Psychology Breakdown — Enmu in Demon Slayer: The Infinity Train Arc
SPOILER ALERT — ONLY for those who haven’t watched the film (Non-manga readers can read on!)
When you think about it, Enmu’s power isn’t just simply being able to make people fall asleep, but to hypnotize his enemies. His two main abilities, Whispers of Forced Unconscious Hypnosis and Eyes of Forced Unconscious Sleep resemble the two types of hypnosis — verbal and non-verbal induction respectively.
When Enmu applies Whispers of Forced Unconscious Hypnosis, mouths appear on his hands (that can be detached) and force his enemies to fall asleep. Just like verbal hypnosis, the clients/victims fall asleep against their will, after being given the command.
It is often interpreted that hypnotism consists of soothing and rhythmic voices/sounds. Enmu does so as he cites a poem/chant when he is atop of the train, “Have a nice sleep, forget how to breathe, so the demons will reap, your bellies from underneath…” accompanied by his soft and monotonic voice.
Eyes of Forced Unconscious Sleep on his opponent works just like Whispers of Forced Unconscious Hypnosis, but without applying any sounds. However, this is only effective when the victim is capable of sensing where the gazes come from. Just like non-verbal hypnosis, physicians often require patients to focus on their eyes or forehead to gain their focus (See: FREE Hypnosis Training — Eye Lock Induction — UK Hypnosis Academy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNg_prabs5I).
On top of that, Enmu’s gestures and appearances resemble traditional stereotypes of hypnotism as shown in the above graphics.
The Conscious and Unconscious Mind
Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis believes conscious thoughts act as the surface of the mind, while the unconsciousness act as the deeper part in the mind. According to Freud, one’s unconscious mind controls his/her daily actions, and is based on human values. In fact, it can be explained through verbal slips (also known as Freudian Slips) and dreams.
In the film and manga, Enmu’s power may be a reference to Freud’s psychoanalysis theory. For Rengoku’s spiritual core to be easy to spot, it just mirrors his straightforward and just personality. Tanjiro’s spiritual core also pretty much reflects his kind heart.
On the other hand, Inosuke’s spiritual core is not shown. Unlike Rengoku and Tanjiro, his unconsciousness is very similar to his conscious dream state. There are 2 possibilities:
1. Inosuske doesn’t have a significant past that Enmu is able to use to manipulate him.
2. Inosuke’s consciousness and unconsciousness are so similar to each other that even he himself is able to enter it easily. This is an extremely rare case, and might display how Inosuke isn’t raised under normal circumstances (for those who don’t know, he was raised by boars).
We don’t get to see Zenitsu’s spiritual core either. One might question, does he even have one? His dark unconsciousness may suggest that in real life, he is lost and is drenched in fear. In fact, it is interesting that Zenitsu is only able to display his swordsmanship when being unconscious. Does it mean he enters and exits his conscious and unconscious zones randomly? Is he unconscious when he is “awake”, while being conscious when he is “asleep”? Here, Gotoge might actually be challenging Freud‘s theory.
Appearance and Human Past
Arguably, Enmu could actually be a physician or psychologist in his human past. Unlike most of the other demons, Enmu is dressed in a Western suit. Note that most hypnotism and theories related to sleeping patterns and psychology originate from the West. Therefore, there is a possibility that he was turned into a demon when Muzan was searching for the blue spider lily in Western countries. (Disguising as Westerners and living with families with Western backgrounds may be his signs of interest in widening his scope of search into the West.)
Interestingly, both Enmu and Tamayo possess hypnotic demon powers. On top of that, you may recall Muzan turns Tamayo into a demon and keeps her by his side since she is a skilled doctor. Similarly, could Muzan have turned Enmu into a demon in order to gain advantage from him?
Other Interesting Facts and Thoughts
1. Enmu is the only demon to work with humans under their own will
2. Challenging the meaning of reality: Enmu calls his own death (reality) a nightmare
Most demons forget their human past and follow Muzan without question. However, most also remember the past right before they die. Could becoming a demon be just like entering a dream, and waking up right before death, which was also supposed to happen before they became a demon?
3. His demon name itself means nightmare.
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