Demon Slayer movie review

David Eckstein-Schoemann, Reporter

One of the most popular anime in recent years is back and has hit the big screen with its first feature film. “Demon Slayer” is one of those shows that I can’t get enough of. I read all the manga, I love the story and characters, it’s just a great series. This is apparently the case as this film has broken numerous box office records during the pandemic. Those include being the highest-grossing film of 2020, the highest-grossing R-rated animated film, as well as beating “Spirited Away” for the title of highest-grossing anime film of all time. With all those wins under its belt, let’s see if it lives up to the hype.

Courtesy of Aniplex.

The film begins right after season one with our heroes Tanjiro, Nezuko, Zenitsu, and Inosuke who board the Mugen train as numerous passengers have disappeared due to demon attacks. They are joined by the Flame Hashira, Kyōjurō Rengoku, who aids them on their mission even going as far as making them his apprentices. Things take a dark turn when one of the Lower Moon Demons, Enmu, hijacks the train and induces everyone, including our heroes into a deep sleep. We then go into a deep dive into the characters’ fantasies and desires as they slowly but surely begin to see that everything is not as it seems. This results in an all-out battle where our heroes have to resist Enmu’s temptations and keep the passengers safe at all costs.

I have been looking forward to this film for a while because it’s coming from a fantastic series. Needless to say, if you love the show you will love this movie. It gave me everything I wanted to see as it followed the Mugen train story arc perfectly. As someone who’s seen a wide variety of anime films, it is interesting to see a movie that’s not the only canon but also follows a storyline directly from the manga itself. Usually, when films like this are made, they’re generally treated as side stories. While they’re massively entertaining and well made, they don’t usually have a big impact on the series. Here they make it clear that they’re continuing the main story as it literally begins right where season one left off.

This can be seen as a disadvantage for those who haven’t seen the anime as this does not give audiences a summary or breakdown of the general story. I say this because some members of my family who haven’t seen the anime decided to see this film with me. I was worried they would be completely lost, but they told me they could follow it just fine. While it gives casual viewers a feel for what is going on and how this world works. It’s really gonna help if you’ve seen the anime in its entirety.

Courtesy of Aniplex.

We’ve definitely seen stories where characters are forced into dream-like situations like “Nightmare on Elm Street” or “Inception”. But the way it’s handled here is both entertaining and gives us insight into these characters. A lot of them, particularly the main protagonist Tanjiro, are given a lot of focus here as he’s put in a dream of where he would prefer to live. That being one where his entire family is alive and well. You see the progression of how he realizes he’s in a fantasy and forces himself to come back to reality which is a much harsher place where people die and suffer. While this film does explore a lot of creative ideas it’s still action-centered and does have comedic moments, particularly with characters like Zenitsu and Inosuke. Though it smartly keeps those moments to a minimum as it keeps its mature tone. Particularly when Rengoku is on screen because, in my opinion, he is the MVP of this film. Every time he shows up he owns every scene he’s in and you understand why everyone looks up to him. This series has so many standout characters, so to see them have a full feature film is really great to see.

Another thing that you’ve probably heard tons of people say over and over is something like: “This animation is god-tier!” I’m being honest when I say this makes most other animations in the world look like child’s play in comparison. It’s easily one of the best animations of any anime film I’ve ever seen. The action is fast-paced and perfectly laid out. The imagery is both really colorful and violent to look at. It’s so good that a lot of these scenes leap off the screen.

This film has a lot going on it in terms of story, character, and animation. Though for mainstream audiences there are gonna be a few narrative choices that people will have to get used to. The fact that the movie is based on one of the major story arcs from the manga, there are gonna be a few elements that people will find unexpected. Without giving anything away, the movie does have a surprise villain show up towards the end. From a movie standpoint, this can feel out of the left-field as there was no setup for this character. Though it doesn’t bother me as this was how the story played out in the manga. Though in all fairness, it does lead to a lot of great action and even an emotional ending. You can tell the people behind this film fully committed to faithfully bringing this story to life on the big screen.

Courtesy of Aniplex.

Whether you’re a fan of the anime or not, I think “Demon Slayer: Kimestu no Yaiba: the Movie: Mugen Train” is an excellent film that has everything people can get invested in. While fans can get excited to see the story continue, casual viewers can still walk away remembering likable characters, a creative story, and outstanding animation.

Rating: 5 / 5 Spinnaker Sails.


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