It is no secret that Demon Slayer has grown a big following ever since its first air on Japanese television back in 2019. It even went on to surpass Studio Ghibli‘s Spirited Away as Japan’s highest-grossing film with the premiere of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Infinity Train.
Therefore, it wouldn’t come as a shock to hear that Hayao Miyazaki, co-founder, and director of Studio Ghibli, does feel a worthy challenger has arisen through the achievements that Demon Slayer has garnered.
According to an interview with Toshio Suzuki, co-founder and producer of Studio Ghibli, on Fuji TV’s Bokura no Jidai, the subject of Demon Slayer’s runaway success came up, and Suzuki reenacted Miyazaki’s reaction to a conversation they’d had, saying:
“So [Miyazaki] says to me, ‘It seems like Kimetsu is a big hit.’ I haven’t actually seen the anime, or read the manga it’s based on, but I’ve heard about it from other people, so I gave him [Miyazaki] a basic overview of it, and he said [nodding solemnly], ‘Yeah, an anime like that’ll be a success.’”
It seems as though Miyazaki hasn’t seen Demon Slayer for himself either seeing as he had to get Suzuki to give him a summary of the show. However, that does not mean that he is completely uninterested as Suzuki went on to quote Miyazaki.
“Well, you know, to me, Demon Slayer is my rival.”
Suzuki did not mention whether this comment took place before or after Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Infinity Train surpassed Spirited Away, in any case, assuming that Suzuki’s imitation of Miyazaki is accurate, there seems to be no malice or anger behind the tone that Suzuki used. It’s your typical friendly competition.
Either way, Miyazaki has a single-minded focus on creating the next great anime film, hence knowing your competition will be a great advantage for that goal.