I once believed that the road of happiness continued forever and ever into the distance. When it was destroyed, I realized for the first time that it lies upon a thin sheet of glass.
— Shinobu Kocho to herself in Wrath
Shinobu Kocho (
Shinobu Kocho is also the younger sister of Kanae Kocho along with her adoptive younger sister Kanao Tsuyuri. After a demon killed her parents, Shinobu joined the Demon Slayer Corps along with her sister in order to protect others from suffering the same fate as her.
Shinobu is a petite young woman with a pale complexion and large, compound-like eyes that lack pupils, only a haze of gradient purple, making her eyes appear similar to those of insects. She has black wavy hair that fades to dark purple, styled at the back of her head into a flat yakai-maki bun, fastened with a white, turquoise and light purple butterfly ornament. She has center-split, ear-length, voluminous curtain bangs that flow down to frame the sides of her face, with two slightly thinner chin-length locks of hair in front of her ears below them. Shinobu is short in height and has been described as having a small and weak-looking build, which is later reinforced by her mentioning that she does not possess enough physical strength to decapitate a demon as the other Hashira do. According to Zenitsu, Shinobu is so cute, that she could make a living on her looks alone.
Shinobu wears a dark purple standard Demon Slayer uniform with gold buttons, consisting of a dark-purple tinted straight-lined black jacket and matching colored tabi socks and hakama pants, tucked into white butterfly patterned Kyahan fading into pale turquoise then pink around her lower legs, fastened with white ribbons. Over her uniform, she wears a white haori that previously belonged to her older sister, which has a butterfly wing pattern that fades into a pale turquoise then pink color on the sleeves and hem which are cuffed with a black and white dotted trim. She wears white zōri sandals with purple straps for footwear, with a hidden blade in one of the heels.
When Shinobu was fourteen, her appearance was altered slightly. Her chin-length strands of hair in front of her ears were tucked in, and she had a different Demon Slayer uniform consisting of silver buttons and cloth a darker shade of purple. She also sported a plain white haori over it.
Shinobu displays a bright, friendly and cheerful demeanor, always having an easygoing smile on her face regardless of the situation she is in. However, her outward behavior is shown very quickly to be a façade. This is displayed in the way she enjoys teasing others, to the point of being rather sadistic about it, enjoying most notably to pick on Giyu Tomioka. Despite her relaxed exterior and her initial claim of wanting to get along with demons, she can be rather cruel towards them, which is seen when she kills the Spider Demon (Daughter) after giving her false hope of helping her, and attempting to kill Nezuko Kamado without hesitation. Later on, she is shown to have a more compassionate side towards both Tanjiro Kamado and his sister after hearing their full story.
It is later revealed that her outwardly calm and tranquil disposition is worn as a mask, as Shinobu holds an intense hatred for demons due to the loss of her sister, Kanae Kocho, at a young age, along with the deaths of her parents, almost all of her Tsuguko, and the families of her apprentices at the Butterfly Mansion. This hatred is so strong that she is in a near-constant state of extreme anger, which is sensed by Tanjiro Kamado when the two individuals hold a conversation. Her desire for revenge rendered her unable to live the normal life her sister had wished upon her, instead devoting the entirety of her energy to defeating demons.
During her battle against Doma, Shinobu reveals that she also suffers from an inferiority complex due to her inferior physical abilities compared to her fellow Hashira, having been jealous of them for possessing taller or more muscular bodies than her and cursing her own body for not developing further to make her more effective in combat.
Shinobu's younger self had a more brash, blunt and uncomplicated demeanor as seen when she and her sister rescued Kanao Tsuyuri, who she had a pointedly negative attitude towards raising. After the death of Kanae, however, Shinobu began to outwardly behave more like her sister and eventually developed her positive attitude and mannerisms to match while internally holding in her rage, which she later clarifies is fueled by her desire to continuously display the smile that her sister favored. Though never shown onscreen, Shinobu has a notable temper, namely in the way that makes even Inosuke Hashibira take notice.
Overall Abilities: As a Hashira of the Demon Slayer Corps, Shinobu is a very powerful and skilled combatant. Despite not possessing the physical strength to cut off a demon's head common to that of an average Demon Slayer, Shinobu uses her creativity, ingenuity and other physical abilities to more than make up for it. Instead of the traditional method of decapitating a demon with a Nichirin Sword to kill them, Shinobu opts to use a modified version of a katana that acts as a stinger to inject lethal Wisteria poison that is poisonous to demons. Other than her intellect, she is extremely fast and agile, allowing her to overpower demons very quickly. Her true strength was revealed during her battle with the second most powerful Upper Rank demon, Doma, where she was able to go toe-to-toe with the demon, even managing to overpower him slightly and received praise from Doma.
Enhanced Agility: In accordance to her Insect Breathing swordsmanship style, Shinobu is incredibly agile and swift, shown when she maneuvered through a lush forest effortlessly and evaded the Spider Demon (Daughter)'s silk Blood Demon Art with ease and finesse. When fighting, Shinobu relies on acrobatic movements to deliver dozens of short thrusts with her katana to inject as much poison as she can into her enemy at once. This also allows her to dodge and evade attacks rather than blocking them. Shinobu's agility even surprised Doma who had trouble keeping up with her dexterous movements.
Enhanced Strength: Despite being the smallest member of the Demon Slayer Corps and thus having the weakest swing strength due to her small arms, Shinobu instead displays powerful thrusting and stabbing strength, as proven when she pierced a stone boulder in half and managed to break a ceiling with an upward thrust attack. Her strength also allows her to pierce the body of Upper Rank Two, Doma, as well as his neck.
Immense Speed & Reflexes: Shinobu possesses superhuman speed and reflexes enabling her to effortlessly evade and out-pace demons, attacking them before they can even register what happened. Shinobu is so fast that it often appears as if she teleported. Her inhuman speed even managed to surprised Doma as she out-sped the Upper Rank numerous times during their fight, unleashing dozens of strikes that even Doma couldn't fully block or evade, making him admit that Shinobu is the fastest Hashira that he had ever met. Furthermore, she once moved so fast, even while severely injured, that even Doma couldn't register and barely countered. Most impressively, she moved so fast that she sundered a bridge after being severely injured by Doma.
Immense Stamina and Endurance: As a Hashira, Shinobu has attained tremendous levels of stamina and endurance due to years of harsh training. This was shown during her fight against Doma where she was able to keep fighting the Upper Rank despite losing a lot of blood, having one of her lungs punctured and being unable to breathe, a feat which made Doma doubt if she was human.
Indomitable Will: Shinobu possesses an undaunted spirit and incredible willpower, mostly due to her unquenchable hatred for demons. Even with her inferiority complex brought about by her small size and weak physical strength, and despite losing so much blood to the point she couldn't stand and not being able to breathe. After remembering her promise to Kanao and hearing Kanae's words, Shinobu remained steadfast and stood up, a feat that surprised even Doma.
Keen Intellect: Shinobu possesses vast knowledge in using poison in combat. During her battle with Doma, she was able to calculate the amount of poison and the poison mix that would be the most effective against him. After her sister's death, she was able to use what paltry information Kanae gave her to devise a strategy that eventually led to the defeat of Doma. She also developed a form of sign language with Kanao to communicate crucial information in a short span of time, while helped Kanao in fighting and defeating the Upper Rank demon.
Medical Expertise: Despite not being as combat-talented as the rest of her fellow Hashira, Shinobu instead displays immense skill and mastery inover medical and pharmaceutical fields to make up for her lack of natural-born combat ability, being highly knowledgeable about how to create various poisons using Wisteria Flowers and utilize them in combat to achieve the most deadly effect. She is capable of killing opponents within seconds, and even manages to create a poison strong enough to drastically weaken Doma, the second strongest demon of the Twelve Kizuki. She possesses the necessary skills to slowly saturate her body with poison without negatively impending her own health, as well as the medical skills needed to counteract the venoms and poisons created by demons. This is seen when she manages to undo the poison that is slowly transforming Zenitsu Agatsuma into a spider and restore him back to his previous human form.
- Anti-Kibutsuji Drug: Upon teaming up with Tamayo and Yushiro, Shinobu was able to aid Tamayo in creating a successful, four-stage drug that would be used to significantly weaken Muzan, even despite his immense physical resistance and abilities. This drug was undeniably one of the biggest factors in the final fight against the Demon King, as it made the normally useless attacks of the Demon Slayers into ones that were super effective, allowing them to drive him into a corner and kill him.
Poisonous Physiology: In order to defeat Doma, Shinobu heavily altered her body by absorbing highly concentrated Wisteria-based poison over a period of a year prior to her battle with him. She is successful in saturating her body with the undetectable poison that has completely merged with her body's own cell structures, including those of her blood and internal organs—all the way down to the very tips of her fingernails. With Shinobu's overall size and body weight, her body is the equivalent of 37 kilograms worth of poison, approximately seven-hundred times more than the lethal amount needed to kill an average demon, with the poison being strong enough to melt Doma down to his very bones and prevented him from regenerating.
Master Swordswoman: As a Hashira of the Demon Slayer Corps, Shinobu is one of the most powerful and skilled swordswoman in the entire organization. Her fighting style is incredibly unique, but as effective as traditional swordsmanship styles. Shinobu's swordplay specializes in sword thrusting and piercing techniques in order to inject poison into demons. Her sword thrusts are so fast and powerful that they can pierce boulders and out-speed Water Breathing's Drop Ripple Thrust form, the fastest thrusting technique in that Breathing Style. However, the structure of her sword makes it ineffective for blocking attacks, so she makes up for it with her swift thrusts and stabs. Her swordsmanship prowess allowed her to go against Upper Rank Two, Doma, who has lived and fought for over a century, further showcasing her brilliant sword wielding skill.
Insect Breathing (
- Butterfly Dance: Caprice (
蝶ノ 舞 戯れ Chō no mai: Tawamure?) - The user leaps into the air and charges towards the opponent and stings them multiple times with their blade to inject poison.
- Dance of the Bee Sting: True Flutter (
蜂 牙ノ 舞 真 靡き Hōga no mai: Manabiki?) - The user dashes at their target at blinding speeds and uses the momentum of their speed to then strengthen a single thrust into their opponent and inject poison into them.
- Dance of the Dragonfly: Compound Eye Hexagon (
蜻 蛉ノ 舞 複 眼 六 角Seirei no mai: Fukugan Rokkaku?) - A six strike attack with which the user aims to strike and inject their target with multiple doses of poison at the target's weak spots (such as the neck, heart, torso, etc.) in order to kill them with a large dose of poison.
- Dance of the Centipede: Hundred-Legged Zigzag (
蜈 蚣ノ 舞 百 足 蛇 腹Gokō no mai: Hyakusoku Jabara?) - An attack with which the user uses their full speed to run a zigzag pattern that confuses their opponent in order to create an opening for them to directly stab their opponent's neck and inject poison to kill them, with the stab's force and power being further enhanced by the momentum of their speed. Doma noted that the sheer speed of this technique is strong enough to destroy an entire wooden bridge.
Game Exclusive Techniques
- Butterfly Dance: Caprice, Illusory Light (
蝶ノ 舞 戯れ・ 幻 光Chō no mai: Tawamure - Genkō?) - The user lunges at their opponent before unleashing a barrage of straight short thrusts with their sword, ended with one powerful thrust that launches their opponent away and onto their back. The user then leaps into the air while transforming into a gigantic butterfly of light, before diving from it and stabbing their blade straight through their opponent and into the ground, cracking the surrounding terrain and creating a massive crater in its wake.
- Swift Thrust (
速 足 突き Haya'ashi Tsuki?) - The user spins before kicking off the ground and quickly dashing towards their opponent with enough speed to simulate teleportation, then does a powerful, singular thrust that hits twice.
- Rising Thrust (
昇り 突き Nobori Tsuki?) - The user launches a thrust towards their opponent and then releases an upwards thrust that launches their opponent high up into the air.
- Sixfold Thrust (
六 連 突き Rokuren Tsuki?) - The user unleashes five short but very quick thrusts towards their opponent, before briefly pausing and then unleashing a sixth, more powerful thrust.
Stinger Nichirin Katana: Shinobu carries a heavily modified Nichirin Katana forged by Tecchin Tecchikawahara  as her primary weapon. It is the same as any katana from the handle to slightly above the hilt, but above that, the weapon loses its blade and is replaced by a rod. It ends in a needle-like tip, resembling an insect's stinger in appearance and function. The "stinger" is designed for injection of Wisteria poison into demons, as Shinobu uses her medical expertise to replace her relative lack of strength and inability to decapitate demons. Her katana's hilt is designed to bear resemblance to a four-petaled aqua-colored flower, trimmed with orange. The blade is lavender-blue in color, with the words Evil Demon (
- Shinobu's surname contains the kanji for "butterfly" (胡蝶 kochō?). Her first name is written in hiragana and thus doesn't have one direct meaning, but it can be read as the verbs "recall" (偲ぶ shinobu?) or "stealth/endure" (忍ぶ shinobu?).
- Since her first name uses three hiragana characters, it's notably different to Kanae and Kanao's names, as they're both written with three katakana characters instead.
- Shinobu's rankings in the popularity polls are as follows:
- Shinobu ranked 6th in the first popularity poll with 1813 votes.
- Shinobu ranked 5th in the second popularity poll with 8787 votes.
- Both of Shinobu's voice actors, Saori Hayami and Erika Harlacher, also share the roles of Emi Igawa from Your Lie in April, Yumeko Jabami from Kakegurui and Therese Alexanderite from The Rising of the Shield Hero.
- Shinobu's Demon Slayer uniform's jacket is originally designed to leave the center of the chest area open, similar to Mitsuri Kanroji's, but, as Shinobu disliked this aspect of its design, she burned the original uniform right in front of the Kakushi who had just given it to her and requested a fully buttoned version of the uniform instead.
- Shinobu and Mitsuri get along quite well due to them having been the only two female Hashira after Kanae Kocho's death. Mitsuri also teaches her western cooking.
- Shinobu's parents worked in compounding medicine, a reason why Shinobu is also very talented with medicines.
- The amount of Wisteria poison in Shinobu's body was originally stated to be seventy times the lethal amount to kill a demon in the magazine version, but it was later corrected by Koyoharu Gotoge to be seven hundred times in the volume edition.
- Shinobu's blade was designed and created by the chief of the Swordsmith Village, Tecchin Tecchikawahara.
- There was some tension during the cooperative research time between Shinobu and Yushiro. Shinobu held some distrust towards Tamayo due to her being a demon and Yushiro wished to kill Shinobu as a result of it.
- Shinobu can't stand any kinds of furry creatures, according to Giyu Tomioka.
- Shinobu has a pet goldfish named Fugu.
- Although Shinobu wouldn't admit it, she was a natural airhead. The names she came up with for Kanao Tsuyuri were so bizarre that upon seeing them, Kanae broke down into such an "EH?!" expression that even Aoi Kanzaki wasn't able to smoothen things out.
- Shinobu viewed the other Hashira as follows:
- "He's a good person. There are times when we're not on the same page." - Flame Hashira
- "I diagnose his memory disorder and the treatment of his wounds. He can't choose his words well, but he's a good boy at heart." - Mist Hashira
- "Once in a while we talk about things such as Defensive Body Movement." - Serpent Hashira
- "I respect him from the bottom of my heart." - Stone Hashira
- "I think he should talk a bit more." - Water Hashira
- "We had a little dispute when he failed to kidnap Aoi and the others." - Sound Hashira
- "I like her. It's because she's cheerful and cute." - Love Hashira
- "Whenever we meet each other, he asks if I'm doing okay." - Wind Hashira
- Shinobu's overall level of openness was ranked 85%.
- (To Tanjiro Kamado) "How can you feel sorry for something that's killed humans? I've never heard of anything so absurd. But if that was how my sister truly felt, then I must carry it on. If there's a way not to kill these pitiful demons, I have to keep trying to come up with it. Without ever extinguishing the smile my sister said she loved..."
- (To herself, recollecting her childhood life) "I once believed that the road of happiness continued forever and ever into the distance. When it was destroyed, I realized for the first time that it lies upon a thin sheet of glass. And just as we were saved, there were those whose happiness that haven't yet been destroyed. So I wanted to get stronger and protect them. That's what we promised each other. Even if we're weak and can't cut off demon heads, if we defeat one demon, we can save dozens of people. And if we can defeat an Upper Rank Kizuki, we can save hundreds. It isn't about whether we can or cannot do. There are things we have to do."
- (To herself, responding to a question Tanjiro Kamado asked in the past) "Yes, I'm angry, Tanjiro. I've always been angry. My parents were killed. My older sister was killed. And all my Tsuguko except Kanao were killed. If demons hadn't murdered those girls' families, they'd be living happily with them right now. It really makes me furious!"