Initially, I was unsure about the wisdom behind releasing a Demon Slayer movie that consists of the last two episodes of Season 3, both available on Netflix and Disney+, and the first three episodes of the upcoming fourth season. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – To The Swordsmith Village is a compilation movie that may not come out as a solid standalone story, but hypes the fans to see the anime series with the trappings of a state-of-the-art cinema.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba revolves around a compassionate charcoal seller named Tanjiro whose family was killed by a demon, save for her younger sister Nezuko who was turned into one. Based on the ninth best-selling manga of all time, the anime series was produced by Ufotable in 2019, followed by the theatrical release of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Movie: Mugen Train in 2020, currently the highest-grossing anime film and Japanese film of all time. A second season followed in 2021, which brings us to the events of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – To The Swordsmith Village.
To guide moviegoers who may be coming in blind, the feature starts with flashbacks of the previous seasons and story arcs, playing each of the opening songs for the otakus to sing along. The penultimate episode of the third season then plays, showing a heavily wounded Tanjiro, along with his fellow young slayers Zenitsu and Inosuke, making a last-ditch effort to beat siblings Gyutaro and Daki, holders of Upper-Rank Six of the Twelve Kizuki.
Despite having seen the episodes already on a streaming platform, seeing Ufotable’s dazzling animation in its full cinematic glory is a delight. The latter episodes also humanize the villains who were generally ostracized by the society—a backstory nearly shared by all humans who chose to be turned into demons.
Soon enough, we are introduced to the remaining members of the Twelve Kizuki, called by the Demon King, Muzan Kibutsuji. Let’s just say these officemates work in a toxic work environment where nearly each one tries to violently outdo the other. Muzan also takes out his frustration on the demons, violently.
The rest is an epilogue to the events of The Entertainment District Arc, where Tanjiro journeys to the Swordsmith Village, and then fancy-seeing the Love Hashira, Mitsuri; the brother of Wind Hashira Sanemi, Genya; and the Mist Hashira, Muichiro.
The introduction of the new players is a welcome move to bring Tanjiro out of his comfort zone and away from his support system—Tanjiro and Inosuke. The movie ends with an intriguing cliffhanger, meant to entice viewers to watch the series when it arrives on streaming platforms this April.
Despite not having a standalone solid story for a movie, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – To The Swordsmith Village is a refresher for those who fell in love with the dark fantasy series while serving as a perfect jumping point for new viewers. I wish Ufotable replicated what they did with the Mugen Train arc, however releasing one cohesive film so people would get their money’s worth.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – To The Swordsmith Village is now showing exclusively at SM Cinemas.