Demon Slayer: Mugen Train movie has taken over the anime community, becoming the highest-grossing film of all time in Japan, and has also been very successful internationally. But does it live up to the hype? The short answer is for the most part yes. Mugen Train is a very fun and entertaining film that made me feel very satisfied with some of the best animations, visuals, soundtrack, and fight scenes I’ve seen in an anime movie. This is easily one of my favorite anime films and a must watch for anyone who is a fan of Demon Slayer.
Mugen Train picks up exactly where the show left off as the three main heroes of the show meet up with the Hashira, Rengoku, on a train to stop a demon that has the power to put people to sleep and trap them in their dreams. There will be spoilers so read at your own risk.
All Aboard the Mugen Train
This movie is very action-centric but it really did have some really nice character development. Tanjiro has some amazing scenes especially the ones where he’s trapped in the dream world as well as his moments with Rengoku. Inosuke, who was my least favorite among the trio, really grew on me in this movie. He had some real genuine growth where he seemed to be more willing to cooperate with his comrades and was far less reckless.
Rengoku was just awesome. He may have had limited screen time but he easily makes a great impression on you from the first scene till the end. He’s just so likable with his charm, charisma, confidence, and sheer willpower in battle. You can easily see why the trio looks up to him even though they’ve just met. Spoiler, but when he died at the end of the movie I felt really sad even though we didn’t get to know him that much, I felt a genuine connection to this guy just like the rest of the gang. Overall, Rengoku was a beast and he will surely be missed
Enmu and Akaza, the two main antagonists, didn’t have that much character depth to them but certainly made up for it with their screen presence. Enmu had this really creepy and demented vibe to him which I found to be really disturbing. Akaza had a lot of swagger and charisma during his fight with Rengoku. All of the VAs do a fantastic job with the voice acting. Particularly Tanjiro’s during all the emotional scenes where the sense of sadness and despair from him was palpable. Overall, the cast did an amazing job here with very strong performances and many excellent character moments.
The Heart of the Action
The main meat and bones of this movie would easily have to be the absolutely incredible fight scenes. I was simply blown away by just how good the action was with Enmu vs Tanjiro and Akaza vs Rengoku being the main highlights. The animations and visuals were simply beautiful. The amount of energy that pulsated from the screen with each sword blow or magical ability used was overwhelming. This is complemented by the fantastic soundtrack that plays at the background of each battle.
Combine these two and you have some of the most hyped up and exciting fight scenes I’ve seen in an anime movie. Whenever the demon slayers strike their foes with the style and finesse of their breathing forms, I could not help but be awed by how cool and awesome this looked. The action is was so good that I think it surpasses that in the show. I personally think that the fight between Rengoku and Akaza was better than Tanjiro and Rui’s in the show. Overall, Ufotable was able to build on the foundations that they set in the show to create an amazing display of spectacle and sheer awesomeness.
More of the Excellent Points
This movie is a technical marvel. The team at Ufotable did an incredible job with the TV, but when that same amount of work and resources are put into just one movie, you get something truly incredible. From the backgrounds, character designs, lighting, and visual effects this film is simply gorgeous. Combine that with the great sound design and you have this incredible sense of atmosphere. I felt so immersed in this world like I was on the train itself that it was hard to move on when it was over. I could not take my eyes off this film for the entire 2-hour duration and when it was over I was just in awe over what I had just experienced.
Despite the overall serious mood of the story, I was surprised that they were able to place in some very funny scenes. The one where Zenitsu finally had a date with Nezuko in his dreams I found to be hilarious. These scenes added a lot of levity to this dark story while at the same time not feeling at all out of place.
Now, despite all the praise that I’ve heaped on this film there are some clear issues that I have with it. Firstly, I think that both Nezuko and Zenitsu were very underutilized. Rengoku, Tanjiro, and Inosuke get most of the attention here with the former two almost becoming forgettable. I think the two only get maybe a couple of really cool scenes which is a shame. I personally love Zenitsu and I wanted to see more of him kicking ass while asleep.
My second problem is with Akaza. Now, his fight with Rengoku at the end was freakin incredible, easily one of the best I’ve seen. But the issue is the setup. He just shows up out of nowhere for no reason which felt odd to me. All it would take to fix this is one scene or at least one line explaining why he’s here.
To conclude, the issues I have with this film are minor and don’t detract from the overall experience. I was very excited to watch this movie but I was worried that my expectations were too high and that I’d end up disappointed. After watching it, I confidently say that I was not let down and felt incredibly satisfied when it ended. Demon Slayer: Mugen Train is a fun, exciting, and entertaining 2-hour experience that any fan of the franchise or lover of anime, in general, should watch. Just make sure to stay safe while doing so.