It wasn’t until 2009 that I became interested in anime. Bleach, and notably Rukia, was responsible for turning my curiosity into a decade-long obsession. At the time, anime in the United States was in an odd place; it was still seen as a strange concept, broadcasting mostly on Toonami on Saturday nights and on fansubbing sites. For some context, this was a year after Crunchyroll began attempting to become relatively legal. Even with all of that, 2020 was, to put it mildly, a disaster. Despite this, a new record was set, which in many ways validated what anime is and what it can achieve around the world. Demon Slayer: Mugen Train became the very first non-Hollywood film to achieve top international grossing. It shattered box office records left and right, dethroning Spirited Away and confirming the series’ status as the next great Shonen franchise. I was finally able to find a time and place to watch this record-breaking movie in its entirety after pushing my coworker to watch the first season so we could go see the movie together, and I’m going to write about it here.
After the first season, Mugen Train is set on a train called Mugen. We follow Tanjiro, his demonic sister Nezuko, and their two obnoxious companions, Zenistu and Inosuke, as they are charged with locating a train that has been the site of numerous demonic attacks recently. Despite this awareness, the train is nonetheless highly busy, with both young and old individuals on board. The gang must work along with flame Hashira Rengoku, Kyoujurou to ensure the passengers’ safety. But, as these things go, a newly minted lower moon named Enmu has already set the scene for the demon slayers, with the dream realm as his battleground.
A lot of emotions rose inside me as I initially sat down and this movie started. Excitement, anticipation, and dread all stemmed from the fact that, as an anime lover, I was going to witness a film that had the entire globe captivated. And, despite the fact that he did not disappoint me, I left the movie with the sensation that everything was OK. Mugen Train is good, I want to be clear about that. It’s a respectable follow-up to the first season, and it was well worth the money I spent for the ticket. But when something explodes around the world like this movie did, it gives me a certain feeling, a sense of wonder, something that’s not easy to do. Rengoku’s big personality is probably one of the first things you take away from the film; a powerful and high-spirited murderer in his own right, this is the first time we’ve really gotten to see Hashira ranks in general, and it did not disappoint. We are engrossed in his dreams as he recalls a previous life, a life in which he struggled to live up to his father’s expectations, a life in which he promised honour and justice to his mother. Rengoku’s childhood was difficult, and the film eloquently depicts that. We’re engrossed in his dreams as he recalls a previous life in which he tried to live up to his father’s expectations, a life in which he promised honour and justice to his mother. Rengoku’s childhood was difficult, and the film eloquently depicts that. We’re engrossed in his dreams as he recalls a previous life in which he tried to live up to his father’s expectations, a life in which he promised honour and justice to his mother. Rengoku’s childhood was difficult, and the film eloquently depicts that.
It is in these dreams that the essence of the film resides. Tanjiro reunites with his family before the tragic events that occur in the first episode. He finds himself again in the presence of those who love him and is at peace with it. Zenistu frolics daily hand in hand with Nezuko while Inosuke commands his minions to kill an evil train monster. Zenistu and Inosuke‘s dreams were not only relevant but also humorous, yet as the four were adrift in these dreams, Enmu’s slaves worked alongside them, their objective being simple: identify the essences of each killer, kidnap them, and kill them. This challenges each Slayer to dig deep within themselves to find the strength to battle the dream, wake up, and confront Enmu.
All told, Demon Slayer: Mugen Train was a finely told story about a demon manipulating those who sleep while taking a train of 200 people hostage. I found Enmu rather morbid, even compared to other demons, as his sheer desire to see people suffer seems to triumph over all his other thirsts. I found this interesting because looking at season 1 none of the demons really had that kind of dark malice which means Enmu was the first one who didn’t really get a goodbye for which the series was famous. As a viewer, we don’t actually get a sense of his motives beyond the simple fact that he’s just messed up in his head. Although I think it’s a missed opportunity, I’m not going to denounce the series,
The animation was fantastic, which is nothing new since it was Studio ufotable. Sound and atmosphere go very well together and, as Demon Slayer does well, actions have real consequences. There’s a healthy dose of humor and the film ends well as a prelude to the upcoming season. The R rating in the US market was a little odd, but I have to say there aren’t really any moments where the movie is more violent than the show, of course there is a bit of blood here and there , and Enmu’s monologue about wanting to eat people was a little weird, but overall the movie was pretty tasteless.
If you are a fan of the first season or like supernatural shonen series, I really can’t recommend a better series than Demon Slayer. I didn’t feel the same thrill as during the Season 1 Rui arc , but the movie hit many high marks along the way, easily earning an 8 from me. It is worth watching and I can’t wait to see the second season. As always, thanks for reading!