Based on Koyoharu’s manga The Demon Slayer franchise Issuance of manga during the COVID-19 Pandemic helped to increase its popularity. Demon Slayer – Kimetsu yaiba, the Movie: Mugentrain released in theaters in 2020, earning $350 million at Japan’s box office during its opening weekend and surpassing a record set by Hayao Miyazaki’s Get Spirited AwayAs the most successful Japanese film ever made. This movie will now be made into seven animated episodes with new footage on October 10.
The Demon Slayer series follows the good-natured Tanjiro, armed with a razor-sharp sense of smell, as he ventures into the demon-slaying vocation and vows to find a way to restore his demon sister’s humanity. Tanjiro’s compassion for other demon souls and the acquisition of colorful friends makes him a puzzler.
Mugen TrainTanjiro’s team faces Enmu, Akaza and other merciless demons. They also face dangerous dreamsscapes and lose the Hashira Kyojuro Rengoku. The anime is made up of scenes recuts from the movie. There’s also an original episode that was created before the events in the movie. The anime features 70 scenes that have been cut from the original movie. One of these is Rengoku’s pre-train mission.
Fans of the anime relived the fun and the sorrows aboard the Mugen Train — somewhat — at the 2021 New York Comic Con. Aleks Le (Zenitsu), Abby Trott (Nezuko), Landon McDonald (Enmu), and Lucien Dodge (Akaza and the movie’s ADR script writer) gathered at the spoiler-filled panel to talk about the recording experience on Mugen Train.
Trott had the most fun voicing the dream sequence where Nezuko is represented in her “chibi-esque side.” Funnily enough, she recorded for Inosuke’s comedic dream sequence before Nezuko’s serious scenes, so she was confused when Nezuko — in Inosuke’s eccentric headspace — was a bunny.
Le said of Zenitsu, the easily frightened slayer, “He doesn’t get to be happy a lot. My heroic side was brought out in the serious portion of the movie. This is the first time he’s actually protecting Nezuko as a person.” He laughed. “A lot of people watching the trailer thought I got replaced because it showed the clip of Zenitsu [heroic] side and thought, oh no, Aleks got fired.”
Although Le was asked if he approached Zenitsu’s panicky characterization differently than he did in the first season of the anime, he portrayed him the same and just growing. “He always wanted to be a protector but he never had the opportunity to prove himself in front of his friends. When he does something cool, no one sees it,” he said. “It’s like when you crumble a piece of paper and throw it in the bin but nobody’s there.”
McDonald said that he thinks fondly of the sinister Enmu, “I don’t think he’s a villain. He’s just a guy who wants a promotion.” He pulled out a chibi plush doll of Enmu and showed it. “Just look at this guy and tell me he’s a villain!” Le reached out and playfully squeezed the doll.
ADR wrote the script and cast Akaza as the second villain. Dodge detailed, “When writing the English dub script, I was not Akaza yet. I perform the lines to figure if it’s flowing, does it emulate the character naturally? If it isn’t flowing well, I guess that something needs to be adjusted. When I got to the character, I couldn’t help [think] while writing the character that I could probably play this character well.”
Other cast members, Zach Aguilar (Tanjiro), Bryce Papenbrook (Inosuke), and Mark Whitten (Rengoku) sent their insights about performing their characters’ arcs through pre-recorded videos.
Aguilar sympathized with Tanjiro. “The key to tapping into those moments was imagining my own family in Tanjiro’s family. He’s a kid who lost his entire family, except for Nezuko. Now in the moving train, he gets to see his family again in a dream and finds the resolve to realize it is a dream and move on,” he said. “When Tanjiro is shouting at Akaza, it’s a build-up of his frustrations throughout the series and movie.”
Inosuke the prideful boar-headed Inosuke is growing into an openly sensitive and more emotionally aware person. Mugen Train. “I love playing those scenes when he’s really the one who’s making the right decision, taking the role of the leader,” said Papenbrook. “When Inosuke cries [in the movie] it’s the ugliest cry in the world.” An audience member shouted to add, “like a king!”
Recut in seven episodes of The Simpsons Mugen TrainFunimation has movie streaming starting on October 10. With an hour-long premier, the second season of Funimation will begin on December 5, with a premiere.
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