After a desperate fight to the death, Tanjiro prevails over Kyogai.
He steps out of the mansion to find Zenitsu, who’d escaped before him. But then, he encounters an unforeseen circumstance before him: the battered Zenitsu, holding the box containing Nezuko in his arms, while the man wearing a boar hide stands in the way with two Nichirin swords drawn…
Defending Zenitsu for protecting Nezuko's box, Tanjiro charges at the masked Demon Slayer of Final Selection. With all his might and fury, he lands a punch that cracks the stranger's ribs and sends him flying; he angrily states that Zenitsu isn't drawing his blade because it is taboo for Demon Slayers to harm one another, yet he endured a single-sided beating over his ignorance. The masked Slayer gives a weak apology and decides to fight Tanjiro bare-handed; Tanjiro tries to add that it is taboo for them to fight in any way but the masked Demon Slayer charges ahead and attacks.
Tanjiro fights back but struggles to land a blow, with the stranger's low fighting stance akin to a beast; he tries to get down lower to land a hit but the masked Demon Slayer's extraordinary flexibility comes into play, hitting his head by bending his legs forward.
He then demonstrates how far he can stretch backwards, with Tanjiro then warning him against doing so due to his wounds. The stranger bluntly says he doesn't care about the future and simply enjoys the now, angering Tanjiro over his lack of foresight. He grabs the masked Demon Slayer by the shoulders and demands he calm himself down, head butting him square in the forehead.
Zenitsu hears the sound of the impact and worriedly believes their skulls have fractured. The stranger staggers back in pain and the boar mask falls off. To Tanjiro and Zenitsu's surprise, the Demon Slayer has a pretty and feminine face, in stark contrast to his muscular physique. He asks if they have a problem with his appearance, wondering why Zenitsu is staring at him, which Zenitsu denies. Tanjiro interjects that he has a "petite, fair-skinned, and attractive" face, to the stranger's chagrin. He tells Tanjiro his name is Inosuke Hashibira and tells him not to forget it; when Tanjiro asks how it is spelled, Inosuke freezes as he does not know, only to suddenly lose unconsciousness and fall over.
Tanjiro believes he has a concussion from his headbutt; an amazed Teruko asks if she can touch his forehead, while Zenitsu is in disbelief that there is no blood on Tanjiro. Sometime later, Inosuke wakes up with a loud scream, frightening Zenitsu. He chases him until he sees the children and Tanjiro burying the dead from the mansion. He asks what they are doing and why, refusing to help out, to Zenitsu's bewilderment.
Tanjiro answers that he isn't doing so because he is hurt, to Inosuke's shock. He suddenly yells out that he isn't to be underestimated and can bury hundreds of corpses and beat them all. That afternoon, the children, Tanjiro and Zenitsu pray for the souls of the deceased, while Inosuke remains busy with head butting the trees around him.
Tanjiro's Kasugai Crow appears and instructs them to follow him. Tanjiro and Zenitsu begin to leave but are interrupted by Inosuke asking what they are doing; the former responds that they are descending the mountain and asks that he come with them. As they leave, Zenitsu, who still believes that Shoichi had defeated the Tongue Demon, holds onto him for protection, forcing Tanjiro to knock him unconscious in annoyance. Then, the crow instructs Kiyoshi to hold out his hands and spits out a small bag. Initially disgusted, he is told by the crow and Tanjiro that the bag contains wisteria to ward off demons, given his status as a marechi. The children bid the Demon Slayers farewell and they go off on their way.
As they travel, Inosuke challenges "loser" and believes he can find a way to defeat him; Tanjiro irritably says his name is "Kamado Tanjiro", only for Inosuke to mince it into "Kamaboko Gonpachiro". The two begin to argue but are scolded by Zenitsu rhetorically asking if they can be any louder. As night falls, the trio arrive at a house with a wisteria family crest on the gate. The crow tells them they are to rest inside to recover from their injuries but the trio remains unsure. An elderly woman then opens the gates and sees them, recognizing the three as Demon Slayers and inviting them inside.
In the house, she provides them with a change of clothes and a meal; Zenitsu naively believes she is a monster but is scolded by Tanjiro for his rudeness. As they eat, Inosuke begins to eat his food by hand and creating a large mess while doing so. Zenitsu asks for him to use chopsticks but Inosuke ignores him and continues to wolf down his meal. Later, the woman proves them with futons to sleep on; Inosuke quickly picks one and states "first come, first served". Tanjiro happily accepts his choice, to Inosuke's annoyance, and asks where Zenitsu will sleep, only for Inosuke to hurl a pillow at Zenitsu's head.
The old woman then introduces them to a doctor to help check their injuries, where they realize that all of them have broken ribs. As they lie in bed, Inosuke then claims that the lump on his head from Tanjiro's head butt hurts more, leading Tanjiro to apologize. Zenitsu takes the chance and asks for Inosuke's apology for beating him, to which Inosuke claims he'll pass the chance, annoying him and Tanjiro for his rudeness.
Tanjiro is informed by his Kasugai Crow that the house they are in belongs to a family who was rescued by Demon Slayers in the past; as such, they tend to Demon Slayers for free as thanks for their rescue. He then asks Inosuke about his reason for entering Final Selection. He gives his reason: a Demon Slayer entered his mountain, leading Inosuke to beat him and take his sword. He then learned about the selection process and the existence of demons. Tanjiro states that both of them were raised in the mountains but Inosuke denies this, claiming he doesn't have parents or siblings; instead living in the mountain to test his strength against others.
Zenitsu takes the opportunity to ask Tanjiro about his reason for carrying a demon with him. Tanjiro first thanks him for protecting the box, embarrassing Zenitsu with his praise. He states that with his sense of smell, he immediately could tell he was kind and strong, though Zenitsu still remains unsure with himself over that aspect of him. Suddenly, Nezuko's box begins to shake, scaring the Demon Slayer greatly.
Tanjiro attempts to calm his friend but fails when Zenitsu grows even more anxious. The box's door open and Zenitsu hysterically attempt to escape the room, leading Inosuke to kick him away. He lands in front of the box as it begins to open; when a hand appears, Zenitsu runs away to a closet, only to see Nezuko crawl out.
As Tanjiro calls to her, she stands up and shows her full self to Zenitsu. He subsequently becomes enraged that Tanjiro had been travelling "with a girl this cute". Tanjiro tries to reason with him but Zenitsu admonishes him over getting himself injured on multiple occasions just so Tanjiro could have a girl. He claims the Demon Slayer Corps isn't "something you'd join for fun" and angrily draws his blade to punish him.
Characters in Order of Appearance