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It's been previously established that Tanjiro has a keen sense of smell and seen to always comment on the pungent smell of demons or the emotional states of people. In his very first training arc, he was mentored by Urokodaki, a former Hashira who also has a keen sense of smell. Then suddenly Tanjiro has a supernatural experience while training with the dead students of his master. So does he master his sense of smell to use in combat? Nope! He gains the ability to sense the "opening thread" i.e. The ability to sense when the opponent is left open for a finishing blow. But what does that have to do with any of the previously established plot points?

What was the point of the "opening thread" in the story? Did it have some sort of significance?

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Yes, your point is correct, the opening thread defines where is the best place to slash the sword that will behead them in a single swing.

The opening thread scene only happens during Tanjiro's fight as it represents the keen sense of smell he possesses

This constantly reminds us how Tanjiro is different from others as others learn to do that through experience and training but he can do it just by sensing it

The same was seen in an earlier plot where he was returning from the village when his family was killed, he senses their smell from yards away while others could have only been able to realise in a close encounter

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  • I agree, it does set him apart. But it also sets it apart from his keen sense of smell, making it seem like a completely different ability. The author could have called it something else. The smell of fear perhaps. Who knows why a thread was the way to go. Jan 18 at 21:25
  • I think the name goes perfect, as the thread represents the connection between 2 things, so here opening thread shows us the connection between the sword and the head it's going to cut through his sense of smell
    – Polymath
    Jan 19 at 2:06
  • I have some queries so instead of commenting, I have asked: Is Tanjiro the only Demon Slayer to sense a "Opening Thread"? (cc @LiveInAmbeR) Jan 19 at 6:50

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