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Sanemi and Giyuu are the Wind Pillar and Water Pillar respectively of the Demon Slaying Corps.
They are polar opposites personality-wise, but they share many similarities despite so. Both have lost their only family to demons and a best friend who died during a team battle against a demon. Due to their personality differences, they get along quite badly in most of the series and only during/after the final battle do they get along. They're the Pillars who have the most development in their relationship during the series.
They are first seen interacting after the battle against Lower Moon 5, when Tanjirou and Nezuko's fate are decided. When Tanjirou defends Nezuko and is about to attack Sanemi, Giyuu interferes and yells 'Oyakata-sama' is about to arrive. This distracts Sanemi and this allows Tanjirou to get a hit on Sanemi. After hearing Tanjirou, Urokodaki and Giyuu will commit suicide if Nezuko hurts anyone, Sanemi says they can die for all he cares but that doesn't guarantee anything. In the preview after the ending of episode 22, the Pillars are commenting on the fact that Sanemi got hit by a rookie, to which he responds that he would've dodged it, had Giyuu not gotten in the way. Giyuu replies to this: "Excuses, excuses." which annoys Sanemi.
It's a long time until they interact again, after the fight against upper moon 4 & 5. The Pillars are summoned and they get informed about how to get the Demon Slayer Mark. When Sanemi says it's really that simple, Giyuu responds: "I envy those simpletons who can say this is simple." which pisses Sanemi and Iguro off. When Giyuu says that he'll leave now that Amane is gone. Sanemi tells him to wait, because they have to make their future plans. After Giyuu makes walks to the door to leave, Sanemi tells him to wait and after being asked by Shinobu to explain, Giyuu says that he's not like them. Sanemi gets angry at this and says he's pissing him off and asks if he's making fun of them. Sanemi stands up and goes to Giyuu but before anything can happen, Gyomei interrupts. In this case, Sanemi is angry because he (like everyone else) is misunderstanding what Giyuu means. Sanemi thinks Giyuu thinks himself above the other Pillars, while Giyuu actually means he's not worthy of being a Pillar. This misunderstanding is mainly because Giyuu is hard to read and looking at his facial expressions would make you think he's arrogant, next to that he never corrects this misunderstanding.
When Tanjirou goes to Giyuu's estate to train, he walks in on Sanemi and Giyuu fighting. When the fights begins, Sanemi is already looking angry. During the short fight, Sanemi says: "Oraoraa!! What wrong?! You're no different from the rest of us!" because he is still under the impression Giyuu thinks himself superior. The fight ends when both of their swords break, however Sanemi says it's time to pummel each other to death with their fists. Tanjirou interrupts then and eventually reveals that Sanemi likes ohagi and Giyuu is surprised by this. After Sanemi has knocked Tanjirou out, Giyuu says to Tanjirou that Sanemi stormed away and that they weren't actually fighting but taking part in each other's training. When Tanjirou apologizes for interrupting, he says it's no problem and that Sanemi was mad the entire time and he couldn't get a good talk with him, but he's glad that he found out what he likes. He reveals his plan to sneak some ohagi in a bag and give it to him. Giyuu smiles when he says that they can get along for sure if he does this. This is very interesting, considering this means Giyuu wants to get along with him and it would make him happy. Giyuu also hadn't smiled before this panel, so that means the idea of getting along with Sanemi is enough to put a smile on Giyuu's face (something extremely rare). While Ubuyashiki (also known as Oyakata-sama) talks to Muzan about all the people that despise him, the panel shows Sanemi and Giyuu on the front, while the other Pillars and Tanjirou are in the background.
When fighting against Muzan, Giyuu's sword slips out of his hand and he gets saved by Iguro and Gyomei. Sanemi throws a sword at him and tells him not to space out or else he'll kill him himself. After the other Pillars make their blade shine red, Giyuu and Sanemi make their shine red by clashes their swords together, they're the only Pillars who helped each other make it shine red. During the fight, all the Pillars work extremely well together, not once getting in each other's way. This includes Sanemi and Giyuu, who arguably have the worst relationship within the Pillars. When Muzan is at the door of death, Gyomei yells to attack and chip away at his stamina, but Sanemi has a hard time moving and Giyuu suddenly comes in and attacks.
After the final battle, the only 2 Pillars to survive are Sanemi and Giyuu and they attend the final Pillar meeting together. When the children of the previous master bow and thank them, they protest. After the children end up crying, they look at each other and smile, this is another one of the few instances Giyuu has smiled and yet again it has something to do with Sanemi. Sanemi is also someone who rarely smiles outside of battles or anger, although it happened more than with Giyuu. In the extra pages for the final volume, there is a picture of the two of them eating together after the final battle.
Giyuu and Sanemi were possibly the Pillars that got along the least at the beginning, but after the final fight, they are shown to get along well, just like Giyuu had hoped. During the show, while Sanemi hated Giyuu, Giyuu seemed to have no ill will against Sanemi. Giyuu did occasionally somewhat vaguely tease/insult Sanemi, but he never seemed annoyed by Sanemi's rude nature, for example, in one of the extra pages of volume 19, while the other Pillars were scolding Sanemi for his rude behavior, Giyuu was seen in the background with his usual poker face. Next to that, Giyuu just seemed to see Sanemi as a grumpy person, as was revealed in the fanbook. It was also seen that Giyuu actually wanted to get along with Sanemi, although that was one-sided at first, after the battle Sanemi let go of his grudge and they were shown to get along well.
In the fanbook, the Pillars' impressions of each other were revealed and Giyuu's impression of Sanemi was that he was grumpy/hot-headed, but he didn't say anything about disliking him, but Giyuu's impression of Iguro was that he felt sad when he said bad things about him. However both Iguro and Sanemi hated Giyuu and talked bad things about Giyuu. This means that Giyuu perceives Sanemi's hatred of him differently than Iguro's hatred of him. On the profiles of the databook, both Giyuu and Sanemi are chosen to comment on their relationships with the other Pillars, something which is only done by 1 or 2 Pillars. However both of them commented on each other. Giyuu thinking of giving Sanemi ohagi in order to get along with him was also chosen to illustrate the relationships between all the Pillars.
In the Rengoku Gaiden (a Rengoku spin-off), which takes place before the main story, there was panel in Rengoku's memories, where Rengoku holds back a yelling and angry Sanemi from attacking Giyuu, who is looking away with a blank expression.
In Kimetsu Academy (a modern day spin-off) Giyuu is a PE teacher and guidance counselor, while Sanemi is the math teacher of the school. In the first chapter Giyuu is chasing Tanjiro and Zenitsu with a bamboo sword for wearing earrings and hair dye respectively, however they are interrupted by Sanemi who's angry at them for running through the halls during class. After he threw a mathematical instrument at Zenitsu and Tanjiro, he grabs Giyuu and scolds him. He yells: "Every day like a damn idiot, you chase those brats around with a fucking bamboo sword!! Just because you are free during first period doesn't mean you could go around causing other people trouble." After Giyuu stays silent he yells at him to say something. Giyuu apologizes, but Sanemi gets angry and asks if he's making fun of him and what kind of face he's pulling. He also tells him to say something if he has something to say. Later in chapter 2, it is remarked that alongside Giyuu, Sanemi is scariest teacher at the school.
In chapter 5 of the light novel, One-Winged Butterfly, which takes place during the Pillar training arc after Sanemi and Giyuu sparred and after Sanemi punched Tanjirou, Giyuu and Tanjirou talk about Sanemi. Tanjirou asks Giyuu what kind of red bean paste Sanemi would like. It is noted that if it was last time, Giyuu would not reply, but this time he does reply. He answers that while he prefers the smooth one, he thinks Sanemi would like the mashed one better. Tanjirou agrees and Giyuu says that he'll bring both just in case the next time he visits Sanemi. Tanjirou says that's smart and Giyuu says: "...Let's eat ohagi (Sanemi's favourite food as they just found out) tonight." They continue talking about Sanemi and ohagi for a while and Tanjirou notes that Giyuu appears to have cheered up. Out of the blue, Giyuu asks with a distant look why Tanjirou was forbidden from getting into contact with Sanemi. Tanjirou explains and asks if Sanemi has always been like this. Giyuu says he has and that he had once also been forbidden from getting into contact with Sanemi. Tanjirou thinks that judging by their sparring session just now, having them fight would be really bad and asks if they argued. Giyuu says they didn't and it was just Sanemi losing his temper on his own. Giyuu says that the rest wasn't acting right that day either. Giyuu continues talking about it while looking at the sky.
A flashback starts of all the Pillars gathered, minus Giyuu, from back when Rengoku was still alive. The Pillars note Giyuu isn't there and Iguro says he probably said something like do whatever you want, it has nothing to do with me. Sanemi completely accepts Iguro's explanation and shows his dissatisfaction by calling him an asshole. Eventually the Pillars start talking about Giyuu being kicked out the Demon Slayers for his inability to communicate. Sanemi says they don't need to fire him, he'll blast him out and cracks his knuckles. Gyomei reveals that the reason they gathered was to make Giyuu smile. Sanemi becomes angry and asks why they should do something that stupid. After a bit, Sanemi goes to leave, but stops when he's reminded that this is Oyakata-sama's wish. After Uzui, Kanroji and Rengoku fail to make Giyuu smile. Shinobu remembers that Giyuu smiled after eating salmon braised with daikon (Giyuu's favourite food). She goes up to Sanemi, who looks like he's going to explode soon, to tell him to invite him to eat it together. Sanemi gets angry but Shinobu reminds him of how happy it would make Oyakata-sama and he would praise Sanemi if he could do it. Sanemi looks back at Giyuu, who is wearing an expression that could be confused for arrogance and Sanemi gets angry just by looking at him. However he remembers Oyakata-sama and goes up to Giyuu. He stutters and asks Giyuu if he wants to go eat Giyuu's favourite food together later. Out of anger, his voice gets high-pitched, trembles and he's smiling faintly. He's clearly putting in a lot of effort into asking that. However, Giyuu says no immediately. Sanemi's blood vessel bursts loudly. Giyuu explains it's because he ate it just now but it gets covered up by Sanemi's furious howling. The flashback is over then and Giyuu says he still doesn't know why Sanemi was angry back then. Tanjirou says it must be because Sanemi really wanted to eat it together with him. Giyuu seems a bit baffled, but after Tanjirou confirms, he accepts the explanation. He says that after making up with Sanemi with the ohagi, he'll try asking Sanemi to go eat salmon braised with daikon together the next time. Tanjirou encourages him and says they'll definitely get along then. Giyuu gets a faint blissful expression and smile.
In chapter 5 of the light novel, The Wind's Telltale Signs, which takes place in Kimetsu Academy (the same universe as the Kimetsu Academy spin-off), there are 2 mentions of Sanemi and Giyuu's relationship. The chapter mentions that Sanemi is quite reasonable if he's not interacting with math-antis or Giyuu. It mentions that he and Giyuu get along like water mixing with oil. Later, when Giyuu appears to be acting strange, Uzui thinks to himself that while Rengoku might not say anything, Sanemi would definitely give the reaction that he expected had he been around.
Fans like to call the pairing "Hotheaded idiot X Oblivious idiot", since despite their exterior, both characters have proved that they do have a softer side that has simply been buried due to too many losses. Fanworks often explore the trauma the two have gone through and them finding comfort in each other. As such, future canon-divergence universe have become popular, especially ones that take place after Muzan's defeat.
Next to that, they like to include past relationships of the two, with Sabito as Giyuu's dead lover (fanon) and Sanemi who was implied to have a romantic interest in the late Flower Pillar Kanae. Both Sanemi and Sabito had facial scars and could be quite harsh, although Sanemi significantly more so. Both Kanae and Giyuu are long black-haired Pillars, who are both quite beautiful and seen as more feminine. Although there are differences between them, fans like seeing the parallels and sometimes include Kanae and Sabito as past lovers of the 2 who have died. So while SabiGiyuu is the biggest rival ship of SaneGiyuu, it can also be shipped together with SaneGiyuu without it becoming a polyship; the same can be applied to SaneKana. The other big rival ship is GiyuShino.
Sanemi is also canonically colorblind, whether this was just a metaphor or literal has not been confirmed. But due to the many different forms of colorblindness, with the most common being red-green colorblindness, blue may be the only color Sanemi can see properly. Blue also happens to the color of Giyuu's eyes and the main color for his breath technique/sword.
Some have noted the similarities between this ship and TodoBaku. Since both ships involve a hot-head and cool, collected character who's oblivious in social situations being shipped together. They also both went from people who get along badly, to friends and the cool, collected one wanted to eventually get along with the hot-head.
On AO3, it is the fourth most written ship under the Demon Slayer tag. It is also Sanemi's most written and Giyuu's second most written.
- Sanemi's favorite food is ohagi, which Giyuu wanted to make for him; Giyuu's favorite food is simmered salmon with daikon.
- Giyuu giving Sanemi ohagi has been referenced multiple times in official content, one for Sanemi's birthday art and once for official merch.
- They are the only pillars who survive the battle against Muzan and attend the last pillar meeting.
- In the main series, Giyuu has been shown to smile 4 times as an adult, 2 of them had to do with Sanemi. (Once after thinking about how they can get along, once at Sanemi during the final pillar meeting, once when seeing Tanjirou and Nezuko with Urokodaki in the Butterfly Estate and once during the group picture with everyone from the Demon Slayer Corps post-Muzan)
- SaneShinoGiyu refers to the ship between the two and Shinobu Kocho
|SHIPS||het||AoIno • DouShino • GenZuko • GiyuShino • HakuKoyu • InoKana • InoShino • MuiNezu • ObaMitsu • SaneKana • TanAo • TanKana • TanShino • UzuHina • ZenNezu|
|slash||DouAka • EnZan • GenTan • InoTan • InoZen • RenGiyuu • RuiTan • SabiGiyuu • SaneGiyuu • ZenTan|
|femslash||NezuKana • NezuMitsu • ShinoMitsu • TamaShino|
|poly||InoZenTan • UzuiWives|
|family||GenSane • Kochou Sisters • NezuTan|
|CHARACTERS||male||Inosuke Hashibira • Tanjiro Kamado • Zenitsu Agatsuma|
|female||Kanao Tsuyuri • Nezuko Kamado • Shinobu Kocho|