Highlights

  • An in-depth look at each of the 14 Breathing Styles. Discover each style’s unique attributes, origins, users, historical significance, and role in the battle against demons.
  • Understand how each style, while unique, connects back to Sun Breathing, presenting a rich history and a deep connection to nature and the Demon Slayer’s combat philosophy.
  • This guide is perfect for both newcomers seeking to understand the Demon Slayer universe and seasoned fans looking to deepen their knowledge.

WARNING!!! This article may contain spoilers from the latest chapters of the manga. 

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, based on Koyoharu Gotouge’s manga, is a popular anime series that has captivated the hearts of fans worldwide.  It follows the touching and action-packed tale of Tanjiro Kamado, a kind-hearted boy who becomes a demon slayer after his family is brutally slaughtered by demons. Leaving only his sister, who had been turned into a demon herself. As Tanjiro ventures into the dangerous realm of the unknown, seeking vengeance and a cure for his sister, he encounters fellow slayers and formidable foes, all while unraveling the mysteries of the demon world and mastering the art of Breathing Styles.

This comprehensive guide delves deep into the unique swordsmanship techniques known as Breathing Styles. Discover the history, key features, and formidable demon slayers who master these styles. Whether you’re a seasoned fan or new to the series, this guide is your gateway to understanding the mysterious art of Breathing Styles and their crucial role in the battle against demons. Join us as we unravel the secrets of these ancient techniques.

Breathing Style And Its History

In “Demon Slayer,” Breathing Styles are unique swordsmanship techniques that utilize a method known as Total Concentration Breathing. Practised and taught by Demon Slayers, these styles use an esoteric breathing technique to enhance their abilities​​. There are numerous Breathing Styles, each with its own distinct forms and attributes. Some of the known styles include Breath of Flames, Breath of Love, Breath of Water, Breath of the Flower Style, Breath of the Serpent, Breath of Insects, Breath of Thunder, Breath of Sound, Breath of Wind, and Breath of the Mist​​.

The origin of these styles traces back to the Sun Breathing, the oldest and most powerful technique created by Yoriichi Tsugikuni, the original Demon Slayer. All other Breathing Styles are derived from this original technique and were inspired by various parts of nature​​. The six main forms of Breathing Techniques (Moon, Water, Flame, Wind, Stone, and Thunder) are all derivatives of Sun Breathing​​. Each style, while unique, is part of a broader system that connects back to this original form, illustrating a rich history and a deep connection to nature and the Demon Slayer’s combat philosophy.​

Demon Slayer: All 14 Types of Breathing Styles and Their Users

14 Sun Breathing

 
Sun Breathing is known as “Hi no Kokyu” or Hinokami Kaguram in Japanese. It is the original and the most powerful breathing style in Demon Slayer. It is a technique that is both the first of its kind and the origin from which all other Breathing Styles have evolved. Initially exclusive to the Kamado Family, Sun Breathing was later revealed as the foundational style that underpins the diverse techniques used by the Demon Slayer Corps​​​​​​.

Developed by Yoriichi Tsugikuni, the first demon slayer and one of the most formidable figures in the series, Sun Breathing is renowned for its profound potency and historical significance. This style is inherently linked to the Hinokami Kagura dance. It has been passed down through generations to crucial characters like Tanjiro, the series’ main protagonist. This linkage marks it as a hereditary technique and a legacy that shapes the very core of the Demon Slayer narrative​​​​.

As the most potent breathing style, Sun Breathing is often regarded as the pinnacle of breathing techniques, with various forms that exhibit its users’ immense strength and capabilities. When Tanjiro faced a life-or-death battle against Rui, he realized his Water Breathing skills were insufficient to combat such a formidable enemy. In a moment of desperation, he delved into his family’s heritage.
 
He recalled a dance passed down through generations, which held the potential to be interpreted as a breathing technique. This unexpected discovery led Tanjiro to unknowingly tap into the power of Sun Breathing for the first time, giving him the advantage against Rui. This pivotal moment solidified Tanjiro’s status as a formidable Demon Slayer who might ultimately possess the ability to kill Muzan.
 

Key Features:

Users: Yoriichi Tsugikuni and Tanjiro Kamado.

Derived From: Original.

Number of known breathing techniques: 13.

Total number of known breathing forms: 13.

13 Moon Breathing

Moon Breathing is known as “Tsuki no Kokyu” in Japanese. It is a powerful and mysterious breathing style in Demon Slayer. It is known for mimicking the moon, precisely the traditional shape of crescent moons. This style is intricately reflected in the user’s movements, techniques, and abilities, creating a combat form as mysterious and potent as the celestial body it emulates​​.

This Breathing Style is the demonic counterpart of the primal Sun Breathing. It is unique as it’s wielded by the formidable Upper Rank 1, Kokushibo, also known as Michikatsu Tsugikuni. Kokushibo, one of the first Demon Slayers who utilized breathing techniques, developed this style, which allowed him to create many chaotic crescent moon-shaped blades. The style’s ability to produce numerous crescent blades adds a layer of unpredictability and danger, reflecting the ever-changing and mysterious nature of the moon itself​​​​.

Moon Breathing is the second most powerful breathing technique in the series. It’s noted that no human can use Moon Breathing, setting it apart from other styles typically practiced by Demon Slayers. The style boasts more forms than any other type of breathing, with a total of 16, each adding to its complexity and lethality​​​​​​.

Key Features:

Users: Kokushibo.

Derived from: Sun Breathing.

Number of known breathing techniques: 11.

Total number of known breathing forms: 16.

12 Stone Breathing

Stone Breathing is a distinctive Breathing Style that mimics the solidity and resilience of earth and stone. This style is renowned for replicating these elements through the user’s movements, techniques, and abilities, facilitating the generation of powerful and robust attacks that excel in both offense and defense. Most techniques under this style exploit the ground and vast surroundings, making it a formidable practice in combat​​.

Gyomei Himejima, one of the strongest Hashira, is the only Stone Breathing style user shown in the Demon Slayer anime. The only other Stone Breathing user revealed in the series is the original inventor of this Breathing Style.  Unlike the more agility-based Insect Breathing Style, Stone Breathing requires considerable raw strength, making it one of the most physically demanding styles.

Key Features:

Users: Gyomei Himejima.

Derived from: Sun Breathing.

Number of known breathing techniques: 5.

Total number of known breathing forms: 5.

11 Water Breathing

Water Breathing is known as “Mizu no Kokyu” in Japanese. It is one of the five main Breathing Styles in the “Demon Slayer” series, tracing its origins directly from the fundamental Sun Breathing technique. This high-damage style has low combo potential but significant agility and momentum-building capacity. Users’ movements and attack patterns are designed to resemble the water flow, becoming stronger and more formidable with built-up momentum. 

This style lets the user to close distances quickly and deliver powerful blows while maintaining a defensive posture that mirrors the defensive and adaptive qualities of water. It comprises eleven distinct forms, each with unique attributes and uses, allowing its users to adapt to various combat scenarios. Characters like Giyu and Tanjiro employ these forms to their advantage, harnessing water’s power to execute movements ranging from slicing through demons to creating defensive whirlpools.

Key Features:

Users: Giyu Tomioka, Sabito, Makomo, Murata, Tanjiro Kamado, Nezuko and Aoi Kanzaki.

Derived from: Sun Breathing.

Number of known breathing techniques: 11.

Total number of known breathing forms: 11.

10 Flower Breathing

Flower Breathing is derived from Water Breathing, indicating a lineage and evolution from another primary Breathing Style. This connection suggests a shared emphasis on fluidity and adaptability, with Flower Breathing taking these characteristics to a new level of refinement and elegance. It embodies the elegance and versatility of perennial flowers and fruit blossoms, translating these qualities into the user’s movements, techniques, and abilities. This style is notable for its combination of graceful attacks focusing on agility, allowing users to execute fluid and dynamic moves in combat situations​​.

Notably used by the former Flower Hashira Kanae Kocho and her adoptive sister, Kanao Tsuyuri, Flower Breathing comprises seven distinct forms. This variety within the forms allows users to adapt to different combat scenarios, reflecting the versatile nature of flowers and fruits that the style emulates​​​​. Beyond its physical manifestations, Flower Breathing also enhances and utilizes the user’s vision, possibly at some cost. This aspect adds a strategic depth, as users must balance the physical benefits with potential risks, reflecting the delicate balance found in nature between beauty and vulnerability​​​​.

Key Features:

Users: Kanae Kocho and Kanao Tsuyuri.

Derived from: Water Breathing.

Number of known breathing techniques: 5.

Total number of known breathing forms: 7.

09 Serpent Breathing

Serpent Breathing is known as “Hebi no Kokyu” in Japanese. It is derived from Water Breathing and carries some of the fluidity and adaptability of its parent style. It is characterized by emulating the slithering movements of serpents and snakes. This style is designed to mimic these creatures, focusing on the user’s movements, techniques, and abilities to replicate the unpredictable motions of serpents. 

The movements and skills associated with this style are not just physical attacks but also a strategic way of fighting that emphasizes misdirection and sudden strikes, mirroring snakes’ hunting and defensive techniques in the wild​​. This style is notably practiced by Obanai Iguro, a character known as the Serpent Hashira. In essence, Serpent Breathing is a style that combines the artful dodge and strike patterns of snakes with swordsmanship, creating a combat approach that is as enigmatic and deadly as the creatures it emulates.

Key Features:

Users: Obanai Iguro.

Derived from: Water Breathing.

Number of known breathing techniques: 5.

Total number of known breathing forms: 5. 

08 Insect Breathing

Insect Breathing is known as “Mushi no Kokyu” in Japanese. This style is an offshoot of the Flower Breathing, which, in turn, is derived from the fundamental Water Breathing​​​​. It is primarily used by Shinobu Kocho, a character known for agility and intelligence rather than brute strength. She has adapted this style to suit her abilities. Insect Breathing capitalizes on speed and precision, focusing on striking opponents with rapid, piercing jabs and stings. These attacks are often infused with poison, making them especially deadly and compensating for Shinobu’s lack of physical power​​.

The style consists of four techniques named after and inspired by different insect movements and characteristics. These techniques, referred to as “dances,” include the “Butterfly Dance: Caprice,” “Dance of the Bee Sting: True Flutter,” “Dance of the Dragonfly: Compound Eye Hexagon,” and “Dance of the Centipede: Hundred-Legged Zigzag.” Each technique is designed to leverage insects’ agility and lethal strikes, translating these attributes into sword strikes and movements that are as beautiful as they are deadly​​.

Key Features:

Users: Shinobu Kocho.

Derived from: Flower Breathing.

Number of known breathing techniques: 4.

Total number of known breathing forms: 4.

07 Flame Breathing

Flame Breathing is known as “Hono no kokyu” in Japanese. It is recognized as one of the five main Breathing Styles directly derived from Sun Breathing​​. This style is known for its intense and powerful techniques, embodying flames’ fierce and unrelenting nature. The history and lineage of Flame Breathing are preserved in the “Flame Hashira Chronicles,” a book that records its rich heritage. These records have been meticulously maintained and passed down through successive generations of the Rengoku family, indicating this style’s deep-rooted traditions and significance within the world of Demon Slayer.

Flame Breathing is a style that not only resonates with fire’s intense and volatile nature but also holds a prestigious position within the series due to its history, power, and the notable warriors who practice it. It is utilized prominently by the Flame Hashira, Kyojuro Rengoku, showcasing its devastating capabilities in various battles. The style comprises several forms, with some still shrouded in mystery. However, the Ninth Form: Rengoku, known for manifesting as a fiery dragon that engulfs its targets, stands out as a testament to the style’s sheer power and is considered one of the strongest Breathing Styles in Demon Slayer.

Key Features:

Users: Kyojuro Rengoku.

Derived from: Sun Breathing.

Number of known breathing techniques: 6.

Total number of known breathing forms: 9.

06 Love Breathing

Love Breathing is known as “Koi no Kokyu” in Japanese. It is derived from Flame Breathing, which characters like Rengoku use, further indicating its connection to intense and passionate forms of fighting​​. As its name suggests, this style replicates the concept and feeling of love through the user’s movements, techniques, and abilities​​. It is characterized by its whip-like attacks that range from mid to long distance. 

These attacks are a testament to the user’s flexibility, agility, and speed, making Love Breathing a dynamic and versatile style capable of adapting to various combat situations​​. This Breathing Style is notably used by Mitsuri Kanroji, the Love Hashira. With at least six known techniques, this style offers a range of attacks that are as enchanting and unpredictable as the emotion it represents. One such technique is “Shivers of a First Love,” which indicates the depth and personal nature of the forms within this style​​.

Key Features:

Users: Mitsuri Kanroji.

Derived from: Flame Breathing.

Number of known breathing techniques: 5.

Total number of known breathing forms: 6.

05 Thunder Breathing

Thunder Breathing is known as “Kaminari no Kokyu” in Japanese. It is one of the five main Breathing Styles directly derived from the foundational Sun Breathing​​. This technique is a testament to the power born from speed, simulating lightning’s swift and unpredictable strikes. The style is characterized by rapid movements and attacks that mimic a lightning bolt’s sudden and fierce nature​​​​. Thunder Breathing utilizes Total Concentration Breathing, an esoteric technique practiced and taught by Demon Slayers to enhance their physical abilities and focus​​. 

It is known for its visually dazzling and spectacular techniques, making it a deadly form of combat and an awe-inspiring display of skill and power. Notable users like Zenitsu Agatsuma showcase the incredible potential of Thunder Breathing, demonstrating its effectiveness in critical battles throughout the series. The style is known for its unique forms and techniques, with the Seventh Form being one of the strongest breathing forms.

Key Features:

Users: Jigoro Kuwajima and Zenitsu.

Derived from: Sun Breathing.

Number of known breathing techniques: 7.

Total number of known breathing forms: 7.

04 Sound Breathing

Sound Breathing is known as “Oto no Kokyu” in Japanese. It is derived from Thunder Breathing​​. Primarily used by Tengen Uzui, the Sound Hashira, this style is renowned for its disorientating techniques that leverage the loudness and rhythm of movements to confuse and overpower enemies. This approach makes it a strategic and deceptive form of combat, focusing more on disorientation and less on direct confrontation​​​​​​.

Sound Breathing consists of five distinct forms, each with its own set of techniques designed to utilize sound in various ways. Techniques such as Roar, Constant Resounding Slashes, and String Performance showcase the style’s versatility and its emphasis on manipulating both the battlefield and the opponent’s perception. These physically and psychologically impactful techniques make Sound Breathing a complex and unique style​​.

Key Features:

Users: Tengen Uzui.

Derived from: Thunder Breathing.

Number of known breathing techniques: 3.

Total number of known breathing forms: 5.

03 Wind Breathing

Wind Breathing is known as “Kaze no Kokyū” in Japanese. This style is directly derived from Sun Breathing, making it one of the five main Breathing Styles that form the foundation of the series’ combat system​​​​. It is known for mimicking the wind’s forceful and unpredictable nature, specifically through powerful torrents of air and whirlwinds. The techniques within Wind Breathing involve utilizing the air around the user to generate whirlwind and tornado-like attacks.
 
These techniques can be used for offensive and defensive purposes, providing users with various tactics for any combat scenario. This emphasis on simulating the wind’s natural power allows users to generate versatile and destructive attacks, reflecting the wind’s capacity for both creation and destruction​​. Notably, it is practiced by Sanemi Shinazugawa, the Wind Hashira of the Demon Slayer Corps, who can inflict heavy injuries on opponents. The style’s replication of wind movements with a sword enhances its lethality and unpredictability, making it one of the most formidable Breathing Styles in the series​​​​.

Key Features:

Users: Sanemi Shinazugawa.

Derived from: Sun Breathing.

Number of known breathing techniques: 9.

Total number of known breathing forms: 9.

02 Beast Breathing

Beast Breathing is known as “Kedamono no Kokyu” in Japanese. It is known for mimicking the unpredictable, ferocious nature of wild animals. This style is particularly notable for being distantly derived from Wind Breathing, and it incorporates movements, attacks, and techniques that embody the wild and untamed essence of beasts​​. Inosuke Hashibira is the creator and primary user of Beast Breathing.

Remarkably, Inosuke developed this technique on his own, without any formal training, reflecting his wild upbringing and innate combat instincts.  Beast Breathing includes eleven forms, each varying in lethality and utility, providing a wide range of tactics for different combat scenarios​​​​. The style utilizes two unique nichirin swords designed to complement its wild nature, enhancing its damage and making it a formidable technique for those who have mastered it​​​​.

Key Features:

Users: Inosuke Hashibira.

Derived from: Wind Breathing.

Number of known breathing techniques: 11.

Total number of known breathing forms: 11.

01 Mist Breathing

Mist Breathing is known as “Kasumi no kokyū” in Japanese. This style is a derivative of Wind Breathing. It is characterized by its focus on the obscurity and unpredictability associated with mist​​​​. It’s a technique that cultivates its unique capabilities by utilizing Total Concentration Breathing to conceal movements and obscure opponents’ senses, making it a style that emphasizes stealth and confusion over direct confrontation​​. The core of Mist Breathing lies in its quick attacks designed to overwhelm and disorient enemies, causing them to lose track of the Demon Slayer.

This strategic approach makes enemies more vulnerable as they struggle to comprehend the source and direction of the attacks. It is primarily used by Muichiro Tokito. The style’s effectiveness is heightened by its incorporation of the mist’s natural characteristics into the user’s swordsmanship, making it a formidable and deceptive form of combat​​. Mist Breathing is known for its seven forms, each offering different techniques and levels of utility and lethality. These forms enhance the style’s versatility and adaptability in various combat scenarios.

Key Features:

Users: Muichiro Tokito.

Derived from: Wind Breathing.

Number of known breathing techniques: 7.

Total number of known breathing forms: 7.

If you want to read more about Demon Slayer and revisit the unforgettable moments, check out our article on Top 10 Moments That Left Fans Awestruck.

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