Already a big hit in Japan since its theatrical debut on February 3, the much-anticipated ‘Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba – To the Swordsmith Village’ has since expanded its release to over 95 countries and regions worldwide. Running at nearly two hours long, ‘Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba – To the Swordsmith Village’ is essentially a full recap of the last two episodes from the ‘Demon Slayer: Entertainment District Arc,’ which include ‘Never Give Up’ (Episode 10) and ‘No Matter How Many Lives’ (Episode 11). The animated feature – well, it was more of a cinematic or theatrical event – also includes the first episode of the upcoming Season 3 of the ‘Demon Slayer: Swordsmith Village Arc.’
The latter is what every fan is waiting for, offering them the chance to watch it first in theaters before the series’ third season premiered on the small screen on April 9, 2023. But before you get to enjoy the aforementioned new material, you have to sit through the first full hour or so revisiting Episodes 10 and 11 of the ‘Demon Slayer: Entertainment District Arc.’ In other words, you are paying the ticket to watch the same thing again, except the difference is you get to experience these episodes on the big screen. Not that the fans – especially the die-hard ones – would mind anyway because they look spectacular.
This is particularly evident with the action-packed Episode 10, and to refresh your memory, here’s a quick summary: Tanjiro Kamado (voiced by Natsuki Hanae) is injured while the rest, namely Nezuko (Akari Kito) and Inosuke (Yoshitsugu Matsuoka) are respectively lying unconscious and impaled. The demonic Upper Rank Six siblings – Gyutaro (Ryota Osaka) and Daki (Miyuki Sawashiro) – are not done yet as the former continues to torture Tanjiro (this includes a scene that instantly reminds of how the late Rutger Hauer’s Roy Batty did to Harrison Ford’s Rick Deckard’s fingers in ‘Blade Runner’).
Then comes the battle, and what a battle it turns out to be! Yes, even if you are watching the same battle again, the feeling is different. I was immersed by the thrillingly-staged choreography with the character’s swift movements (love its brilliant use of lighting and the combination of bright and primary colors), and battle cries. Of course, its action set pieces’ fluidity–all highlighted in a vibrant CG animation, and the sound design are just as top-notch. The camerawork is dynamic, and watching them unfold on the big screen is best described as an immersive cinematic experience.
The next one — ‘No Matter How Many Lives’ – slows things down considerably in favor of a tragic backstory of the Upper-Rank Six siblings as we learn how they become demons in the first place. This, in turn, helps to establish Gyutaro and Daki’s characters as more than just your garden-variety antagonists. But it wasn’t all doom and gloom as they slipped in a few sardonic humor to lighten up the otherwise depressing episode.
As much as I enjoy revisiting them, I still can’t help but notice as if ‘Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba – To the Swordsmith Village’ simply slapped these previous two episodes and called it a day. All without even considering editing them to make these episodes look seamlessly integrated together, which would flow better.
The final hour of ‘Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba – To the Swordsmith Village’, which focuses on the aftermath of the deadly battle against the Upper-Rank Six siblings, continues with Tanjiro recovering from his injury. Several characters show up, with some scenes taking place in the Infinity Castle and the rest in the titular Swordsmith Village. If this is a movie, I would easily label it as anticlimactic since the first episode of the Season 3 focuses more on the blend of macabre (the Infinity Castle meeting scene with all the demons comes to mind) and broad (the scene where Tanjiro is recuperating on the bed) comedy and drama while the action is largely taking a backseat.
Watch this if you can’t wait another month for the first episode of Season 3 of the ‘Demon Slayer: Swordsmith Village Arc.’ Otherwise, some of you may find ‘Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba – To the Swordsmith Village’ a waste of money watching the rerun of the final two episodes with only an hour’s worth of a new episode. Either way, it’s hard to deny the sheer entertainment value that effectively combines action, comedy, and drama. Not to mention watching these fan-favorite characters such as Tanjiro, Nezuko and her ever-iconic bamboo muzzle in her mouth as well as the brash pig-headed (literally, that is) Inosuke Hashibira and the blonde-haired, overly emotional Zenitsu Agatsuma (Hiro Shimono) are always a welcome sight due to their respective colorful personalities.