“Mother, did I do well? My mission, my obligations, did I use my gifts wisely?”
“You did splendidly”, Kyoujuro Rengoku smiled the brightest for the last time as he heard his mother say those words to him letting him finally rest in peace and honor and glory. (Emotional Retelling of Demon Slayer Mugen Train)
Demon Slayer the movie – Mugen train redefined strength through kindness, determination, and vulnerability anew. To be kind is to acknowledge one’s gift of power and to use it for the protection of those who can’t protect themselves. Being determined is to strengthen one’s heart and never back down even in the face of the strongest adversary. Even in the face of death. To be vulnerable is to acknowledge one’s weakness and strive relentlessly to make that weakness into one’s strength. The themes explored in Mugen Train are not something new or groundbreaking in the world of shounen anime. However, the brilliance of its execution demands that the movie be seen. We explore it further through the Emotional retelling of Demon Slayer Mugen Train.
The movie was not only about investigating disappearances on the train suspected to be due to a demon but was also much about the emotional journey of each character. It gives the viewer an in-depth understanding of the characters, both major and minor.
In the movie, the Kyoujuro Rengoku, Tanjiro, Inosuke, and Zenitsu initially face one of the lower moon demons Enmu. His ability was forced dreaming. It gives him the upper hand in any fight as he can show his opponent any sort of dream he wants them to see. This makes them vulnerable and easy prey. It is this ability of his which let him manipulate the orphaned kids, the ticket master, and the train engineer. They became desperate to escape to their world of dreams, desperate to re-live the happiest times of their lives. They were even ready to take other human lives. Yet he struggles to overpower the unflinching strength and determination of the Demon Slayers with his demon blood ritual power.
Strength in Determination (Emotional retelling of Demon Slayer Mugen Train)
We witness as Kyoujuro is transported back to the happiest moment of his life in his dreams. He is reporting to his father his becoming of a Hashira. Yet his father’s berating stained this most precious moment . He said that it was of no use. He believes that Kyoujuro, or himself even, will never amount to anything and everything is pointless in the end. Kyoujuro doesn’t lose heart at this. His heart was ablaze with a fierce determination to uphold his mother’s teaching. Facing his younger brother, Senjuro, Kyojuro told him the truth. Their father was not happy with the news of him becoming the Hashira. However, Senjuro should not let himself be put down because he has an older brother who still believes in him.
This fierce unyielding determination to never submit was also evident in his spiritual core. It was a ball of blazing red and his subconscious realm being a scorching field of flames. It provided him with one of the strongest survival instincts. When one of the orphan girls tried to destroy his spiritual core, Kyoujuro in his dreaming state, instinctively reached out. He grabbed the girl by her throat, stopping her in the act.
One must not also forget about the strong determination Inosuke showed. His spiritual realm being a harsh, dark, cold, and unfavorable terrain reflecting his harsh childhood. Yet Inosuke was an expert at scaling these undulating surfaces. His indomitable survival instinct making him a master of his own world.
Strength in Kindness (Emotional retelling of Demon Slayer Mugen Train)
Tanjiro’s subconscious realm leaves one mesmerized. As endless as an ocean and as vast as the sky, the kindness in Tanjiro’s heart knows no bounds. He went as far as leading one of the orphan boys to his spiritual core. Because he sensed the boy was searching for it. The orphaned boy who was fighting tuberculosis was an easy victim. Enmu manipulated him to kill the demon slayers on the train in exchange for letting him have a good dream. It was better than his painful reality. But this act of extreme kindness by Tanjiro had the orphan boy feeling a warmth in his own core. A beautiful warmth, the kind which he had never felt before. It led the boy to have a change of heart. He chose to lead the rest of his life aided by this one act of warm kindness. Rather than giving in to a false reality. It does leave one wondering how strong the character must be. To be this kind and yet so vulnerable at the same time. This forms one of the crucial aspects of Emotional retelling of Demon Slayer Mugen Train.
Kindness was also the virtue that guided Kyoujuro Rengoku in his duties as a demon slayer. Leading him to lay down his life to protect his underclassmen. Kyoujuro strived relentlessly till the end to protect all the passengers aboard the train, unleashing all his fire breathing techniques in order to do so.
Strength in Vulnerability
Tanjiro’s family is his greatest strength and yet his greatest weakness. It grounded him to the reality of his great loss. His entire family has been massacred with the only exception of his sister who is currently a demon. This reality also seeps into his dreaming world when he offhandedly remarked why is Nezuko outside during the day. To not turn back, to keep moving forward, to turn a deaf ear to his mother, to his family asking him to come back and stay, to throw away everything that he could have had if he had only decided to turn back and face his family. This takes an extreme will of self. Thus to come back to the reality where others need him, where he needs to do things only he can do, he sets his katana against his neck to wake up from the living nightmare of a good dream.
Later in a desperate attempt to overpower Tanjiro, Enmu makes his biggest mistake as he shows Tanjiro a dream sequence where his family hates him and accuses him of leaving them behind and letting them die, the father who was the one to give Tanjiro a hint on how to break out if his dream now hates him. Tanjiro witnessing his family twisted into a vile mockery of his real family in the clutches of Enmu’s forced dreaming flies into a rage and chops Enmu’s head off.
Zenitsu’s remarkable strength, speed, and agility shine through only when life backs him into the tightest corners. His spiritual realm is a world of pitch darkness. It shows how his fears hold him back from performing his best. But again he is the most powerful in this black world of nothingness when enemies threaten it. And thus even being in a dreaming state Zenitsu fights to protect the people inside the train. He disregards his own safety as he acknowledges his own weaknesses.
The Last Stand
The best and final fight of the movie takes place between Kyoujuro and Akaza, an upper-level demon, during which Kyoujuro sustains severe injuries having previously unleashed all his powers to protect all the people on the train. Still, the fight wasn’t over for him. His pride of being a demon slayer, his pride of being a human, an ephemeral creature whose strength doesn’t only lie in the flesh but also in the way they choose to live their life. The way they choose to use their gifts, their strengths, creating precious bonds. Having fleeting moments immortalize, kept his fighting spirit alive. It kept the sword tightly gripped in his hands as it sliced through Akaza’s neck slowly but surely. And so Akaza was forced to tear off both his arms, to flee the rising sun and Kyoujuro’s blazing determination.
The rays of the rising sun dissipated the darkness but fell heavily on the hearts of the young boys. Yet Kyoujuro was sitting on the ground undefeated, instructing the boys on what they should do next. Where they should go next. Fulfilling all his duties as a Hashira, his promise to his mother to use his strength wisely, Kyoujuro Rengoku was a winner even in death. His last words will guide the young boys in shaping their lives on a righteous path to become strong warriors.
Further Reading: https://www.filminquiry.com/demon-slayer-mugen-2020-review/