From start to finish I invented my own Total Concentration Constant, called Heavy breathing, and my concentration was constant, even when having to answer my wife’s many questions I managed to multitask without my focus wavering. Anyone that has watched the series, which would be a strong requirement to understand what is going on, will be aware already what the plot to the movie is. The first series ended with Tanjiro and the gang about to embark on a dangerous mission aboard the Mugen (Infinity) train to help one of the leaders of the Demon Slayer Corps., the Flame Hashira Rengoku. There were reports of people going missing on this particular train, with demons being the top suspects, and despite how many swordsmen were sent to deal with this, every encounter ended in failure, so the only thing they could do was send in the big gun and the little guns.
The movie begins with the closing minutes of the last episode, with everyone boarding the train and meeting with Rengoku to learn more about their reasons for being there. As expected, Rengoku is a very standout character, not only is his vibrant appearance but also in his intense personality, and he attracts as much attention as the crazy Inosuke, who makes a spectacle of himself for never being so close to technology of this magnitude and freaking out with excitement.(“THIS IS F**KING AWESOME!”)
There isn’t much that can be said in terms of the plot without spoiling everything, but it is quite straightforward, and it’s safe to say that it’s easy to follow. We get to see the return of a villain that had shown up very briefly in the later parts of season 1, and a display of how each character has grown since their rehabilitation training and mastering the Total Concentration Constant, but more importantly revealing a lot more of the inner personalities of each of the main heroes (excluding Nezuko). I loved the series for its light humour, well animated action pieces and interesting characters, and the movie carries over those qualities so fluidly.
(Talk to the hand…and it talks back)
Rengoku proves to be a powerful presence, not only in capabilities, but also in personality, a very passionate guy that displays the skills befitting his position. His use of the Flame Breathing technique is visually fantastic, and the first time we see it in action, put to good use against a couple of deadly enemies, before turning his attention towards an absolute boss of an enemy. Tanjiro remains his usual kinder than kind self, a charmingly friendly and very protective character that retains his good nature regardless of how far he is pushed and is still true to form despite the atrocities he witnesses. Inosuke is just more of the same, a complete nutter in every sense of the word but with clearly more respect for his friends, despite how he sees himself within the group dynamic.
(When you forget to protect Nezuko.)
Unfortunately, we had seen little of Zenitsu, outside of his comic relief, and even less of his “other self”, which would have been a spectacular opportunity to show off his improvement after the intense training, but we do bear witness to his honest feelings and intentions, a lot more innocent that normally perceived. I understand the limitations of his more capable side, that he is portrayed as almost invincible in contrast to his normal skill level, and that it would be at risk for future encounters if he were to have trouble with an enemy, but that part of him is essential too. When it comes to Nezuko however, we just didn’t see enough of her at all. Although her role was important in a few key moments, she was grossly underused, relying less on her adorable interactions with her brother and spending more time kicking the shit out of stuff.
(The most electrifying wimp in anime!)
I prefer this method of making anime movies, instead of making up some one-off villain that shows up without a previous mention, filling in the run-time with a rushed backstory to justify them never being mentioned again as the hero magically defeats this badass, but then struggles against the equivalents of wet paper bags (by comparison). The enemy/ies that exist in Mugen Train, exist in the same universe as the series, so the movie is an extension of what we have seen, not a standalone event, and it makes these scenes matter even more.
(They call him Mr. Boar.)
Each moment may be reflected on in the next season and we will likely hear mention of them again, but it also means the movie helps carry the journey forward. I hate the way other anime movies have these fantastic things happen, sometimes very large-scale battles, moments of inner reflection, and all that jazz, just to evaporate into the aether once the series carries on, and I’m left thinking “did that really happen”. I know that any growth these characters have gone through, will stay true when we get to see them return to our screens (later this year I believe).
(Almost as deadly as a paper cut.)
Apart from the fighting, characters, and story, I must give props to the score. That music was pretty powerful to say the least, it kept my emotions swaying so much I was visibly moving, to the point I nearly stood up from my seat. I’m very happy I watched this at least three or four times, and each time it was still fresh, so I might even just watch it again for shits and giggles.
(Same face I made with a full bladder at the half-way point.)
Overall, it’s a fantastic movie, and ticks so many of the boxes on the criteria I would look for in any movie. My wife had nothing to offer but praise, impressing us both to no end, so on that note I would very much recommend this to anyone that has watched the series, and I would advise anyone that hasn’t consumed any of the material like a starving demon, to do so as soon as possible. Fuck the idea of enjoying the sun, that’s what demons hate, sit inside where it is cool and keep your eyes glued to the TV like a good nerd.