‘Demon Slayer Mugen Train’ review: Characters shine amidst visually fantastic battle scenes

Andrik Fernandes
  • The movie follows Tanjiro Kamado and his crew on their next mission aboard the Infinity Train, and may even leave you in tears as you root for your favourite heroes
  • The anime film that toppled Studio Ghibli’s ‘Spirited Away’ to become Japan’s highest grossing film of all time is getting English subbed and dubbed digital versions on June 22
Andrik Fernandes |

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As a Flame Hashira, an elite warrior, Kyojuro Rengoku uses his flame-breathing fighting style against the demon Akaza. Photo: Toho

After Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train (also called Infinity Train) first premiered in 2020, it topped Japan’s box office, becoming the highest grossing film of all time, and inspired an ungodly assortment of merchandise, Happy Meal sticker scalping in Japan, and even a real-life version of the film’s locomotive.

And on June 22, Ufotable and Aniplex, the animation studios behind the film, are releasing English subbed and dubbed digital versions.

Mugen Train follows the events in the first season of the franchise’s anime series, in which Tanjiro Kamado (Natsuki Hanae) joins the elusive Demon Slayer Corps, after his family is murdered and his sister Nezuko is turned into a demon. These demons are akin to vampires, former humans who have sold their humanity in exchange for supernatural abilities.

The film opens as Tanjiro and his comrades arrive at their next mission on the Mugen Train, where more than 40 people have disappeared.

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Tanjiro and Nezuko, who is now a pacified demon, are joined by other demon-slayers: the notorious flirt Zenitsu and the stubborn Inosuke. With the help of the powerful swordsman, Kyojuro Rengoku, the group must face the demon that is causing chaos on the train.

The main antagonist, Enmu, has powers that change up the battle scenes by putting our heroes in deep sleep, and forcing them to face their past demons in dreams that reveal the characters’ inner workings.

One of the film’s main strengths is that its fluidly animated battles are more than just gratuitous action sequences. Every clang of the sword, every parry is interspersed with rich emotional context for each character.

Fighting within the confines of a moving train also adds tension, as every attack must be conducted with precision. And the final climactic battle sees Rengoku shine against Akaza in the series’ introduction to one of its most powerful demons.

The film is also complemented expertly by its soundtrack, which ensures that viewers will be bawling for the characters by the film’s end.

There’s so much packed into the two-hour runtime. And at times, the action is disorienting for new viewers unacquainted with the anime series.

But audiences who are familiar with the protagonists and their struggles will enjoy the film’s detailed examination of our heroes, as it dives into their hopes, dreams, and motivations. This is most true for Tanjiro, whose resolve shines as the selfless hero, sacrificing himself repeatedly for his comrades’ safety.

So if you haven’t yet, hop aboard the Mugen Train. It’s one journey anime fans won’t want to miss.

This film has depictions of violence

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