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Media Essays: Tanjiro vs. Ezran: The Nice Guy Heroes

Written by The Wandering Fox

I’m back again once more with a versus story. As you know me, I kinda prefer nice guy heroes as you can still tell complex stories with them, try and challenge their morals, only they are sticking to how they are, good guys who care about others, willing to help yet do have a a darker behaviour to them if you really hurt their loved ones. But what is a nice guy and then there’s oh so nice they are more cringey than likeable? I think I shall give you guys an example with Tanjiro and Ezran. I have to say though you might think this is a negative on The Dragon Prince, I’m gonna be praising stuff they did with Ezran, though I Will be negative with how he was in season 4.


Yet first, let’s tell who’s who.


Tanjiro Kamado


Tanjiro is the main hero of Demon Slayer, a hard working, kind hearted, family focussed boy who’s the oldest of the kids of his mother and father. Yet one day after coming back from going to the small village, Tanjiro finds his family has been murdered, and only Nezuko, his younger sis, as the only survivor. Yet while trying to find help, Nezuko tries biting Tanjiro, with him learning the truth she’s a demon now. One Demon Slayer Corps member tries killing her, yet once she tries stopping herself from eating Tanjiro, Giyu Tomika gives Tanjiro a chance, sending him to Urokodaki, a former Demon Slayer Corps member, to look after Nezuko and train Tanjiro in the martial arts of a Demon Slayer Corps. Though this takes a few years, Tanjiro masters the blade and has to do Final Selection. During this, Tanjiro learns the demon who murdered his family and turned Nezuko into a demon is called Muzan Kubtsugi, the first demon. With his training done, Tanjiro takes Nezuko across the country, killing demons and helping civilians, befriending a couple of demons who think they can cure Nezuko if Tanjiro collects blood samples from stronger demons. He also be friends the cowardly and horny as hell Zenitsu and the egotistical Inosuke. I’d rather not spoil the end of Demon Slayer otherwise you’ll think there’s little reason to watch it.


Prince Ezran


Ezran is the third main character of The Dragon Prince behind Prince Callum and the elf Rayla. Ezran is your standard kid, a little frustrating as a younger bro, ends up in trouble, loves playing games, yet is quite helpful and has a heart of gold. And he’s a King. Ezran has a connection to magic with him being able to understand animals, which he proves by the end of season 1. Ezran is the voice of reason in season 1 to help Callum learn to trust Rayla, and is helpful in trying to get Zym to fly, already forging a deep bond with the young royal dragon, though as he learns his dad was killed, Ezran leaves the others to go on and go in Xadia to reunite Zym and his mum, going home to begin his duty as king, but Ezran doesn’t find it easy, with Prince Kasef pressuring him into joining in his quest to conquer Xadia, Claudia and Soren being arrested, afraid of Kasef coming to kill his people, Ezran gives the crown to Viren, yet Soren helps him escape, thus allowing Ezran to reunite with Callum, Rayla and Zym, then helps fight off the zombie army coming to kill Zym. A couple of years go by, Ezran is king again, is trying to keep peace between Xadia and his kingdom, but goes on a journey to try and stop Aaravos from coming back.


With those done, you might be wondering who exactly is it I think works better as a nice guy hero. For me, I think it’s Tanjiro. Though I like him more than Ezran, I don’t hate Ezran, the gripes I have with him can be worked on in Seasons 5, 6 and 7 in the series. Yet what is it I think makes Tanjiro better?


Tanjiro’s Kindness Comes With Rage And Anger


Tanjiro is a nice guy. A friendly face, a king smile, a soft voice and being helpful to those around him, Tanjiro is someone I think anyone would be happy to get along with. Through the journey he’s on, Tanjiro is kind enough to comfort those who are afraid and stands up for those who are hurt. He’s even kind enough to give demons he kills some comfort in their dying moments once they remember who they were, hoping they find peace at last after living for so long. His eventual wife is someone he helped as well. Kanao, who long felt she had to flip a coin to talk or not, finally began to speak freely after Tanjiro flipped the coin and the side up he said from here she can talk more freely. Even with those who he’s fought, like Inosuke, he comes to care for him ever deeply.

A screenshot from Demon Slayer

Tanjiro praying for the Hand Demon to find peace.

A screenshot from Demon Slayer

Tanjiro resting the cup on Kanao’s head.


Yet Tanjiro is a guy you do not want to anger. You hurt his friends or family, he will fight you until you or him go down in bruises. If you insult someone’s heroics and mock them, he will call put those who have done so, such as calling out Rengoku’s killer, telling him Rengoku saved everyone, then went on to fight his drunken father after he insulted his younger son and his dead son. Then there’s Tanjiro’s desire to kill Muzan.


"Muzan Kibutsuji! No matter where you go, I promise you won't escape me! You can run as far as you want! I'll follow you to the ends of Hell, and my blade will be the last thing you see! I'll never forgive you for what you've done!"

If a nice guy is yelling that and he can kick your ass, then yes, you better think twice about angering him. Heck, Inosuke, who’s a egoist and brags about his strength, had the crap beaten out of him by Tanjiro for beating up Zenitsu as he tried to stop him from taking Nezuko out of the box.


Yet despite this, Tanjiro’s kindness and his anger can bring him trouble, whether it’s being so angry he demands to beat up a Demon Slayer Corps member for hurting Nezuko he ends up receiving a harsh telling off from the other staff members, or his kindness can often have the guy say something which has him receive a harsh smack from someone. It tells you while you can be nice and be badass, you still end up in trouble with those around you.

Ezran’s Kindness, While Good, Is A Bit Naive


Ezran I will say was really good in Seasons 1, 2 and mostly 3 but wasn’t good in Season 4. It’s thanks to Ezran’s troublemaking he finds the egg of the Dragon Prince in Viren’s underground lab, with such a reveal enough to convince Rayla to spare him and Callum. Ezran’s innocence and his friendly personality helps bring Callum and Rayla together in Through the Ice, if not for him they’d be buried under snow earlier and his bravery in swimming in icy water to save the egg is all that was needed to finally end any arguing between the obviously in love youngsters, with Rayla forming a strong friendship with Ezran. Helpful as well is how he begins helping Zym learn to fly, his compassion for the dragon ever strengthening the bond between human and dragon in more ways than you think. Ezran, out of the good of his heart, has Claudia and Soren freed from the dungeon, rightfully saying though they are Viren’s kids, they shouldn’t be arrested for being related to him.

A poster of The Dragon Prince

Ezran’s first few moments as king were a lot more better than what he became of in Season 4.


But sadly, I think Season 3 is where things began to stumble for Ezran, for he was unwilling to invade Xadia and fight Kasef, fearing for the loss of his soldiers. Which is a thoughtful thing, but sadly in the finale Ezran doesn’t even think of it once he fights the soldiers from his kingdom. Yeah, they were immune to the fire, but he still helped kill a few of them, yet earlier he didn’t want his soldiers to die. It doesn’t help it’s not brought up again in Season 4, you’d think the families of those soldiers who died would have something to say to Ezran, or the prisoners they took.


Then there’s Season 4. Ezran has been king for two years, what has he done during the time gap? We don’t know. However for now he’s decided he’s going to have Barius the baker on the council, he invites Zubeia to Katolis, rubs off anything about the citizen’s worry of her, admits he’s doing it mostly to meet Zym again, then he goes on a adventure to stop Aaravos, is ignorant of Callum’s trauma, ends up doing a cartwheel with Rayla in the dark, and defends Avizandium killing humans at the border, even his mum being killed by him!

A cartwheel

It’s so nice, doing a cartwheel in the middle of the dark right after you’ve ran away from your kingdom, lost Soren and Callum has been traumatised.


On one hand, him inviting Zubeia to symbolise peace is a good thing but being unbothered by his citizen’s thoughts, kinda admitting he wants to meet Zym again, you kinda lose a bit of respect for him, and it’s dumb no one calls out Ezran for this. He then abandoned his kingdom to go on a journey which he easily could've left to Callum, Soren and Rayla, despite knowing well if he dies, then Callum has to take the throne, the pressure he’d be under would be harsh. Then there’s him defending Avizandium killing humans at the border. Avizandium killed your mum, you know Callum hates him, and even Zubeia admitted he became prideful in his killings. It’s stuff like this that makes me lose a bit of respect for Ezran, as well as bring so ignorant of the crap Callum gone through by Aaravos’s hands.


It’s more frustrating because we don’t see a struggle with Ezran even though Aaravos said “The whining child king, in over his head, and he knows it.” Uh….where? I didn’t notice anything.


And sadly I think no one calls out Ezran because he’s a nice guy. Tanjiro is called out if he loses his temper or says something he didn’t mean. Tanjiro even has a moment where he feels emotionally damaged for leaving behind a happy dream of his family living, and is tormented by fears he’s failed them. I’d rather if, y’know, Callum called him out for trying to leave his kingdom and for insulting their mum.


Therefore, this is why I like Tanjiro more than Ezran. But I’ll be fair and give this to Ezran, at least his connection to animals was better hinted at than Tanjiro’s sun dance fighting.

I do want Ezran to improve though; I don’t want him to be a badass who will end up in fights, I want him to have a bit to reflect on his own choices like having to fight his own forces, and struggle in the role of a king and be called out so he can learn.


But hey, I can say my next topic on The Dragon Prince is a more happier one. It’s about Rayllum...

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