The first time we watched Season One of Demon Slayer it was a perfect ten for us. The second time we watched it, it was actually more than a ten and at that moment we knew that it was one of our favourite anime shows of all time. We don’t have enough good things to say about Demon Slayer and we can’t accurately convey our love for the show with mere words on a page. We’re not the only ones who hold it in such high regard, either, as it’s become something of a worldwide modern-day anime phenomenon.
The decision to release the next story arc as a movie in the form of Mugen Train was, therefore, a big brain play because if you enjoyed Demon Slayer – which pretty much everyone did – then you’d naturally be desperate to see how the story unfolds and the only way to do that would be at the cinema. This is at least one of the reasons why Mugen Train is the highest-grossing film of all time in Japan and the second highest-grossing anime film of all time in the US after 1999’s Pokémon: The First Movie (we’d concede that peak Pokémon was an unstoppable force and is a worthy opponent).
If it’s not yet clear, Mugen Train is not a standalone movie; it picks up exactly where Season One of Demon Slayer left off and there is no introduction, exposition or explanation. Mugen Train assumes you know the world of the series and know it well. In fact, we’d go so far as to say the only way you can enjoy this film is by watching the first season of the anime, as otherwise you will be hopelessly lost. Naturally, we recommend that you do because your life will be richer for it and then you can watch Mugen Train, which we also recommend because it blew us away.
Demon Slayer has always excelled with its visuals and score and it’s never looked or sounded better than it does in Mugen Train, especially when experienced in IMAX, as the film has been digitally remastered to take advantage of everything the larger-than-life movie format has to offer.
While you might wonder if 117 minutes of movie time is enough to be able to tell even part of a story that has, thus far, stretched across 26 episodes, what we’ve always loved about Demon Slayer is its seriously snappy story arcs, which manage to convey a huge amount of action and emotion in just a handful of episodes at a time. Strip away the recap, OP, ED and preview from each episode and you’re left with about 20 minutes, which means Mugen Train‘s running time is worth almost six episodes, and that’s a lot by Demon Slayer standards.
Mugen Train packs a huge amount into its near-two hours but none of its content feels shoehorned in or rushed. It’s delivered at exactly the same sort of pace as the show’s storytelling – the only difference is that watching all that in one hit rather than having it broken up into episodes makes it a much more intense experience.
The film really doesn’t disappoint on any level – the soundtrack stirred our very soul, the action sequences gave us goosebumps, the comic relief made us laugh and the emotional scenes made us cry. It delivers everything a Demon Slayer fan could want and, more importantly, it also delivers everything that a cinema fan could want.
In a way, Mugen Train had a fairly easy job – it wasn’t some standalone cash grab that had to convince weary weebs it was worth their time, nor did it have to carry the weight of being some grand, spectacular finale that had to somehow satisfactorily conclude everything that had ever come before it. All it had to do was to be Demon Slayer and that would have been enough. But, with more budget to play with and fewer time constraints, Mugen Train ends up delivering a Demon Slayer experience on a completely different scale and it’s simply awesome.
Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Movie: Mugen Train is out on 26 May and will be available in both English dub as well as subtitled, and also available in IMAX. Tickets are available in the coming weeks at demonslayermovie.co.uk. For your chance two win quad posters for the movie, enter our competition here.