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 and along with her younger adoptive sister Kanao Tsuyuri. After the demons killed their parents she joined the Demon Slayer Corps along with her sister 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 shoulder-length wavy hair that fades from black into dark purple, usually styled at the back of her head into a flat 'yakai-maki' bun, fastened with a white and 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 Agatsuma, Shinobu is very attractive, and could easily make a living on her looks alone.
Shinobu wears the 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 pattern 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 Daughter Spider Demon 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 take notice.
Overall Abilities: As a Hashira of the Demon Slayer Corps, Shinobu is a very powerful swordswoman. Despite not possessing the physical strength to cut off a Demon's head common to that of an average Demon Slayer or even the superhuman abilities possessed by her fellow Hashira, Shinobu is nonetheless as dangerous and lethal as the rest of them.
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 thrust and stab strength, as the other Hashira notes that a single thrust from her sword could easily pierce a stone boulder in half. Her thrusting speed is also noted to be the fastest among her fellow Hashira.
Immense Speed & Reflexes: Shinobu is one of the fastest humans in the series, being swift enough to easily evade and out-pace Demons, catching them by surprise. Doma, the Upper Rank 2, stated she might have been the fastest Hashira he had ever met.
Immense Stamina & Endurance: In her battle against Doma, Shinobu sustained fatal injuries after inhaling his ice powder, destroying one of her lungs causing her to slowly die from blood loss. However, Shinobu still remained strong as ever and continued to fight, a feat that surprised Doma.
Indomitable Will: Like all Demon Slayers, who joined to get revenge on Demons, Shinobu has an undaunted will and spirit in her quest to kill Demons. This was highlighted in her battle against Doma, where she was on the brink of death but still remained steadfast, a feat that surprised Doma.
Medical Expertise: Despite not being as combat-talented as the rest of her fellow Hashira, Shinobu instead displays immense skill and mastery over medical and pharmaceutical fields to make up for her lack of natural-born combat ability, being highly knowledgeable about how to create various poisons and venoms using Wisteria flowers. 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 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 Kibutsuji, even despite his immense physical resistance and abilities. The first stage, although unsuccessful on Muzan, is capable of turning a Demon back to a human.
Poisonous Body: In order to defeat the Upper Rank Two, Doma, Shinobu heavily altered her body by absorbing and altering her body's physiology with highly concentrated Wisteria-based poison over a period of a year. 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, the Upper Rank, down to his very bones.
Tactical 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 Kocho gave her to devise a strategy that eventually led to the defeat of Doma.
Master Swordswoman: Being a Hashira of the Demon Slayer Corps, Shinobu is one of the most powerful and skilled swordswomen in the entire organization.
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 her 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 陌 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.
Stinger Nichirin Katana: Shinobu uses a heavily modified Nichirin Blade 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 poisons into Demons, as Shinobu uses her medical expertise to replace her relative lack of strength and inability to decapitate Demons. She has also modified the weapon's sheath, using it as a portable poison mixer and loader. Shinobu's 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 name, Shinobu (しのぶ?) is a Japanese verb meaning "recall" (偲ぶ?) or "stealth/endure" (忍ぶ?).
- Her name is spelled with three hiragana characters instead of katakana which is the way Kanae's and Kanao's names are written.
- Shinobu's surname means "butterfly" (
- 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.
- Her 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's death. Mitsuri also teaches her western cooking.
- Her 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 Gotōge 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.
- She has a pet goldfish.
- (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!"