First things first: I’m a giant baby and I watched the dubbed version. This movie came to cinemas a while ago but I held off. I’m usually a firm believer in watching foreign films as “artistically” intended but growing up with dubbed anime has given me wiggle room in this belief. Maybe I should have just watched both versions but I’m now a big fan of the English voice cast and can’t separate them from the characters.
I enjoyed the movie a lot. I think it’s awesome that after only 26 episodes of the series we got a story advancing movie before the next batch of episodes. It makes my inner X-Files fan squee with glee. Though unlike Fight The Future this is not as much of a standalone adventure. I would be hard pressed to recommend this movie to anyone who hasn’t watched the series. And if you have seen all 26 episodes of the series…as if you’re not watching this movie.
This movie is really just a reward for fandom. I think everyone who invests in a a story wants to see the best version of that story. Complex and multiple format tellings aren’t that common. A lot of franchises promise companion shows or wish to have accompanying films. Luckily Japan is different to the West. Animation is a medium that’s widely accepted and this has lead to a unique way of doing things.
And this movie is soooo Japanese. The anime definitely pushes things to extremes that isn’t typical of Western cinema. Not just action or violence but the unbridled goofiness. Mugen Train pushes this even further than the show does. The tonal changes were great and I loved the comic relief amongst the deadly serious drama. Definitely another reason to not see this movie without first watching the anime.
The fact that this movie outgrossed Spirited Away to become the highest grossing film of all time in Japan is astonishing. During a pandemic no less. It’s baffling and a testament to the anime and the manga. While I don’t think it’s better than Miyazaki’s opus I am definitely chomping at the bit for more Demon Slayer (even if that means waiting for the dub).
A great extension of the anime: ★★★★