Fans of anime across the planet were given the ultimate treat when the follow-up to the critically acclaimed anime series Kimetsu no Yaiba (Demon Slayer) was released in cinemas across the globe! Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the film reached immense box office success, breaking record upon record. Now, the second season of the anime is airing, and to make things easier for those of us who never caught the movie, the anime has spread out the events of Kimetsu no Yaiba Movie: Mugen Ressha-hen (Demon Slayer Movie: Mugen Train Arc) into several episodes before bringing on the continuation from that arc, Kimetsu no Yaiba: Yuukaku-hen (Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Entertainment District Arc). One interesting aspect of the film/subsequent anime rehash of the film is that there’s a really striking scene that can be found and it’s arguably reminiscent of something from Ishida Sui’s Tokyo Ghoul! Here's why we have that theory.
Easter Eggs Eggsplained
For those who don’t know, an “Easter Egg” in entertainment media is a hidden message, or a hidden reference to another work of art, an inside joke, etc. The possible Tokyo Ghoul Easter Egg found in the Mugen Train Arc isn’t even subtle, but it needs one to have a thorough knowledge of some behind-the-scenes stuff regarding Demon Slayer, and at least seen the first season of Tokyo Ghoul all the way through. So let’s move on to the part of the film/series that presents us with this supposedly blatant yet somehow subtle reference to Tokyo Ghoul!
The Black Goat’s (Easter) Egg
Now, onto why we’re here. The scene or element of Mugen Train that appears to lend itself to this likely Easter Egg is Tanjiro’s subconscious, where his spiritual core can be located. We assume all people have one, and we even get to see those of Rengoku, Inosuke and Zenitsu, courtesy of the spell cast by the demon Enmu, who has powers granting him dominion over sleep and dreams. He manipulates four youngsters who look like they’ve all gone through their own version of Hell and seek refuge in Enmu’s ability to grant good dreams and unending sleep. Using these youngsters to access the dreams of the Demon Slayers he had put to sleep, he seeks to destroy them from the inside by getting the kids to locate and destroy their respective target’s spiritual core.
Back to Tanjiro’s consciousness: it’s a calm and serene setting with blue skies and white clouds and clear water that stretches endlessly in every direction. There is nothing in it but an overwhelming sense of calm. The scene is reminiscent of the final frames of the immensely first opening of Tokyo Ghoul; “unravel”, by TK from Ling Tosite Sigure, where the protagonist Kaneki Ken is seated on a chair in his barista uniform, with Kamishiro Rize and Kirishima Touka on either side staring off into the distance in opposite directions.
The scene is composed of the same blue skies with white clouds and water stretching out endlessly in every direction. Now, just because they’re similar in composition doesn’t mean much especially since this concept has been done so many times in other media. The Tekken fighting game franchise has two separate stages with similar motifs, consider the Tekken 7 Infinite Azure Stage, or Tekken Tag Tournament 2’s Heavenly Garden Stage. However, the basis of our Easter Egg theory lies in the fact that Kamado Tanjiro and Kaneki Ken are both voiced by Natsuki Hanae.
It’s perfectly hidden in plain sight and it’s only really something you pick up on if you’re someone who had the information to make that connection in the first place. There is also the fact that Tanjiro unleashes a new Hinokami Kagura: Clear Blue Sky, which is a nod towards the serene setting reflective of his inner world. Most of us were probably reminded of that scene in Tokyo Ghoul’s opening, but what drives it home is that both protagonists are voiced by the same guy.
Demon Slayer is a wildly successful franchise and it has been an awesome ride so far, this upcoming arc is bound to be immense! However, even though the series is currently airing stuff that we saw in the movie, doesn’t mean that revisiting it isn’t enjoyable, and noticing aspects like this Easter Egg is always fun! What do you think about the alleged Tokyo Ghoul Easter Egg in Demon Slayer: Mugen Train Arc? Did you notice it too? Do you think it’s an Easter Egg, or a total reach? Drop a comment below and tell us your thoughts!