Giyu Demon Slayer Guide

Giyu Demon Slayer Guide: Water Hashira Explained

The Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba cast is a beloved one, as seen in our Giyu Demon Slayer guide. The Water Hashira is one of the prominent leaders of the Demon Slayer Corps and a powerful fighter. He is among the very best slayers in the entire Corps and one of the few with even a slim chance of killing the Demon King.

Giyu Tomioka is also the first slayer that we meet in the storyline, having a much longer history in the series than other main characters. Our Giyu Demon Slayer guide will let you know about his past in the manga and anime, as well as other details like his abilities, appearance, personality, and more.

If Giyu Tomioka is one of your favorite characters in the series, you’re in the right place. And if he isn’t yet, this is a great way to get to know him.

Bottom Line Up Front

Giyu Tomioka is the Water Hashira in the Demon Slayer Corps. This effectively makes him the best water-breathing slayer at the time of the series. As one of the very best slayers in Japan, he is unbelievably strong and instrumental in the fight against Muzan, the Demon King. Much of his appearance is based on his friend that he grew up with and what he wore.

His impressive abilities are enhanced physical capabilities over the average human and his insanely good water-breathing techniques. He is the first demon slayer we meet in the series, so he plays a massive role in the events and story arcs that follow.

Who is Giyu Tomioka?

Giyu Demon Slayer

Giyu Tomioka is the Water Hashira, or essentially the best water-breathing user at the start of the Demon Slayer series. He is also the first slayer that Tanjiro, Nezuko, and the audience are introduced to. He is one of the most essential supporting characters within the large cast.

Giyu plays a supporting role for most of the series. Though he is not as prominent in all of the story arcs, there are several key sections of the series where he appears. This includes the beginning, middle, and ending story arcs for the Demon Slayer manga and anime.

In some ways, he plays a mentorship role towards Tanjiro, being one of the guides for him but not necessarily as much as other Hashira characters. He is a Water Hashira, meaning that he is pretty much the best in Japan at using water-breathing techniques in his time.

This is the same style that Tanjiro learns at the beginning of the manga series. Giyu plays a role model for Tanjiro as he learns the techniques from the same master as the Hashira.


The appearance of Giyu Tomioka is primarily the same from start to finish in the manga. This is quite different from some of the other cast members like Nezuko and Tanjiro, who change up as time goes on. Despite his early introduction in the series, his appearance is mostly the same for the entire story.

Demon Slayer Outfit

With his demon slayer outfit, he wears the traditional garb but with a couple of critical changes to make it all his own. For starters, there is the standard all-black uniform that members of the Corps wear. Giyu has this on the bottom of his outfit, with the long-sleeve black shirt and loose black pants.

On the bottom, he wears black sandals. What he does to help his outfit look unique is the jacket he wears over the uniform. This coat has two distinct patterns to it that differ from one another. On the right side of his jacket, there is an all maroon-ish red and brown color from top to bottom.

However, on the left side, there is a checkered-like pattern. It is split between green and orange squares that go up to their sides. This coat was made from two different coats that belonged to two people in his life that he cared about the most. He carries with him always because of this.

As for his hair, Giyu has long hair that goes down past his shoulders. It is primarily unkempt but still looks stylish in its way. He has a straightforward face that matches his cold personality and deep blue eyes that hint at his water-breathing abilities. Finally, he wields a standard demon-slaying katana and is one of only a handful of Hashira that do so.

There are minor changes to his appearance in the series, especially in the latter portions of the manga, but they are still minimal. I won’t include those here as some of them are spoilers for slight character development and look changes that come much later.


Giyu Tomioka

Giyu Tomioka has one of the more reserved personalities within the Hashira and Demon Slayer series. Unlike the others who might be more eccentric and exciting, the Water Hashira is a mostly quiet and severe guy. He keeps to himself and does not seem to communicate much with others.

I would even argue that it appears as if Giyu is rather anti-social. This could be due to events in his life or personality, but he does not seem to be too caring for a person. This contrasts with his strong will to save others, but primarily people he does not know.

He seems to shy away from those he knows and has little to do with them. He is an intelligent guy but appears to be almost cold at times, except for only a few people.

Key Relationships

No surprise given his tough personality, but Giyu has few relationships in the series. He keeps to himself, understandably so, and does not seem to try to connect with others. This is likely due to the traumatic events of his childhood, but, regardless, there are only a few connections that he makes in the series.

The other Hashira in the group, but Giyu has honestly little to do with most of them. He seems to respect some of his comrades significantly, like Rengoku, the Flame Hashira, but he still does not have too close of a relationship with him.

The only person in the group that I think Giyu even remotely connects with is Shinobu, the Insect Hashira. They seem to have a playful relationship, leading many to ship them together. She seems to be the only person to get some reaction out of him.

Besides that, Giyu has a limited relationship with Tanjiro and Nezuko. He is the first slayer they meet, and he plays an important role early on in finding someone to train Tanjiro. He may come to care for both of the main protagonists in the series, but this is something that he keeps mostly hidden.

Voice Actor

Giyu Tomioka

The Japanese voice actor for Giyu Tomioka in the anime adaptation of Demon Slayer is Takahiro Sakurai. You may know the legendary actor Sakurai from his role playing unique characters in games and anime like Cloud Strife from Final Fantasy VII Remake, Sting in Fairy Tail, Suzaku in Code Geass, and many more.

On the other hand, the English voice actor is also excellent Johnny Yong Bosch. Besides being a couple of Power Rangers, Bosch is known for some fantastic roles, like Ichigo from Bleach, Lelouch in Code Geass, Yu and Adachi in Persona 4, and more. He also shares some other parts with his Japanese voice counterpart of Giyu, including ones from Naruto.


As one of the Pillars in the Corps, Giyu Tomioka is one of the most powerful characters in the entire series. His abilities come down to two main areas. The first is the general physical capabilities that he has trained and enhanced to his maximum. On the other hand, the other part has to do with his demon-slaying abilities.

Enhanced Physical Prowess

Giyu is one of the best demon slayers around, and this required immense training to get to this point. Like the other Hashira, Tomioka has more significant than average physical abilities over most humans. I would consider Giyu to be one of the best all-around members of the Pillars.

He is excellent at everything but not necessarily the best in any particular area. He is exceptionally faster than the average human and shows this in the way that he quickly slays opponents. He is not nearly as fast as some of the other slayers.

At the same time, he is physically strong and able to lift and slice through foes with ease. But, again, there are still others with more significant muscle within the group. Perhaps his most powerful asset is his calm handling of situations and his instantaneous reflexes.

He is pretty intelligent and can devise a plan within mere fractions of a second. If an enemy surprises him, he can react quickly and come up with a solution to win the fight. He remains cool and calm no matter the situation and does not let his emotions get the best of him, unlike some other slayers out there, including in the Hashira.

Water Breathing Techniques

Giyu is the Water Hashira, meaning that he is a master of the water-breathing style of slaying. With this technique, he has many different breathing forms in battle. He can call upon several, and it is one of the most flexible breathing forms out there.

He has different water-breathing abilities for different situations, like finishing off a foe or taking down their defenses. Since he is a water-breathing user, he is pretty malleable and adapt to many fighting scenarios.

He is also a fluid water-breather, allowing him to glide through the air like a wave and take down his enemies with ease. He also has a secret or two up his sleeve for his water-breathing techniques that he can pull out in the harshest scenarios. These even enhance his slaying abilities further.


The history for Giyu begins before the start of the series, with his childhood and life before joining the Pillars. He is also present early in the manga and anime as the first demon slayer that Tanjiro ever meets. His presence is always there, helping in some of the most crucial story arcs for the series. So, if you do not want spoilers, this is your warning.


Giyu Tomioka

We know about Giyu’s past comes from some flashbacks that happen later in the manga. If you are an anime fan, you may want to ignore this part, but I think it is only minor in the grand scheme. We find out that the coat that Giyu wears comes from two people from his past.

The first is his older sister, who died, and he took half of the coat that she wore. The other half comes from his best friend, Sabito, whose name you may recognize in the storyline. Sabito was one of the many apprentices who died while training under Urokodaki, Giyu, and Tanjiro’s master.

It turns out that Sabito and Giyu were childhood friends, and he took his friend’s coat to make into his own later. These traumatic experiences changed Giyu, too, shutting off from everyone else around him. Because of this, he is the cold and calculated Water Hashira that we know him as in the main series.

Becoming the Water Hashira

At the start of the series, Giyu Tomioka has already become the Water Hashira, of which there is always one in the group. His first appearance in the series is when he meets Tanjiro and Nezuko Kamado. At this point, their family has already been murdered by Muzan.

In addition, Nezuko has turned into a demon. As such, Giyu is understanding of Tanjiro’s unfortunate circumstances but does not show this in his outward appearance. Instead, he immediately jumps to wanting to kill Nezuko and put her out of her misery.

Thankfully, Tanjiro can show him that she is unique and different from the other demons that Giyu encountered in his life. He eventually gives in and sends Tanjiro to his master to learn the art of water-breathing. During this time, Giyu rejoins with the Hashira and goes on missions.

Eventually, Tomioka is needed during the first primary Twelve Kizuki missions that Tanjiro and his friends go on. The mission turns out to be a bloody one, with most of the new slayers being killed. Tanjiro and Nezuko do a fantastic job of almost finishing off the Twelve Kizuki member, Rui, who is one of the strongest demons ever.

Fortunately, Giyu appears in the nick of time to finish off Rui like it is nothing. He saves the weakened newcomers and sends them to be treated for their injuries. He later invites the main characters of the Demon Slayer series to meet the other Hashira.

Fighting the Demon King

From here, he only plays minor roles in the storyline except for the occasional fight and saving the day. He has some significant battles later in the series, though, especially in the lengthy final story arc. These moments have not yet appeared in the anime, so anime-only fans should beware.

One of the most significant fights that Giyu has is against Akaza, one of the top demons in Muzan’s army. He can awaken his true strength in this fight and get revenge for the fallen Flame Hashira, Rengoku. He is also one of the main fighters in the final battle of the series against the demon king, Muzan.

It is mainly because of Giyu that the slayers can defeat Muzan once and for all. However, this victory does come at some significant costs, and Giyu will never be the same after this fight. In the epilogue, though, we see that it is possible that Giyu does get married and have children or gets a second chance at life with a future Tomioka that looks a lot like him.

Giyu in Other Media

Giyu Tomioka Hinokami Chronicles

As one of the most popular characters in the Demon Slayer series, there are other places where Giyu shows up other than the manga and anime versions. The Water Hashira is also one of the characters in the stage play adaptation of the series.

There are also video games based on Demon Slayer, like The Hinokami Chronicles, on some major consoles and platforms. The action-based 3D arena fighting game features Giyu as one of the playable fighters there.

There is also the Kimetsu no Yaiba Academy spin-off series where the characters are in a more chill school situation. They get to act like actual teenagers and not fighters against the demons that stalk the night. In this series, Giyu is still largely his cold self but we get to see a slighter less depressing version of him.

He is also one of the more simple characters to cosplay as in the series, so I have seen many people dress up as him. If you go to any anime or manga-themed events or areas in the near future, it is highly likely that you are going to see at least one Giyu Tomioka there.

Fun Facts about Giyu Tomioka

Giyu Tomioka

Here are some fun facts about Giyu Tomioka that even the most dedicated fans might not have known about:

  • Giyu Tomioka is one of the most popular characters in the series and this is only made more apparent by his high rankings in the official fan polls to date, peaking at even second place.
  • Giyu is one of only a handful of Hashira that actually uses the standard katana as a weapon. Most of the other characters have their own unique weapons that fit their fighting style.
  • He is one of only two Hashira who has a spin-off story dedicated to him. Rengoku is the other one.
  • Giyu was the only student of Urokodaki that did not die from the same demon that took the lives of his friends. This only happened because he did not actually fight that demon, that Tanjiro later slayed.
  • As mentioned before, Giyu’s Japanese voice actor also voices Cloud Strife. There are a lot of similarities between the two as well. For one, there are their personalities that are both cold and shut off to everyone else. Then there is the fact that they are traumatized by events that happened in their past regarding a friend. And there are some other similarities that happen later in the series.


Question: How Old is Giyu in Demon Slayer?

Answer: Giyu Tomioka is a young adult at the start of the series when he first meets Tanjiro and Nezuko. It is presumed that he is around 19 years old when the series begins. But there is the two-year time skip early on, so he is about 21 or 22 years old during the story when most of the major events happen.

Question: Is Giyu Strong?

Answer: Yes, he is most definitely strong. Giyu is one of the strongest Hashira members in the group, in fact. Physically, he may not rank too high against slayers like Tengen and Rengoku, but his overall strength could be better than almost anyone else in the Pillars.

Question: Who does Giyu Tomioka End Up with?

Answer: Obviously, the answer to this question is going to be major spoilers so turn away now if you want to avoid major story events. In the end, Giyu Tomioka does not end up with anyone that we know of.
It is hinted that he possibly has feelings for Shinobu, but we do not get to see the fruition of that in the series. So, as of what we see in the manga, Giyu does not end up with anyone.

Giyu Demon Slayer Guide: Conclusion

Giyu Tomioka is one of the most popular characters in the Demon Slayer series, and for good reason. His solid character design and immense strength come together to create an instant fan favorite. But he is still only one slice of the massive Demon Slayer cast.

If you want to know more about the rest of the major characters in Demon Slayer, be sure to check out our guide to all of the important characters you need to know about. That includes some of the other Hashira members as well as the main characters in the series.

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