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Film Review: ‘Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train’ Dazzles with Captivating Fight Sequences and Pristine Animation4 min read

26 January 2021 4 min read


Film Review: ‘Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train’ Dazzles with Captivating Fight Sequences and Pristine Animation4 min read

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Tanjiro Kamado, joined with Inosuke Hashibira, a boy raised by boars who wears a boar’s head, and Zenitsu Agatsuma, a scared boy who reveals his true power when he sleeps, board the Infinity Train on a new mission with the Flame Pillar, Kyojuro Rengoku, to defeat a demon who has been tormenting the people and killing the demon slayers who oppose it!

Director: Haruo Sotozaki

Cast: Natsuki Hanae, Akari Kito, Yoshitsugu Matsuoka, Hiro Shimono, Satoshi Hino

Year: 2020

Country: Japan

Language: Japanese

Runtime: 117 minutes

Film Trailer:

It’s safe to say that every anime-lover would’ve heard of Demon Slayer or Kimetsu no Yaiba by now, a manga series drawn and written by Koyoharu Gotoge, with its anime produced by animation studio Ufotable. Its far-reaching pop culture influence and mass popularity, even to anti-fans, are undeniable. ‘Breathing’ has taken on an entirely new meaning because of the anime. Apparently, according to a school survey, Japanese elementary-school children admire the series’ protagonist, Tanjiro Kamado, more than their parents.

And now its film, Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train, had just overtaken Spirited Away in box office records to become the highest-grossing film of all time in Japan. The film begins immediately after the ending of its anime series. The main characters – Tanjiro Kamado (Natsuki Hanae), Nezuko Kamado (Akari Kito), Zenitsu Agatsuma (Hiro Shimono), and Inosuke Habashira (Yoshitsugu Matsuoka) – are tasked by the Demon Slayer Corp to hunt down a demon that has killed over forty members of the Corp in a train.

In the train, they meet up with one of the most powerful members of the Corp, Kyojuro Rengoku (Satoshi Hino). However, this assignment won’t be easy even with Rengoku’s help. Their enemy is an extremely powerful demon who can force people into deep sleep and manipulate their dreams. Cue the action-packed fight scenes as Tanjiro and the others struggle to defeat the demon.

The film has definitely received its fair share of criticisms. Like most Shonen anime and films, it has a straightforward, simple plot. Shonen anime refers to anime whose main audiences are teenage boys, that tout the simplest, most uncomplicated, and feel-good themes, like friendship, heroism, camaraderie, kindness – all of which this film trumpets as well.

But don’t let these factors deter you from watching the film. For what it’s worth, there is a slight plot twist nearing the end of the film which might devastate viewers who’ve never read the manga. And let’s be honest. The reason for the anime’s breakneck rise in popularity is because of the gorgeous fight choreography and animation. At least for me, the fight sequences are one of the best in the industry.

And Ufotable definitely delivered the same – if not, even better – animation quality in this film. The special effects that emerge from the characters’ swordplay are absolutely stunning and dynamic, and the fight sequences are animated seamlessly. Admire, for example, how neon-blue electricity currents crackle as Zenitsu blitzes across the train cabin, or how a tornado of golden-orange flames unleashes around Rengoku as he prepares to strike down the enemy. There is a silky fluidity to the characters’ movements as they fight, a beauty which, I believe, is even more gratifying when viewed on a big screen.

The characters are also just as memorable as the animation. Gotoge clearly has a knack for creating unique, unforgettable characters, and kudos to Ufotable for bringing the characters to life with capable voice actors and impeccable animation. The usual suspects – Tanjiro, Nezuko, Zenitsu, and Inosuke – are a delight to watch, their antics with each other hilarious and slapstick. Besides hilarity, viewers are also treated to tear-jerking scenes when Tanjiro reunites with his dead family members in a dream.

But what is most impressive is how Gotoge and Ufotable, in a mere length of a film, created such a vivid and charismatic character out of Rengoku. This is only possible with the film’s careful plotting and pacing of Rengoku’s backstory, culminating in an emotionally-explosive ending where Rengoku’s charisma and strong convictions will no doubt win the hearts of many audiences.

Simplicity with feel-good themes are what Shonen anime films excel at, and Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train lives up to that. Despite its formulaic storyline, the fantasy action-thriller film definitely still thrilled me with its fierce and energetic fight sequences, its arresting animation, and its devastating ending. I suspect non-fans of the anime series will be just as enthralled by the quality of animation and fight sequences. And one doesn’t really need prior context to experience the emotional impact of the story, so even non-fans can enjoy the film.

‘Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train’ is now showing in theatres islandwide.

Give Shi Quan some books to read and films to watch, a cup of coffee, and a lazy cat, and he won't come out of his home for days.
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