjiro who strives to save his sister Nezuko who is shown to have turned into a demon when their family was attacked by one, sparing no one.
Agatsuma Zenitsu appears first in the episode of Final Selection when, out of twenty, only five people make it to the last stage wherefore, they will be accepted as demon slayers and will go for missions. His dialogues, however vague, suggest that he made it with a stroke of luck and that he would die anytime soon. After which, he again makes an appearance after Tanjiro returns from his first mission from the Northwest and is on his way to a second mission.
Zenitsu is shown clinging to a woman to marry him because he is afraid that he wouldn’t live long and get to enjoy the platonic life that he wanted to lead. His character is shown to be portrayed as weak and vulnerable with many mental breakdowns and ignorance in facing missions. Whenever he faced life-threatening situations, his first tendency and response were to back off or panic because of his fears for his life.
What the viewers see is a genuine portrayal of how any human would react if their life was only devoted to saving humanity from demons by putting their lives on the line to fight them. While facing off a demon in the Tsuzumi Mansion, Zenitsu clings to a boy named Shoichi whose elder brother was abducted by a demon of that mansion. When he panics and reaches the extreme limit of his panic attack, he is shown to fall asleep in front of the demon.
Shouchi drags him, crying and screaming for Zenitsu to wake up, but Zenitsu was unhinged when suddenly he stands up in his sleep, takes the posture of his sword art, Thunder breathing, first form, he easily cuts off the head of the demon. At this moment, the episode shows a very interesting talent that Zenitsu has, when he panics to the point he falls asleep, he can exude his strength at its best at that time.
Mount Natagumo and Zenitsu’s flashback
On the episode of Mount Natagumo, where Tanjiro and Inosuke move forward for their mission and Zenitsu halts, too scared to be a part of it, he reluctantly moves ahead with the motivation that Tanjiro took Nezuko with him and he wanted to save her from demons. As he proceeds, he faces the spider demon with a human head whose poison enters his body after his duel and he falls, unconscious, and dreams of when his grandfather used to train him.
Zenitsu was a normal boy who never wanted to train too hard, and was a simple boy with very straightforward feelings of love, friendship, and simplicity. His grandfather pushed him to conquer his limits and not be afraid to train hard because he wanted Zenitsu to be a demon slayer, adept in swordsmanship and dueling skills.
His grandfather told him to master just the one technique that he could. Zenitsu listened to his grandfather who motivated him to train that one skill to perfection and reach a godlike mastery with that skill because of his reluctance to train more forms of skills, which was fine, as he too was a human and had a choice and that didn’t mandate saving others.
With the simple characteristics of his personality, Zenitsu makes a place for himself among the viewers and goes through a massive development as he is placed among supportive friendship and guidance when he trains after being admitted to the Butterfly mansion under the Hashira, Shinobu Kocho.
Zenitsu and his representation of unique and simple children who faced bullying
In his childhood, Zenitsu was bullied, harshly trained, and made aloof because of his appearance to others which grows into his personality. He gets scared, is afraid of confrontations, but has a very pure heart that keeps promises and understands the value of friendship.
It is very often seen that any child who is unique and different, not necessarily courageous is bullied and mocked among their peers and Zenitsu represents that and destigmatizes it. Even though someone isn’t strong and formidable or courageous, they have other talents and they’re human with valid emotions who should be acknowledged.
In the episode of “The bore bares its fangs, Zenitsu Sleeps”, when Inosuke showers him with kicks and jabs for not giving him the wooden box that contains Nezuko, he silently endures that and refuses to give up the possession of Tanjiro which was very precious to him.
Even though he didn’t know the importance and knew that there was a demon inside the box that Tanjiro was carrying, he guarded it while enduring Inosuke’s kicks and hits which shows his loyalty and safekeeping his friend’s feelings. He is a very entertaining character who contributes as comic relief to the anime that helps viewers enjoy his presence and also be inspired by him