Final Thoughts: Demon Slayer Movie Mugen Train
Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations
I apologize again for the uncharacteristic break in content, this semester just ended up being incredibly stressful for no reason. On the bright side though, we’re almost at 400 followers on WordPress! That is absolutely insane and I just want to thank everyone whose followed me up until this point, especially those in the last month or so. With that being said, man the “Demon Slayer” movie was really good, huh?
I know I am extremely late to the party, but it really only became safe to actually go and watch the film in theaters where I live recently, and I had a lot of other priorities in the mean time. However, I managed to catch it with a couple of friends, and after watching it in the original Japanese, here are my final thoughts.
The Animation is Great…duh
I talk often about how my approach to criticism is trying to go into any piece of media with fairly neutral expectations, if any at all, because I feel as though things should be judged on individual. With that being said, I would have been quite surprised to find out that the animation ended up being subpar. One, because its UFOTABLE, and two, because movies generally tend to have a higher overall production value than TV anime.
Luckily, though, those higher than usually expectations were met and exceeded over the course of the film. Not only do the action scenes stand out as being incredibly expressive, but the slower moments are handled with care as well. One scene in particular that represents this fairly well is the part where Tanjiro begins to realize he is in a dream, and his clothes become surrounded by flames as his demon slayer costume comes back. While their isn’t much action here, the flames create a sense of realization and urgency, both in Tanjiro and the dream versions of his younger siblings, that feels both powerful and also frightening.
The Story Continues
While I have yet to read the “Demon Slayer” manga, this film definitely feels like it did the arc justice in a narrative sense. One of the things that I really enjoyed is that the movie really put a pretty big emphasis on Rengoku, who was left as being a kind of looming figure at the end of the first season. Admittedly, he did come off as being kind of annoying in the first 15 minutes or so (certainly and interesting directorial choice). Ultimately, though, I would say that he was one of the best parts of the film. His backstory was definitely sad in a way that I think is relatable to a lot of people. Not to mention, his fight with Akaza was raw as hell.
A lot of the film also focused dreams and looking back to the past, which I think makes sense given where “Demon Slayer” is at in its storyline, as far as the anime goes anyway. Mugen, whose power gives him the ability to control people’s dreams, buts Rengoku, Tanjiro, Zenitsu, and Inosuke. For Tanjiro, of course, this is cathartic, given what happens to him at the very beginning of the series. Rengoku is forced to live out the rejection of his father when it comes to becoming a Hashira.
As weird as it might sound, the only thing I did not like about this part of the film was Zenitsu and Inosuke’s dreams. Look, I get it, they are supposed to be the comic relief, so it make sense to use their dreams to alleviate some of the heaviness coming from the other two. Still, it feels like there was a real opportunity to grow them as characters. After all, they spent the first 30 minutes of the movie acting like idiots.
I don’t know if this is entirely fair to say, but as far as villains go, Mugen felt…meh. Like, the whole fusing with the train things was cool and all, and the action scenes that resulted from it were some of the best in the series, no doubt. Still, I feel like his motivation is a little underwhelming. Given that his options were “succeed in killing the demon slayers” or “die,” I guess it kind of makes sense.
Most importantly, I do not want people to come away from this post with the impression that I think the movie is bad, far from it. In fact, I would be willing to say that it is among the best anime films to come out in the last few years. Absolutely, 100%, no question. However, I do think there were some odd choices as far as story and character writing goes, and a few things that could have been cleaned up to make the film that much better. Also, next time can we maybe not concentrate all of the screaming at the very beginning and end of the film. It got really annoying really fast.
Regardless, fans of “Demon Slayer” who have yet to see it should absolutely do so.
How did you all feel about the movie? Let me know in the comments.
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