“After a string of mysterious disappearances begin to plague a train, the Demon Slayer Corps’ multiple attempts to remedy the problem prove fruitless. To prevent further casualties, the flame pillar, Kyoujurou Rengoku, takes it upon himself to eliminate the threat. Accompanying him are some of the Corps’ most promising new blood: Tanjirou Kamado, Zenitsu Agatsuma, and Inosuke Hashibira, who all hope to witness the fiery feats of this model demon slayer firsthand.
Unbeknownst to them, the demonic forces responsible for the disappearances have already put their sinister plan in motion. Under this demonic presence, the group must muster every ounce of their willpower and draw their swords to save all two hundred passengers on board. Kimetsu no Yaiba Movie: Mugen Ressha-hen delves into the deepest corners of Tanjirou’s mind, putting his resolve and commitment to duty to the test.” – MAL
Coming off my rewatch of the first season, I was very hyped for this movie. Not only does the last episode of season one build a lot of hype for this. But it’s been out in Japan since last year and it was just destroying every sales record imaginable while also getting great reviews. So I’ve been itching to watch this movie for a while. Boy oh, boy did it not disappoint, it was amazing. So let’s talk about it. Also spoiler alert, this will be almost a play-by-play in some parts.
This movie is pretty distinctly broken up into four acts. The first three are really good. On their own, the movie would’ve been a 9/10 for me scratching on a 10. Once again I love the trio and their chemistry. Then you add in Rengoku, who is just amazing. The way the trio is just attracted and admired his burning passion was cute. Him, with no hesitation saying he’ll take all of them under his wing and train them. Also, his flame breathing is cool as hell. This being his second more formal introduction, it was a very strong one.
The second act is the first high point of the movie. With everyone in their individual dream sequences. While Zenitsu and Inosuke’s were funny and slightly interesting. Rengoku and Tanjirou’s where the highlight. Starting with Rengoku, his dream/flashback fleshed out his character well. I’m very much looking forward to seeing why his father gave up the sword. But seeing Rengoku’s dreams being crushed by the person who built that dream up for him was tough. But that burning spirit that he has never fades. I love that about his character.
Tanjirou’s is just heartbreaking. It’s kind of easy to forget just how big of a family he had. This dream sequence broke my heart, cause it’d be so easy for him to just accept that as his new reality and live with his family forever. The moment he realizes he’s in a dream and has to decide to leave his family. Then his father speaking to him and telling him there’s something he needs to cut to wake up. It makes sense in hindsight but it’s so damn brutal that he has to decapitate himself in that dream world to wake up. That’s my favorite character trait of his, his dedication to what needs to be done, that willpower is crazy. Also, Nezuko head-butting him trying to wake him up, and turning to the camera with a bloody forehead was hilariously cute.
One thing that interested me during this act is the insight into everyone’s inner souls. Inosuke’s being a maze like cave. Zenistu’s being a completely dark void that seems to be home to his sleeping alter ego. Rengoku’s is just burning flames and Tanjirou’s is a plane of genuine bliss occupied by helpful little spirit beings. It said a lot about all of those characters and who they truly are, while visually being stunning.
The third act was fun. Everyone waking up and fighting throughout the train. Once again I praise how dynamic the fights in this series are. I was not expecting the demon to become the whole train. Tanjirou and Insokue trying to cut its neck off was a cool sequence. I don’t even want to think about how many times Tanjirou had to kill himself in that dream world during this fight. While they’re fighting that demon, Zenitsu, Nezuko, and Rengoku are fending off the rest of the train. Unleashing a flurry of just amazingly animated techniques. Zenitsu’s lighting strike up the train car was just chef kiss.
Up until this point I haven’t talked about the main villain. Mainly because he was pretty much in the background for the first two acts, but mostly because he’s pretty uninteresting. Its the demon from the last episode of season one, what we saw there is what we get. Someone who derives pleasure from the pain of suffering of others. His blood arts wasn’t even that interesting overall (it was still cool enough though) and his plan as a whole felt like it had holes in it. So while I still praise how dynamic the fights are. Among every fight we’ve seen in the series to date, beyond the shock that he is the train, it’s probably the least interesting.
By the point the train demon is defeated there were still like 35 minutes left in the movie. Everyone’s nursing their injuries, Rengoku is praising the boys, it looks like a happy ending. So at this point, the movie is really good. Acts 1-3 by themselves are like an 8 or 9/10. An overall fun experience kind of bogged down by an uninteresting villain. I put this because for if any reason you’re reading this and you haven’t watched the movie. I would feel bad if you couldn’t experience act four blind. The last act of this movie stands way above the rest. So, second spoiler warning.
Act four man, wtf was this. It’s pretty much a long fight scene but man was it impactful. The power scaling in this show has been crazy but consistent. Tanjirou has gotten stronger to the point where he’s probably almost on par with the lower moons. He almost got to Rui, even before his training, even then Rui had to be killed by Giyuu. Which Giyuu did with ease. Fast forward to the Mugen Train, while it took two of them, the demon was dispatched pretty easily. If it wasn’t for all the scheming, and hostages, it would’ve been a lot easier. The boys have come a long way. Rengoku felt no hesitation to send them to go kill the train. So for them to be in the presence of an upper moon and be absolutely, completely outmatched is wild.
Every demon on-screen has been characterized very well in their short screen time. They all have very distinct personalities and clear motives. The dialogue between Akaza and Rengoku was pretty insightful. As we’ve seen, every demon’s circumstances are different as to why they were turned. This one’s backstory wasn’t revealed but just from the dialogue, I wouldn’t be shocked if it was completely voluntary. Constantly admiring Rengoku’s strength and practically begging him to become a demon with him and grow stronger for eternity. Constantly injuring him and saying “hey if you were a demon, that heals instantly.” I particularly loved the comment about how strong he [Rengoku] is now and he still has 2-3 years until he hits his prime so it would be ashamed if he died right here. I feel like in a lot of other shows that would lead to Rengoku getting spared and them becoming rivals but nah, not here.
We saw some of Kibutsugi’s power in episode 26. But seeing how fast Akaza regenerates, how is it even gonna be possible to kill Muzan? How the hell did Tanjirou’s father get him to the point that he holds such a grudge? Rengoku launched one of the most powerful attacks we’ve seen and he still endured it. During this fight, there are flashback scenes interwoven between everything of Rengoku and his late mother. They serve to lay out his mantra and why he is the way he is. The demon sees human life as a weakness and uses his strength selfishly. While Rengoku sees the beauty in a life that one day ends and since he was blessed with being stronger than others it’s his duty to protect those weaker than him. I loved that dichotomy.
The tail end of this fight was so brutal. The demon impaling Rengoku with his arm but Rengoku grabbing onto it with all his strength and trying his hardest one last time to cut his neck off with his other hand. All while the sun starts to rise on the horizon. It’s crazy how even the cockiest, most powerful demon whimpers at the sight of the sun. I was up in my bed rooting for Rengoku so hard, but Akaza got away at the last second. Which sucks.
I praised the voice acting in this series before but Tanjirou’s voice actor put on a performance of a lifetime in this movie. Specifically, in the last scene as Akaza is running away into the shade of the forest, and Tanjirou is crying and screaming at the top of his lungs how the demons are cowards and how brave the demon slayers are. How they always fight the demons on their turf and at a disadvantage while they hide in the protection of the night. Telling him to come back and fight. Screaming how Rengoku really won this battle cause no one (well besides him) lost their life. The raw emotion of that performance was amazing.
If you’ve read any of my previous reviews by this point it’s pretty clear I value characters over pretty much everything else. If an anime can make me feel for a character in any way then it’s a major win. Rengoku is easily one of my favorite characters in this series. His characterization in this last art alone was top tier let alone the whole movie. I loved the line saying that since all the passengers on the train survived he won, the mission was a success. His death with a smile on his face as he sees his deceased mother was beautiful. The reaction from the trio was heartbreaking. Particularly Insosuke, it’s already been pretty clear that due to his upbringing he has a hard time articulating certain feelings. So it was rough to watch him in a state of sadness yet trying to get everyone to get up and train more. What the trio felt is very much what I felt. Both them and me as the viewer have spent little time with Rengoku but he left a crazy strong impression that it’s hard not to feel gut wrenched for how this turned out.
One thing I enjoy in anime is seeing how various characters react to big events in the world. Seeing the Hashira react was great. The leader’s sentiments echoed those of Rengokus. As long as nobody died the mission was a success. There’s a lot of mystery around him and I really need to learn more.
I think there’s something to be said that the animation of season one was on par with this movie. Maybe even slightly better in some respects. The CGI here seemed a little worse than it was in the anime but still good. The music was phenomenal and once again the voice acting was outstanding.
So yeah this movie definitely lived up to the hype and then some. This movie reinforced everything I loved about season one. Great characters, great action, great animation, great voice acting, and a whole lot of cool stuff surrounding all of that. That’s a grade-A formula and this series has yet to disappoint me and I don’t think it can (knock on wood) at this point. At this point, I’m fully aboard the Demon Slayer hype train. Season one was amazing and this movie was outstanding.
Demon Slayer: Mugen Train – 10/10
Notes – So I started watching Joran a few nights ago and uh, lets just say I’ve definitely been unintentionally spoiling myself with all the great anime I’ve consumed in the past 4 or so months. Not passing too much judgement on it now but… yeah. Demon Slayer season 2 comes out later this year and this could easily be one of the greatest years for anime maybe ever.