Kimetsu no Yaiba Movie: Mugen Ressha -hen (Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Movie: Mugen Train) broke Japan’s Box Office records when it was released in October of 2020. After a long wait, the North American release hit movie theaters this spring, and it is the second anime movie to take the top seat at US box office earnings! With its 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, fans and critics have voted for this with their wallets and feedback. Demon Slayer: Mugen Train is well worth the watch.
The movie picks up mostly where the anime storyline ended up. If you remember, Muzan Kibustuji decided that there was one “lower six” demon (of the twelve Kizuki) that he would allow to live. After receiving more of Muzan’s blood, he tasked the demon to kill the Demon Slayer with Hanafuda card earrings and would be rewarded with more of his power. Without meaning to run into Tanjirou just yet, the demon sets out to gain power from other humans first, and he chooses a train as his hunting ground. Simultaneously, Tanjirou and his friends are called to check out the Mugen Train for its dangerous activity.
What Makes this So Satisfying?
Meet the Fire Hashira: Kyoujurou Rengoku
Tanjirou and the gang are sent to help the Flame Hashira, Kyoujurou Rengoku, as he boards the Mugen Train, whose number of missing or dead passengers just keeps rising. When the Demon Slayers meet up with Rengoku, he is downing as many bentos as possible, but his time to rest is finite because things start going wrong in a short time. While they have the time to talk, Tanjiro takes the time to ask about sun-kami. Though it is a dance, Tanjirou found himself using the sun-kami motions in his last big fight, and they manifested themselves like a variation of his water breathing technique.
Though Rengoku knows nothing about any connection between fire breathing and sun-kami dances, he turns out to be a nice guy who is open to helping if he can. Rengoku even makes a point to mention that though he knows Nezuko is there, she is in no danger from him. He acknowledges her because the head of the Demon Slayer Corps has done so. Though characters with a fire attribute are often displayed as hotheaded, Rengoku seems to be deeply dedicated to his work and calmly analytical of the world around him.
Gag Comedy Doesn’t Miss the Mark
So we know that Demon Slayer is first and foremost a very dramatic story of death, life, survival, and good versus evil, but that’s not all it brings. Though the main series was no different, Demon Slayer has always done a great job of adding comedy into the mix that doesn’t detract from the rest of the story. On this, Demon Slayer: Mugen Train delivers again. From chibi-Nezuko to master-swordsman-while-sleeping Zenitsu, all of our favorite main characters are back with the funniest parts about them in tow.
While nobody is that surprised that Inosuke thinks that the train is a giant monster, it is safe to say that everyone was shocked to learn that he is eventually right about that! One of our favorite moments of comedy are the things that Inosuke and Zenitsu dream up while they are being distracted by the enemy! Inosuke gets to be the boss he always talks about when he is followed around by dingy-looking versions of his friends. As for Zenitsu’s dreams? The pic above says it all.
Tanjiro and His Nerves of Steel
While asleep, Tanjirou dreams about his family, whose deaths were the catalyst for the whole story. Tonjirou finds it challenging to reconcile the living, breathing people in front of him with the cold hard fact that he personally dug their graves. After spending too much time trying to get his bearings, Tanjirou realizes that the things he is experiencing are not real. How do you escape a dream world? Unfortunately, he did not wake up by willing himself to wake or looking for a physical way out. Then Tanjirou tries the unthinkable: he takes his sword to his own neck. And then he wakes up!
After that terrifying guesswork, Tanjirou is back in action and ready to fight. Over and over, Tanjirou falls asleep and simultaneously wakes up, in an endless circle of falling into a dream and ending his life to wake up again. If you thought Tanjirou was deadly before, watch as the demon receives the full extent of his rage when the monster makes Tanjirou’s family project hatred onto him. Let’s also not forget to give Inosuke kudos for stopping Tanjirou from hurting himself when he wasn’t sure if he was dreaming or not. That could have been a quick end.
Satisfying for Shounen Lovers
There is no deviancy in the reviews on the fight scenes here. Though it is a good long while for the group to realize what is happening to them and get their bearings again, Mugen Train has even more action than the main series. While you do not see the characters grow in skill, those skills they spent the latter half of season two prepping are used here.
In addition to the Demon Slayers that we know and love, the Fire Hashira turns out to be even more awesome than we thought he was. During one of the last fights, the Demon Slayers divide up the work. And while Zenitsu and Nezuko take care of three cars’ protection, Rengoku takes the other five train segments. This incredible ally seems to have no end to his strength! Shounen lovers, this did not disappoint. We also love watching Nezuko and Zenitus team up! Even though Zenitsu is mostly unconscious, they work well together! Meanwhile, Inosuke and Tanjirou try to defeat the Mugen Train itself.
Art in Animation
Demon Slayer is known for how pretty its animation choices are, and Mugen Train is no exception. Animation from anime production and movie can often be jarring because it is so different from the main series animation. This is not the case with Demon Slayer. All of the beautiful animations that had us in love with the main series are present in this movie. Specifically, Demon slayer’s Sword technique animation is gorgeous! Whether breathing techniques for water, lightning, fire, or something else, that signature beauty in illustration and animation that we loved in the series is still there.
Other moments we loved included Tanjirou’s soul! Open, clear, and serene, the depiction of Tanjirou’s subconscious was so beautiful that the person who was supposed to destroy it could not, for how touched they were. We also enjoyed the super creepy animation for the main villain! The demon had merged with the train and was in every car at once. From beautiful to spooky, Mugen Train has some admirable animation.
Say Goodbye to the Fire Hashira
One thing about Demon Slayer: Mugen Train is that you get your money’s worth out of your watch. After two giant fights, the train is off the rails, the demon who wrecked the train is disintegrating, and Tanjirou’s wounds are not fatal. It starts to feel like the end of the story. Though the Demon Slayer Movie would have ended happily if it had stopped there, Muzan Kibustuji waits for no man. Just after the member of the twelve-kizuki they had been fighting dies, a member of the now six-kizuki appears.
Even though they face a boss fight while they are already wrecked from battle, the Demon Slayers attempt to rise and fail. It starts to look like Tanjirou will finally be killed for Muzan, Rengoku appears. After showing skills that only a Hashira can possess, the demon they are fighting tried to convince Rengoku to become a demon. After declining repeatedly, the demon starts breaking parts of Rengoku that cannot be fixed. They fight until almost daybreak, and Rengoku goes down while the demon gets away. Save one of your popcorn napkins for the end… you’re going to want it. The Fire Hashira dies but calls himself successful because nobody else was killed.
Demon Slayer: Mugen Train was an excellent experience. Our favorite Demon Slayers met one of the Hashira up close. The fight scenes were great and the animation was very stimulating. If you are anything of a fan to the rest of Demon Slayer, you will not be let down. We know Demon Slayer has a special place with the rest of the great shounen anime, it is not over yet! For as exhilarating and unusual as Mugen Train was, the story will continue later this year. The next arc of the Demon Slayer franchise is set to begin with season two sometime in 2021.
Did you see it yet? What did you think? Let us know in the comments!