Character Gyutaro and Daki - A thematic analysis

Mercury101

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Gyutaro and Daki - A thematic analysis

Fan colouring by: Fujitastatara

Gyutaro and Daki were demons who lurked in the Red Light District in which they were originally born. As humans, their environment and upbringing led to the development of specific faults in character with Gyutaro becoming incredibly envious of others, whilst Daki became arrogant and prideful. These faults are accentuated in their personalities as demons. They fought and were eventually defeated by Tengen Uzui, and the main gang. I will look at the themes of fortune and balance, and how they were expressed through Gyutaro and Daki in their fight. Like all the Upper Moons, Gyutaro and Daki's fatal flaws can be found within the main antagonist, the assemblage of all things evil, Kibutsuji Muzan. In addition, these flaws come into direct conflict with the ideals and traits of the accompanying pillar of the arc, in this case Tengen.

I will start with the theme of balance. This is something I discussed in more detail in my Muzan analysis: https://mangahelpers.com/forum/thre...nd-interpretation-of-kibutsuji-muzan.3016393/ but essentially, the idea is that with the Buddhist themes of the series, forces within the world exist in a state of Yin and Yang.
Light and Dark energy. As a result, there is balance as the two are ever-changing. A dichotomy acknowledged to be present in the series. In the context of Gyutaro and Daki's troubles, this dichotomy related to the concepts of fortune and misfortune. The cause for their dismay and anguish stemming from the feeling that they only ever encountered misfortune.

To understand why this is the case, we need to look back to their past. The Red Light District wasn't just a random location chosen for them to grow up in:
Immutable characteristics such as natural beauty can only be left up to fortune. Therefore, in a RLD where a person's beauty can immensely dictate and dominate one's quality of life, the reliance on fortune over misfortune is greater than ever.

Gyutaro recollects the extent to which he considered himself blessed:
In contrast, this is the fortune Daki, (Ume) was bestowed with:
With a beautiful sister like Daki at his side, Gyutaro felt a sense of balance and that he was no longer inferior or lacking.
He may have been ugly and had tons of other physical defections, but he had a beautiful younger sister, and was also gifted with strength, something she lacked. The two together were balanced and complete:
Their issues arose as a result of their lifestyle of debt collecting and how they lost sight of what they already had. Gyutaro was envious of others as a result of his own personal defections and having discovered his great strength, he sought retribution for all the misfortunes bestowed upon him by taking from others. In his mind, he was simply rebalancing his life. However, things truly went wrong when he also encouraged Daki to do the same despite how blessed and fortunate she was. This resulted in huge unbalance as they were not only unnecessarily collecting debts, but someone as pretty as Daki in the RLD was the one doing it. This ultimately resulted in their demise as karmic forces counterbalanced their debt collection. Gyu got a slash to the back and Daki was burnt alive. The tragedy that led them to become demons.
Once demons, despite centuries having passed they chose to remain in that same RLD, continuously collecting debts from the people of the town.

Their story directly contrasts elements of Tengen and also Tanjiro and Nezuko's pasts. It's no surprise that Gyutaro would absolutely despise someone like Uzui who's strong, cool and handsome that even has 3 wives. But the point is that not everyone is fortunate, and that includes Uzui himself who isn't someone that was given his talents, but brought them about on his own, not through taking from others, but through his own personality and way of life.

Despite as shinobi being raised in a manner that encouraged a disregard for the wellbeing of others and a heartless dedication to the mission, Uzui took the best of the skills his surroundings brought him, (i.e. his shinobi fighting skills), but totally rejected the philosophy associated with it, becoming his own person. Flipping the notion of a silent heartless assassin on its head and replacing it with a flamboyant and compassionate pillar that valued the lives of humans as the number one priority. All whilst using his unique and explosive breath of sound, fitting as music is one of the most common mediums for self-expression.

Uzui as opposed to Gyu and Daki didn't blame anyone for the extremely tough upbringing he found himself in. He rejected a cold philosophy and chose to balance his contradictions of a compassionate shinobi in his own way. An honourable way, that didn't involve taking things away from innocent people.

Likewise, the same goes for the Kamado siblings:
They too had misfortunes in their life. Their Dad died when they were still young, they were poor, but recognised what they had each other and that they had the authority to choose what made them happy.

The demons Gyutaro and Daki are ultimately one big misfortunate version of Tanjiro and Nezuko. A variable that Tanjiro himself recognised could have been the case:
But the difference is that circumstances didn't just randomly happen for the two of them to be on those paths. Gyutaro's misfortune was self-manufactured. He created his tragedy as a result of bad karma from his and Daki's debt collecting lifestyle. Whereas Tanjiro and Nezuko's tragedy was created by Muzan, an unnatural, unintended force. That is why fate had Gyutaro met Douma (then Upper Moon 6), whilst Tanjiro comparatively met Giyuu (A pillar) in their moments of crisis.

The fact is that, had Gyutaro and Daki simply remembered the promise they made to one another as kids, the whole series of events that followed never would've happened. Gyu looked towards debt collecting in order to counter balance his misfortunes, totally forgetting that balance wasn't acquired by anything he could take away from others, but was instead through being together with his sister. They are the yin and yang to each other.

A truth that they'd forgotten over time.

Their designs are chosen accordingly:

Gyutaro has black hair representing Yin, whilst Daki has white hair representing Yang, with them both having green ends, the streaks of envy that led to their corruption and misfortune.

Likewise, their powers are also representative of their story too. Gyutaro using returning blood sickles. The sickle being a callback from his weapon as a human, but it also symbolises karma due to the manner in which it returns. Whereas Daki's sashes were used to store things, just like how she was encouraged to collect debts and store up in advance before there was even a reason for returning one.

In conclusion, Gyutaro and Daki are a pair that were dealt a tough hand in life but ultimately like every demon failed to overcome their circumstances. They stayed together with one another, but forgot what it actually meant for them to be together. They fought together and worked in tandem, but failed to remember the real reason why. It wasn't so that they could be strong enough to collect debts, or to kill people, but it was so that they could complete one another and be happy. Their union was an end in itself, not a means to an end. And instead of bringing balance to each other through how they lived their lives like how Tanjiro, Nezuko and Uzui did, their lifestyle was instead the very thing that led to a tragic imbalance. They had poor fortune and bad things constantly happened to them precisely because they kept taking and collecting "debts" from others which incurred that misfortune. Ultimately, they needed to be beheaded together as it took the two of them as one in order to achieve their end. A truth they remembered in death, and a newfound reassurance in one another that they'll have in the afterlife.
 
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