Linda Cook review: ‘Demon Slayer’ makes box office history in Japan, U. S.

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You don’t have to be a fan of anime or the television show to enjoy this movie based on a hit television and manga series.

I had not an inkling of what the prior stories have involved, so I was pleased and surprised to be as engaged as I was early on by “Demon Slayer – Kimetsu No Yaiba – The Movie: Mugen Train.”

The story, set aboard the Mugen Train, involves a highly ranked demon slayer Rengoku who promises to train other demon slayers Inosuke, Zenitsu and Tanjiro Kamado. they want to protect the passengers, at risk because of a demon lurking about.

The trio of slayers and Rengoku know a demon – at least one – is on board the train.
It turns that the threat is a powerful demon that can manipulate dreams – and easily can make the passengers and the slayers sleep. Because each has extremely personal dreams, it’s fairly easy for the unitiated to understand the characters’ motivations, fears, grief and regrets.

I was surprised at how philsophical and deep the movie is, with themes about death, and even suicide, which – along with its gore – most likely contributed to its U. S. “R” rating. Like “Mortal Kombat,” this certainly isn’t appropriate fare for little kids.

The hand-drawn animation is a sight to see, because its style changes, sometimes humorously, with so many scenes and environments. I like the manga look of the fight scenes, and the gorgeous environments in many of the dream sequences. The colors range from glorious to subtle, and are especially striking in the fight sequences.

It’s an action-packed tale with a sensitive side that both aficionados and newcomers will welcome.

3 stars

Rated: R for vioence and gore, along with themes about death and suicide.

Running time: One hour and 57 minutes.

At Cinemark, Davenport.

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