Since last July 13 one of the most awaited animated films made in Japan of recent times is finally available in Italy. This is not the latest work by Makoto Shinkai or of Studio Ghibli, but of the film that carries on the events of the television series of DEMON SLAYER – Kimetsu no Yaiba, taken from an equally famous shonen published on the pages of Weekly Shonen Jump with the signature of Koyoharu Gotoge. Almost challenging the success of the manga itself and the inaugural season of the anime, this first feature film in the saga managed to get even more talked about than the original work, breaking every imaginable record and reaching the top as the most viewed Japanese animated film. ever, surpassing even Hayao Miyazaki’s Enchanted City. DEMON SLAYER The Movie: The Mugen Train comes up Prime Video and awaiting him he finds an audience full of expectations, curious as ever to know the reason for so much success. Getting on the hype train, I immediately jumped in to see it, and without further ado I walk you through our review.
- Original title: Gekijō-ban Kimetsu no Yaiba Mugen Ressha-hen
- English title: DEMON SLAYER The Movie: Mugen Train
- English title: DEMON SLAYER The Movie: The Mugen Train
- Japanese release: October 16, 2020
- Italian release: July 13, 2021 (Prime Video)
- Platform: Amazon Prime Video
- Home video version: Dynit, output to be defined
- Kind: Battle Shonen
- Duration: 117 minutes
- Animation studio: ufotable
- Adapted from: manga by Koyoharu Gotouge
- Tongue: Italian, Japanese
We reviewed DEMON SLAYER The Movie: The Mugen Train via the Amazon Prime Video streaming platform.
All aboard the Mugen Train
Anyone who has already read the manga knows very well what awaits him. The narrative arc of the Mugen train from which the film is based covers i volumes 7 and 8, already available also in Italy under the label Star Comics. After facing the fifth waning moon, met the head of the demon killing squad, and subsequently trained at Butterfly House under the protection of the pillar Shinobu Kocho, Tanjiro and his companions have been directed to a new mission. Their purpose is to reach out and offer support to Kyojuro Rengoku, the pillar of the flame. In the last episode of the first season we left our colorful group at the station, grappling with the frightening creature known as … train. The only one who knew what a railway really was was Zen’itsu, and if Tanjiro was happy to make this discovery, Inosuke he had mistaken him for a ferocious beast to be challenged in combat.
DEMON SLAYER The Movie: The Mugen Train it opens with a sequence that sees the head of the family Kagaya Ubuyashiki visit the tombs where all the demon killers who fell in battle lie, remembering each of the countless victims of recent times. Once on the train, Tanjiro and his companions immediately find themselves face to face with Rengoku, a character we had already glimpsed when the firstborn of the Kamado he found himself in the presence of the pillars in the first season, and which we will now learn to know and appreciate thanks to his decisive and reassuring character, but also thanks to his background and his comic streak, which goes well with the constant noise produced by the two shoulders of the protagonist. It won’t be long before we get to the heart of the action and the warriors will soon find themselves facing the demonic threat aboard the train itself – and not at destination, as Zen’itsu and the others expected.
The Mugen train it is in fact the place where the mission entrusted to the three young swordsmen by the organization’s talking ravens will take place. The passengers of the train have been disappearing mysteriously one after the other for some time, as have the recruits of the squad sent shortly before. Their purpose will therefore be to investigate aboard the convoy and thwart the threat. But will it really be as easy as it sounds, to offer support to a skilled warrior like Rengoku?
You took that train …
There will really be no time to get bored and get lost in useless explanations within the film, which will take place under the banner of blows and feelings, alternating – like the television series – dramatic moments with comic curtains and spectacular fights, embellished with splendid visual effects accompanying the use of kata. Playing a lot on the emotions of the spectators, well aware of what pushes Tanjiro to fight since the first chapters, “The Mugen Train”Gives space to each of the characters on stage, giving each of them the opportunity to express themselves at their best in terms of character, personal story and fighting. In less than two hours, the director Haruo Sotozaki he managed to represent in the best way the homonymous arc of the manga, without compromising too obvious and indeed, managing to maintain a perfect narrative rhythm that will keep us glued to the screen for the duration of the film.
The team behind the entire production is once again that of ufotable, universally recognized as one of the most valuable of the entire Japanese scene. By managing to do even better than the television series, the studio animated an incredibly beautiful product to look at, especially on Ultra HD screens equipped with HDR technology. The special effects that accompany the fights are more beautiful than ever, and the CGI used for example for snowy landscapes, for the most imposing demons and to animate the locomotive, does not denote too evident a detachment placed next to traditional designs. While taking place entirely on board the train, the film will show us many different scenarios and the skilful use of light, especially in the last minutes, will help make the climax of the film even more exciting. Overall, it is about a work that technically stands at excellent levels, thanks also to the soundtrack, which between the evocative background tracks and the closing theme “Homura“ is able to shape an atmosphere perfectly in line with the visual and narrative sector.
… You took it in full
The Italian dubbing, edited by Dynit, features all the voices we’ve come to know in the twenty-six episodes of the first season, with Renato Novara in the role of the protagonist and two excellent Inosuke is Zen’itsu entrusted respectively to Matteo de Mojana is Moses Singh. Good also the voice of Andrea La Greca up Rengoku, although in some situations it is a bit flatter than its Japanese counterpart, probably only due to the different phonetics. What amazed me most of all was Fabrizio Valezano, who plays the demon Enmu in a truly flawless way, even more crazy and disturbing than the original. In general, I am satisfied with the Italian edition, which aside the inexplicable pronunciation of the names of Inosuke and Zen’itsu different from the Japanese one, presents a fairly faithful adaptation, even if I still don’t understand the meaning of words like “Young Mizoguchi” pronounced by Rengoku and absent in the Japanese dub. Whether it is an error or an addition desired by the Italian dialogist, we cannot know, the only correlation I found on the net concerns a temple called Mizoguchi Kamado, from which the surname of the protagonist and his sister derives Nezuko.
Who do we recommend DEMON SLAYER The Movie: The Mugen Train?
The first feature film of this series, canonical in terms of narrative continuity, is intended primarily for those who have enjoyed the first season of the animated series of Kimetsu no Yaiba, which can still be recovered on Blu-ray, or on streaming services such as Netflix is Prime Video. Being a direct continuation of it, and not presenting any kind of summary of events up to that point, I do not recommend viewing for those who want to approach the brand for the first time DEMON SLAYER. However, if you happen to find yourself seeing him in the company of passionate friends, you will still be able to appreciate the events of the narrative arc of the Mugen train and its spectacular visual rendering, and maybe you will want to recover the animated series or the manga up to that point. Prime Video offers the opportunity to see the film both with Italian dubbing and with the original one combined with subtitles faithful to the Japanese dialogues: the choice is yours.
- Visually impressive
- The most dramatic turn of the series so far
- Perfect transposition of the relative arc of the manga
- Not suitable for those approaching the series
- Absence of a post-credit scene that those who have already read the manga expected
- Its box office success raises the expectations of the new audience too much
DEMON SLAYER The Movie: The Mugen Train
A train full of emotions and fierce fighting
Having too high expectations for an entertainment product somehow leads to being hopelessly disappointed, even if in the end the result is excellent from almost all points of view. Having already read Kimetsu no Yaiba in the form of manga, I already knew what I was going to encounter with the vision of this film. Despite this, with its dream fragments, its grit and its dramatic implications, DEMON SLAYER The Movie: The Mugen Train he was able to thrill me once again, and I am convinced that equally all the fans of the Gotouge manga who were eagerly awaiting him will appreciate it. Probably his success will not be “deserved” like the masterpieces of the directors already mentioned and that he was able to overtake at the box office, but he is an excellent exponent of modern Japanese animation, which still uses traditional designs that respect the traits of the work from which they derive, while using the latest technologies to enhance them in the best way. It is a film, however, aimed mainly at those who have already enjoyed at least the first season of the animated and which could leave those who approach this brand for the first time with more than a few questions. On balance, The Mugen Train can be considered one of the best feature films based on a shonen manga, in terms of impact and fidelity to the original work, but in the same way it should not be compared to arthouse films only because of its incredible success.