Kanao is a young girl with large, gentle eyes of a pink-lilac color that are framed by thick eyelashes. She has thin black hair, worn tied into a ponytail on the right side of her head and fastened by a pink and green butterfly ornament that once belonged to her adoptive sister, Kanae Kocho. She has a straight fringe and two loose, chin-length strands that curve downwards from above each of her ears.
Kanao wears a slightly purple-tinted version of the standard Demon Slayer uniform, just with a knee-length pleated skirt in place of the usual hakama pants. Over this, she wears a short white cloak, fastened on one side by a dark pink triple knot, also sporting knee-high lace-up white boots with tan soles, heels and toes.
When Kanao reappears after the events of the Entertainment District Arc, her appearance changes as she stops wearing her white cloak, opting to wear only her plain Demon Slayer uniform instead.
After her battle with Doma, Kanao begins to wear Shinobu Kocho’s hairpin rather than Kanae’s as the latter’s shattered as a result of her battle. She also loses the ability to see out of her right eye due to her using Flower Breathing’s final form to take out the Upper Rank, with her eye gaining a defined pupil with a dark ring around it and becoming deprived of its gradient.
When Kanao is first introduced, she is an indecisive and quiet girl due to the abuse she endured before meeting the Kocho sisters. She became unable to make decisions by herself and repressed her emotions as a defense mechanism. In order to help rectify this, Kanae gave her a coin to flip to decide which path to follow when she didn’t know what to do.
For many years, Kanao continued to show little emotion or desire. Despite this, after seeing what demons did to Aoi, Kiyo, and Shinobu’s loved ones, Kanao developed a strong hatred against demons directly from her own will.
Initially, Shinobu instructed Kanao to simply cut off demon heads without thinking, since Kanao had no will of her own. However, Kanao also eventually developed her own desire to fight.
Despite her perceived lack of emotion or desire, Kanao defied Shinobu and Kanae’s wishes and took the final selection of her own volition, which would imply that her will had been strengthening all along.
Between Kanae’s death and the Rehabilitation Training Arc, she recovers slightly but still relies on her coin to make decisions. She displays a somewhat mechanical response in conversations; when Tanjiro Kamado approaches her to bid to her farewell, she repeats “goodbye” when he attempts to continue the conversation. However, he eventually manages to start bringing her out of her shell, and she starts to make more of her own decisions. She also gains the ability to speak unambiguously.
Kanao gradually becomes able to express her emotions and wants more openly, as seen when Tanjiro recovers from his injuries and she displays relief, when she tells Shinobu that she wishes to train alongside her, and when she expresses shock and distress at Shinobu’s plan to defeat Doma.
In her battle against Doma, Kanao takes uncharacteristically sadistic glee in pointing out his own lack of emotions. Fueled by hatred and spite due to her sisters’ deaths by his hand, she attacks him verbally to the point where he drops his normal carefree demeanor. Kanao also demonstrates extreme determination and a deep care for her family, crying for the first time in the wake of Shinobu’s death, and expressing that she had wished to go home together with her elder sister. Kanao has also now been shown to express a greater sense of camaraderie and care for her fellow Demon Slayers other than Shinobu, as seen when she becomes visibly angry and sympathetic on Inosuke’s behalf when Doma begins gloating about his mother’s death. She shows immense rage at the Demon’s taunts, insulting him and telling him to shut up, which is a complete step up from the original emotionally distant relationship she had with her comrades.
Later, during the final battle against Muzan Kibutsuji, Kanao was shown to have completely regained the ability to properly express her emotions and make her own choices. Over the course of the battle, Kanao shows visible feelings of anger and terror towards the Demon progenitor as her and her fellow Demon Slayers take him on. Even after the battle is over she continues to show emotion, proving herself to genuinely love and care for both Tanjiro and Nezuko after watching the latter’s desperate attempts to reach out to her now Demon brother, which even reached the point of her sacrificing her one remaining eye to inject Tanjiro with Tamayo’s humanization drug in an attempt to save him.
Abilities and Powers
Kanao is the Tsuguko of Kanae and Shinobu and has been personally trained by the both of them in the art of combat. As such, Kanao possesses superhuman physical skills, abilities and prowess that potentially marks her as a future member of Demon Slayer Corps’ Hashira. Tanjiro, another promising candidate, even states that, during their first meeting together, he could already sense that Kanao was the closest to the Hashira out of the existing Demon Slayers, just by smelling her scent and feeling her aura, which further confirms her skills.
- Superhuman Eyesight – Kanao possesses extremely sharp eyesight, being able to accurately predict her opponent’s next attack and movements by simply observing the subtle shifts of their muscles, joints and the slight movements of their eyes. This allows her to make effective counterattacks and dodges and stay ahead of her opponents. The Upper Rank 2, Doma, comments on this feat and remarks that due to this skill, Kanao may be more skilled than Shinobu. This ability is enhanced with her Flower Breathing: Final Form – Equinoctial Vermilion Eye.
- Total Concentration Breathing (全 (ぜん) 集 (しゅう) 中 (ちゅう) の呼 (こ) 吸 (きゅう) , Zen Shūchū no Kokyū?) – As noted by the other residences of the Butterfly Mansion, Kanao has already fully mastered the ability to remain constantly focused in using her Breathing Style and was able to master the ability to remain constantly in Total Concentration: Constant for over 24 hours.
Flower Breathing (花 (はな) の呼 (こ) 吸 (きゅう) , Hana no kokyū?): A breathing style derived from the Water Breathing, taught by Kanae, the former Flower Hashira of the Demon Slayer Corps. Her sword skills were then further developed by Shinobu, the former Insect Hashira of the Demon Slayer Corps.
- Second Form: Honorable Shadow Plum (弐 (に) ノ型 (かた) 御 (み) 影 (かげ) 梅 (うめ) , Ni no kata: Mikage Ume?) – A defensive techniques that deflects attacks using rotating sword slashes.
- Fourth Form: Crimson Hanagoromo (肆 (し) ノ型 (かた) 紅 (べに) 花 (はな) 衣 (ごろも) , Shi no kata: Beni Hanagoromo?) – A single sword slash that curves and twists.
- Fifth Form: Peonies of Futility (伍 (ご) ノ型 (かた) 徒 (あだ) の芍 (しゃく) 薬 (やく) , Go no kata: Ada no Shakuyaku?) – A graceful flurry of nine consecutive attacks that flow and weave in on themselves.
- Sixth Form: Whirling Peach (陸 (ろく) ノ型 (かた) 渦 (うず) 桃 (もも) , Roku no kata: Uzumomo?) A technique used after or during evasion, the user spins around moving with their body weight to deliver an attack.
- Final Form: Equinoctial Vermilion Eye (終 (つい) ノ型 (かた) 彼 (ひ) 岸 (がん) 朱 (しゅ) 眼 (がん) , Tsui no kata: Higan Shugan?) – A focusing technique that raises the users kinetic vision to its maximum, while using this technique the user perceives the world as if it were in slow motion. Usage of the technique however is highly dangerous, as the tremendous strain caused to the eyes ruptured blood vessels and could cause partial or complete blindness. After her battle against Doma, Kanao lost usage of her right eye due to the strain of this technique.
- Kanao’s surname contains the kanji for “chestnut” (栗, tsu?), “flower, blossom” (花, yu?) and “fall” (落, ri?).
- Kanao herself decided on her own last name from multiple candidates. Aoi Kanzaki wanted a sister so she was fiercely pestering her to choose her own last name from the side.
- In the first character popularity poll, Kanao ranked 8th with 712 votes.
- Kanao’s birthday was decided to be May 19, the day Kanae Kocho and Shinobu Kocho adopted her, since her actual birthday is unknown.
- Kanao’s main hobby is blowing soap bubbles. She also enjoys buying sweets and accessories with her pocket money for everyone at the Butterfly Mansion, squishing cat paws and helping with the cooking.
- Kanao is the only confirmed Tsuguko in the series.
- Kanao’s favorite drink is Ramune, and she enjoys all of Aoi’s cooking.
- According to Goto, Kanao has been slaying Demons since childhood.
- Kanao keeps the coin given to her by Kanae in a memory box, which was also made by Kanae.
- On the Volume 18 cover, Kanao was mistakenly drawn with her sword on the right side of her waist. Koyoharu Gotōge made a statement apologizing for this after the volume’s release.
- Her rank during the events on Natagumo Mountain was Tsuchinoto.
- (To herself, in regards to Shinobu Kocho) “I wanted to protect her. I wanted to risk my life for her. I wanted to go home together.”
- (To Tanjiro Kamado) “You can’t do this Tanjiro. Hurry up and go back. How can you make Nezuko cry…”