Demon Slayer movie review: Mugen Train is action anime worthy of hype

The 2020 Satanic Force Slayer motion picture made headings and history when it premiered in Japan in late October. The very first feature film based upon the popular Shonen Dive manga and anime series generated more than $350 million at Japan’s ticket office throughout its opening weekend, exceeding not just the record set by Hayao Miyazaki’s Perky Away as the greatest earning Japanese movie of perpetuity, however the fourth-highest earning movie of 2020, duration. This occurring as the future of the movie market stays in flux in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic talks to the apparent truth of anime’s financial and cultural supremacy as international home entertainment.

Now, over half a year given that the movie’s release, Satanic Force Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Motion Picture: Mugen Train lastly makes landfall in the States. Offered the enormous concentration of excitement and newfound mainstream attention towards the series in the wake of its best, the concern stays: Is this movie deserving of the buzz? For the a lot of part, it absolutely is.

Tanjiro charges foward to attack Enmu with his water breathing sword technique

Image: Koyoharu Gotoge / SHUEISHA, Aniplex, ufotable

Directed by Haruo Sotozaki, who manage Satanic Force Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba’s very first season and is set to return for season 2 next year, Mugen Train gets instantly after the occasions of completion of the very first season. Series lead character Tanjiro Kamado, his demon-slayer accomplices Zenitsu and Inosuke, and his demon-possessed however calmed sibling Nezuko race to help the upper-rank demon-slayer Kyojuro Rengoku, likewise called the Flame Hashira, in examining the disappearance of 40 individuals aboard the mystical Mugen Train. (Mugen is Japanese for “Infinite,” however this has absolutely nothing to do with Infinity Train.)

More than merely an extension of the series’ broad plot, the movie is based straight on an arc of Koyoharu Gotouge’s initial manga, and is meant as a canonical bridge in between the occasions of season 1 and 2. This itself is unique: Many popular anime franchises (e.g. My Hero Academic Community, Naruto, Dragon Ball, etc.) boast several feature-length motion pictures, which tend to be enjoyable, non-canonical side stories, unconcerned with the arc of the series’ primary characters and more concentrated on “what-if” situations. Generally, anime franchise movies enable more loose experimentation in regards to animation and characterization.

For the a lot of part, Mugen Train gain from its function as a canonical footnote in the series’ bigger arc, with one exception. Curious newbies to the series will be left adrift, provided the lack of exposition around the characters or who they’re battling and why. There’s no straight response about precisely what a “Flame Hashira” is, or a clear description of Enmu, Mugen Train’s villain. The motion picture doesn’t explore what that freaky “Lower Rank 1” kanji tattoo on their eye indicates, aside from the apparent ramification that (1) they’re a devil, and (2) they’re out to kill satanic force slayers.

Enmu looks over their shoulder while at the head of the Mugen Train

Image: Koyoharu Gotoge / SHUEISHA, Aniplex, ufotable

Mugen Train presumes the audience understands what was covered in season 1. There’s no time at all for a wrap-up, as the movie utilizes every minute of its two-hour runtime in service of pressing the plot forward. That may seem like a knock versus the movie, however honestly, the concepts and styles at the core of Satanic Force Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba’s appeal stay undamaged, to the point where, even without exposition, the movie is bound to be a blast not simply for existing fans, however for anybody tapping in to see some whiz-bang swordplay and lavish 3D action scenes. There are a lot of both here.

With the majority of the primary creatives on the tv series returning for the movie, the break in between the art design and visual structure of the movie and the anime series isn’t remarkable. The vibrant CG-animated set pieces which identified numerous of the most aesthetically impressive series in the very first season return in Mugen Train. A few of the perfectly rendered battle scenes and remarkable beats competing or perhaps eclipse the anime’s most noteworthy minutes, like the Beginning-esque turning climax of the Tsuzumi Estate Arc, or the awesome ending of the very first season’s sensational 19th episode, “Hinokami.”

While Mugen Train doesn’t deal with how the characters wound up in this story, the authors do a great job of interacting why audiences must appreciate them, especially when it comes to Kyojuro Rengoku. Presented late in the very first season, Kyojuro wasn’t provided much character or inspiration. Mugen Train addresses the issue by exposing that in spite of Rengoku’s enforcing credibility as one of the elite members of the Satanic force Slayers Corps, and his sensational, nigh-otherworldly expertise as a swordsman, he’s honestly simply a huge, unblinking dork with a not-so-subtle ego, a burning desire to assist others, and a reasonably awful backstory worrying his dad’s tradition as the previous Flame Hashira. In a motion picture jam-packed with interesting and remarkable scenes, Rengoku is the center of the majority of them. He’s most likely to end up being the movie’s breakout character, specifically after he takes spotlight throughout Mugen Train’s explosive ending. The remarkable result of that series will certainly resound throughout the series’ future moving on.

The Flame Hashira Kyojuro Rengoku in Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train

Image: Koyoharu Gotoge / SHUEISHA, Aniplex, ufotable

Eventually, what makes Satanic Force Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Motion Picture: Mugen Train a terrific movie, aside from being a pitch-perfect adjustment and interstitial extension of the anime series, is that it houses in on what makes its core cast of characters tick, and encapsulates that appeal in remarkable standout scenes. Early on in the movie, Tanjiro and his accomplices are captured by Enmu, who utilizes a spell to make their inmost desires manifest. For Rengoku, that dream total up to being loved and sharing a minute of brother or sister bonding with his more youthful bro Senjuro. For Tanjiro, it’s for his sibling Nezuko to be brought back to her human self and reunited with his household, who were butchered by the series’ primary villain. And for Zenitsu, it’s a picturesque minute of comic, romantic happiness with Tanjiro’s sibling.

However the most remarkable of the dream series is Inosuke’s: It represents him as some sort of militant mole-man spelunking through a below ground cavern, along with anthropomorphic animal caricatures of Tanjiro, Zenitsu, and Nezuko. It gets unusual. The movie go back to these dream worlds occasionally throughout the movie, ingratiating the audience with Tanjiro and his accomplices through the minutes and individuals that matter most to them, intermingled with their own particular peculiarities and eccentricities. It’s enough to actually pull the audience into the headspace of Satanic Force Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba’s lead characters and drive house simply why precisely the series has actually endeared itself to many fans of both the manga and anime series.

Satanic Force Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Motion Picture: Mugen Train is a fantastic encapsulation of the series’ strengths and appeal, filled with minutes of pulse-pounding action, heady psychological gravitas, and wonderful character-affirming minutes of levity and humor. It isn’t the very best point for series newbies to hop aboard the Satanic Force Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba fandom, however however, it verifies itself as a completely amusing thrill-ride that feels both substantial and necessary to enjoy.

Satanic Force Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Motion Picture: Mugen Train will launch in theaters on April 23. Prior to checking out a theater, Polygon suggests reading our guide to regional state-by-state COVID preventive procedures.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.