©Koyoharu Gotoge / SHUEISHA, Aniplex, ufotable

REVIEW: Siblings and Swordsmiths: “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – To the Swordsmith Village”

The immensely popular anime “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba” has returned with the new film “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – To the Swordsmith Village.”

The film compiles the last two episodes of the “Entertainment District Arc” as well as the first episode of the upcoming season, the “Swordsmith Village Arc.” WARNING, there will be spoilers for the end of the “Entertainment District Arc” in this review by IMDB’s synopsis.

The film is rated R due to “violence and bloody images,” according to IMDB. The film’s synopsis on IMDB is “All the Upper Rank Demons assemble at the Infinity Castle following Upper Six’s defeat.” Expanding upon that synopsis, Tanjiro Kamado, accompanied as always by his demon little sister Nezuko travel to the Swordsmith Village so Tanjiro can get a new sword after damaging his old one in the battle against Upper Six.

Because the film compiles three episodes of the series, it makes for a unique cinematic experience. The film opens with a recap of the series story so far with clips of the previous arcs, “Tanjiro Kamado Unwavering Resolve Arc” and the “Mugen Train Arc” with their respective opening songs, “Gurenge” and “Akeboshi” both by Lisa.

The film then quickly recaps the “Entertainment District Arc” before starting episode 10, “Never Give Up.”

The episodes look spectacular on the big screen, the sound boomed in my ears, and it really stood out in scenes where there was a big hit or injury; the sound made you feel it.

The voice acting was top-notch all around. I’ll come back to voice acting with the first episode of the “Swordsmith Village Arc”, but I want to praise Ryoto Osaka for his work as Upper Six Gyutaro, his raspy voice for the character fits perfectly, and I’m impressed how he could constantly hold that voice since it sounds like its hard to get right in the first place.
The story for episodes 10 and 11 is great from the action to the emotion in the story, though since the “Entertainment District Arc” finished last year, let’s focus on episode 1 of the “Swordsmith Village Arc”, “Someone’s Dream.”

Tanjiro meditates in the Swordsmith Village (Via ufotable ANIPLEX, IMDB)
The highlight of the episode for me was the Infinity Castle sequence. It starts with Upper Three Akaza (whom fans are quite familiar with) falling and flying across the endless rooms, doors and levels, which looked amazing.

The episode made great use of this location with several different camera angles and long takes to just take in this creative location. The series had already been to the Infinity Castle before, but it further expands upon the location here, leaving me impressed and excited to see more of it.

The Upper Rank Demons each get their chance to shine in this sequence. All of the demons have their own interesting and somewhat entertaining personalities. From the perpetually-terrified Upper Four Hantengu, to the charm and humor of Upper Two Doma to the calm, cold personality of Upper One Kokushibo. The sequence holds suspense in the points of Muzan Kibutsuji scolding the failures of the Upper Ranks, to the confrontation between Akaza Doma and Kokushibo.

From there, we catch up to Tanjiro in his recovery after the battle at the Entertainment District, which includes a really good joke about his friend Inosuke Hashibira. From there Tanjiro and Nezuko travel to the Swordsmith Village, meeting Love Hashira Mitsuri Kanroji and Genya Shinazugawa as well as having a brief encounter with Mist Hashira Muichiro Tokito.

The story for this premiere episode is fun, and does a good job of setting up for later points in the series. After the Infinity Castle sequence, the episode does not have much action, but it does not need action. The humor of the episode is enough to raise the story and keeps it interesting and not boring.

Natsuki Hanae does a great job at playing Tanjiro, and as always, Yoshitsugu Matsuoka keeps the hilarious swagger and confidence of Inosuke that has made him a fan favorite. Kana Hanazawa and Nobuhiko Okamoto make the characters of Mitsuri and Genya their own and I’m very excited to see the rest of the season.

It’s been a while since I have read the “Demon Slayer” manga, so this was a good refresher of the story. This is a limited release, so for any “Demon Slayer” fans who want to catch season three’s premiere before its April 9 debut, then head over to your local theater, its worth the price of admission.

All of the arcs of “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba” are currently streaming on Crunchyroll, Funimation as well as Hulu and the “Tanjiro Kamado Unwavering Resolve Arc” and the “Mugen Train Arc” are both streaming on Netflix. The “Mugen Train” film is streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation.

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