I have to admit that I am not a Japanese anime fan although I do enjoy the works of Hayao Miyazaki. Demon Slayer falls under the category of anime and already has a huge following in Japan in the form of a TV series. What attracted me to watch this was its impressive box office track record! Despite the pandemic, this movie became the highest grossing anime and movie in Japan last year. It’s box office success continued in foreign markets as well including in America where it has exceeded the box office take of Mortal Kombat. This full length feature with the sub-heading Mugen Train is actually a sequel to where the TV series left off. It follows the adventures of Tanjiro (and friends) who is out to take revenge on demon who had killed his family and left his sister turning into a demon as well. The plot of this film takes place solely on the Mugen Train which had reports of demon sightings and killings.
After finally watching this, I have a better idea what all the fuss is about and what makes this anime so appealing. Despite not having followed the TV series, you will not be at a lost in terms of following the simple storyline. What sets this anime apart from the usual picture perfect animation of Disney and Pixar is its style. By this I mean not only the unique drawing style and jerky cartoon movements, but also its quirky characters. Yes, we have the fair share of crazy cartoonish behaviour characters, but here, the Japanese are not afraid of crossing the invisible moral boundaries of violence and strong language. So mixed with the crazy action are some pretty gory stuff, and dialogue that is goofy with the occasional bursts of unconventional explicits. The anime is beautifully captured in vibrate colours and energy unlike anything I have encountered. What we get is an astounding and truly original epic feel as our heroes are tested on their strengths and mental tenacity. The fight scenes are also highly creative and imaginative. My favourite as is probably the case with most viewers, is the big fight at the end and the unexpected ending. It is to the film’s credit that amidst all the mayhem, and crazy stuff happening, it manages to blend sentimentalism and a sense of heroism to the storyline. I am not surprise if you find some wet eyes by the film’s end! Finally, the film ended with a hauntingly beautiful song as the end credits rolled sung by LiSA which simply makes you want to sit and listen to the whole song while the credits roll. The open ended conclusion also means good news for Demon Slaying fans as they can expect more in the form of the follow-up TV series or full length features.
Demon Slayer has made me a fan! I found myself admiring and loving the animation, the colourful and quirky characters, the exciting fights with demons, and the touching way in which the story unfolds and ends. This is no ordinary cartoon! This is animation at its best.