Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Movie: Mugen Train

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Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train
Kimetsu no Yaiba Mugen Ressha Hen Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Japanese劇場版「鬼滅の刃」 無限列車編
HepburnGekijō-ban "Kimetsu no Yaiba" Mugen Ressha-hen
Directed byHaruo Sotozaki
Written byUfotable
Based onDemon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
by Koyoharu Gotouge
Produced by
  • Akifumi Fujio
  • Masanori Miyake
  • Yūma Takahashi
Starring
CinematographyYuichi Terao
Edited byManabu Kamino
Music by
Production
company
Ufotable
Distributed byToho
Aniplex
Release date
  • October 16, 2020 (2020-10-16) (Japan)
Running time
117 minutes
CountryJapan
LanguageJapanese
Budget$15.8 million[1]
Box office$503 million[2]

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Movie: Mugen Train (Japanese: 劇場版「鬼滅の刃」 無限列車編, Hepburn: Gekijō-ban "Kimetsu no Yaiba" Mugen Ressha-hen), also known as Demon Slayer: Mugen Train or Demon Slayer: Infinity Train, is a 2020 Japanese animated dark fantasy action film[3][4] based on the shōnen manga series Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba by Koyoharu Gotouge. The film, which is a direct sequel to the first season of the anime series, was directed by Haruo Sotozaki and written by Ufotable staff members. The film was produced by Ufotable in association with Aniplex and Shueisha.

The film was released during the COVID-19 pandemic, premiering on October 16, 2020 in Japan and late 2020 to mid-2021 internationally. It grossed over $503 million at the worldwide box office, making it the highest-grossing film of 2020, the first time a non-Hollywood production topped the annual box office. It set a number of box office records, including becoming the highest-grossing anime and Japanese film of all time.

A second season of the anime series began broadcasting in Japan on October 10, 2021. The season's first arc, Mugen Train Arc, is an extended and retooled version of the film.[5]

Plot[edit]

Tanjiro, Nezuko, Zenitsu, and Inosuke board a train[N 1] to assist the Flame Hashira Kyōjurō Rengoku in his mission to hunt for a demon that has killed many Demon Slayers. Soon after boarding, all of them are enchanted and fall into a deep sleep. Enmu, Lower Rank One of the Twelve Kizuki, instructs four passengers, all suffering from severe insomnia, to enter the Demon Slayers' dreams and destroy their spiritual cores so that they can't wake up again. In exchange, Enmu will allow them a peaceful sleep.

During their sleep, Tanjiro and his companions have happy dreams. Tanjiro realizes that he is dreaming and tries to wake up, succeeding after a vision of his father instructs him to kill himself in the dream. At the same time, Nezuko uses her power to sever the intruders' connection, and awaken the passengers. In fear of Enmu, they attack Tanjiro, who knocks them out.

While Nezuko awakens the others, Tanjiro confronts Enmu, and in the ensuing battle, beheads him. However, Enmu does not die, and reveals that he fused his head with the train. Kyōjurō instructs Inosuke and Tanjiro to look for Enmu's neck while he, Nezuko, and Zenitsu stay behind to protect the other passengers. Tanjiro and Inosuke find Enmu's neckbone in the engine room and Tanjiro severs it, killing Enmu and stopping the train.

However, Akaza, the Upper Moon Three, appears soon after and attacks the Demon Slayers. Kyōjurō fights him alone, and is fatally wounded, although Akaza is forced to flee when the sun begins rising. Tanjiro angrily calls him a coward for running away and declares Kyōjurō the winner of the fight. Kyōjurō encourages Tanjiro and his friends, and dies. The Hashira and Demon Slayer Corps are informed of his death, while Tanjiro and the others mourn him.

Voice cast[edit]

Character Japanese English
Tanjirō Kamado (竈門 炭治郎, Kamado Tanjiro) Natsuki Hanae Zach Aguilar
Nezuko Kamado (竈門 禰豆子, Kamado Nezuko) Akari Kitō Abby Trott
Inosuke Hashibira (嘴平 伊之助, Hashibira Inosuke) Yoshitsugu Matsuoka Bryce Papenbrook
Zenitsu Agatsuma (我妻 善逸, Agatsuma Zen'itsu) Hiro Shimono Aleks Le
Kyōjurō Rengoku (煉獄 杏寿郎, Rengoku Kyōjurō) Satoshi Hino Mark Whitten
Enmu/Lower Moon One (魘夢) Daisuke Hirakawa Landon McDonald
Akaza/Upper Moon Three (猗窩座) Akira Ishida Lucien Dodge
Ruka Rengoku (煉獄 瑠火, Rengoku Ruka) Megumi Toyoguchi Suzie Yeung[6]
Shinjurō Rengoku (煉獄 槇寿郎, Rengoku Shinjurō) Rikiya Koyama Imari Williams[7]
Senjurō Rengoku (煉獄 千寿郎, Rengoku Senjuro) Junya Enoki Cedric Williams[8]
Tanjurō Kamado (竈門 炭十郎, Kamado Tanjūrō) Shin-ichiro Miki Kirk Thornton
Kie Kamado (竈門 葵枝, Kamado Kie) Houko Kuwashima Dorothy Elias-Fahn
Takeo Kamado (竈門 竹雄, Kamado Takeo) Yō Taichi Michelle Ruff
Hanako Kamado (竈門 花子, Kamado Hanako) Konomi Kohara Ryan Bartley
Shigeru Kamado (竈門 茂, Kamado Shigeru) Kaede Hondo Jessica DiCicco
Rokuta Kamado (竈門 六太, Kamado Rokuta) Aoi Koga Philece Sampler
Shinobu Kochō (胡蝶 しのぶ, Kochō Shinobu) Saori Hayami Erika Harlacher
Gyōmei Himejima (悲鳴嶼 行冥, Himejima Gyōmei) Tomokazu Sugita Crispin Freeman
Tengen Uzui (宇髄 天元, Uzui Tengen) Katsuyuki Konishi Ray Chase
Sanemi Shinazugawa (不死川 実弥, Shinazugawa Sanemi) Tomokazu Seki Kaiji Tang
Obanai Iguro (伊黒 小芭内, Iguro Obanai) Kenichi Suzumura Erik Scott Kimerer
Giyū Tomioka (冨岡 義勇, Tomioka Giyū) Takahiro Sakurai Johnny Yong Bosch
Kagaya Ubuyashiki (産屋敷 耀哉, Ubuyashiki Kagaya) Toshiyuki Morikawa Matthew Mercer
Amane Ubuyashiki (産屋敷 あまね, Ubuyashiki Amane) Rina Satō Suzie Yeung

Production and marketing[edit]

Yūma Takahashi, the producer of the anime series, indicated a desire to continue production of the series with the Ufotable Production Team. The sequel project was greenlit following the success of the television series. A film was determined to be the best format for the "Mugen Train" arc due to the arc's shorter content and dramatic pacing.[9] The main cast was made aware of the film project midway through the first season of the television series.[10] The main production staff from the anime television series, as well as the cast, were carried over into the film's production. Haruo Sotozaki served as director, with Akira Matsushima and Manabu Kamino serving as animator and editor of the film, respectively. The film was announced on September 28, 2019, immediately following the airing of the anime series' season finale.[11]

Release and reception[edit]

The film was released theatrically in Japan on October 16, 2020.[12] Because other major releases had been delayed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of available screens was higher than usual.[13] The film opened in 403 cinemas total, including all 38 IMAX cinemas within the country.[14] The film had a very staggered international release, being released from as early as October 30, 2020 in Taiwan[15] to as late as August 13, 2021 in India.[16] The theatrical release in China was delayed when a controversy surrounding the film Monster Hunter led the Chinese censors to review some foreign films a second time.[17]

Box office[edit]

The worldwide box office total for Demon Slayer: Mugen Train is over $503 million from more than 41 million tickets sold,[2][18] making it the highest-grossing film of 2020 as well as the highest-grossing anime and Japanese film of all time.[19][20] It was the first time in the history of cinema that a non-Hollywood production topped the annual worldwide box office.[21] It also became the highest-grossing R-rated animated film of all time.[22]

Prior to its release in Japan, the film set monthly sales records for advance tickets sold for two consecutive months in September and October 2020.[23] Upon release, it set several box office records including highest opening weekend gross (¥4.6 billion, $44 million)[24][25] and fastest to gross ¥10 billion (ten days),[26] ¥20 billion (24 days),[27] and ¥30 billion (59 days).[28] It also set the record for the highest-grossing IMAX release in Japan with $25 million, surpassing the $13 million record previously set by Bohemian Rhapsody in 2018.[29][30] The film became the first film to top the Japanese box office charts for ten consecutive weekends since the charts began publication in 2004,[31] and ultimately remained in the top 10 for 32 weeks,[32] the second-highest number of consecutive weeks in the Japanese charts behind Titanic's 40 weeks in the late 1990s.[33][34] It became the highest-grossing film of all time in Japan in 73 days at a gross of ¥32.48 billion, surpassing Spirited Away which had held the record for 19 years.[35] After 220 days of release, it became the first film in the history of Japanese cinema to gross ¥40 billion.[36]

Outside of Japan, its highest gross in a single market was in the United States and Canada, where it was released on April 23, 2021 and grossed US$47.7 million to become the second-highest-grossing anime film of all time in the market, after Pokémon: The First Movie which grossed US$85.7 million.[37][38][39] Its North American opening weekend gross of $19.5 million set the record as the biggest opening for any foreign-language film released in North America.[40] It became the highest-grossing animated film of all time in Taiwan by grossing NT$360 million (US$12.6 million) in 17 days after its release and went on to gross NT$634 million in total.[41][42] It also became the highest-grossing anime film in several other markets, including Singapore where it was released on November 12, 2020 and went on to gross S$2.42 million ($1.83 million),[43][44] Malaysia where it was released on March 5, 2021 and went on to gross more than RM4.3 million to surpass One Piece: Stampede's RM3.3 million,[45][46][47] Thailand where it surpassed the previous record held by Your Name during the first weekend and went on to gross ฿124 million,[48][49] and Russia where it grossed $1.7 million.[50] In Hong Kong, the film topped the box office for four consecutive weekends following its opening on November 12, 2020,[51] but its box office run came to a halt as all the cinemas in Hong Kong were shut down on December 2, 2020 amidst the outbreak of the fourth wave of COVID-19 pandemic in Hong Kong;[52] cinemas did not reopen again until February 18, 2021.[53]

The box-office success of the film was attributed to a confluence of different factors by Roland Kelts. Among these were being released during a period of relative calm in the COVID-19 pandemic in Japan, which meant that theatres were open but competition from other films was low, and the protracted sequential release of the manga, anime and film which allowed anticipation to build up over time.[54]

Critical response[edit]

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 98% of 40 reviews are positive, with an average rating of 7.9/10. The site's critics consensus reads, "Demon Slayer's visually stunning animation and masterful action set pieces serve a heartfelt plot that is sure to satisfy fans."[55] According to Metacritic, which assigned a weighted average score of 75 out of 100 based on nine critics, the film received "generally favorable reviews".[56] Upon release in North American theaters, Mugen Train earned a 92% positive score from a PostTrak audience poll.[57]

Crunchyroll reviewer Daryl Harding gave the film a positive review, praising the combination of 2D and 3D animation techniques, the music, and the character writing.[58] IndieWire reviewer David Ehrlich, who gave the film a "C" on an A to F scale, likewise praised the film for its striking visuals, and for the characters of Kyōjurō Rengoku and Enmu, but said its R rating was excessive.[59] By contrast, Anime News Network reviewer Kim Morrissy and Variety reviewer Peter Debruge compared the animation quality unfavourably to that of the TV series.[60][61] Harding, Ehrlich, Morrissy and Debruge all noted that fully understanding and appreciating the film requires having watched the first season of the anime beforehand.

Home media[edit]

The film was released on Blu-ray and DVD in Japan on June 16, 2021;[62] it sold over 800,000 units in its first day and over 1 million units in three days.[63] In North America, the film was released digitally on June 22, 2021; pre-orders began on April 26, 2021,[64] and the film was accidentally available for purchase on the PlayStation Store for a few hours in April.[65] Upon its video-on-demand (VOD) release in North America, the film debuted at number-one on the Vudu, Google Play and YouTube charts.[66] A novel adaptation was released on October 16, 2020.[67]

Accolades[edit]

List of awards and nominations
Year Award Category Recipient(s) Result
2020 45th Hochi Film Award[68] Best Animation Film[69] Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train Won
33rd Nikkan Sports Film Award for Yūjirō Ishihara Award[70]
Best Director Haruo Sotozaki
Best Anime Film of the Year Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train
26th AMD Award[71] Grand Prize
2021 44th Japan Academy Film Prize[72] Animation of the Year[73]
Outstanding Achievement in Music[74] Yuki Kajiura, Go Shiina
Topic Award[75] Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train
Fan Popularity Award[76]
74th Annual Mainichi Film Awards / Concours[77] Best Animation Film Nominated
25th Satellite Awards[78] Best Motion Picture, Animated or Mixed Media Nominated
2021 TAAF (Tokyo Anime Award Festival) Awards[79] Best Director Haruo Sotozaki Won
Best Animator Akira Matsushima
45th Elan d'or Awards[80] Special Achievement Awards Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ As depicted in the final episode of the first season of the anime series.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Kimetsu no Yaiba: Mugen Ressha-Hen (2020)". The Numbers. Nash Information Services, LLC. Retrieved June 10, 2021.
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  7. ^ "So freaking PUMPED to announce this. I had the honor and privilege of lending my voice to #DemonSlayerMovie #MugenTrain! I play #ShinjuroRengoku and a couple of other characters. So thankful to @BangZoom for allowing me this opportunity. This one of my favorite franchises". Twitter. Retrieved April 24, 2021.
  8. ^ "God is so good! The dub for #DemonSlayer #MugenTrain is finally in theaters everywhere & I'm proud to announce that I'm the English voice of Senjuro Rengoku. Super grateful to be a small part in this epic movie. Thank you @mummynyan & @aniplexUSA for the opportunity!". Twitter. Retrieved April 24, 2021.
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  20. ^ Harding, Daryl (April 26, 2021). "[Updated] Demon Slayer: Mugen Train Topples Spirited Away to Become the Highest-Grossing Anime Film Worldwide". Crunchyroll. Retrieved June 20, 2021. Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Movie: Mugen Train opened in Japanese cinemas on October 16 and had the best opening weekend in Japanese cinema history, becoming the highest-grossing film in Japanese theaters ever, the highest-grossing anime and Japanese film worldwide, and the second-highest-grossing film of 2020.
  21. ^ Adkins, Frankie (May 13, 2021). "The 50 highest-grossing R-Rated movies of all time". Newsweek. Retrieved June 20, 2021.
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  26. ^ Brzeski, Patrick (December 28, 2020). "'Demon Slayer' Overtakes 'Spirited Away' to Become Japan's Biggest Box Office Hit Ever". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 18, 2021. Demon Slayer also became the fastest movie in the history of Japan's box office to cross 10 billion yen and $100 million, hitting those marks in just 10 days (Japan's box office is known for its long holds and steady gains over weeks and months for top titles).
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  49. ^ "อันดับหนังทำเงินสูงสุดในไทย รายได้ประจำสัปดาห์ 25 มกราคม 2564". Thailand Box Office and Entertainment. January 25, 2021. Retrieved June 10, 2021.
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