In recent years, the growing popularity of anime and the manga It has been noted in many ways, but there is no greater example of this than in Demon Slayer Ufotable studio. After releasing in 2019, shonen has been breaking records in both comic book and anime scenes.
However, until recently Demon Slayer, also known as Kimetsu no Yaiba, had only released one season and one movie. Naturally, the excitement was high for season 2, which finally began to grace our screens in October 2021.
Demon Slayer season 2 came with a caveat: the first part of the show would not be new content, but rather a cut-out version of the Mugen Train arc previously released as a movie and with some new visuals.
Demon Slayer Mugen Train Series or movie?
It would be safe to assume that most people who are interested in Demon Slayer have seen it in one form or another, even if you missed its presentation in theaters, it has since been released on home video, has been replayed on television in Japan and Demon Slayer is available on Crunchyroll and Funimation.
There may be some initial confusion, as the anime movie entries in the big franchises tend to be ‘filler’ stories that aren’t in the original manga and aren’t likely to greatly affect things in the main story.
Mugen Train contradicts that tradition by picking up right where season 1 ends, but that’s nothing a good message (and the film’s absurd popularity) wouldn’t solve. Fans even rated Kimetsu no Yaiba: Mugen Train and its biggest moments.
Is Demon Slayer Mugen Train better as a series?
It can be argued that not only was reissuing Demon Slayer Mugen Train in episodes to kick off season 2 the right decision, but the Mugen Train’s TV cut could be better than the movie.
The movie, as good as it is, somehow struggles to feel cohesive. After all, it is an adaptation of a part of a serialized comic, originally intended to be read in 20-page weekly snippets.
The tone of the film is inconsistent. The first part of the story refers to the characters who have trips in dreams given to them by an enemy who plans to capture them in those dreams in order to eliminate them.
Some of the dreams are serious and contemplative: Kyojuro Rengoku enfrenta su pasado, reconsidering his complicated family history and how it inspired him to become who he is today. Mugen Train also shows Tanjiro an ideal world where his murdered family is still alive and well.
These sequences are shown alongside the dreams of Tanjiro’s companions Inosuke and Zenitsu, who are significantly dumber by nature. This makes sense in its original context, where comic relief can break the grim tone of Tanjiro and Rengoku’s visions that would otherwise continue for weeks.
However, it doesn’t work as well in a movie, where you are sitting for a continuous experience. Putting these scenes back into the serialized format of television essentially restores the original rhythm of the arc.
Similarly, the Demon Slayer movie as a whole has three clear and distinct acts that make it feel like multiple episodes of a TV show tied together, so breaking it apart to actually be a TV show makes sense.
The first act is the aforementioned part with the imaginary worlds. The second act is a battle against the dream demon Enmu on top of the train and the third is a duel between Rengoku and the mighty demon Akaza.
The first two acts, while vastly different in tone and rhythm, are at least clearly connected: dreams are Enmu’s plan, and taking him down is the natural next step after escaping from dreams.
However, the fight between Akaza, the most tragic villain in the series, and Rengoku, as incredible as it is, seems to come out of nowhere in the movie. It certainly must be there, as it is both the conclusion of your time on the train and the thematic conclusion of the ideas raised during the dream sequences.
But relentlessly, Akaza simply appears as a last minute enemy once Enmu is defeated. Putting this back in its original context makes everything feel so much more natural.
The break between episodes helps these sections of the story feel more separate, and things like episode previews and even some additional scenes to foreshadow Akaza’s appearance help set audience expectations.
Spread over a few television episodes, Akaza’s fight has room to breathe like a kind of mini-arc within the wider reach of Mugen Train. All of this is not to say that it was a mistake that Mugen Train was made as a movie in the first place.
Unlike most of Demon Slayer, which is about Tanjiro’s journey, Mugen Train is first and foremost Rengoku’s story, structured entirely around helping us understand his story and perspective.
In addition to being a fun and interesting character, Rengoku’s contribution to all fundamental Demon Slayers. He’s the most realistic Hashira we’ve ever met, giving us an insight into Tanjiro’s potential future and the different choices he might make after meeting Rengoku and learning from his experiences.
It is also quite autonomous, taking place in a transitional part of Tanjiro’s journey in a literal and figurative sense, so structurally it stands on its own in many ways. For more information you can read about the powers of Kyojuro Rengoku in Demon Slayer, explained.
Finally, while the standard of Ufotable animation has always been superb, are at their best when given the time and production values of a feature film. If Mugen Train doesn’t convince you, just take a look at their series Garden of Sinners or the trilogy Fate / Stay Night: Heaven’s Feel.
But actually, all of that serves to make Mugen Train’s TV cut look more like the top version. Higher-quality animation looks great on TV, and the movie already had a similar pacing to the original season of the show.
For future fans going through the series, there won’t be an awkward point where they aren’t sure what to watch next after the first season. If you were wondering when the Entertainment District arc begins in Demon Slayer 2, The Truth News reminds you that these episodes will arrive on December 5th.