Artists have shown their solidarity with the Chile protests, by showing Demon Slayer‘s Inosuke Hashibira taking part.
For those unfamiliar, the recent protests in Chile began over an increase in train fare prices (dubbed by some the “30 Pesos War”) which have become about living costs and financial inequality (1, 2).
Protests began as avoiding paying fares via jumping ticket barriers (or “Mass Evasion”). As police began to use violent tactics to prevent it; rioting, looting, and arson took its place- particularly against buildings representing the increased cost of living such as a power company and the trains themselves. However, there are unconfirmed reports some acts of violence and vandalism have been conducted by those acting at the government’s behest, so the government can justify harsher action against protesters.
The proposed fare increase was later dropped, but the protests and chaos continued. President Sebastián Piñera declared a state of emergency, only further fueling protests- some fearing the return of the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet from December 17th, 1974 to March 11th, 1990. Some protesters have used the slogan “It’s not about 30 pesos, it’s about 30 years”, referring allegations of the cost of living rising since Pinochet’s regime ended by referendum.
Some artists online have begun to show support for protesters via the character Inosuke Hashibira from Demon Slayer. The head-strong wild-man raised by boars has a habit of challenging practically everything that moves to a fight. The character’s strength and little care for consequences, along with his decisive, independent, and chaotic nature is most likely what struck a chord with many artists and protesters.
The art was also likely inspired by episode 26 of the anime, in which Inosuke headbutts a train (believing it to be a giant beast and “Master of the Land”). Editor’s Note: The link to that scene was uploaded by a third party. Please support the official release. The episode also takes place just prior to the upcoming movie, taking place over the manga’s “Demon Train” arc.
In the artwork, Inosuke is depicted jumping ticket barriers, resisting arrest, and attacking police with his typical ferocity and high-energy. You can find examples of that work below:
Images: Sadaros, Oblivious Butlerknox, Mekanel, André Olivera, Anigify, via the Demon Slayer Chile Facebook Group, Kaz Lowell, via the Demon Slayer Chile Facebook Group again, and Oblivious Butlerknox again.
The situation is comparable to Mei from video game Overwatch being turned into a symbol of the Hong Kong protests. Following the pro-Hong Kong protest statements from professional Hearthstone player Chung “Blitzchung” Ng Wai and Blizzard Entertainment’s suspension of the player, those protesting Blizzard’s created art, videos, and memes of Mei supporting the Hong Kong protests. Protesters in Hong Kong have been shown using some of these images in protests.