Demon Slayer: Mugen Train Review


Photo by Studio Ufotable

Official Poster of Demon Slayer: Mugen Train

Aylin Tepe, Editor-in-Chief

After breaking studio records in 2019 with the animation of the popular Manga Series Demon Slayer, the release of the movie Demon Slayer: Mugen Train was a film long-awaited by loyal fans everywhere, and for millions, it was worth the wait. The movie managed to sell a global total of 41.35 million tickets, earning about $475 million and dethroning the long-standing record holder, Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away, making it the highest-grossing anime film worldwide. While many try to bring down the series’ success by tying it to the fantastic animation carried out by Ufotable studios, Mugen Train made it evident that this anime is more than just beautiful colors and smooth animation. 


Directed by Haruo Sotazaki, who also managed the series first season, Mugen Train managed to pick up exactly where the first season ended, allowing fans to smoothly transition back into the world of Demon Slayer. The story follows the main protagonist, Tanjiro Kamado, who sets out on a mission to cure his sister Nezuko who involuntarily got turned into a demon. Criticized for being “too gory” or “violent” for a Shonen series that typically caters to younger audiences, Demon Slayer manages to avoid unnecessary violence entirely, making every altercation relevant to the plot in some manner (besides the few comical spats the main character gets into). Sotazaki manages to execute the tragedy of the story and complex emotions felt by each and every character, allowing not only redemption for the crueler villains but character growth for the series underdogs as well. The movie received a PG-12 rating in Japan, however, the U.S Motion Picture Association gave it an R-rating, making its success in the U.S even more relevant. 


In Mugen train, the plot follows the Manga series published in 2016, which can leave audiences who are unfamiliar with the premise to be left in the dark. However, it is not long before even the newest anime watchers become engrossed in the movie’s tragic, yet thoughtful plot. And while in some sense it does rely on the belief that the audience has previous knowledge, the writers managed to do an amazing job at showing why viewers should care about the rag-tag band of characters. The biggest receptor of this is Kyojuro Rengoku, also known as the Flame Hashira, who in the initial season was given minimal screen time and zero to no background information. Mugen Train focuses entirely on his motivation, strength, and drive as a character making him one of the series most beloved characters. This choice pays off as Rengoku manages to stand out in a movie that is already so action-packed, allowing for the most memorable moments of the entire plot to be circled back to his character. 


Aside from the canonical plot adaptation and the lovable characters,  part of what makes Mugen Train such a good movie is heightened by the incredible animation, and the soundtrack. With sequences in which fire and water clash, blurring the lines between dreams and reality, and songs that are instantly recognizable, studio Ufotable manages to morph some of the most notable plot points of the series into unforgettable scenes on the big screen. 


Overall, Demon Slayer: Mugen Train encapsulates the series’ appeal with moments that not only tug at the heartstrings, but leave the audience at the edge of their seats nearly every second of the two-hour production. With captivating characters, emotional grandeur, and non-stop action, Mugen Train managed to solidify its seat as one of anime’s most memorable films, and ultimately, a thoroughly enjoyable experience for anime fans everywhere.