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|“||Just because you haven't been beheaded don't think that you're safe from harm. There are those like me who use poison with their swordsmanship. Demon Slayer Corps Insect Hashira Shinobu Kocho. I may be the only one among the Hashira who is unable to decapitate demons but creating a poison that's lethal to them: that's quite impressive don't you think? Oh! Pardon me I guess you can't hear me if you're dead. Silly me!||„|
|~ Shinobu rambling to a demon she just killed.|
Shinobu Kocho (胡蝶しのぶ) was a major supporting character in the 2016-2020 fantasy horror manga series Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba and its 2019 anime television series adaption.
She is the Insect Hashira of the Demon Slayer Corps and a supporting character from the Demon Slayer series.
She was also the younger sister of Kanae Kocho, and the adoptive older sister of Kanao Tsuyuri.
Shinobu wished that humans and demons could become friends and would sometime offer to befriend her enemies. But that belief was shattered after her older sister Kanae was killed. Unwilling to heed Kanae's dying wish for Shinobu to leave Demon Slayer Corps until she kills the Demon who took Kanae from her, Shinobu had been hunting down Demons, hoping one day she would meet her older sister's killer. Shinobu would still offer Demons forgiveness if they voluntarily undergo excruciating torture engineered by Shinobu herself as a restitution for their crimes (of harming humans).
She is voiced by Saori Hayami in the Japanese version of the anime, and by Erika Harlacher in the English version of the anime.
Shinobu is regarded as a beautiful, petite young woman with a small frame. This leads people to underestimate her due to her frail appearance. She has black hair with purple highlighted tips tied back into a "yakai-maki" bun using a butterfly-shaped pin. She has large deep purple eyes with no visible pupils and maintains an innocent look on her face most of the time.
Shinobu dons the standard Demon Slayer uniform that consists of a dark purple straight-lined jacket, and hakama pants tucked into butterfly patterned fabric around her lower legs that match her haori.
Her signature white haori has a butterfly wing pattern that mimics the appearance of butterfly wings whenever she moves. The white of the haori fades into turquoise and then pink color on her sleeves as well as the base of the dress and her legs. Her sleeves are cuffed with a black and white dotted trim similar to an insect design. She completes her outfit by wearing white sandals with purple straps and a white belt that holds her sword sheath.
Shinobu always appeared to be calm and friendly, almost to an unsettling degree. She often greets others by saying "yoo-hoo" after suddenly showing up next to them, often startling others. But beneath her smile actually lies a ferocious and hot-headed temperament, and it is revealed that her smile was Shinobu's last respect to carry on Kanae's personality in order to remember her.
Despite her bubbly demeanor, Shinobu has a strong sense of justice and is more than willing to brutally punish demons for bringing harm to humanity. Shinobu is very straightforward and always retains her calm and aloof personality in every situation. Even when demons don't agree to be her friend, a smile remains on Shinobu's face as she appears to enjoy punishing them.
Mount Natagumo Arc
Several Demon Slayers are slain during a mission to eliminate the Spider Clan on Mt. Natagumo. A crow returns to the Demon Slayer Corps's master and relays the message about the casualties. After realizing a Twelve Kizuki may be on the mountain, the master calls Shinobu and Giyu of the Hashira to action.
Both the Hashiras accept their mission and Shinobu mentions that life would be easier if demons and humans could get along. Giyu argues that can never happen as long as demons continue to feast on humans for survival.
The two Hashiras arrive on Mt. Natagumo and encounter a gruesome scene where several demon slayers have been murdered. Shinobu points out there appear to be no survivors and all the Mizunoto sent to the mountain might be dead. Giyu replies that they should keep moving and they both continue running through the forest.
Shinobu says they should try to get along on their joint mission, but Giyu claims he's only there so slay demons. She calls Giyu's reply callous and they both agree to split up. Shinbou goes west while Giyu continues forward.
Zenitsu's sparrow, Chuntaro, finds Shinobu and brings her to help him. She finds the poisoned demon slayer on top of a house and suddenly appears before him to ask if he's okay. The Insect Hashira commends Zenitsu calls out to Gramps, slightly confusing Shinobu, and Zenitsue explains his Gramps showed up. Shinobu claims that a theory explains that people see images before their death because they're searching through their own lives for a way to live.
Shinobu says she's never experienced it herself and prepares an antidote. She commends Zenitsu for slowing down the poison with his breathing and administers the antidote.
Hashira-Level Swordsman: As one of the Hashira, Shinobu is one of the Demon Slayer Corps strongest swords-women. She is the only one of them who does not slay demons by beheading them, instead, she injects a deadly poison into her foes using her blade. Even so, Shinobu is a very capable blade wielder and is well versed in swordsmanship.
- Enhanced Agility: Due to her fighting style, enemies tend to underestimate her strength. However, Shinobu was able to easily outclass the Sister demon of the Spider Clan using her nimble mobility. She moves so smoothly that it appears that she's floating similar to a butterfly, effortlessly weaving between enemy attacks.
- Superhuman Speed: Due to her lack of strength, Shinobu is gifted speed that can be seen as non-human. Doma noted that she may have been the fastest Hashira he has ever met. In an extra, it was said by Gotouge that her speed is so immense, that it said her stabbing technique, allowing her to break the cocoon open on Mount Natagumo with no effort. She was quick enough to catch Doma off-guard.
- Medical Expert: Shinobu makes up for her lack of natural-born combat prowess in comparison to the other Hashiras with her expert skill and mastery in the pharmaceutical field. She is a medical expert and a talented chemist that can concoct poisons and antidotes alike to work against demons. Her antidote cured Zenitsu and others of spider demon venom and managed to fatally poison another member of that same Spider Clan.
Total Concentration Breathing
Insect Breathing (蟲の呼吸, Mushi no Kokyū): Shinobu cultivated Insect Breathing in order to suit her fighting-style, basing its techniques on the movements of insects that sting or poison their targets. The style utilizes stabs and shallow cuts to inject fatal poison into the target. There are four dances in total, each named for a different insect.
- Butterfly Dance: Caprice (蝶ノ舞 戯れ Chō no Mai: Tawamure): A diving thrust attack that cuts the target with several shallow cuts. The infected receives visions of butterflies that draw blood. Each of their wounds is infected with poison made from wisteria blossoms, killing the demon quickly.
- Nichirin Sword (日輪刀, Nichirin Tō) : Shinobu's katana has a thin black blade that only has normal width at the tip and base of the blade. It has "EVIL DEMONS" engraved in Kanji and the sword is coated in poison. It has a butterfly-shaped tsuba with an orange outline around the silver filling that is designed with small flower patterns. It also has an orange tsuka pommel wrapped in green samegawa.
|“||It may be that I'm constantly angry. My beloved older sister was slaughtered by a demon. I see the mournful tears of others who've lost their loved ones in the same way. I hear their loud cries of despair and each time I do the anguish inside me grows larger. In the inner most depths of my soul there's a hatred that I can't fight. I'm sure the other Hashira feel something similar. But now with their own eyes they've seen a demon whose never devoured a human, they can't deny her existence. [..] My sister was a kind-hearted person like you. She had sympathy for demons, even when she was on the brink of death that didn't change. I couldn't bring myself to feel that way. To do so for something that's killed us? I've never heard of such nonsense. But if that was how my sister truly felt, then I must carry it on. If there is a way to not kill these pitiful demons I have to keep trying to find it while keeping the smile my sister said she loved.||„|
|~ Shinobu explaining her dream to Tanjiro.|
- Her 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; which differs from the way Kanae's and Kanao's names are written.
- The engravings on Shinobu's sword reads "evil demon" (悪鬼, akki) on the right side of the blade, and "destroy/kill" (滅殺, messatsu) on the left side of the blade.
- Shinobu's surname means "butterfly" (胡蝶, kochō).
- Shinobu is ranked in 6th place as of the first character popularity poll with 1,813 votes.
- Both of Shinobu's voice actress, 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, like with Mitsuri's, but, as Shinobu disliked this aspect of its design, she burned this 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 Pillars 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 times the poison in Shinobu's body could kill a person was originally stated to be seventy in the magazine version, but it was later corrected by Koyoharu Gotōge to be seven-hundred 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.