Registered User初心者/ Shoshinsha / Beginner
- Nov 29, 2019
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A thematic analysis and interpretation of Kibutsuji Muzan
I'm going to talk about Muzan's background, philosophy and nature and how they are handled throughout his role in the series.
Kibutsuji Muzan was a man who from even before birth had the "shadows of death" constantly clinging to him. Growing up he was still a very sickly individual and was told he would die before he turned 20. This resulted in him becoming a demon having sought out aid in an attempt to extend his life. He was successful and gained a strong body and was no longer ill, but as a result he had been shunned by the sun, condemned to darkness for as long as he lived. He then spent his life looking for the blue spider lily, the missing ingredient that he believed to grant him special immunity from the sun's rays. Muzan created demons not so that he could rule the world, nor for the "sake of being evil". He created demons out of frustration and desperation so they could aid in finding the blue spider lily. An escape from his banishment from sunlight.
So that's Muzan at the surface level, but let's unpack this. Look at how this wish originates, how it is expressed and how it influences his philosophy in life and his self-identification.
During the Upper Moon meeting, we're explicitly told what Muzan detests:
Natural concepts aren't solitary, but exist in tandem and work in a state of flux. A yin and yang. This dichotomy is very apparent in KnY. Warmth/Cold, Light/Darkness, Life/Death.
As wikipedia puts it: "describing how seemingly opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world." The world is in a constant cycle of change between these two states. Warmth can only be understood because there is cold, nature constantly changes from day-night-day and so on, and humans (in KnY) are in an a cycle of reincarnation with life and death. The truth of change is stated in the first chapter of the manga:
And before killing the girl, he makes it explicitly clear to her, exactly what his condition is, as if to reassure himself.
What Muzan likes to believe:
However, the truth of the situation had already been permanently etched into him, and he knew it all along:
In the context of yin-yang, the yang dragon and the yin tiger "visualises the interplay between light and dark energy."
The Tao embodies the duality of the universe and the enlivening chi at work to balance opposing forces often represented by the tiger and dragon. Chinese ...
We can even see Muzan's conflict within his fighting style. Underwhelming and repetitive, but that's precisely the point. We just came from a battle against UM1 who used countless different techniques demonstrating all the years he had to perfect his form. And then we've got Muzan, the progenitor who gave all of the demons their own different abilities. And yet, Muzan himself refuses to change his attack style. He continuously relies on his body and whips his arms around non-stop. As if he is aware that his very own philosophy is being tested in that moment. Later in the fight Muzan finally gives in and changes to use a paralysis based blood demon art, but what's interesting is that this happens immediately after this moment:
A scene that bears all too much resemblance for Muzan.
And to perfectly capture the irony in Muzan's philosophy, (the shapeshifting demon that "hates change"), even if he didn't give in and change his fighting style to the paralysis blood demon art, deep down, he knew he was wrong about change. Because that's precisely how he was attacking from the very start regardless:
In his final moments he breaks down and tries every trick in the book. He tries to convince Tanjiro that he's special, unique and chosen by god.
He subconsciously talks about himself and unknowingly confesses to his delusions
And then he just straight up begs for Tanjiro to take him too.
It should of course also come as no surprise that the blue spider lily did in fact exist, but that it only bloomed during the day. Hammering the fact that Muzan's wish and what he was fighting all these years for, was never actually possible. A demon had no means of getting their hands on the spider lily. They simply existed in different planes and was just as much out of Muzan's reach as warmth and light were.
Finally, we have Muzan's very fitting colour scheme. He chooses to wear black and white together, representing yin and yang, despite his loathing of that natural concept and the change it represents. As if he knew the inevitable truth all along, no matter how hard he tried to fight against it.