After a year or so, I was able to go to the cinema again to watch the hugely successful animated movie Demon Slayer – The Movie: Mugen Train. Although the tape has been broadcast in Germany, Austria and Switzerland since the end of May, local hygiene requirements did not allow moviegoers to watch this arc, which lasted nearly two hours, until recently. Meanwhile, relevant guidelines have been relaxed in many areas, which should satisfy cinema operators and visitors.
Japanese animation studio Ufotable originally brought up a color film on canvas under the direction of Haruo Sotozaki (Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Cowboy Bebop) in 2020, which was entirely captured by the anime’s hyper-art style. Coarse backgrounds from the character’s cool graphics stand out in several places in this production, but are rarely negatively noted. The high-quality animation conveys the sheer speed and sheer power with which mysterious swords cut their evil enemies to shreds. The shocking beauty is captured in moments of silence that are frozen either after a successful attack or before a bloody wound.
Since so little happens, I can’t say much about the movie itself without expecting too much. Mugen Trains goes straight to the 26th episode of Kimetsu no Yaiba’s first animated season and wastes no time introducing newcomers to the world of demon slayers. You should watch Demon Slayer: The Movie – Mugen Train as a sequel to the series and not as a standalone feature film. Prior knowledge of the world and its characters is required, as these are basically six narrow anime episodes with their own uninterrupted storyline.
After the young swordsman Tanjiro and his comrades jumped into Mugen’s train, they encountered Kogoro Ringoku, a pillar of flame – a very experienced sword master. Together they investigate why so many people have recently disappeared around this train. Shortly after that, the passengers fell into the trap of Demon Enmu – the waning Demon Moon No. 1. Only a few demons topped him in the rankings, because with the help of his cursed demonic arts, he trapped his opponents in a dream he chose.
After brief glimpses into the realms of thoughts of the protagonists, our heroes finally find themselves in a nightmare of physical horror embodied, which is not executed in a visually appealing way. Cutting out amorphous tentacles in a fleshy environment doesn’t look particularly exciting, even with the striking color spectrum of demonic martial arts. Not least because of this, the confrontation with Enmu is rapidly losing momentum.
[Den nachfolgenden Absatz versehen wir sicherheitshalber mit einem Spoiler-Hinweis.]
Right after that, the audience is rewarded with a big fight between two very powerful opponents. Rising Moon Number 3, Akaza, appears out of nowhere and challenges Ringoku to a duel. This encounter moves to the bone as it shows Tanjiro and his friends the supernatural level they have to reach by training them in order to destroy Muzan Kibutsuji’s most powerful demon minions. It’s an engaging epilogue that in many ways makes up for the first hour of the anime.
After completing their mission, Tanjiro and his friends will be assigned a new mission, which will likely lead us directly to the second season of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, which is supposed to start at the end of the year. The extent to which upcoming episodes will summarize these events is questionable, so we hope that responsible publishers will soon begin digital sales here in Germany as well. The fact that this work is practically required reading for fans of Kimetsu no Yaiba is a problematic development.
Those who are reconciled with her can of course enjoy the expected spectacle. Brilliant animated battles with great visuals are organized as usual, although this visual level is by no means preserved in all scenes. Unlike the bloody fate of swordsmen, there are moments when the charming characters of this bloody world are given the opportunity to make us smile with their ridiculous peculiarities. Demon Slayer: The Movie – Mugen Train is dear to the heart at times, because it tells us more about the popular characters and their personal backgrounds. I don’t quite understand why I had to watch these six episodes in a row in the cinema.