Kimetsu no Yaiba: Mugen Train adapts chapters 54 to 66 of the Kimetsu no Yaiba manga. As the name suggests, much of the story takes place on a train. Our hero Tanjiro, his sister Nezuko, and his fellow demon slayers Zenitsu and Inosuke have been sent to investigate a string of disappearances that occur on the titular train. Joining them is the Flame Hashira, a high-level demon slayer, named Kyojuro Rengoku.
Our heroes learn the hard way that the demon they face can force his victims to sleep, which allows him to manipulate their dreams and consequently show them such a happy version of their lives that they’ll never wake up. Some characters desire to be reunited with deceased family members, while others dream of finding love. Other characters work for the demon, enticed by the prospect that they can also enter a never-ending happy dream if they do his bidding.
The first part of the movie is slower-paced, balancing brief but exciting action scenes with glimpses of the dreams Tanjiro and his friends are trapped in. Once the characters begin to wake up and realize what’s going on, the action picks up. This isn’t to say the first part of the movie is boring—far from it. One of Kimetsu no Yaiba’s strengths is its focus on the emotional backstories and motivations of its characters, even some of the demons. Mugen Train shows that Tanjiro still feels survivor’s guilt over not being home when his family was killed by demons, and that Rengoku lacks acknowledgement and encouragement from his father despite being one of the most powerful demon slayers in action.
The latter half of the film introduces another demon antagonist, who is a hard-hitting physical fighter. The fight scenes in the anime were already gorgeous, and Mugen Train manages to kick up the action, and the drama, even higher. Tanjiro is known for being calm and level-headed, acting as the collected leader of the group while Zenitsu and Inosuke are more prone to giving into emotional outbursts. He often shows empathy even to some of the demons he faces throughout the series. All throughout the movie, and especially in the final act, he’s pushed to the edge of anger and despair, which his English dub voice actor Zach Aguilar captures perfectly. I already liked the English dub of the anime, and his performance for the movie impressed me even more. Mark Whitten as Rengoku also stood out to me, and everyone else in the theater; he made many of us laugh, cry, and occasionally spill a bit of popcorn.
The soundtrack for the movie blends the more traditional elements of the anime’s soundtrack with some modern, almost electronica flair. One such track plays during the final fight scene of the movie and it kicks butt. I’m due for another rewatch of the Kimetsu no Yaiba anime so I’ll keep an ear out to see if it also has any tracks in that style. Unfortunately, much of the series’ OST seems to be difficult to find on YouTube.
For fans of the series, this movie is a must-see, mostly because it adapts an arc from the main manga and isn’t an original, self-contained story. Whenever season 2 of the anime comes out, it’ll be necessary to know the events of Kimetsu no Yaiba: Mugen Train to follow along. Anyone new who wants to get into Kimetsu no Yaiba should definitely watch the first season of the anime or read the first 66 chapters of the manga before watching the movie. As always, avoid spoilers if you can.
Author: C. Smith
C. Smith is a lifelong fan of comics and manga whose primary interest is in webcomics.
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