Tanjiro may have had the most screen time, but we all know Rengoku was the real main character.
Demon Slayer: Mugen Train is a pretty damn exciting film. It’s got all the signature elements that made the first season of Kimetsu no Yaiba so beloved. Only this time, they cranked them all up so high that they broke the damn scale!
Mugen Train picks up right where the first season ended, with Tanjiro, Nezuko, Zenitsu, and Inosuke hopping on the titular train. Here, they meet Kyojuro Rengoku, the single coolest (and loudest) bad ass in the entire series. Soon after, everyone except for Nezuko is sucked into an extremely vivid dream by a demon. Can Tanjiro and the others escape their dreams, defeat the demon, and save all of the passengers?
Let’s start with the man himself: Rengoku. This dude is awesome! His goofy side mixes perfectly with his natural charisma and intensity, making him instantly likable. His power and skill is so high that it’s impossible not to get excited every single time he leaps into action. He is so pure and heroic that it’s impossible not to root for him. The dude is so cool that even the bad guy trying to kill him begs him not to die!
We got all of that in about thirty minutes. Because most of the screen time is dedicated to our boy Tanjiro and the boys.
Which is good, because they get some fun and meaningful development here! Through his dreams, we can see more of Tanjiro’s family, which makes their deaths feel more painful. That, and it shows us just how ballsy/crazy he is, given how willing he is to kill himself in order to escape the demon’s spell. While Zenitsu and Inosuke’s dreams are more for gags than character growth, they’re more than entertaining enough to make up for it, especially considering how dark everything else going on is.
The villains are a mixed bag. The primary villain of the story is certainly threatening, but his personality is dull. All he really does is stand around expositing about his powers and plans or making fun of our heroes. Then Tanjiro and Inosuke kill the shit out of him and he disappears. He’s a fine villain, but a forgettable one.
Unlike the last-minute final boss: Akaza.
Again, this dude is pretty simple. He values strength above all else and looks down on the weak. But he has a charisma to him that makes him memorable. The sick admiration he feels towards Rengoku makes their fight pretty compelling. Plus, his theme song is freaking bad ass!
Speaking of which: the music here is phenomenal! From returning tracks to the brand-new ones, the soundtrack here is an absolute banger! Whether it gets your blood pumping or it brings a tear to your eye, they’re all amazing!
Animation wise, this movie is amazing. The final battle between Rengoku and Akaza is one of the most incredible looking battles anime has seen in the last two decades! Not only that, but plenty of smaller moments are packed with incredible animation; even Rengoku eating food and yelling ‘Delicious!’ over and over looks amazing!
But it ain’t perfect. When the big fight against villain #1 truly begins, we get some of the most in-your-face CGI yet. It can work well with the 2D in the right shot. But when it’s on its own, it stands out like a sore thumb. It’s not the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen, but it definitely doesn’t look as good as the rest of the film.
Not that I blame them for using it. Trying to 2D animate all that flesh would’ve been a nightmare…
I’m happy to say that this movie was an absolute delight. It takes all that good shit we loved in Demon Slayer and cranked it up to a whole new level. This was my favorite arc in the manga and this film absolutely nailed it!
And now, we wait for season two. Which is going to kick off with another of my favorite arcs from the manga.