Kimetsu no Yaiba (Demon Slayer)
Japan has a high number of anime fans compared to most countries, but the record-setting anime movie Kimetsu no Yaiba – Infinity Train (鬼滅の刃) hasn’t just attracted anime lovers to the cinema. It has also convinced a lot of ‘regular’ people to come out and watch the adaptation of a popular manga series. It is, in fact, the best-visited movie during its opening week in Japan of all times! The newly released anime film has been a big hit and everyone is talking about it. So what’s all the fuss about?
The Success Story of Gotoge Koyoharu
Kimetsu no Yaiba started out as a manga (comic) serialized in popular comic magazine Shonen Jump in 2016, and continued until halfway through 2020. Kimetsu no Yaiba was not the first popular comic to be born from this magazine, it also propelled titles such as Dragon Ball Z, Naruto, and One Piece to great heights of popularity. The manga artist who created the series is Gotoge Koyoharu, who was only born in 1989 and was nominated as one of the honorable mentions of the Jump Treasure Awards in 2013.
After the honorable mention, he went on to write two comics, both of which weren’t chosen for the magazine. He was thinking about quitting his fledgling career as a cartoonist, but the next series he wrote was Kimetsu no Yaiba, his first long story. This series was chosen to appear in Jump magazine, which subsequently became a big success. Ever since the comic has become an independent series of comic books. The series consists of 205 stories, and 22 volumes of the comic came out until the story concluded in 2020.
Because of its popularity, the comic became a TV anime series in 2019. After being broadcast on TV, the sales of comic books surged, but the TV series didn’t cover all the stories. The TV series finished at volume 7 out of 22, and fans clamored for more, wanting to watch the rest of the story in moving images as well. This is why they decided to make volume 7 and 8 into an anime for the movie theater in 2020. The official title of the movie became Kimetsu no Yaiba -Infinity Train.
Story of Kimetsu no Yaiba
The story’s backdrop is a mountain village in Japan during the Taisho period, which is about 100 years ago. The main character is a 13-year-old boy, Kamado Tanjiro. He succeeds his late father’s business and supports the family by charcoal burning. One day, while he is out of the house, all his family except for his younger sister Nezuko were killed by demons. Nezuko survived but she was bitten by a demon, meaning that she became a demon, too. When a human being is bitten and turned into a demon, they start attacking other human beings and bite them, not unlike zombies.
Tanjiro joined the Kisatsutai or Demon Slayer Team, passing their difficult examination after two years of severe training to kill demons, and he restores Nezuko back to human. Breathing with utmost concentration is important to fight the demons, it is called ‘Zenshuchuno Kokyu’ (breathe with all concentration).
This breathing technique made him strong, and it made him able to use special techniques when he fights with demons. Tanjiro and his teammates defeat many demons and try to reach the ultimate goal of slaying the boss of all demons, Kibutsuji Muzan. The characters of both the Kisatsutai members and the demons are really unique. Nezuko also fights against the demons even though she became a demon herself.
The Success of the Movie
The movie Kimetsu no Yaiba – Infinity Train was released on October 16, 2020, at 403 movie theaters all over Japan. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic during this year, the movie theater business was badly damaged, but the screening Kimetsu was a great exception and saved the year for the industry single-handedly.
As of the last week of November 2020, 17.5 million people already went to the theater, and the box office revenue topped 23 billion yen (230 million USD) just within one month. Before Kimetsu no Yaiba, the top anime in Japan was Spirited Away by Studio Ghibli from 2001, which grossed 30.8 billion yen, but Kimetsu is very likely to surpass its record.
Why should you watch this movie once it becomes available in your region and language? The movie is not only exciting with a lot of fighting scenes, it is also a very moving story that will leave you with tears in your eyes at some points. Plus, one of the main characters, Rengoku Kyojuro, is really cool!
Anime fans tend to be young males, but Kimetsu has a lot of female fans as well, ranging from teenage girls to women in their forties. There are several reasons for this; there are a lot of pretty and strong female slayers that women can identify with, the beautiful images and atmosphere of the anime is a treat for the eyes and soul, and there is no graphic, grotesque scenes even though many people and demons are killed in the story.
The theme song of the TV anime is ‘Gurenge’ sung by LiSA, a popular solo artist in Japan, was also a big hit. LiSA was selected as one of the participants at the Kohaku Utagassen, a popular song battle TV program held every New Year’s Eve, in 2019. The theme song of the movie was also sung by LiSA, the title of this song is Honoh, or ‘fire’.
Kimetsu no Yaiba Cosplay
Cosplay (a word derived from ‘costume’ and ‘play’) is a popular hobby among anime fans. They dress themselves up as anime characters. The cosplay of several characters from Kimetsu became very popular once the movie came out. This time, it is not only the anime fans but also a lot of famous people such as actors, models, and comedians who do cosplay and upload their pictures on social media.
Because many characters of Kimetsu are very distinguishing, it is easy to be recognizable if you do cosplay as one of them. For example, Nezuko has long hair and always holds a bamboo stopper in her mouth to avoid biting human beings, so if you wear a long-haired wig and put bamboo in your mouth, you already look like her. The hero Tanjiro always wears a coat with a checkerboard pattern, so many children wear a coat of the same design to imitate him these days.
Kimetsu no Yaiba Related Places
While it is an imaginary story, there are several related places in the real world that you can visit that are related to the series.
Kamado Shrine in Dazaifu, Fukuoka: Kamado is the family name of the hero Tanjiro, and this shrine was founded to intercept demons. Also, the design of the clothes of the worshipers is similar to the design of what Tanjiro wears. The series has obviously been inspired by this shrine.
Amanoiwatate Shrine inNara: in this small shrine near the Hotokuji temple, there is a huge rock with a cut line in the middle. Tanjiro cut the rock into two pieces while he was on the training. The rock of the shrine looks very similar to the one that Tanjiro cut. Another inspiration source of the author?
Ashikaga Flower Park in Tochigi: Ashikaga Flower Park is especially known for its beautiful wisteria; in season, you can walk through a long tunnel covered with wisteria. Wisteria is the symbol of the Kisatsutai because demons hate its fragrance.
Your Japan Tour
As seasoned Japan experts, we can help you create your perfect Japan tour including guides who can take you to places related to manga, anime, cosplay, and of course Kimetsu no Yaiba. Contact us to start planning your unforgettable holiday to this fascinating country full of once-in-a-lifetime experiences, culture, history, nature, and delicious food!