Kimetsu no Yaiba: Insect Breathing Style Explained

In Kimetsu no Yaiba, all breathing styles stem from 1 source and are always taught by previous practitioners.

The insect breathing style is wholly unique in that it does not stem from the sun breathing style and was developed solely by Shinobu Kocho in an attempt to compensate for her own personal weaknesses.

This means that there is no other user of this style and it is a relatively new style developed in modern times (during the time of the story) while most other styles were developed long ago during the golden age of demon slayers.  

Kimetsu no Yaiba: Insect Breathing Style History and Techniques

In Kimetsu no Yaiba, the insect breathing style aims to emulate the lethality of insects that use poisons and stings as their primary mode of defense. Shinobu developed this method of fighting due to her low physical strength which prevented her from using standard demon slaying techniques which involved the user decapitating their opponents to ensure a kill.

Because of this Shinobu relied more on the use of poisons to ensure that demons would die from even a single cut of her blade. Unlike other breathing styles, the insect style is a branch of the flower style which makes it the first style to not be directly related to the original breathing styles and uses more agility in place of strength, likely mimicking the flower breathing style to ensure that poison can be applied even before the target is aware.

Throughout the Kimetsu no Yaiba storyline we only get to see a handful of techniques used for this style with about 4 shown so it’s unclear whether there are more available. While other styles aim to cause more lasting damage in their swordplay either through decapitation or dismemberment, the insect breathing style techniques heavily favours the number of hits in order to ensure as much poison is applied to the target as possible.

As such the attacks are always blindingly fast and incorporate multiple attacks that when combined makes it difficult for most demons to dodge everything. The 4 techniques that we know are as follows but unfortunately we are not told which number these techniques are, as such they are in no particular order

FormTechnique NameDescription
UnkownButterfly Dance: CapriceAn attack where the user dashes at the target extremely fast and proceeds to stab them multiple times. Can be done from an aerial vantage point
Unkown Dance of the Bee Sting: True FlutterA stabbing attack where the user builds up momentum before hand to increase the strength of the stab. The stab is meant to quickly apply poison and pierce the defense of strong demons
Unkown Dance of the Dragonfly: Compound Eye HexagonA multi-strike attack that aims to apply the highest dosage possible by attacking all the vulnerable points of a target in quick succession
Unkown Dance of the Centipede: Hundred-Legged ZigzagA movement technique used to disorient the opponent and creating an opening for a stabbing attack. The force generated from the feet are extremely strong and was powerful enough to destroy a wooden bridge showing its raw speed.

The nichirin blade used for this style is also very unique in that a large part of the blade is removed with only the very tip remaining resembling an insect stringer. The blade isn’t strong enough to cut through demon flesh all the way through but can easily apply poisons. So far, we have mostly seen users of this style employ quick shallow cuts and strong powerful stabs and likely the removal of the blade helps in this regard by making the sword overall lighter and easier to maneuver

Most nichirin blades are made of material that are able to absorb sunlight and thus destroy demons but since this style uses poisons as its primary means of damage, its unsure if this blade has the typical properties of a standard nichirin blade. The sheath of the blade also helps Shinobu in reapplying the poison after each attack ensuring that more and more poison is administered to the target. 

The use of Poisons in the Insect Breathing Style & Conclusions

Due to its prolific use of poisons we can’t really discuss this style without also discussing the poisons used in these techniques.

The user must be skilled in not only applying poison but also to develop them based on the specific mission or use case. Most of the poisons used were developed by Shinobu herself and use the wisteria flowers as a base due to their anti-demon properties. The effect of these poisons range depending on how much was administered to the demon with paralysis being the very least effect while at higher concentrations it can result in death in mere seconds. It also largely depends on the relative strength of the demon with stronger demons being able to resist and even break down poisons in the body making the only a minor nuisance unless given an extremely high dosage

The poisons can cause the demon’s cellular makeup to completely dissolve and prevent them from regenerating when used at these high concentrations. Shinobu with the help of Tamayo and Yushiro was also able to create an Anti-Kibutsuji drug which when applied to Muzan significantly weakened him. It’s unknown if this would have any effect on other demons but seeing as how its original use was to turn demons back to humans its likely to have a significant if not fatal effect on them as Muzan has greatly hindered by the 4 different stages of the drug.

As most demons in Kimetsu no Yaiba tend to overestimate their abilities and are overconfident in battle, the insect breathing style is especially effective as even a small cut is enough to ensure victory due to the effect of the poison. The only weakness is that if the opponent is somehow able to resist the effects of the poison, the user will be unable to deal any killing blow as the style does not have in its skill set the ability to do so.

As such this style of fighting is strong against most demons with only very few able to combat it, and even in such circumstances the poison may at the very least hinder their movement enough to allow others to deal the finishing blow. This makes the style somewhat useful in different scenarios and the user can adapt their function depending on the availability of teammates and the number of enemies.

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