Yōkai taijiya (妖怪退治屋, えうくわいたいじや, "Apparition Exterminators"), known in the English dub as demon slayers, are humans skilled at killing yōkai. They are often paid to drive away and/or kill troublesome Yōkai.
As the name suggests, these practicing warriors can combat and kill yōkai despite lacking the spiritual powers of monks and priests, due to many years of training, and the use of special weapons or equipment made to combat demons. Due to their strength, specialized weapons and skills, they are mistaken by some people to be ninjas. Something that is furthered emphasized by the fact their overall combat attire resembles a ninja outfit with armor and some bears their own customization like Sango's having a pink theme color.
Though they make their livelihood killing demons (Yōkai), they do not see all demons as a threat. In fact, they peacefully co-exist with demons who are friendly or do not pose a threat to humans. In the Demon Slayers' village (home to Sango and Kohaku), the nekomata Kirara lived in the village and aided the slayers in fighting yōkai.
They harvest the remains of the demons they slay, specifically the bones, to forge into weapons. Before that, they purified their jaki and calm their hatred. From then on, the weapon, carrying the consciousness of the slain demons, forge a bond with the slayer, seeing them as their companion, holding no hatred towards humans and fight by their side.
While strong, this bond is no less pregnable than most solid partnerships. If the taijiya carelessly damages their weapon somehow, such as when Sango sacrificed Hiraikotsu without a second thought to save Miroku from the bone demon and its father, the yōkai spirits will perceive this as a betrayal and become enraged at the wielder. This will also block any attempt to repair or reforge the weapon, as the demons will refuse to fight for the "traitor" again. Even so, the anger and hate born from such an act can be pacified enough to give the slayer a second chance if they're convinced that the subject or reason for the careless act is in some way worth it, as shown by the demons of Hiraikotsu's reaction to Miroku willingly drinking a potion from Yakurōdokusen to temporarily numb his sense of pain when sucking in poisons through his Kazaana. Though they still didn't understand the love that drove Sango to sacrifice them earlier, the depth of Miroku's resolve to protect her at all costs impressed the demons and earned back their respect.
Abilities, Weapons, & EquipmentEdit
- Enhanced Strength: As humans, they had trained themselves to attain strength at peak of human potential to fully utilize their various weaponry. Sango is shown able to carry Hiraikotsu which an ordinary human can't. Miroku himself wondered how someone as small as her was able to lift a weapon that heavy. She is also able to lift large rocks.
- Enhanced Stamina: Through their constant training that they undergo since childhood, their stamina and endurance are much greater than ordinary humans and are at times considered superhumans. Sango is shown to be able withstand deadly wounds and still fight, she can also easily run at an impressive speed as seen in the first movie.
- Weapons & Armor: Slayers use weapons & armor made from bones of slain Yōkai.
- Hiraikotsu: Sango's main weapon is a massive boomerang which is made of the bones of yōkai that have been killed (a weapon owned by her grandfather that passed on to her by her father). Her grandfather used it to defeat Mistress Centipede (allowing him to obtain the Shikon no Tama from its carcass). The demon spirits in Hiraikotsu have refused to work for Sango in the final act. Hiraikotsu gains the ability to destroy demonic energy after getting repaired by the poison master.
- Kusarigama: Kohaku's main weapon; a sharp sickle on a chain; the sickle is made of demon bone.
- Dagger Gauntlet: The dagger is hidden within her sleeve and can be retracted. In one particular episode Sango, who is possessed, uses this weapon against Miroku. Sango rarely uses this weapon mainly preferring the Hiraikotsu (it can be considered as a slayer's last resort).
- Wakizashi: A short one-handed sword, sometimes mistaken for a katana.
- Yōkai Paralyzing Poisons: A poisonous concoction that paralyzes demons.
- Numbing Potions: This is mainly used when a slayer wishes not to kill a demon. The poison will numb the demon and the user normally masks the poison by baking it into buns or donuts.
- Chain: The chains are used to constrict or hold enemies.
- Mask: Protects the wearer from poisons and miasma from demons (it can also be used to protect slayers from the various gases the slayer uses).
- The slayers also seem to have a history with Myōga, possibly implying they have a history with Tōtōsai and Tōga as well.