Demon Slayer is one of the more popular manga-turned-anime properties to make it over to U.S. shores courtesy of Viz Media. The original manga, entitled Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba in Japan, is written and drawn by Koyoharu Gotōge and ran in the popular Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine from 2016 to 2020.
Its plot follows a young man who decides to become a demon slayer after the brutal killing of his family. His younger sister Nezuku is turned into a demon during the same inciting incident, another major motivating force in the Demon Slayer story.
Over 21 tankōbon collected volumes, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba captured the imaginations of Japanese readers. Viz picked up the English publication rights, and began bringing the translated story westward before the Japanese run even concluded, such was the demand for Demon Slayer.
The franchise is one of the best-selling mangas of all time, with over 80 million copies in circulation as of the writing of this article. With that kind of commercial appeal, it’s perhaps no surprise that Demon Slayer made the jump to other media.
The first anime adaptation of Demon Slayer came in the form of a 26-episode TV series, which aired in Japan back in 2019 to widespread critical acclaim. The anime loosely tracks the early issues of the manga, and Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train – the upcoming film – will be a direct sequel that picks up the plot right where the final episode of the TV series ended.
The existence of the upcoming film was announced shortly after the airing of the final anime episode, with a release date that may be even closer at hand than you think. Here’s everything we know so far.
When is the release date of Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train?
While some manga languishes for years without a proper English translation — let alone an anime adaptation — the runaway popularity of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba more or less ensured that Jump would move quickly to expand the franchise.
Anime studio Ufotable announced that they were working on the television adaptation in the June 4, 2018 issue of Weekly Shonen Jump, and the first episode was broadcast in Japan on April 6, 2019.
The Demon Slayer TV series ended its initial run with episode 26, which aired on September 28, 2019. That same day, Ufotable announced that a follow-up feature, Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train, was already in the works.
The film will have a major theatrical release in Japan, set to open on October 16, 2020 (via Monsters and Critics). While Mugen Train already has a Japanese distributor in Aniplex and Toho, English-speaking fans were concerned the animated feature might not receive the same theatrical treatment on this side of the Pacific.
Fortunately, Funimation Films stepped up to distribute the feature in the U.S. alongside Aniplex of America, and the two companies have promised a theatrical release sometime in 2021 (via Anime News Network).
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic currently hampering the reopening of U.S. theatres, there’s a chance this promised release window will change, but here’s hoping 2021 is a better year for movie theatres.
Who will be lending their voice to the cast of Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train?
Both the English and Japanese voice actors who worked on the Demon Slayer TV series did masterful work bringing Koyoharu’s work to life on screen. As a result, fans were hopeful that at least some of the original cast members would be returning for the sequel film.
The good news in this department: At the same time of the film’s announcement, Ufotable confirmed that all the major Japanese voice actors who worked on the TV series would be reprising their roles for Mugen Train. The same is allegedly true for the English voice actors.
That means we’ll be hearing more of Natsuki Hanae and Zach Aguilar as Tanjiro Kamado, Akari Kitō and Abby Trott as Nezuko Kamado, Hiro Shimono and Aleks Le as Zenitsu Agatsuma, Toshitsugu Matsuoka and Bryce Papenbrook as Inosuke Hashibira, Satoshi Hino and Mark Whitten as Kyōjurō Rengoku, as well as Daisuke Hirakawa and Landon McDonald as the film’s principal antagonist, Enmu.
The returning talent is sure to delight fans as well as augment the sense of continuity between the TV series and the film.
What is the plot of Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train?
Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train picks up the plot of the anime shortly after the events of episode 26. Thanks to the plethora of source material available, we actually have a pretty good sense of how much story the movie will cover.
The “Mugen Train” story arc of the original manga begins with chapter 53 and unfolds through chapter 69, in case you wanted to pick up the tankōbon volumes for a sneak peak (via Monsters and Critics). Without spoiling too much for the non-manga readers out there, Mugen Train picks up with Enmu recently freed from Muzan’s cells and ready to attack a mysterious moving train. In the course of the attack, Enmu consumes many, many passengers — as one does. Tanjiro comes to the rescue, of course, but this moving train is carrying more than just a nasty demon to fight off.
From all the material released so far, it seems like the film is going to be at least somewhat faithful to the original manga story.
Is there a trailer for Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train?
Fortunately, Aniplex has been generous with the trailers leading up to the Japanese release of Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train. The most recent trailer (posted above) is a treasure trove of story teasers rich enough to get any Demon Slayer pumped for that upcoming October release.
The subtitled version shows both the moving train that serves as the primary setting for this entire story arc (presumably true of the film as well as the manga), and a few devastating glimpses of Enmu wreaking havoc on the passengers. In a minor change from the manga, it appears that Enmu will be devouring the train passengers by lulling them to sleep and absorbing their life force? That’s certainly what it looks like from the trailer, at least.
Even more disturbing is the brief tease of a scene that seems to depict Tanjiro enjoying a tearful reunion with his dead siblings. This heartfelt moment, however, earned, is sure to be some kind of devastating dream or illusion. We’ll just have to wait to find out for sure which one it is!