What happens when you are done with intensive training to improve your skills and abilities as a demon slayer? You embark on a journey to put said skills to the test obviously, which is exactly what happens with protagonist Kamado Tanjiro and the gang in Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Infinity Train.
The franchise’s latest film picks right up where the anime series left off. Our four young demon slayers Tanjiro, Nezuko, Zenitsu, and Inosuke go onboard the Infinity train in search of the Flame Pillar Rengoku Kyojuro for Tanjiro to get more information on the Dance of the Fire God, a unique style of fighting demons that seems to only be known and taught within the Kamado family.
Though there’s a fair bit of exposition in the first act of the movie, it doesn’t take all that long for the action to start, with grotesque demons appearing in the Infinity Train. It is here that we get our very first glimpse of Rengoku’s capabilities as a Pillar of the Demon Slayer Corps, a title given only to the best of the best in the demon-slaying business. Not only that, we’re also made privy to more aspects of Rengoku’s personality through his various actions and dialogue. It’s nice how the movie makes a point to show and not tell us what Rengoku is like.
While the anime and film have constantly mentioned Rengoku’s status as a Pillar in passing, up until this point it has yet to demonstrate how strong he is.
And how strong is he exactly? Oh, you know, only about strong enough to behead a demon bigger and taller than him in one fell swoop without so much as breaking a sweat. And whereas the younger, more hot-blooded Inosuke was willing to charge into battle headfirst without considering evacuating the normal civilians that might be in danger of getting hurt from his attacks, Rengoku makes it a point to swoop in and get them to safety first, before engaging the demon. A bona fide leader, through and through.
Though the film does spend some time on its protagonist Tanjiro, the true arc hero of the Infinity Train movie is undeniably Rengoku. The movie spends its time letting us get to know the Flame Pillar through his back story, courtesy of Enmu the dream demon. In his backstory, we’re introduced to his father who becomes a drunkard following the death of his ill mother and his little brother Senjuro who dreams of becoming a powerful swordsman like his brother one day. It’s also there that we learn more about Renjoku’s strong sense of responsibility and justice as a Pillar, as his mother, prior to her death, had instilled into him the notion that his responsibility, as one that was born stronger than the rest, is to protect those who are unable to do so themselves.
This all serves to make the movie that much more heartbreaking as it reaches its end. No spoilers here but it is safe to say there was not a dry eye left in the cinema by the time the credits rolled. And if you find yourself one to cry easily, we highly recommend you bring some tissues in with you. Again, even if you’ve completed the manga, watching the final act in full colour and animation will never fail to put onions under your eyes, if not more.
Of course, there are many funny moments too in the movie, mostly thanks to the series comic relief Zenitsu and Inosuke. Moments worth mentioning include both of their dream sequences, with Zenitsu happily skipping around a forest with his all-too-obvious crush Nezuko, and Inosuke’s has him being the big boss of the main quartet, ordering them to fight a big boss in a cave that turns out to be in the shape of the train they are in.
As a film adaptation, it follows the manga almost beat by beat. As such, manga readers coming to the film adaptation won’t face too many surprises, beyond being amazed by the frankly spectacular animation by Ufotable. They have truly outdone themselves with this film and it’s clear that they’ve gotten even better since the anime series, with dynamic battle scenes filled with great storyboarding.
This is especially so with the final battle between Rengoku and the Upper-Rank demon Akaza, who takes over as the arc villain for the film after Enmu is unceremoniously defeated by our protagonists.
Though if we have to nitpick, it’d be that the CG animated scenes, especially with the demon Enmu in his final form, and the titular Infinity Train, stood out a bit too much against the traditionally animated background and characters. But it did help Enmu’s final form look that much more terrifying and outstanding than if he were to simply be traditionally rendered in 2D.
Some might have also found the movie to be a little too slow at the start, before the action really kicks in during the latter half of the second act. Though we think that it is important for the film to set its characters up. Without it, we would not have been properly introduced to Rengoku, nor will we learn more about his past and what motivates him to become a Pillar. Which in turn will only diminish the impact the final battle and its conclusion will have on audiences.
Despite continuing on from the anime series, Demon Slayer: Infinity Train is still a fairly self-contained story that can be watched even if you have little to no prior knowledge of the series. The story begins and ends with the Infinity Train, hence you won’t need to worry too much about being lost if you are walking in without having read or watched anything regarding the series so far. That said, we still highly recommend you to at least watch the first few episodes of the anime before diving into the film as it’ll make certain scenes in the film more meaningful for you.
All in all, Demon Slayer: Infinity Train is a great film that we highly recommend to fans of the series, and even manga readers who might feel reticent about watching a film that follows its source material so closely. You won’t be watching for any new story development, but mainly to enjoy the great fight scenes finally coming to life in excellent style thanks to Ufotable.
It’s also worth mentioning how well-paced the movie is despite adapting more than 10 chapters from the manga (chapters 54 to 69 specifically). It cuts back on unnecessary filler and only delivers what is necessary to tell a story and progress the plot.
It is more than clear to us, having watched the film twice now (yes we enjoyed it so much we went back to watch it a second time), why the film is the fastest ever in Japan to rake in 10 billion yen in earnings, and is now the fifth highest-ranking movie in Japanese history.
GEEK REVIEW SCORE
A must-watch anime film for fans of the franchise, filled with as many tear-jerking moments as there are blood-pumping action.
Story - 8.5/10
Direction - 8.5/10
Characterisation - 9/10
Geek Satisfaction - 10/10