It’s always very exciting when a popular television series is able to spin off into a feature film that tells an even bigger story. These movies are so often beautiful odes to what makes the original series so important in the first place. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is one of the biggest anime hits of the past few years. It tells a fairly traditional story about a boy, Tanjiro, who suffers tragedy only to channel it into his journey to become an acclaimed Demon Slayer, but it’s full of incredible action sequences, lovable characters, and remarkable animation. The first season of Demon Slayer tells a strong story, but in many ways it feels like Tanjiro’s adventure is just getting started. The episodes go out on a cliffhanger of sorts that puts an intimidating–and possibly demonic–locomotive front and center.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train is the anime’s first movie and the excitement that surrounds it is unbelievable. Mugen Train has gone on to break every box office record in Japan and become the highest grossing film of all time over there. In what’s been a very difficult year for the box office, Mugen Train has been one of the few titles to experience rampant success. Now that Demon Slayer is on Netflix, HBO Max, and more widely available than ever before there has been more discussion surrounding the accompanying feature film and just when audiences outside of Asia can expect to see it.
When Will Mugen Train Be Released?
Demon Slayer‘s Mugen Train film was released back in October, 2020 in Japan and it’s still playing in various theaters due to the unprecedented success that the film has seen. Demon Slayer was already popular in North America and Europe, so the movie making its way outside of Japan was inevitable, but the movie’s intense popularity has guaranteed that new audiences will get to experience the movie. Unfortunately, a firm release date for the North American release hasn’t been set other than a relatively vague window of “early 2021.”
This window becomes smaller as March approaches and the reason that there have been cold feet on the release front is likely because of the movie’s success elsewhere in the world. Funimation is eager for a theatrical release that can fully take advantage of the anime’s growing audience and at the moment theatrical releases are still far from a sure thing, especially for more niche releases. A digital release for Mugen Train is perhaps possible by Funimation at this point, but they’d prefer to give this movie the prestige treatment that it deserves in a theater. Regardless of whether this theatrical release plan is feasible or not, Mugen Train will still release in 2021, ideally before the year is half over.
What’s The Story?
The story in Mugen Train picks up from the end of Demon Slayer‘s first season, which involved Tanjiro and company boarding the Infinity Train, unaware that a dangerous demon is also aboard the vehicle. Tanjiro aligns himself with the Flame Hashira, Kyojuro Rengoku. The group hopes to gain valuable intel from Rengoku, but they’re instead roped into a more dangerous scenario. The reckless monster aboard the train that Rengoku focuses on is Enmu, one of the members of the Twelve Demon Moon, who is determined to prove himself to Muzan Kibutsuji through the execution of Tanjiro. All of these powerful personalities come together and clash while also being confined to the claustrophobic quarters of a locomotive. It’s one of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba’s most thrilling story arcs.
Who Boards The Mugen Train?
It’s not uncommon for the cast of characters in anime series to change and movies are a frequent opportunity for new characters to jump in or for the fat to get trimmed elsewhere. Mugen Train is entirely set aboard a train that’s filled with demonic activity, which means that it has a fairly focused narrative with a select amount of characters. Tanjiro boards the train along with Nezuko, Zenitsu, and Inosuke, so his entire team is present, but none of the more recent friends that he’s made at the Butterfly Mansion come along.
Tanjiro and company are set on making contact with Kyojuro Rengoku, the powerful Flame Hashira, so he’s also a vital character in this journey and shares the spotlight alongside Tanjiro. Enmu of the Twelve Demon Moon is the final major player on the train, but between this handful of characters there’s a ton of chaos. It looks like Nezuko and Zenitsu may have less to do, but they’re still along for the ride.
Will It Be Dubbed?
Just because an anime series is popular and receives a dub isn’t a guarantee that some of the more extended pieces of the franchise, like feature films, OVA specials, or video games, will necessarily receive the same treatment. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba has an excellent dub from Funimation, who have had no problem dubbing the movies of their other major series like Dragon Ball Super and My Hero Academia. It’s been confirmed that Mugen Train’s North American release will be marked with an English dub so audiences will have the opportunity to experience it in its original language or with Funimation’s talented cast.
How Does Mugen Train Connect With Demon Slayer Season 2?
Anime feature films are quite common with popular properties, but a lot of the time these movies are treated like fun side stories that aren’t integral chapters of the series or are sometimes completely out of canon. There are also other anime movies that simply act as condensed recaps of the events of the series and are also hardly fundamental viewing for fans. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train takes the opposite approach and this movie is absolutely necessary to understand the events of season two, which follows.
Mugen Train’s story directly follows the events of the first season and adapts a major arc in the manga rather than devoting a large piece of season two to this material. It’s a way that celebrates this story arc even more through the larger budget of a feature film, but those that don’t watch it will likely be lost when the anime’s second season begins in 2021. This at least puts a bit of pressure on the international release of Mugen Train since season two’s release won’t be possible until the movie has come out.
The first season of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba can currently be streamed on Netflix, Funimation, Crunchyroll, HBO Max, and Hulu.