Movie of the Month: Demon Slayer: Mugen Train

So, if you couldn’t tell by now, we kind of like anime here at Everyday Owl. Thus, it only made sense to pick an anime movie as June’s movie of the month. Plus, it was the first movie I saw in a real theater once they started opening up in my area, so it just felt right.

The movie premiered in Japan on April 23rd, 2021, and later came to the States in May. I was surprised at how widely available the movie was. Usually, you have to go to big cities and very specific theaters to see anime movies on the big screen, but even my tiny local theater had a few showings. 

If you’re lucky and haven’t seen it yet, it might still be in theaters, but by the time this goes up, you’ll probably have to wait a little while for it to hit streaming sites.

I’ll give you a quick rundown for those of you new to anime or who just haven’t seen the series. Demon Slayer follows siblings Tanjiro and Nezuko Kamado in the aftermath of a terrible attack on their family. During the attack, Nezuko was changed into a demon (who are pretty similar to vampires. They usually attack and eat humans, can’t withstand sunlight, and are crazy hard to kill, etc.)

Tanjiro, being the amazing big brother he is, promises to take care of his sister and change her back into a human. To do so, he joins the Demon Slayer Corps and learns to fight- or slay- demons so he can stop anyone else from losing their families like he did. His goal is to find the demon who hurt his family and force him to change Nezuko back into a human.

Nezuko’s strong bond with her family makes her, unlike any other demon, even though she’s not really in her right mind, she still doesn’t want to hurt humans. With the help of some other members of the Slayer Corps, she is able to gain some stability and use her new strength to help protect humans instead of hurting them.

During the siblings’ journey, they meet a couple of other young members of the Corps and become a team. The movie picks up where the first season of the show leaves off. Tanjiro and friends are tracking down a demon that has been targeting people on a train with the help of the Flame Hashira Rengoku Kyojuro. (Hashira is a title in the Slayer Corps that basically means they’re the strongest in the Corps).

The movie’s animation was gorgeous, the fight scenes were incredible, and the characterization of the main cast was amazing. I cannot say enough good things about this movie as a fan of the anime series. It made me feel things. What those things were exactly, I can’t say without spoiling, but this is definitely a movie every anime fan should see. 

A small warning, though. Demon Slayer is not your typical happy-go-lucky, the-good-guys-never-lose type of series. It’s funny, beautiful but also gives viewers a bittersweet look into what it’s like to fight a losing battle. Of course, there are still plenty of victories, but they’re often tinged with a sense of tragedy and loss. 

The demons in the series often act as allegories for the negative emotions humans carry: greed, fear, lust for power, arrogance. As much as we struggle against those things, it is hard to get rid of them completely. Even so, we aren’t without hope. Just like in real life, where we can try to be more compassionate and do good, the Slayer Corps exists to fight back too.

If you missed the theatrical release of Mugen Train, it shouldn’t be too long before it’s available either on DVD and Blu-Ray or on a pirating website. (Of course, we would tell you to support official releases and the creators’ but sometimes options are limited.)

The series will continue with season two of the anime, and for anyone who wants to see what all the hype is about or maybe just re-watch the beautiful animation, season one is available for free on Crunchyroll.com or on  Netflix if you have a subscription. 

If you’re looking for something a little different to watch, check out our previous picks for Movie of the Month. Last month we watched Meet Joe Black! We also have some staple shonen anime recommendations for our fellow anime fans. 

What movie should we watch next?

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