New ‘Demon Slayer’ movie isn’t worth the watch


Courtesy of Aniplex USA

The characters of “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – To the Swordsmith Village” across an animated background. The film came out March 3 and features little new content

By Anika Haley, Lifestyle Writer

After “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Movie: Mugen Train” overtook “Spirited Away” as the highest-grossing anime film worldwide in 2021, Japanese animation studio Ufotable decided to try their luck again with a new 2023 release.

Unfortunately, Ufotable’s style needs a little work – they choked with the new movie.

“Demon Slayer” takes place in Taishō era Japan, where everything’s the same except man-eating demons rule the night. A young charcoal seller, Tanjiro Kamado, leaves his home in the mountains for one night and comes back to most of his family brutally massacred. The only survivor, his younger sister Nezuko, has turned into a demon. With Nezuko being his only family left, Tanjiro joins the Demon Slayer Corps – an underground group of swordsmen dedicated to killing demons – to find a way to make her human again.

There he learns water breathing, a technique that gives people the strength to fight against demons who only die when beheaded – aka the “powers” of this world.

“Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – To the Swordsmith Village” is a continuation of that story. The movie consists of the final two episodes of season two and adapts the very beginning of the next part of the manga, the Swordsmith Village Arc. This time, Tanjiro goes to a hidden village where they forge specialty katanas – called Nichirin swords – that demon slayers use to behead demons.

Much like the last movie, this is not a standalone feature. As the continuation of an already complex story, anyone interested in watching should first make sure they’re caught up on the two seasons that are available.

However, with only 45 minutes of new content, is paying the exorbitant amount of cash for movie theater popcorn even worth it?

No. Not really.

The fact that the first half of this movie is two existing episodes with no added content is already a sign that you should just wait for it to drop on Crunchyroll. But even disregarding that, the new content included does not showcase the vibrant, beautiful animation that “Demon Slayer” is known for. 

Its battle sequences specifically are what draw watchers in, and the second half contained none. It was essentially 45 minutes of introducing what’s to come: a clear cash grab aimed at millions of fans worldwide.

Though, that isn’t to say the movie isn’t enjoyable.

The voice actors for the English dub were incredibly well-cast, something that makes or breaks anime. The performances were extraordinary; each character had a voice that suited them and did justice to their unique personalities. The one that stuck out most was Upper Moon One, Kokushibo, who was played by Jonah Scott. In only a few lines, Scott was able to encapsulate the stoic character of a terrifying villain – Kokushibo is the second most powerful demon in the entire series. Other performances that stuck out were Uzui Tengen (Ray Chase), Upper Moon Six – or Gyūtaro – (Brandon McInnis) and Mitsuri Kanroji (Kira Buckland.)

The voice acting improved the movie, but it still had entertaining moments.

The best part happens in the beginning of the new content. It is the first time in the series the Upper Six Kizuki (Demon Moons) are together all at once.

The Twelve Demon Moons – evenly split into an upper and lower half – are a group of the twelve strongest demons. They serve directly under the demon lord, Muzan Kibutsuji, who is the most powerful demon to exist.

A meeting after the death of Upper Moon Six marks the first encounter in the series with several of the Upper Moon characters. The audience finally gets to see the demons’ designs in the anime style, which was only teased previously. We also get to see them interact with each other in a dark and funny way: Most notably when the Upper Moon Two, Doma, gets his head punched clean off not once, but twice.

When the movie shifts over to its heroes, the humor continues to carry a movie that is otherwise entirely exposition.

This mostly happens because of the main trio: Tanjiro wondering why he wasn’t able to make friends while naked, Zenitsu screaming and crying because he has to slay demons (i.e. do his job) and Inosuke hanging off the ceiling. These three, but mainly Tanjiro, kept the movie entertaining until the end. Then, the new opening – “Kizuna no Kiseki” by MAN WITH A MISSION featuring Japanese singer milet – served as a way to hype up the new season.

Luckily, the third season will be airing on April 9 in Japan, so fans won’t have to wait very long to watch new content. Though, there hasn’t been an official international release date made by Crunchyroll, so fans not living in Japan may have to wait a little bit longer.