Why Tanjiro Kamado Is A BORING Protagonist And One Of The Worst Shonen MCs | https://animemotivation.com/why-tanjiro-kamado-is-a-boring-protagonist-shonen-mc/
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Why Tanjiro Kamado Is A BORING Protagonist (One Of The Worst Shonen MCs)

Tanjiro Kamado is one of the most famous shonen mcs of all time.

Not only that, he’s one of the most famous main characters ever created in the anime industry.

Demon Slayer’s rise to success and becoming the biggest anime movie of all time is the clear reason.

While the anime is slightly overrated, the main character (Tanjiro Kamado) is VERY overrated.

Let’s dig into the details as to why that is.

Here’s a list.

 

1. Not much stands out

Tanjiro Kamado ds | https://animemotivation.com/why-tanjiro-kamado-is-a-boring-protagonist-shonen-mc/

Think very hard about Tanjiro Kamado as a shonen MC or a main character in general, regardless of the genre.

Tanjiro comes back to his home to find Nezuko a demon, and his family murdered. This sibling relationship (as I’ve said before) is a major highlight of the DS series as a whole.

In fact, in my eyes, it’s the ONE reason why the anime has at least one leg to stand on at all.

Take away this element, and focus purely on Tanjiro (separate from Nezuko), and there isn’t anything worth praising as far as uniqueness, characteristics, or something that makes you like the character beyond the typical BS.

  • Many shonen MCS are kind.
  • Many Shonen MCs start out weak.
  • Many Shonen MCS can be gentle.
  • And many Shonen MCS can be forgiving.

The last part is basically what Naruto is. That anime stood out when it was released (aside from being inspired by DBZ clearly), by having a human main character be so forgiving, even at times when fans would beg the MC to get revenge.

Naruto’s whole journey is inspiring despite some of his more cringe-worthy moments, and there is a lot of substance when connecting the dots.

Tanjiro by comparison is just a kind guy who went through the trauma of losing his family. Besides this, there is nothing exciting, interesting, deep, or anything that connects you to his character that hasn’t been done better in many other Shonen anime.

Or anime across the board.

Even a character like Soma Yukihira, who by definition had it easier (and the anime has Ecchi elements mixed with Shonen) is a more compelling protagonist despite the anime’s shenanigans.

Tanjiro feels too flat for him to be anything worth praising or pointing out.

This leads to my next point.

 

2. He’s LESS compelling than supporting characters

There are;t many anime shows you can think of where the main character is LESS interesting than all the supporting characters, or many of them to a sharp degree.

And when that is the case, it doesn’t last forever (Re:Zero with Rem vs Emilia, etc).

 

Rengoku smiling | https://animemotivation.com/why-tanjiro-kamado-is-a-boring-protagonist-shonen-mc/

In Demon Slayer, aka Kimetsu No Yaiba, Tanjiro Kamado clearly is the main character but the supporting cast are more compelling in almost every way.

Rengoku, for example, is what Tanjiro would like to be but is not. Rengoku’s time in the anime was short-lived relatively speaking, but his impact, not to mention his character as a whole packed more punches than Tanjiro in all 3 seasons.

Probably the 4th as well.

 

shinobu kocho butterfly woman | https://animemotivation.com/why-tanjiro-kamado-is-a-boring-protagonist-shonen-mc/

Even a character like Shinobu despite not having all the time in the world as far as screen time, is a LOT more compelling, memorable, and interesting in the story than Tanjiro.

It’s perplexing because Shinobu isn’t what you would call “the most relevant” and yet Tanjiro being in practically every episode aside from some, doesn’t get any more interesting in spite of personal progress.

 

Tengen Uzui mc | https://animemotivation.com/why-tanjiro-kamado-is-a-boring-protagonist-shonen-mc/

Then there are characters like Tengen Uzui, who had some of the best scenes during the arc of Demon Slayer where they play the role of “prostitutes” before shit gets real with high-ranking demon siblings.

His fights (like everyone else’s to be fair) look good, but Tengen as a character is more compelling yet again, and more interesting than Tanjiro Kamado could ever be.

He commands more presence, more aura, and puts more energy into the anime by comparison even though he’s not always there.

We know Inosuke is an absolute fool in the anime and part of the anime’s comedy, but Inosuke seems to take the lead as a better main character in my eyes (not Zenitsu).

 

mitsuri kanroji whip sword | https://animemotivation.com/why-tanjiro-kamado-is-a-boring-protagonist-shonen-mc/

Ignoring that, other supporting characters of this series like Mitsuri Kanroji absolutely stole the spotlight when she showed up in the Swordsmith arc of Demon Slayer.

Whether or not she is canonically a main character in that season, the fact is she is NOT one of the main characters in general.

I say this to say her role in the Swordsmith arc overtook anything Tanjiro Kamado could have pulled off but didn’t. Intentional or not.

Tanjiro felt more like a background character even though he did get in the action along with Nezuko.

 

muichiro sword style | https://animemotivation.com/why-tanjiro-kamado-is-a-boring-protagonist-shonen-mc/

Then there is even Muichiro Tokito, the guy who seems nonchalant as F and seems disrespectful when he first shows up.

He speaks calmly, quiet ish, is a clear introvert and is an awkward person. But similar to Mitsuri Kanroji, he stole the spotlight to a great degree as well in the Swordsmith arc of DS.

Muichiro was entertaining in a low key kind of way, and along with Mitsuri and other characters mentioned his backstory and just his overall character feels more compelling than the MC himself (Tanjiro).

Related: 20+ Of The Most Traumatic Anime Shows That Go Deep

 

3. Same shit, different season

deku and tanjiro comparison | https://animemotivation.com/why-tanjiro-kamado-is-a-boring-protagonist-shonen-mc/

My Hero Academia season 7 is airing right now. In the beginning of My Hero Academia, people always complained about DEKU being a so called crybaby.

They also tried using the “it copies Naruto” BS in the early stages, but this attitude shifted as the seasons went by, and DEKU evolved, changed, and progressed as a character.

This is in spite of his motivations which people use as a point of criticism, depending on the critic.

Deku is an improved version of Tanjiro.

 

Tanjiro serious face | https://animemotivation.com/why-tanjiro-kamado-is-a-boring-protagonist-shonen-mc/

Tanjiro by comparison doesn’t change much. He’s the same nice guy who tries at the sight of demons and shows empathy, which is a great trait, but this feels rinsed and repeated in a way that’s bland like white bread and no butter.

The important point here is it doesn’t FEEL like he’s changed in a way progressive way.

This is relevant for a couple of reasons:

  • Anime is subjective, no matter how logical we try to be.
  • Anime and entertainment are about making you FEEL. If this is lacking, everything seems bland (including certain characters).
  • If the writing doesn’t evoke feelings, or it doesn’t do a good job of connecting you to the character, they begin to feel bland, especially if this is consistent.

So while it may be subjective in general, if this pattern (especially the third point) is continuous, the character in question or even the anime starts to feel dry and boring.

This is absolutely the case with Tanjiro Kamado.

 

saitama baldy locks | https://animemotivation.com/why-tanjiro-kamado-is-a-boring-protagonist-shonen-mc/

It’s not as if a boring character (on the surface) can’t be made interesting. Look at Saitama from One Punch Man.

He’s not the most exciting protagonist by any stretch of the imagination.

He’s a guy who was weak, almost got killed, and worked himself to death through training to the point he became balled and lost all his hair.

Then he becomes depressed because he’s now so strong he can’t get any thrill from fighting since ONE PUNCH is all it takes to win.

Saitama is a boring character on the surface, yet the writing makes his character comical, interesting, relatable, and entertaining. This is even in spite of his sometimes dry, bland, or basic responses.

We don’t see this with Tanjiro Kamado despite the context being different. He’s a nice guy who empathizes with demons and that’s it.

 

nezuko and tanjiro | https://animemotivation.com/why-tanjiro-kamado-is-a-boring-protagonist-shonen-mc/

Yes, as I said, his sibling relationship is a highlight and it somewhat enhances his character, but when analyzed in isolation, and when the anime focus purely on Tanjiro, it’s the same boring shit.

It becomes the boring protagonist on screen who is LESS compelling than other characters, even support characters, which Ufotable then pumps up the visuals to exaggerate his character.

The visuals trick people into believing everything happening in that moment is good only because it looks good despite it having no substance underneath the flashy visuals and gorgeous aesthetics.

That’s what bread and butter is. Bread is bland, the butter exaggerates how good the bread is, which doesn’t change the fact bread is bland and useless without enhancers like Chicken, cheese, and so on.

Visuals, aesthetics, animation quality, and the energy they put into it are these “enhancers” when talking about Tanjiro Kamado as a character.

In an anime where the visual quality was standard, Tanjiro would no longer get away with being so popular or being overhyped, then becoming overrated as a consequence.

People used to claim (and often exaggerate because of the hate train) that Kirito was a completely bland, and flat character with no emotions or stand-out features.

If that’s true, you’re not allowed to tell me Tanjiro is any better.

Related: 24+ Anime With A Similar Art Style To Demon Slayer

 

4. Too perfect

natsu and tanjiro comparison | https://animemotivation.com/why-tanjiro-kamado-is-a-boring-protagonist-shonen-mc/

Balance matters at the end of the day. Look at someone like Natsu Dragneel who is a great example of this.

He’s the type of character who like Tanjiro is nice, kind, and thoughtful of others. He even has a lot of empathy as well.

The difference between both characters and why someone like Natsu is likeable is because Natsu is NOT a perfect character. He’s not written to be perfect either.

Natsu Dragneel has major flaws, is a rebel, hates authority, dislikes being told what to do, and is gutsy enough to challenge those stronger than him despite obvious disadvantages.

He’s also unintentionally hilarious which is even better than a character who tries to be this way.

 

tanjro sword smith arc | https://animemotivation.com/why-tanjiro-kamado-is-a-boring-protagonist-shonen-mc/

Tanjiro Kamado is the kind of perfect protagonist character who is so flawless that it becomes boring. It makes you want to focus on other characters besides Tanjiro since there isn’t much to extract from him.

He’s written to be perfect, he does the right things, and that makes his role as a protagonist so bland and plain.

As pointed out with the Saitama comparison, it’s not about the character being boring or perfect, it’s HOW you write the character and portray them at the end of the day.

But the more you lean towards perfection without adding much else, the more guaranteed that character is to lack traits that make them curious at the very least, and highly rated at the most.

 

In the end, Tanjiro is the LEAST interesting protagonist of DS

Nezuko despite not being able to talk is more compelling for a lot of reasons. Their sibling relationship is what makes Tanjiro’s role in Demon Slayer even the least bit interesting, but not much beyond that.

Compared to so many other protagonists, even if it’s not a Shonen comparison, he’s overrated beyond belief and doesn’t have a leg to stand on when analyzed down to the detail.