JAPAN: CAN THE NEW ‘DEMON SLAYER’ MOVIE CONQUER THE WORLD?

MATEO FERNANDEZ WRITES — “Demon Slayer” has made Japanese history in both manga and anime. What is manga, for those who don’t know? Japanese graphic novels or comics that are inherently the building blocks of this uniquely Japanese form of entertainment. Just as in the U.S many movies are based on books- like the Harry Potter Series- Japan creates anime shows and/or movies based on “manga” graphic novels or comics.

The “Demon Slayer” manga has broken record sales in Japan and globally, outselling that biggest anime seller known as “One Piece.”  “Demon Slayer” is one of the manga that has sold all 22 of its volumes, thus being in the top 30. This achievement is monumental, considering that “Demon Slayer” is going up against some already successful manga.

It has become well-known in the anime community that movies adapted from anime/manga are often catastrophically bad. It’s the same syndrome as when a Hollywood director strays from the original plot of a novel, resulting in a film adaptation that seems inauthentic, or messes up the storyline by egotistically demanding control of the project. The closest example of this:  When Disney acquired the Star Wars franchise, leaving many with the feeling that the Star Wars series strayed too far from the original storyline.

With higher budgets should come better products.  Audiences will appreciate greater authenticity. Of course, authenticity is something the film industry lacks overall, whether with actors and actresses, film companies or adherence to original plotlines. “Demon Slayer” has a large fan base, so there was no need to create an adulterated product. And so, admirably, the creators of the manga and anime chose to stay authentic with “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train.”

Not surprisingly, despite the movie coming out during the Covid-19 pandemic, it has earned successful numbers. It is safe to assume that, had it been released in pre-pandemic times it could have been the highest-grossing domestic film produced by Japan, ever. It is still on track to do so, but the film has not yet been released internationally.

Now, with “Demon Slayer” a big success, anime fans across the world hope for more authentic, true masterpieces. Perhaps “Demon Slayer” will in fact conquer the manga/anime world of Japanese entertainment.

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