“Work at it. All I can do is work hard! That’s the story of my life!”
– Tanjiro Kamado
header by @01ki on instagram
With Demon slayer being an anime that gives us a tragic story right away, we have our patient and steady character – Tanjiro Kamado.
While this quote may seem a bit shallow considering it coming from one of many amazing shounen protagonists, the different thing here is that quote actually has a valuable meaning due to Tanjiro saying those words.
Not only at the start of the story we see Tanjiro working hard for his family since his father’s passing, trying his very best to get a little money by selling resources to the local village, yet another tragic story awaits the young boy one night which ends the happy and peaceful days beside the hardships it brought with it.
Right away Tanjiro’s family was suddenly killed due to demons while he was away, and with no survivors besides him and his sister Nezuko, who on top of that turned into a demon herself, the harsh reality of being utterly and perfectly left alone haunted Tanjiro ever since.
Yes, Tanjiro may not be the only character who lost his loved ones and he is not the only character who shows immense change physically over the series, but Tanjiro has some traits that always stuck with him ever since the start: patience, persistence and a kind heart.
From the day he met Giyuu who showed him how physically weak Tanjiro is- Tanjiro actually didn’t worry about himself, he didn’t care what others thought and didn’t want to be protected by anyone if it meant to give up his sister who became a demon, it was his strong-sense of being and older brother and the will to turn against the world if it meant he could be with his sister.
Giyuu who never saw such a beautiful relationship and such a strong will despite the obvious weakness that could have killed Tanjiro in their fight, and believed that those two could maybe change something under the condition that Tanjiro is ready to take all means to do that.
From that point a hard path awaits Tanjiro, many years of harsh training and challenges are about to confront him.
It starts with him making his way to become part of the Demon Slayer Corps which is a whole challenge for itself as Tanjiro has no knowledge how to swing a sword properly less even about breathing techniques, he even attempted to kill a demon with a simple knife showing he had not known anything about demons or how to kill them, yet while he didn’t know that weapon wouldn’t kill due to his kindness he was hesitating to do so.
“Work at it”, is much more a prompt to do the thing that he requests here: to work at something.
As we see that apply to Tanjiro, he always seems to say something more to himself when he states things such as he talks to himself saying “protect Nezuko” or “use your head”, most of the times those prompts are meant in the first place to himself as he tries to overcome even the hard times where he feels like he is stuck.
In the anime we already see many occurences where Tanjiro was stuck at one point or another, as he was fully aware of his own weaknesses and what they entail.
So what does Tanjiro do?
He works at it.
But he doesn’t simply work just to feel like he did something.
“All I can do is work hard!”, as Tanjiro says those words he implies that this is his most redeeming quality, he works hard, and even harder when the challenge seems unable to bear whether it is cutting a giant stone into half, climbing a mountain or perfecting the breathing technique even in his sleep.
The one thing Tanjiro never stopped doing was working hard, he gave his best because in the end it was the only thing he could do, there was no other options considering his circumstances and personality showing immense patience and persistence in the things he does.
“That’s the story of my life!”, this sentence which might seem a bit exaggerated is the sad truth of Tanjiro’s life, whether before Nezuko turned into a demon after his family was slaughtered or before, Tanjiro always was hard-working from the beginning as we saw that in episode one already where he is shown to be the oldest son holding a big burden of responsibility and working his hardest.
That didn’t change and with that someone like Tanjiro who saw the fruits of his hard work and experienced the strain of keeping yourself up to still work hard after all those years has a much more valuable meaning.
You as well, no matter how hard it seems work hard just like I did and it may be hard a times, you may struggle but keep telling yourself work at it and someday you will see the fruits of your own hard work right in front of you.